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Results 26 - 50 of 225,764
26. On the Spotlight: The Aqua Lie, by L.L. Hunter


Title: The Aqua Lie
Series: The Aqua Saga book 2
Author: L.L. Hunter
Genre: YA Dystopian
Cover Designer: Regina Wamba of Mae I Design and Photography
Release Date: July 31st
Ever since being told he had to work for General Maddox in order to see Pym, Rush has had more than enough time to contemplate how to get out of this deal.
When he is invited to play a high stakes poker game with the General and his father, he is a little suspicious of the General’s motives.

When he discovers just what he is playing for, it has Rush seeing red.
The prize: Pym’s heart.
But if he loses, he will have to watch his friend Troy take Pym to the annual General’s Masquerade Ball while he sits on the sidelines.
And the hardest part of it all – trying to keep his secret from Pym.

In the much anticipated sequel to The Aqua Secret,
Will Rush be able to keep up the facade, or will it all be unraveled by midnight?

Purchase The Aqua Lie


Purchase The Aqua Secret

L.L. Hunter is the author of over 20 published works, including The Legend of the Archangel Series and The Eden Chronicles. She has studied everything from veterinary nursing, forensic science, and dramatic arts, but has always known her true calling was to be an author. She has been writing since her teens – everything from fan fiction, to song lyrics, to plays and musicals. When not working on her next paranormal romance, she can be found at home in Australia, reading somewhere comfortable with one or both of her “fur babies.”


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27. A reminder to myself (and maybe to you, too)

This #TenThingsToSayToAWriter contribution by author Jen Malone (Maps to the Stars) — I just put a review of your book on Amazon, Barnes and Noble *and* Goodreads and requested from my library. #TenThingsToSayToAWriter — Jen Malone (@jenmalonewrites) July 30, 2015 — was a welcome reminder for me. And a needed one, too. Each time recently […]

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28. Answering questions about THE BOOK OF DARES FOR LOST FRIENDS

I'm honored to be posting on Kirby Larson's FRIEND FRIDAY

AND

DARLENE BECK-JACOBSON's blog "Gold From The Dust"

Darlene is also hosting a give away for the novel.

Follow this link for more information about  THE BOOK OF DARES FOR LOST FRIENDS. 

Please visit both sites to find out some back story for the novel -- and also to be introduced to two wonderful novelists, Kirby and Darlene.




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29. Walden Award Winner Announced for 2015--Yay, A.S.!

I was thrilled (as many of you no doubt were as well) to see that A.S. King's latest Glory O'Brien's History of the Future was announced as this year's winner of the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award. There were some pretty amazing finalists, too:... Read the rest of this post

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30. Interesting blog posts about writing – w/e July 31st 2015



Here’s my selection of interesting (and sometimes amusing) posts about writing from the last weekabout writing from the last week:

Advice for Authors from a Bookseller’s Perspective (Tracy Hahn-Burkett)
www.writerunboxed.com/2015/07/30/advice-for-authors-from-a-booksellers-perspective/

Surviving the Space Between: A Writer’s Journey (Heather Webb) [Jon’s Pick of the week]
www.writerunboxed.com/2015/07/25/surviving-the-space-between-a-writers-journey/

21 Self-Editing Secrets to Make Your Book Shine (Jerry Jenkins)
www.jerryjenkins.com/21-self-editing-secrets-to-make-your-book-shine

Living in the White Space (Liz Michalski)
http://writerunboxed.com/2015/07/29/living-in-the-white-space/

Never Self Promote (Rachelle Gardner)
www.booksandsuch.com/blog/never-self-promote/

Does Your Freelance Writing Career Need to Grow Up? (Tamar Auber)
www.thewritelife.com/freelance-writing-career-grow-up/

Does Genre Matter? (Diana Hurwitz)
www.bloodredpencil.blogspot.com/2015/07/does-genre-matter.html

How Not to Get Sued When Writing about Real People (Ed Sikov)
https://litreactor.com/columns/how-not-to-get-sued-when-writing-about-real-people

6 Ways to Make Your Editor Stop Yelling At You (Lisa Lepki)
www.thewritelife.com/self-editing-tips/

How a Book Becomes a Movie (Jane Friedman)
www.janefriedman.com/2015/07/27/how-a-book-becomes-a-movie/

If you found these useful, you may also like my personal selection of the most interesting blog posts from 2014, and last week’s list.

If you have a particular favorite among these, please let the author know (and me too, if you have time).  Also, if you've a link to a great post that isn't here, feel free to share.

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31. अच्छी है नकारात्मकता

 

अच्छी  है नकारात्मकता  ..

अगर आप यह सोच रहे है कि मैने लिखने मे कुछ गलती की है तो निश्चय रुप से आप गलत सोच रहे है. सच में, वाकई में, जो लोग हमारे बारे में नकारात्मक सोच रखते हैं एक बार तो वो  बुरे लगते है बेहद बुरे पर बाद मे लगता है अरे!!!  यह  तो वाकई मे अच्छे  हैं. आज की तारीख मे भी ऐसे सैकडो उदाहरण है जो मेरी बात को सच साबित करते हैं.

अब आप फिर यही सोच रहे होंगे कि मै बडे बडे महापुरुषो या वैज्ञानिको  आदि का उदाहरण दूगी. जी नही. मै आपको आज की तारीख के ही उदाहरण दूगी और उन लोगो की वजह से लोगो मे कितना बदलाव आया आप भी सोच कर हैरान रह जाएगे.

कुछ समय पहले मेरी एक जानकार की बेटी को क्लास में उसकी टीचर ने सभी बच्चो के सामने बोल दिया कि वो तो एकदम नालायक है इस बार दसवीं मे फेल ही होगी.  उसने इस बात को इतना महसूस किया कि कुछ दिन तो स्कूल ही नही गई पर जब मन में आया तो उस टीचर को गलत साबित करने के लिए जी तोड पढाई की और अपने स्कूल में ही नही बल्कि पूरे जिले मे अव्वल आई. अपने साक्षात्कार के दौरान उसने उसी टीचर का नाम लिया कि अगर वो ना टोकती तो शायद वो सफल ना हो पाती.

ऐसी ही एक कहानी है मिस्टर शर्मा की. वो सपरिवार किराए के घर मे रहते थे. वहां की मकान  मालकिन बहुत तंग करती थी. बात बात पर टोकना आदि.घर धुसते ही उनको टेशंन शुरु हो जाती कि आज फिर  कोई बात होगी या फिर लडाई होगी. एक दिन उनके इस बर्ताव से शर्मा जी इतने दुखी और आहत हुए कि उन्होने मन बना लिया कि अब जब भी यहां से जाएगे  किराए के घर पर नही रहेगे अपना ही घर बनाएगे . और हुआ भी यही.आज वो अपने मकान मे खुशी खुशी रह रहे हैं. आपको एक बात बताऊ कि आज भी जो परिवार किराए के उस घर मे जाता है वहां से  वो सीधा अपने ही घर मे जाता है क्योकि किसी मे इतनी हिम्मत ही नही बचती कि ऐसे इंसान को झेलने की कल्पना मात्र ही कर सके तो मकान मालकिन हुई ना बढिया. नही तो आज के समय मे अपना घर बनाने के भला कोई सोच सकता है पर उस महिला की महानता देखिए … जो लोग कभी सोच भी नही सकते थे अपना आशियाना बनाने की ..अपने घर मे शिफ़्ट हो रहे है.

ऐसे ही मेरी सहेली की मम्मी है उन्हे उनके परिवार ने यह कह दिया कि दुनिया भले ही पलट जाए पर मम्मी कार चलाना नही सीख सकती. कुछ दिन तो वो मात्र मुस्कुराती रही पर जब पानी सिर से ऊपर चला गया तो बस उन्होने निश्चय कर लिया और आज वो इतनी बढिया कार चलाती है कि पूछो ही मत. वही एक जानकार हैं उन्होने अपने बेटे हाथ दिखाया और पूछा कि क्या ये डाक्टर बन सकता है .. इस पर पंडित ने कहा कि कदापि नही इसके हाथ मे डाक्टर की रेखा ही नही है वो पंडित की बात से इतने आहत हुए कि बस निश्चय कर ही लिया  जबकि आज वो पंजाब मे बहुत जाने माने डाक्टर हैं…

ये तो चंद ही उदाहरण है अब आप को लग रहा होगा कि ऐसे उदाहरण से तो आप भी दो चार हुए है .. है ना.

एक बार एक पहाड पर कुछ लोग चढ रहे थे.नीचे खडे लोग चिल्ला रहे थे बहुत मुश्किल है नही चढ पाओगे वापिस आ जाओ. डर के मारे काफी तो लौट आए. एक चोटी तक पहुंच ही गया. खुशी हुई कि देखा मना करने के विपरीत उसने कर दिखाया कि यह कर सकता है. यह है उसकी सकारात्मकता. पर जब नीचे आया तो पता चला कि वो बहरा था. तो आप क्या समझे… जिंदगी मे तरह तरह के लोग मिलते है टोकने वाले ,उत्साह ना बढाने वाले पर आपको अपने पूरे विश्वास के साथ, अपने को कम ना आंकते हुए,सकारात्मक सोच लिए  उन लोगो को साथ लेकर बस आगे ही बढते जाना है… इन्ही लोगो को मद्देनजर रखते हुए आप अपना एक अलग ही मुकाम बनाएगे … है ना !!! तो अब बताईए कि अच्छी है ना नकारात्मकता!!!!

वैसे भी कहते है कि अगर आप जिंदगी मे सफल होना चाह्ते है तो दोस्त साथ  रखिए और अगर आप और भी ज्यादा सफल होना चाह्ते है तो नकारात्मक प्रवृति के लोग साथ रखिए !!!!

बताईगा कि कैसा लगा ये लेख :)

The post अच्छी है नकारात्मकता appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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32. Confused about the order of things

Question: I am 13, and I finished my manuscript, and I'm about to give it to my sister, who is an excellent writer, to edit. While she is doing that I

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33. दौरा बनाम दौरा

दौरा बनाम दौरा  ….

cartoon- result monica gupta

 

दौरा बनाम दौरा

आज अचानक सुबह सुबह  नेता जी ने घोषणा कर दी कि अभी विदेश दौरे पर जाने की बजाय वो सीधा  तिहाड के दौरे पर जाएगे क्योकि भारी अव्यवस्थाओ के चलते वहां देखना भी बहुत जरुरी है. आनन फानन में सायरन बजाती हुई गाडियो का काफिला अगले ही पल तिहाड के भीतर था.

काजू और बादाम खाते हुए नेता जी ने बहुत ध्यान से सभी बातो का मुआयना करना शुरु किया.सबसे पहले गेट पर खडे  संतरी को बहुत प्यार से देखा और उसकी पीठ पर थपकी दी. फिर पूरा  मुआयना किया कि कैसे कैदी सुबह उठ कर दिनचर्या अपनाते है और उन्हे किन किन बातो की कमी लगती होगी. सबसे पहले तो सैर करने के लिए जगह तैयार करवाने के आदेश दिए.ताकि ताजी  हवा का आनंद ले सकें. कुछ कमरो को वीआईपी सैल बनाने की धोषणा की कि जब कोई बडा नामी गिरामी बीमार नेता आए तो उसे किसी प्रकार की दिक्कत का सामना ना करना पडे.

खाने मे भी अच्छे कुक रखने के आदेश दिए ताकि कोई कैदी खाकर बीमार ना पडे क्योकि मीडिया मे एक बार खबर आ जाए तो बहुत किरकिरी हो जाती है. फिर बात आई शौचालयो की. अच्छे स्वास्थ्य के लिए साफ सुथरे बाथरुम निंतांत आवश्यक हैं इसलिए ज्यादा शौचालय बनाने के भी आदेश दे दिए गए औरयह हिदायत भी दी गई कि सभी सफाई  कर्मचारी  24 घंटे डयूटी पर ही तैनात रहें.

हर रोज कुछ ना कुछ क्रियात्मक होता रहे इसलिए मनोरंजन के लिए भी आदेश दिए गए ताकि दुखी कैदियो  का ध्यान सुसाईड करने पर ना जाए और उसमे जीने की नई आशा का संचार होता रहे.छोटा फ्रिज,गद्दा और छोटा रेडियो या छोटा टीवी भी सभी कमरो मे लगे इसका भी ध्यान रखना बहुत जरुरी है और और नेता जी बोलते जा रहे थे और उनका सैक्रेटरी लिखे जा रहा था. तभी किसी ने पीछे आकर कहां कि आपके जाने का समय हो गया है. उन्होने तुरंत गाडी निकालने के आदेश दिए ताकि कही विदेश जाने वाली  फ्लाईट मिस ना हो जाए. और अगले दौरे का भी दिन तथा समय  निश्चित कर लिया ताकि जिन कामो के आदेश दे दिए है वो लागू हुए है या नही.

तभी उन्हे ऐसा लगा कि कोई उन्हे झंकोर रहा है. अचानक वो उचक कर उठ बैठे. हवलदार उन्हे उठा रहा था कि इतनी देर से  क्या बडबडाए जा रहे हो… वो नींद से जागे… अरे!!! वो तो खुद कैदी हैं.छोटा सा कोठरीनुमा कमरा, पुराना सा मटका,थाली कटोरी,चम्मच, और मटमैली सी चादर मानो उन्हे चिढाती हुई हंस  रही थी.उफ!!! कहां तो  नेता जी दौरा करने आए थे और ये क्या …!!!  अचानक नेता जी को एक बार फिर  दौरा पडा और एक लंबी सांस लेते हुए वो एक तरफ लुढक गए…..पीछे संगीत चल रहा था …ए मालिक तेरे बंदे हम …ऐसे हैं हमारे कर्म …!!!!!

कैसा लगा आपको ये व्यंग्य… जरुर बताईएगा :)

 

 

The post दौरा बनाम दौरा appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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34. आईए परेशान हों

आईए परेशान हों

इसका टाईटल पढ कर हैरान होने वाली तो कोई बात ही नही है क्योकि हम है ही ऐसे. बात बात पर रोंदडू सा मुहं बना लेगे और परेशान ही रहेगें.

अब देखिए ना !! आज सुबह की ही बात है सरकारी दफ्तर के बाहर दो बाबू लोग चाय पीते पीते बतिया रहे थे .एक बोला क्या बताऊ आज धुंध की वजह से सब गडबड हो गया. दूसरे ने पूछा पर यार अब तो मौसम एक दम साफ था. धुंध तो थी ही नही इस पर वो  बोला तभी तो …. आज मै धुंध के चक्कर मे जल्दी घर से निकल गया ताकि दफ्तर के लिए देरी ना हो जाए पर मौसम एक दम साफ मिला और मै इतनी जल्दी आफिस पहुच गया कि ताले भी नही खुले थे और ना ही यह चाय वाला आया था.बाहर इतनी सर्दी थी और अकेला खडा खडा  इतना बोर हुआ कि पूछो मत.

ताकि दफ्तर के लिए देरी ना हो जाए पर मौसम एक दम साफ मिला और मै इतनी जल्दी आफिस पहुच गया कि ताले भी नही खुले थे और ना ही यह चाय वाला आया था.बाहर इतनी सर्दी थी और अकेला खडा खडा  इतना बोर हुआ कि पूछो मत.

अब दूसरा उदाहरण देखिए .. एक श्री मति जी अपनी काम वाली बाई के आने पर रो रही थी. हुए ना आप हैरान !! असल मे वो क्या है ना कि चार दिन से देवी जी बिना बताए छुट्टी पर चल रही थी श्रीमति जी दिन रात इंतजार मे लगी रही पर इनके दर्शन नही हुए. इसलिए आज सुबह से ही उन्होने कमर कस ली और जुट गई सफाई मे. जैसे ही घर का सारा काम निबटा तो वो देवी जी अचानक प्रकट हो गई.अब आप ही बताईए क्या ऐसे  मे वो क्या उनकी जगह कोई भी होता वो खुश नही हो पाता.

और सुनिए!! भारी ठंड और धुंध को देखते हुए स्कूलो की छुट्टियाँ आगे बढा दी ताकि बच्चे घर मे सुरक्षित रहें. पर अब घर मे रहने वाली महिलाए अब और ज्यादा दुखी है कि सारा दिन हल्ला गुल्ला शोर शराबा होता रहता है. बच्चे नाक मे दम किए रखते हैं इसलिए. ना स्कूल जाए तो उसमे दुखी और  जाए तो उसमे और भी ज्यादा दुखी कि सरकार और हमारा कानून कितना निर्मम है इतनी सर्दी मे भी मासूमो को पढने जाना पड रहा है.

एक और उदाहरण तो पढिए. एक मोहतरमा गैस खत्म होने से बहुत खुश थी. नही तो आम तौर पर गैस खत्म होने पर  एक चिंता सी हो जाती है. खासतौर पर जब बुक करवा रखी हो और ना आए !! असल मे, अचानक उनके घर मेहमान आ गए और वो खाना बनाने से बच गई. खुशी टपक टपक के दिखाई दे रही थी उनके चेहरे पर से. अरे भई ,होटल मे खाना खाने जो जाना था उन्हे!!वही दूसरी तरफ  पतिदेव के चेहरे से उदासी टपक टपक के गिर रही थी.

जहां आजकल जबरदस्त सर्दी के दिनो मे  अचानक धूप या सूरज निकलने से हमे राहत मिल रही है वही नीना आज धूप को कोसे ही जा रही है पूछ्ने पर पता चला कि अखबार मे और टीवी पर सुना  था कि मौसम बादल वाला ही रहेगा इसलिए उसने आज कपडे नही धोए और आज सुबह से ही धूप आसमान मे चमक रही है मौसम एक दम साफ है पर नीना का पारा एकदम गर्म!!! काश उसने भी कपडे धो लिए होते.!!! किसी पर विश्वास ना किया होता !! बस आज वो यही प्रार्थना किए जा रही है कि हे भगवान!!  बरसात आ जाए या बादल हो जाएं!!

देखा !!! आप भी यह लेख पढ कर परेशान हो रहे हैं और  मुझे कोसने लगे कि  ना जाने कैसे कैसे लोग ब्लाग लिखने लगे है. जो भी मन मे आता है लिख डालते है..ह हा हा धन्यवाद !!! यानि मेरा लेख सार्थक हुआ!!

 

The post आईए परेशान हों appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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35. Entrance Ramp

At sunrise I'm standing at the bottom of an entrance ramp leading down into a parking lot in Kingston, New York. It's not a place that tourists would ever go. 


Entrance Ramp, casein, 5 x 8 inches. 
Instead, ordinary people come here on their daily routines. At this hour it's mainly older guys arriving for fitness sessions at the YMCA and patients showing up for appointments at the nearby radiology lab.

Off in the hazy distance is a tangle of street lights, utility poles and cell towers. The sun is coming up hot. A few pools of cool air settle in the shadows around my ankles.
I limit my casein colors to three (plus white): raw umber, golden ochre, and cobalt blue. The underpainting of tinted Venetian red adds a contrasting hue. (By the way, using a contrasting colored underpainting is a legal way to sneak in an additional color in the "Outdoor Market Challenge.) 


Halfway into the block-in. The blue-yellow limited palette mixes with the red of the underpainting.


Covering the surface with grayish opaques is like putting out a fire. A few red embers still glow. 

Now I can concentrate on the close value contrasts and the oppositions of warm and cool colors.


I'm glad I've got my night-painting Department of Art shirt on, because I'm standing a little ways into the road. 

As I paint, I wonder about strange stuff, like why poles are never vertical, and who chose those ball-shaped street lights, and what the sounds would have been like here 100 years ago. I think this sunken parking lot was once the basement of a bustling factory.

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36. बहुत बदल गया है वो

 

wall clock photo

बहुत बदल गया है वो !! हालांकि पिछ्ले कुछ दिनो
से उसमे बदलाव तो महसूस हो रहा था.सिर्फ मै ही नही मेरे आस पास के लोगो ने
भी इस बदलाव को महसूस किया पर खुल कर नही कहा. बस दबी दबी आवाज मे उन लोगो
की फुसफुसाहट सुनती रही.

पर देखते ही देखते अचानक इतना बदलाव आ जाएगा
विश्वास सा नही हो रहा.वही दूसरी तरफ बार बार मन एक ही बात कह रहा था कि परिवर्तन ही
नियम है और मुझे  सहज ही स्वीकार कर लेना चाहिए.

बहुत सोच विचार के मैने अपना मन पक्का किया कि अगर यही सही है तो ठीक है मैं भी तैयार हूं
और “मौसम” के इस बदलाव का स्वागत करती हूं. सुबह शाम की हल्की हल्की ठंडक
और शाम का जल्दी ढल जाना और सुबह का देरी से आना… सर्दी के “मौसम” के बदलाव की
मीठी सी दस्तक है. .. है ना !!

आक्छी !!! आक्छी !!!

अरे क्या हुआ? जी हां, मै तो मौसम के बदलाव की ही बात कर रही थी और आप कुछ और समझ बैठे !!!

The post बहुत बदल गया है वो appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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37. Harry Potter Day! A Celebration of JK Rowling's Influence on Writers

Happy Potter Day!


July 31. Since 1997, it is the day that many fans worldwide have celebrated the birthday of a very special character and story. JK Rowling's imagination has touched thousands of lives and inspired millions to read.

But she also inspired writers. And it seems appropriate to us at Adventures in YA Publishing to celebrate on this day, which is also JK Rowling's 50th birthday, the influence she had on so many to create their own characters and envision their own worlds. We've gathered stories from many authors sharing how Harry and Jo influenced them. We hope you will enjoy these treasured inspirations and share your own in the comments.

But as it's Jo's birthday, let us also not forget the many charities she's sponsored. To give a present to a women who has given us so much would mean remembering Lumos (seeks to end institutionalized orphanages and place children in homes), or Gingerbread (provides help to one-parent families), or Book Aid International (works to provide libraries and books in Africa). Indeed, Jo gave so generously, that she was knocked off Forbes' billionaire list.

Happy Birthday Jo! May you have many more, and may we enjoy more fruits of your imagination.



How Harry Potter Influenced Me. A Birthday Celebration of JK Rowling's Influence on Writers!


-- Donna Hosie, author of The Devil's Intern, Website, Twitter
Like many authors, I started writing because of Harry Potter. During the years of release mania, I was lucky enough to be working on The Leaky Cauldron website, a fan site that J.K. Rowling actually named as her favourite. Warner Bros and EA Games asked me to be a fan consultant on some of their movie tie-in products and I would go along to the studios, interview the creative masterminds, see stills, props and conceptual artwork before anyone else, and generally geek out and yell "Expelliarmus" at unsuspecting Muggles!

I went from writing reports of my visits to writing fan fiction to writing my own time-travel novels. Eight years after 'The End', I'm an award-winning author. None of that would have happened without The Boy Who Lived. So Harry Potter literally changed my life.

And I'm still yelling "Expelliarmus"!



-- Claire M. Caterer, author of The Wand & The Sea, Website, Twitter

I can't say I've grown up with Harry Potter, because I was already grown when I started reading about him. But I will say my writing grew up--quite a lot. What I've taken from J.K. Rowling's example are two crucial points: complexity of character and complexity of plot.

Few things have moved me in literature more than the struggle of Severus Snape as the good and bad within him dueled for supremacy. When I sat down to write my first children's book, I knew I needed some characters who struggled within themselves the way Snape does, the way Harry does (forever wondering if he's somehow part Voldemort), the way Dumbledore does. "The world isn't split into good people and Death Eaters," as Sirius Black says.

And how could anyone not be awed and influenced by the intricacy of the Harry Potter plots? The gentle placement of symbols, especially those relating to alchemy and the elements, had a huge impact on me as I was planning THE KEY & THE FLAME series. JKR taught me to go back through the manuscript, deepen the work a little bit more, and then again, and yet again. I haven't mastered her methods yet, but I keep trying.



-- Lisa Gail Green, author of Soul Crossed, Website, Twitter

Harry Potter was so amazing that it actually delayed me from pursuing writing! I felt like nothing less was worthwhile, and that at the same time there was no way to reach that level of accomplishment. What cured me? I read Twilight. LOL!!! *ducks tomatoes*

Seriously though, HP is mastery at work. JK Rowling invited us into a world, as readers, that was as real as the one we live in, yet full of magic. Every detail, every character, a well-rounded masterpiece that fit together as a perfect puzzle. Not just that - but as a person she is an absolute inspiration. When I have trouble writing because of my toddler I think of her with the stroller in a cafe scribbling in a notebook and I have renewed determination.



 -- Gwynne Jackson, author of "Hans & the Best Day Ever" in Happily Ever Afterlife, Website, Twitter

Three points come to mind when I think of the influence JK Rowling and her Harry Potter books have had on my writing. The first is that being a visual writer is a very good thing. JKR has the ability to describe things just enough so that we can see them, but can still put our own spin on them. The most beautiful part of this is that she rarely overdoes it. Point #2 is in the way she buries clues deep inside her narrative. Sometimes these clues might not even be recognized as clues until four or five books later, but her consistency with them is outstanding. A name here, an attribute there, and three books later it's a major plot point. Some of these might have been planted in advance and others serendipitous, but in either case they're brilliant.

The biggest influence JKR's had on my writing is in the way she treats minor characters. I doubt there's a single character in any of the HP books where she doesn't know their story, their background, their motivations, their desires. This is what's fueled so much fanfiction based on her work: everyone loves a hero, but she makes the other characters so real and so multi-layered that as readers we can't help but want to make each of them the star. In real life we're all the center of our own universe. JK Rowling has created a world where that's also true for every one of her characters. It's my favorite thing about her writing, and something I always try to emulate.



-- Gwen Katz, represented by Thao Le, Website, Twitter

Hogwarts felt the size of a real school: Harry has a lot of acquaintances beyond his close friends, he isn't always in the same classes with his friends, and even in the later books, he sometimes runs into kids he doesn't know because they're in other houses and grades. Important roles like Quidditch team captain often fall to people outside the main characters, making them feel like real people with actual lives who don't cease to exist when Harry isn't around. Harry Potter encouraged me to set my books in large worlds where even minor characters feel like they are living real lives.

source

  -- Susan Sipal, author of A Writer's Guide to Harry Potter, Website, Twitter

I was already a writer when I first started reading Harry Potter to my son, but my writing took a turn after meeting The Boy Who Lived.  My son and I spent many hours together ferreting out JK Rowling's clues and trying to guess what would happen next. While he loved figuring out the meanings behind her mythical names, I got sucked into the many layers of subtext JKR wove into each adventure.

Rowling knew how to deeply engage her reader. She always gave the reader more...more delightful characters, more fantastic world building, and more deeply hidden mysteries and secrets. This depth and reader engagement is why Harry Potter spawned fanfiction, fanart, Wizard Rock, movies, and even theme parks. Seeking to understand her secrets, I developed a workshop analyzing Rowling's techniques for writers, and have enjoyed presenting it to fans who love Rowling's creations as much as I do. She has inspired me to, in any genre I write, always write below the surface and to seek the reader's engagement like Harry seeking the Snitch.


The love of a very powerful story can influence writers in the stories they tell for years to come. We thank all the authors for sharing their own encounter with The Boy who Lived.

Please, everyone, feel free to add in the comments your experience of how Harry Potter or JK Rowling influenced your writing. We'd LOVE to hear more stories!


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38. Typos

It's so easy to make a typo in your manuscript and so difficult to find them all.

http://blog.janicehardy.com/2015/05/tricks-tips-for-catching-all-those.html

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39. Micro Reviews: Demons, Race Horses, Assassins and Majors

And here’s another catch up post of long overdue mini reviews.

The Shadow Ellysium by Django Wexler

B / B+

This short novella served its purpose as a teaser to generate interest in the Shadow Campaigns series. I loaded The Thousand Names on my Kindle – now I just need time to read it!

 

To Win Her Favor by Tamera Alexander

B / B+

This inspirational romance caught my eye because of the horse on the cover.  Maggie is dismayed when her father arranges her marriage to Cullen, an Irish immigrant.  She’s reluctant to marry a complete stranger, and an Irishman at that.  She’s also fearful that he’ll object to her training her mare to run in an upcoming race. 

I enjoyed the development of the romance, as well as the details of daily life on a farm in post Civil War Tennessee.  The author doesn’t shy away from describing the prejudices and terrible treatment of the Irish and African Americans.  At first I had a hard time with Maggie because her thoughts and views mirrored those of her neighbors, but as she got to know Cullen and the farm hands working for them, she began to finally see them as individuals deserving respect.  And the horsey bits were entertaining. 

 

 

Hit! by Deliah S Dawson

C-

This just did not work for me. I can’t help but think that a huge banking conglomerate would have a better solution for deadweight borrowers than having them assassinated, or forcing them to be assassins. Meh, I didn’t care for HIT.

Mad About the Major by Elizabeth Boyle

B

Fun read with a Ferris Bueller’s Day Off vibe. Lady Arabella escapes the suffocating confines of her father’s estate to grab a small taste of freedom before she’s forced to marry a stodgy old bachelor. Her father is furious with her because a handsome stranger made a spectacle of her at a ball, and now he’s adamant that she marry before she’s completely ruined. She runs into the rakish Kingsley, the stranger from the ball, after he almost runs her down with his carriage. Arabella convinces him to accompany her on her day of freedom, arguing that he owes her three favors for his behavior at the ball. What follows is an enjoyable romp through London, as Arabella and Kingsley fall for each other during their unusual adventures. I really enjoyed this.

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40. Release Day Extravaganza for Legend of the Timekeepers...


There is no moving forward without first going back.


About Legend of the Timekeepers:

Lilith was a young girl with dreams and a family before the final destruction of Atlantis shattered those dreams and tore her family apart. Now refugees, Lilith and her father make their home in the Black Land. This strange, new country has no place in Lilith’s heart until a beloved high priestess introduces Lilith to her life purpose—to be a Timekeeper and keep time safe.
Summoned through the seventh arch of Atlantis by the Children of the Law of One, Lilith and her newfound friends are sent into Atlantis’s past, and given a task that will ultimately test their courage and try their faith in each other. Can the Timekeepers stop the dark magus Belial before he changes the seers’ prophecy? If they fail, then their future and the earth’s fate will be altered forever.


Book Information:

Title: Legend of the Timekeepers

Series:  The Last Timekeepers, Book # 0.5

Author Name:  SharonLedwith

Genre(s): Young Adult, Time Travel

Tags: #‎YAlit‬ #‎timetravel‬

Length: Approx. 147 pages

ISBN: 9781619376236

Re-Release Date: August 1, 2015

Publisher:  Mirror World Publishing  http://www.mirrorworldpublishing.com/

Tour Host:  Sapphyria's Book Promotions  http://saphsbookpromos.blogspot.com/

Follow the Tour to Read Reviews, Guest Posts, and Spotlights: 


Read an Excerpt:

“Why are you here?” Lilith asked. “You’ve already got your life seal.” 

“I have more questions for Istulo.” She continued to stare at the disk. 

Lilith sighed. “My name is Lilith. What’s your name?” 

Her shoulders relaxed slightly. A hint of a smile broke out on her face. Her upturned nose wiggled. “She-Aba. I was born here in the Black Land. Both my parents arrived from Atlantis fourteen years ago yesterday. My mother gave birth to me the next day.”

Lilith perked up. “That would make today your birthday!”

She-Aba beamed. “Yes. That’s why I’m here. For my birthday last year, I had my life reading done by Istulo. But recently, there’s been a hiccup in my plans. It’s like my life seal rearranged itself, and now I’m confused. I’m here for a reaffirmation.” 

“What’s the problem?” 

She-Aba traced her life seal with the tip of her perfectly shaped fingernail. “My lifetime occupation was supposed to be to design clothing for the people of the various positions in the court and temples.” 

Lilith smirked. “That makes perfect sense.” 

“I know, right? So why, all of a sudden, would my life seal change from designing clothing to something completely different?” 

Lilith arched a fair brow. “How different?” 

“Well, instead of clothing people in lavish robes and gowns for others to appreciate, the seal suggests that I’ll be doing the opposite by covering up and hiding the truth. I don’t understand it at all. I thought my life was all planned out for me.” 

“I thought mine was too, until my country blew up and slid into the ocean,” Lilith muttered. 

“Hey, look at the bright side, at least your hair isn’t red like mine.” 

Lilith eyed She-Aba carefully. “What’s wrong with red hair? My uncle has red hair and it suits him fine.” 

She-Aba moved in closer. “If you haven’t noticed already, there aren’t many redheads around here. The natives think red is magical, and anyone with red hair is considered a freak of nature.” 

“That’s ridiculous!” Lilith said loud enough to cause an echo down the marble hallway. “Is that the reason why those artists were rude to you? Because you have red hair?” 

“Red is a very powerful color,” a raspy voice said from behind both girls. 

Lilith and She-Aba jumped. They slowly turned to find Istulo hovering over them. 

Wearing the same white gown and orichalcum headband Lilith saw her dressed in before, Istulo nodded slightly before she said, “Red represents the essence of life—if we are drained of blood, we are drained of energy. The people of the Black Land understand this, and therefore red is reserved only for their gods and goddesses.” 

Lilith giggled. “Don’t tell She-Aba that, she’ll think she’s a goddess.”

Purchase Links:

Amazon



Mirror World Publishing



Barnes & Noble



Giveaway Information and Entry Form:

One winner will be selected to receive the following prizes ~

• A signed paperback copy of Legend of the Timekeepers

• A custom crafted ceramic Spiral Life Seal

• A signed postcard

• Two ‘The Last Timekeepers’ wrist bands

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41. #BookADay: HOW TO OUTRUN A CROCODILE WHEN YOUR SHOES ARE UNTIED by Jess Keating (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky)

#BookADay: HOW TO OUTRUN A CROCODILE WHEN YOUR SHOES ARE UNTIED by Jess Keating ( Sourcebooks Jabberwocky). If you or your tween is looking for a fun summer read, I strongly recommend this book. Love the funny, fresh voice and quirky humour. Love the poignant moments. Love the fact that Ana's parents are zoologists (Ana is short for Anaconda!) -- the author herself has a zoology background. Read the *starred* review in Kirkus.

I've already bought the next in the series, HOW TO OUTSWIM A SHARK WITHOUT A SNORKEL and also look forward to the release of HOW TO OUTFOX YOUR FRIENDS WHEN YOU DON'T HAVE A CLUE, which comes out in October 2015....and it just got a *starred* review in Kirkus.

Synopsis of HOW TO OUTRUN A CROCODILE: "Ana Wright's social life is now officially on the endangered list: she lives in a zoo (umm, elephant droppings!?), her best friend lives on the other side of the world, and the Sneerers are making junior high miserable. All Ana wants is to fade into the background. Yeah, that's not going to happen."

More about Jess and her books.

More about Jess's Sourcebook Jabberwocky series.

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42. समय बहुत बलवान

समय बहुत बलवान

बहुत समय से एक जानकार अपनी बिटिया की शादी का सोच रहे थे . बहुत लडके देखे, अखबारो के विज्ञापन और नेट पर भी सर्च किया पर एक साल होने को आया पर बात नही बनती दिख रही थी. आज फिर उनकी बिटिया को  देखने लडके वाले आ रहे थे. घर पर जबरदस्त इंतजाम किया गया था. परदे, मंहगे सोफे, भव्य शो पीस,क्राकरी और भी ना जाने क्या क्या.  दस तरह की मिठाई , बीस तरह की नमकीन और फल और ड्राई फ्रूट का तो पूछो ही मत.. यानि  शादी मे रुपया पैसा जैसी कोई रुकावट नही थी. करोडों की शादी होनी थी. लडके वाले आए. खूब खातिर दारी भी हुई  पर   पर पर बात नही बनी.

ना लडकी में कोई कमी थी और न ही उस परिवार का कोई क्रिमिनल रिकार्ड … तो फिर आखिर क्या हुआ कि बात नही बनी…

इसका बस  यही कारण था कि कमरे मे लगी महंगी दीवार घडी रुकी हुई थी और कैलेंडर भी फरवरी  महीने का ही लटका हुआ फडफडा रहा था. ये बात एक कमरे की नही थी सभी कमरों में महंगी से महंगी घडी थी पर सही समय कोई नही दिखा रही थी . जिस कमरे में लंच था उस कमरे में तो सन 2014 का कैलेडर टंग़ा हुआ था.

शायद  लडकी वालो के लिए रुपया पैसा ही सब कुछ था और लडके वालो की सोच  उनसे हट कर  थी.

वैसे बात शादी ब्याह की न भी हो तो हमें अपने घर का समय यानि दीवार घडी का समय और कैलेंडर सदा अपडेट रखने चाहिए … समय की कीमत समझनी बेहद जरुरी है … वैसे आप तो ऐसे नही होंगें … अरे आप कहां चले .. ?? ओह .. आज पहली अगस्त है और आपने महीना बदला नही था अभी तक :)

The post समय बहुत बलवान appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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43. Using Physical Boundaries To Add Conflict

Last week, we discussed blurring psychological bounaries. This week, we'll tackle utilizing physical boundaries as conflict at the scene and overall story level.



The concept of physical boundaries ties in with the thematic question of ownership. Do we ever really “own” anything? Characters draw chalk lines and erect fences, warning signs, hedges, and walls to define physical boundaries.

Characters in any genre can argue the fine points of the debate whether they are talking about a desk, a house, a country, a dog, a child, or a partner. Trusts, inheritance entailments, and wills are drawn up to ensure that the ownership of a thing passes down in the desired way. 

These often play a part in a Mystery or Thriller, but can be used in any genre.  Physical boundary conflicts escalate until a crisis point is reached. These conflicts can be resolved amicably or resolved because only one is left standing. They can result in a new division of territory or someone takes all. Such are the basis for world or interstellar wars.

Skirmishes erupt between neighbors over the borders of their yards and driveways. It can erupt between cities and counties and states and countries. Border wars make great overall story problems and thematic arguments: borders are arbitrary versus borders are necessary. No one should fence in anything versus enforcing borders keeps its residents safe. When countries redraw borders, people get displaced and that makes a terrific thematic argument to explore. Humans are willing to kill over scraps of land, even if the land lacks water, food and clean air. Is every scrap of land worth fighting for? Some would argue yes, others no.

Battles over borders could also serve as a problem at scene level if Dick needs to enter a geographic area to gain something and can’t go there. He may have to find a way in that is subversive or get someone else to go there for him.

Characters get testy when people trespass on what they believe to be theirs, whether they are accurate or not. A character might object if someone else’s children played on his lawn or swam in his pool without permission. The same character might make justifications when his children do it to someone else. Characters get really testy, even violent, over their perceived boundaries. Try trimming someone's prize rose bush and you'll know what I mean.

Arguments over physical boundaries can involve a country’s borders, a contested parking space, a room with a view, or the scope can be narrowed to a very personal boundary. Making Dick confront physical boundaries creates conflicts whether he has to jump over a railroad track or cross into Palestine from Israel.
Use physical boundaries to trip up your protagonist and make his scene goal more difficult.

For more information on these and other obstacles for your fiction, pick up a copy of Story Building Blocks II: Crafting Believable Conflict in print or E-book version.

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44. Kishaz Reading Corner: The Kiss that Launched 1000 Gifs by Sheralyn Pratt

This is a repost of my review which originally published on July 21, 2015 on my Indie Author How-to Blog.

Disclaimer: I received no compensation from the author or publisher for this honest review.


About the Book

Each weekday from 2:00-4:00 p.m., Grace and Ashton cohost Battle of the Sexes, a radio program arguing the he-said/she-said issues of the day. Their fiery debates often have listeners wondering if there’s more to their relationship than just talk, even though Grace has been dating Phillip, Mr. Tall, Dark, and Perfect, since long before she ever met Ashton Miller.

Yet when news comes that Battle of the Sexes is on the bubble for cancellation, Grace and Ashton need to step up their efforts to engage their audience to keep the show alive. When a charity organization approaches them and proposes that the two of them kiss for a fund raiser, Grace and Ash agree to kiss for a good cause. A kiss is just a kiss, right?

Or can one kiss really change everything?

Buy the Book

Here's what I'm giving it:

Rating: 5 stars

Here's why:

I have so many words I want to use to describe this book: amazing, hilarious, touching, captivating. And even then, these four don't do it justice.

Ashton and Grace are my new favorite main characters. The humor, the emotions, the banter, it was everything you'd like to see in a romantic story. Neither character overpowered or outdid the other. They truly complemented one another.

I ranted, cheered, cried, and did a happy dance as I devoured this book in one sitting. I would strongly recommend this book to anyone looking for a feel-good, funny and relationship centered story.

Would I recommend this book? Yes! Yes! Yes! I don't think you'll be disappointed.

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45. हम मे है हीरो

हम मे है हीरो  …. जी हां, इतना तो मै दावे से कह सकती हू कि हम सभी में,  कोई ना कोई खास बात जरुर है और ऐसी ही कोई ना कोई खास बात आप मे भी होगी.. है ना !! अरे ये क्या आप तो मुस्कुराने लगे और वो भी व्यंग्यात्मक रुप से … हु ह … खास और हम में … रत्ती भर भी कुछ नही है और हो इससे फायदा भी क्या है .. कौन देखने आ रहा है … खास बात का क्या बैठ कर अचार डालें !!

देखा, बस यही कमी है हम मे . हम खुद को जानना ही नही चाह्ते. बस दूसरो को देख देख कर दुखी और परेशान होते रहते  हैं  कि फलां तो इतना खूबसूरत है डिमकाने को तो देखो भगवान ने उसे सभी कुछ दिया है और एक हम है.हमे तो भगवान मे कुछ ही नही दिया. वगैरहा वगैरहा. और जो हमे मिला है उसकी कभी कद्र ही नही करते.

वैसे देखा जाए तो गलती हमारी भी नही है आजकल मानसिकता ही ऐसी बन गई है.पर यकीन मानिए हमारे भीतर भी कोई ना कोई हुनर जरुर छिपा है. एक बात से मुझे बहुत कुछ सीखने को मिला. हुआ यू कि  कुछ समय पहले मुझे अस्पताल जाना पडा. बीमार मरीज  के कमरे मे एक जमादार बहुत मन से झाडू लगा रहा था.उस समय मरीज का आप्रेशन चल रहा था. मै थोडा चिंतित थी तो वो जमादार मुझे देख  सफाई करते करते बोला कि अगर आप इस मंत्र को मन ही मन दस बार बोलेगी तो आपकी चिंता दूर हो जाएगी. एक बार तो मुझे बहुत अजीब लगा.पर वो वाकई मे सच था. अगले दिन जब वो सफाई करने आया तो मेरे पूछ्ने पर उसने बताया कि वो यहा आने से पहले दस साल  माता वैष्षो देवी मंदिर मे सफाई का काम किया करता था और वही से अच्छे विचार ग्रहण किए.कोशिश रह्ती है कि मै इस ज्ञान को लोगो मे बांट सकू.मै हैरान थी क्योकि मै सोच भी नही सकती थी उस जमादार के बारे मे.

वही एक कुरियर वाला है वो हमेशा डाक ले जाता है पर एक दिन डाक देते हुए पता चला कि वो तो नामी लेखक है और बहुत रचनाए किताबो मे छपती है.ये तो बस तो समय व्यतीत करने के लिए काम कर रहा है  और तो और एक नामी गिरामी कवि जिन्हे ढेरो पुरुस्कार भी मिले है वो बस स्टेड पर गन्ने का जूस बेचते थे. उनकी दुकान पर लोग जूस भी पीते और कविता भी सुनते.

एक अन्य उदाहरण मे मुझे गिटार पर बडा सा स्टीकर लगवाने के लिए बाजार  गाडी की जो नम्बर् प्लेट लिखते है उस दुकान पर जाना पडा. वहां एक मैले से कपडे पहने मैकेनिक ने दस मिनट इंतजार करने को कहा .मुझे यही चिंता थी कि कही ये स्टीकर लगाते लगाते गिटार तोड् ही ना दे. ऐसे लोगो को कहा समझ होती है .पर दस मिनट बाद ना सिर्फ उसने खूबसूरत सा स्टीकर लगाया बल्कि गिटार पर धुन भी बजा कर सुनाने लगा और कहता कि इसकी ट्यूनिग सही करनी पडेगी.मेरे पूछ्ने पर उन्होने बताया कि कालिज के समय मे सीखा था पर बाद मे मौका ही नही मिला.पर जब कभी मौका मिलता है सुर छेड लेता हूं.

मै हैरान थी कि ऐसा भी होता है.असल मे, कई बार हम खुद को बहुत कम आंक जाते हैं पर ऐसा कभी नही सोचना चाहिए. जहां एक ओर हमे  अपने हुनर को दिखाना चाहिए वही दूसरी ओर दूसरे मे छिपे हुनर की तारीफ करने मे कभी पीछे भी नही रहना चाहिए.जरुरी नही है कि हीरो वही  है जो रुपहले पर्दे पर ही नजर आता है हम अपने चारो तरफ नजर उठा कर देखेगे तो ना जाने कितनी लम्बी कतार दिखाई देगी… तो पहचानिए खुद को … हो सकता है अनजाने मे ही सही,हो सकता है कि  आप किसी के लिए प्रेरणा ही बन जाए …!!! क्योकि हममे है हीरो !!!

किसी ने सच कहा है कि …

काम करो ऐसा की पहचान बन जाए

हर कदम चलो ऐसा की निशान बन जाए

यहां जिंदगी तो सभी काट लेते हैं

जिंदगी ऐसे जीयो की मिसाल बन जाए

 

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46. Poetry Friday: An Irish Wild-Flower by Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt

She felt, I think, but as a wild-flower can,
Through her bright fluttering rags, the dark, the cold.
Some farthest star, remembering what man
Forgets, had warmed her little head with gold.

Above her, hollow-eyed, long blind to tears,
Leaf-cloaked, a skeleton of stone arose...
O castle-shadow of a thousand years,
Where you have fallen - is this the thing that grows?

- An Irish Wild-Flower by Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

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47. How to know when to leave your agent


Not sure what's in the air these days (well, besides nitrogen, oxygen, argon, and the smell of hot dogs seriously where is that coming from), but I've heard from several authors who are wondering whether it is time for them to leave their agent.

Also, I realize that this sounds like a lofty problem for the agent-less, the equivalent of a mansion owner wondering if they should get a new pool to replace the one they have, but I would encourage you all to read this post as well, not only because you may have an agent someday, but also I'm hoping to lay out some of the things you should and shouldn't expect of an agent.

Leaving an agent is a really tough decision, and one you absolutely should not take lightly. You are forgoing an advocate, you could possibly be burning a bridge, and it's incredibly important to act as rationally and non-emotionally as possible. But sometimes it's the right decision.

So. How do you know if you should leave? I'm going to divide this up into good reasons and bad reasons. A HUGE caveat is that every situation is different and you ultimately have to choose the best path for you.

Bad reason: Your agent couldn't sell your book.

Even the best agents strike out sometimes. This doesn't make them a bad agent. Sometimes it just doesn't happen with the first book. If they made a good faith effort to submit it, they did the best they could and it just didn't happen, and they still believe in you, that alone is not a very good reason to leave.

Yes, some agents have more clout than others, but the book itself and serendipity are way more powerful than any agent. If you like your agent and they just couldn't sell your book, I wouldn't hold it against them.

Good reason: Your agent has behaved unprofessionally or unethically

It can be so tricky for authors on the outside to know what constitutes unprofessional and/or unethical in a business that can feel very opaque. Especially one that tolerates a level of eccentricity that would make Edward Scissorhands feel awkward.

But if you find that your agent is being shady or doing something headslappingly bad like blasting your manuscript to 50 editors all at once on the same email thread, have a heart to heart. If they don't have an explanation that satisfies you, you may have your answer.

Bad reason: Your agent doesn't write or call you back immediately

You're not your agent's only client. Days are busy. You have one book to worry about, an agent is juggling dozens.

Give it some time. Be patient. Remember that snails look at publishing and think, "Whoa dudes let's pick up the pace, huh?"

That said...

Good reason: Your agent has gone incommunicado.

You should be able to get in touch with your agent. Maybe not immediately, but within a reasonable time frame. This is actually a very good thing to establish from the outset -- how quickly should be reasonable for responses?

If you try and try and try to get in touch with your agent and you just can't get in touch with them, you may have a problem on your hands.

Bad reason: You want to leave without being transparent about your concerns and giving your agent a chance to respond.

Good relationships depend on trust and communication. If you have concerns, express them. Your agent should appreciate your honesty and have good answers for you.

Especially when so much happens outside of view, and especially because you may not have insight into the customs of the industry, what can seem totally strange at first blush can make much more sense when your agent explains it.

Don't let things linger. If you're concerned, speak up.

Good reason: Your gut is telling you it's time to go.

You've expressed your concerns.

You have given your agent a chance to respond.

You listened to their response in good faith.

You have let some time go by.

You have gotten feedback and perspective from other knowledgable people.

You have reflected.

You aren't taking this decision lightly in the slightest.

You still think it's time to go.

Okay. It's your career. You have to make your choices. If you have acted in good faith, listened, and you just think it's time, it may well be time.

Art: The Signal by William Powell Frith

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48. The Three-footed Squirrel

True story: a few weeks ago I was picking up medicine for my cat and on the way back to the car I saw a three-footed squirrel. One of its hind feet had been severed; the wound where it used to be was kind of scabbed over and the squirrel was making do, hobbling along, gathering scraps of food from an overflowing garbage can, watching the world more warily than most squirrels do, but not especially tragic.

I knew I wanted to write about this plucky rodent. I thought of allusions that might tie in: the famous poem about the Scot and the field mouse; a squirrel that was an ironic icon of traffic safety when I was a child living in England. I recalled a crippled beggar I saw in Rome at age seven, how I bawled later, and how my parents yelled at me… one of my most palpable memories, but one I’ve written about futilely so many times it no longer has heat.

I never did write about it because I failed to come up with a narrative frame, something the squirrel would be “about” in the grand scheme of things. I gave fleeting glances in subsequent days as I drove by that building (used to be a grocery store, now vacant and fenced off), but gradually forgot.

Such is the plight of the bush-league memoirist, of which the blogger is a kind. I want to make meaning of my experiences, but fail sometimes to see theme lurking behind a scene.

I thought of that squirrel today because there’s a conversation about what people choose to think and write about. Here is an example of something trivial that I nevertheless cared about, and wanted to write about, no doubt in a week of mudslides and mass shootings that I received with tragedy-saturated numbness. Squirrels are less significant than humans, I know, and not even an endangered species. But God forgive me, I briefly gave a damn about a small thing.


Filed under: Miscellaneous

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49. 1st 5 Pages Workshop Opens Tomorrow!

I was sad to see the 1st 5 Pages July Workshop come to an end – we had such a great group of talented and supportive writers! A big thanks to our guest mentors, Ava Jae, author of the forthcoming BEYOND THE RED, and Patricia Nelson of the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. They both provided terrific comments and suggestions. And as always, thank you to all of our fabulous permanent mentors! We are thrilled to welcome authors Brenda DrakeJanet B. TaylorStephanie Scott and Wendy Spinale to our group!

Our August workshop will open for entries tomorrow, Saturday August 1, 2015, at noon, EST. We'll take the first five Middle Grade, Young Adult, or New Adult entries that meet all guidelines and formatting requirements. Click here to get the rules. I will post when it opens and closes on Adventures in YA Publishing and on twitter (@etcashman), with the hashtag #1st5pages. In addition to our permanent mentors, we have Lori Goldstein  as our author mentor, and in addition to being a talented writer and a very nice person, Lori is an alum of the workshop! Our agent mentor is the fabulous Caitie Flum.

And remember, we have a new format! The workshop is now four weeks, so the participants have the opportunity to get feedback on a pitch, and Caitie will select one participant as the “workshop winner”- and the prize is that she will review and comment on the first chapter of the manuscript!

August Guest Mentor – Lori Goldstein 

Lori was born into an Italian-Irish family and raised in a small town on the New Jersey shore. She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Lehigh University and worked as a writer, editor, and graphic designer before becoming a full-time author. She currently lives and writes outside of Boston. Lori is the author of the young adult contemporary fantasy series Becoming Jinn (Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan, April 21, 2015, Spring 2016). You can visit her online at www.lorigoldsteinbooks.com.



BECOMING JINN




Azra has just turned sixteen, and overnight her body lengthens, her olive skin deepens, and her eyes glisten gold thanks to the brand-new silver bangle that locks around her wrist. As she always knew it would, her Jinn ancestry brings not just magical powers but the reality of a life of servitude, as her wish granting is controlled by a remote ruling class of Jinn known as the Afrit. To the humans she lives among, she's just the girl working at the snack bar at the beach, navigating the fryer and her first crush. But behind closed doors, she's learning how to harness her powers and fulfill the obligations of her destiny. Mentored by her mother and her Zar "sisters," Azra discovers she may not be quite like the rest of her circle of female Jinn...and that her powers could endanger them all.

Purchase it at your local bookstore, or online at Indie BoundAmazonBarnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf on Goodreads!

August Guest Agent – Caitie Flum

Caitie joined Liza Dawson Associates in July 2014 as assistant and audio rights manager. She graduated from Hofstra University in 2009 with a BA in English with a concentration in publishing studies. Caitie interned at Hachette Book Group and Writers House. She was an Editorial Assistant then Coordinator for Bookspan, where she worked on several clubs including the Book-of-the-Month Club, The Good Cook, and the Children's Book-of-the-Month Club. Caitie is looking for commercial and upmarket fiction with great characters and superb writing, especially historical fiction, mysteries/thrillers of all kinds, magical realism, and book club fiction. Caitie is also looking for Young Adult and New Adult projects, particularly romance, historical fiction, mysteries and thrillers, and contemporary books with diverse characters. In nonfiction, she is looking for memoirs that make people look at the world differently, narrative nonfiction that's impossible to put down, books on pop culture, theater, current events, women's issues, and humor.

So what are you waiting for? Get those pages ready!

Erin

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50. Round and Round

I hate that little circle
That goes round and round and round.
Impatiently I stare at it
'Til what it seeks is found.

And what exactly does it seek?
A signal from the air?
Permission from the carrier
To show me what is there?

There must be some sadistic dude
Who's pulling all the strings
And laughing at my plight
With the frustration that it brings.

The internet, when working,
Has the world at its command
But its slowness to connect
I simply cannot understand.

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