Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Twitter Tuesday~All Over The Writing Board

This week's top tweets that I caught are all over the board of writing topics, which is kind of where I'm at right now, all over the board. I'm wrapping up the final read through edit of The Secret of Spruce Knoll, am searching for an agent for Trouble With the Dragon Empire, and am writing The First Dragonwatcher which just tipped over 75,000 words! Whew.

This first one is a link for those of you who need help on your synopsis:

@inkyelbows Excellent synopsis-writing tips from @Becky_Levine: http://bit.ly/9S7dLK

This one is an interview by Chuck Sambuchino of a new agent that is searching for children's books:

@alicepope Today on the @SCBWI blog --Agent Interview: Mary Kole @Kid_Lit  Andrea Brown Literary Agency. http://tinyurl.com/2busdd5

If you haven't heard about the Wylie agency e-book deal with Amazon you have to read this! It's huge news in the publishing industry and affects all authors:

@WeronikaJanczuk Have you heard? Wylie-Amazon e-books partnership gives in to Random House: http://bit.ly/cbKpcO

This is a great interview with literary agent Marisa Corvisiero (remember, I saw her first! Just kidding):

@mcorvisiero Thoughts from a Literary Agent: New Interview by: Michael A. Ventrella http://goo.gl/b/9XGh

And if you don't know who Elizabeth Craig is hurry over to this link to find out. She is an awesome author and one of the most supportive people I've ever met. This post sheds new light on the old addage, "write what you love:

@elizabethscraig Writers--what's your specialty? http://dld.bz/tByS

So Twitter peeps, did I miss anything great? If so, leave me a link! Go ahead, be shameless, it can be your own link!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Monday's Muse~Frozen Islands

It seems appropriate that my muse has taken me to a frozen island just as the weather has decided to change and remind us that winter is around the corner. In this week's chapter my main character discovers that the path he has chosen is controversial enough that it could cost him his life if he isn't careful. Despite the dangers he realizes it was what he was meant to do. Though I outlined the novel it continues to surprise me with where it takes me and I love that.

The book that's feeding my muse this week is Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus. From the very first sentence this book yanked me in and wouldn't let me go. I love the main character's voice, the setting, everything! I can't wait to get deeper into it.

The song that inspired me this week was The Sting Of The Bumblebee by Manowar. This is the first novel I will have written that has its own soundtrack of sorts! This is so much fun that now I'll have to put together a playlist for every book I write!

Are you reading or writing anything great this week? What's inspiring you?

Friday, August 27, 2010

What Agents Go Through

As I step into the query coliseum again I do so with a heavy appreciation of what agents go through. Impressing an agent is so hard that sometimes we writers forget their job is hard too. Being patient while waiting for someone to judge the culmination of your hard work can be difficult. Agents sometimes receive thousands of query letters a month. If you work a forty hour work week that's 50 queries a day. If that sounds easy don't forget agents also have workshops, conferences, retreats, and book fairs to attend. Not to mention they have other clients who's work they have to sell which means meetings with editors, as well as phone calls and e-mails to those clients and editors.

I actually heard a few complaints from writers who were rejected that the agents responded too fast. If you don’t understand how an agent can decide so quickly then you need to read The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman. That book explains how an agent can tell so quickly and from such a small sample of writing whether or not you and your novel are for them.

There is something discouraging I've noticed this time around. More and more agents are taking on the policy of only responding if they are interested. Sadly, it's not the agents I'm disappointed in over this. Many of them say this is due to the negative responses they've received from a 'no' answer to a query. Some have been threatened and harassed. Writers this should go without saying, no means no. Threatening and harassing will get you black listed in this industry. Don't do it. When you see an agent with the 'no answer policy unless they're interested' don't get mad. It's our fault. Maybe not you, certainly not me, but there are writers out there who ruined it for us.

Remember patience and respect will keep you in the fight.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Tao of Novel Pacing

Your novel should be like the nature of water. It should rise, fall, speed up, slow down, and rush toward an inevitable end. But above all, it must be a ride the reader doesn't want to get off of. To create the perfect ride you must perfect your pacing. If your scenes are filled with page after page of description then your pacing may be too slow. Maybe your novel is the opposite, so fast paced that the reader is going to end up with whiplash. The sweet spot is somewhere between description and dialogue, a perfect balance of the two.

When I'm finished writing my outline at the novel's beginning stages I go through and what each chapter is. In the margins I write action, tension, or development. Action means the chapter is fast paced with a fight scene or something exciting happening. Tension means a tense point in the story that isn't necessarily action but isn't down time either. Development might mean character or plot. It's a point in the story where something is experienced or learned that gives the reader a chance to catch their breath.

Next I make sure there is a good balance throughout the novel. It should rise and fall. There should be enough development chapters between the tension and action chapters to keep the reader from getting overwhelmed, and yet enough action and tension chapters to keep the excitement going. If you don't outline prior to writing your novel that's okay, just figure out afterward where each chapter falls and make sure you've achieved that balance.

Check out this post from Writer's Digest on 5 Easy Tips to Strengthen Your Scenes

Want to know where I got my inspiration for the Tao of Novel Pacing? Check out this novel by my idol.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Query Wars

I'm back in the trenches battling to land a new agent and things are different this time. Why? For one, I didn't bring a knife to a gun fight this time. In fact, not only am I wearing my armor~see Slaying a Titan ~I'm armed with a weapon that is not only polished to a high shine, but is top of the line. And I know how to break through the defenses.

Querying is a battle where only the best are left standing. Anyone who's been at it for a while or has done it and been successful knows that it is one of the hardest challenges an aspiring author faces. So how can I have such a positive outlook? Read on and I shall share my secrets with you.

First you must write the best possible book you can, then you have to make it even better. Hone your skills until that novel is absolutely top of the line, not just good enough. Then write a great query letter. The second part is often harder than the first for some mysterious reason, yet many people rush through that part as if it isn't important. You should put just as much thought and hard work into your query as you did your novel. Send it to your critique partners. Make sure it gets across the heart of your novel. It is what gets your foot in the door. Take the time to make it excellent.

Query in waves. Send out eight to ten queries to agents that you have carefully screened to make sure they represent the type of novel you've written. Wait for responses. If you don't get a single request for material it might not be your novel, it might be your query letter. If that is the case take another look at your query letter and revise it. Don't stop at ten, twenty, or even thirty. Keep revising, keep improving, and keep going. Many successful authors have stories about the ridiculous amount of queries it took them to find the right agent. It comes down to, the right query letter to the right agent. Don't give up!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Twitter Tuesday~Querying Trenches

Since I'm now back in the agent querying pool I've been quite busy and my Twitter time has suffered for it. This means I didn't get a lot of links for you this week and the one's I did get are, you guessed it, query related! The good news is, if you need help on your query these links are really good!

The first one was written by super agent Nathan Bransford with Curtis Brown LTD. If you don't know who Nathan is then you need to find out!

@thecreativepenn How to Write a Query Letter http://dld.bz/s7Hn  via @NathanBransford

This one is by a new agent, Weronika Janczuk with D4EO literaryThose who have been querying a while know that a new agent is great for new writers because they're building their client list. Not to mention, Weronika is awesome. You definitely want to check her out.

@WeronikaJanczuk New blog post! A Note About Reading Queries: Since, in addition to being an agent, I am also a writer, I am a memb... http://bit.ly/a6upK1

This one if from the blog of Chuck Sambuchino who is with Writer's Digest. Chuck's blog is like a treasure chest for writers. If you haven't checked it out you're missing out on some excellent information.

@WritersDigest New Agent Alert: Jason Pinter of Waxman Literary Agency - Reminder: Newer agents are golden opportunities for new wr... http://ow.ly/18GbAd

Does anyone have any great links or tweets to share that I might have missed last week? Or any news from the querying trenches? My query trenches news: a wonderful agent requested a partial from me last week and my novel is being read and considered by Tom Colgan, editor of Penguin!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Monday's Muse~Battles & Avatar

Of course this picture is from the amazing James Cameron film Avatar. If you haven't seen it and you love the fantasy genre, crawl out from under your rock and run, don't walk, to the store to buy it. It's one of those movies that is so amazing they are re-releasing it in the theaters. As with every great vision, there are critics who don't agree with my take on the movie and that's okay. It inspired me and that's what was important.

This week in particular it inspired me while I wrote my latest chapter in which my main character risks everything for the sake of his friends. The chapter was another huge turning point for him, one that changes him forever. It was hard to write because it was hard for him.

My reading muse this week was You Wish by Mandy Hubbard. It was a blast to read! It took me right back to the magic and pressure of being sixteen. If you love YA you’ve got to make time to read this book!

The song that helped keep me inspired while writing this week's chapter was The Clairvoyant by Iron Maiden. Did anyone else out there have a tough chapter to work on this week? What got you through it?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday Writers Advice Flash

"Great characters are the key to great fiction. A high-octane plot is nothing without credible, larger-than-life, highly developed en-actors that make it meaningful." ~Donald Maass, Writing The Breakout Novel.

The words of super agent Donald Maass are hard to argue with, especially when they ring so true. Characters are the soul of our novels and they must be treated as such and developed just as thoroughly as the plot. If you haven't read Donald's book yet you should. It could be what gets your novel out of the slush pile and into the contract pile. Click on the title for a direct link to my favorite bookseller who carries it. Happy reading and writing! I'm off to do a bit of my own.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

When To Let Go Of Your Book

Despite parting ways with my agent I am in my happy place this week; revising! Due to his changing business model my agent could no longer invest time in critiquing unpublished clients. While I was disappointed I understand. Things are tougher than they've ever been and not just for us writers. So what is a writer to do when their manuscript has been on submission for nearly a year and they suddenly find themselves agentless and not yet published?

Have your moment of sadness. Go ahead, you have permission. Done now? Get back to work! There is still a chance for that novel, in some form or another.

Sometimes you have to let your manuscript go. Knowing when to do that it isn't easy. Like I've said, you have to look deep into the heart of the novel and your characters. If you cannot change the muscles, sinew, and flesh of the novel and it won't sell, then you must let it go. However, if you can maintain the heart and the skeleton and transform everything around it, and still be in love with it, then do it! If you can't, put it away for a while. Perhaps it was a timing issue. You may be able to come back to it some time later and resubmit if you don't want to change anything about it.

I found I can take many of the elements that I loved from that novel and use them in a new one and you know what?  I'm falling in love with this re-envisioned story. The new concept feels more like what the book should have been in the first place. Have you ever had to put a novel in a drawer or have you ever used something from an old one to make something new and different?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Getting To The Heart Through Revision

As my working relationship with my agent comes to an end I find myself inspired to completely re-write my novel that just spent close to a year on editor submission. The theme of the story is fading out of popularity and much of the feedback I received from editors said they would have bought it if it wasn't about that theme. I received a lot of really positive comments saying how much they loved the writing and enjoyed the story.

Before I decided on this massive re-write I had to look deep into the heart of my story to make sure I didn't compromise it or give it up. I'm a firm believer that you should never edit the heart out of your story, especially not for the sake of a sale. So I took a close, honest look at it and admitted to myself what it was really about and what mattered to the characters and story. What I came up with was eye-opening and inspiring.

The rewrite will be completely different and yet very similar in many ways. The main theme will change but the underlying ones, the heart that keeps the novel alive, will not. In fact, it's going to be better. My characters will be more fully developed, the main plot will be deeper and have more meaning, as will the subplots and supporting characters. I'm so excited that I'm already about a third of the way through the re-write!

Looking for more advice on revision? Check out this guest post by YA author Kristina McBride on Chuck Sambuchino's blog.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Twitter Tuesday~Best of Week 8/2/10

Despite being really busy this week I managed to pull some of the best Tweets for writers from Twitter. There is some great stuff in here. From the big question of self-publishing to making a living at writing and agents, it's all in here!

@ThoughtfulPen Is There Ever A Time To Self-Publish? http://tinyurl.com/28a5pss #publishing #writetip #writechat #amwriting
(all the hashtags after it means this tweet will show up in each of those chats/searches.)

@Jolina_Joy An #Agent on Making a Living at #Writing: http://dld.bz/pSzz (via @elizabethscraig) #writetip

@ChuckSambuchino 2011 Guide to Literary Agents is out!!! 3 commenters will win a free copy! http://tinyurl.com/26vw32u

@juliemusil RT @johannalive: Too often the good stuff in a query or pitch is in the end. Put it in the first sentence. -Stephen Fraser
(RT means re-tweet. It's what you put before something someone else said that you want to re-tweet because you liked it enough that you want your followers to see it)

@elizabethscraig What's the difference between querying an agent and querying an editor? http://dld.bz/qYPS

For you Twitter users, was there anything last week that caught your eye that I missed?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Monday's Muse~New Frontiers

It has been a very interesting week. With all the excitement of WriteOnCon I'm behind on reading everyone's blogs. I'm working on it though! During all the commotion I managed to get a bit of writing done. This picture of a nebula inspired me because my character is not only learning about the world around him but he is reaching greater depths of his personality. I love it when a character arc starts to come together!

As my one year mark with my agent nears its end he has informed me he is changing the focus of his business model and will no longer be able to focus on unpublished clients. Put less gently, he's downsizing and we're parting ways on excellent terms. Imn the hunt for a new agent for Trouble With The Dragon Empire, a young adult fantasy.

The good news is that my agent was happy to give me a recommendation and that I also have the recommendation of a few of my published author friends. Now I just have to polish off those query letters and jump back in the game.

Friday, August 13, 2010

WriteOnCon Highlights

If you are a young adult or middle grade writer you were probably attending the online conference WriteOnCon over the last few days. If not I'm really sorry because you missed one monumental event. Agents, big publishing house editors, authors, and hundreds of writers were in attendance. The content was easily some of the best I've come across at conferences yet. And the big kicker, it was FREE. Yep you read that right, FREE. If you did miss it have no fear, they're already planning for next year!

I've been pretty absent from Twitter because WriteOnCon kept me so busy~and I was a bit sick~and I'm behind on reading everyone's blogs. I plan on catching up today I promise! But before I do here are some of the highlights from the conference tweeted by the organizers and publishing pros for those who missed it:

@ElanaJ Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Start a Revision by editor Kendra Levin http://nblo.gs/6Jw6i
@ElanaJ In Defense of a Less Than Huge Advance by literary agent Michelle Wolfson http://nblo.gs/6JqeM
@curiousmartha Don't miss @molly_oneill's fab #writeoncon post! (Give Yourself Permission) http://bit.ly/djaJyr
@ElanaJ #WriteOnCon Plot and Pacing, part one, by lit. agent/author @WeronikaJanczuk: http://tinyurl.com/3ylyf7a
@ElanaJ #WriteOnCon The Revision Process by author @cynthea (Cynthea Liu): http://tinyurl.com/2uppknt
@ElanaJ #WriteOnCon Do's and Don't's of Querying by literary agent Kate Testerman (@DaphneUn): http://tinyurl.com/36bzko8  

For non-Twitter folks the @'s are people's Twitter handles. Some of these are blog type posts and some were live chats that you can view like a vlog. I learned so much that I'm sure it will take me days to process it all. I'm looking forward to next year!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Learning Process of Querying

In the beginning of the submission process we all feel the charge of sending our babies out into the world for the love and adoration they so deserve. But then the clock starts to tick and the second guessing begins. Days pass, then weeks, sometimes even months. That's when you really start to wonder about how well you edited your work. Hopefully this doesn't happen to you but chances are high that it will with your first book.

The good news is, you're not alone. Most of us don't edit our first book well enough because we haven't figured out quite how. It gets easier with each book as long as you keep learning about the craft of writing and push yourself to get better. Use critique groups, buy books on the craft of writing, or attend classes or retreats. The waiting is terrible and it's best to use your time to learn and improve.

Rejections will most likely start coming in after you've been waiting for a while, or even right away sometimes. Don't let that get you down either. Learn what you can from each rejection. Some will be form rejections. Don't look into them too much. A form rejection usually means your book wasn't what they were looking for, plain and simple.

I love detailed rejections because they really tell me where I need to improve my novel. Be careful with those though. Remember that everyone's opinion is different and just because one agent or editor didn't like something about your novel doesn't mean the next one won't love it. Get second and third opinions before making changes. Share the letter with those whose opinion you're seeking, see if they agree or disagree. Weigh all the opinions and reasons for them then make your decision.

Want more advice on querying? Check out this guest post on Chuck Sambuchino's (Writer's Digest) blog.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Are You Ready To Submit Your Novel?

Many writers sit on the fence and wonder if their work is polished enough while others toss it out there too soon. But how many really know if their book is actually ready to submit? I sure didn't my first time out. It took a lot of trial and error for me to figure it out. Its all about whether or not your work is polished enough and is right for a particular agent.

First there is the work itself. Is it going to grab the readers and therefore, an agent? Is it edited to the point where it looks professional and clean? Is the story strong enough or original enough that the agent will be able to not only enjoy it, but foresee selling it? These are very important questions that you must ask yourself.

Second is platform. Who is your audience and have you conveyed the book well enough that they will want to read it? Is it good enough that they'll recommend it to others? People buy and support books that grip them and make them feel something. Make sure you've tapped into that and you know how to convey it in your query. Have you made an attempt to connect with the people who will buy your book? Do you blog, Twitter, Facebook, or other social network that gets you in touch with your audience?

Third is the end all. Is your book going to make a publisher, and therefore an agent, money? The answer has to be yes or you aren't likely to get either. Will it be marketable in other avenues such as movies, graphic novels, video games, etc? It doesn't have to be all those things but if it can then great. The most important thing you have to remember about your book sales is that you MUST self promote. Publishers don't pay for promotion like they used to. Chances are you may not get any money for promotion at all. Be prepared to do your own. Have a plan.

For some great tips on what to know before you query check out this post by Jane Friedman of Writer's Digest. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Do's and Don't's of Twitter

If you are a writer working on your platform and you decide to add Twitter to it there are some things you are going to want to take into consideration. The wonderful thing about Twitter is that it is like the adult coffee shop version of Facebook. On Twitter you'll find agents, editors, authors, and all manner of publishing industry people, and they'll find you. Be aware of that when you tweet. The image you portray can hurt or help you. Here are some do's and don'ts to help.

Do post something under your bio. People won't follow you if you don't tell them a bit about yourself. Something as simple as 'aspiring author' along with the genre you write will work.

Do upload a picture. It doesn't have to be of you. It can be anything that you feel represents you as a writer. A quill or pen will work.

Do add a link to your blog or website. People are more likely to follow you if they can find out more about you through a blog or website. Plus, it looks good to an agent or editor.

Do be yourself. It's social networking after all and to attract the kind of people you want to hang out with and will work well with (agents, editors) you must be yourself. Just be careful about using profanity or talking politics (unless that's your thing).

Do make your tweets public if you want to draw people to you. Otherwise when someone looks you up they won't be able to see anything about you and they won't be able to follow you.

Don't post knee-jerk responses or tweets. Sometimes people will say things that will get you fired up. Remember, if whatever you say would embarrass you to see on the front page of a newspaper, then you shouldn't say it.

Don't allow a page or application access to your account without checking with someone you know to see if it's trustworthy. There are a lot of application and pages that you can get onto through Twitter that will look legitimate but they aren't. This is how a lot of people get their accounts hacked. Ask one of your friends if a page is legitimate before allowing it access. Such as Tweetchat. If you go onto it you will have to log in and it will ask you if it has permission to access your account. You can hit allow or not allow. Tweetchat is a safe application. There are others that are not.

Don't ignore your followers. Go through and check them when you can. Report and block spammers and check for creepy types. This way you'll know everyone that follows you is a legitimate follower and a solid part of your platform.

Most important, do enjoy yourself. Twitter is a blast and it's filled with the most amazing people I've ever met! Anyone have do's or don'ts?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Monday's Muse~Meteora Monastery

This amazing picture is of the Meteora Monastery in Greece. It inspired me because my main character visits a place similar to it and has to come to terms with his limited views of the world around him. A lot changes for him in this chapter which made it both challenging and fun to write. I just passed 63,000 words on this book!

My reading muse this week is Ondine by Ebony McKenna. It’s a fun, quirky story about a girl, a boy, and a curse. It reminds me a bit of The Princess Bride and Ella Enchanted. It's the perfect light hearted book to follow the heavy one I just read~which I also loved. 

The song for this week's chapter is Infinite Dreams by Iron Maiden.

How are you guys doing on your work in progress? Or are you reading anything really good? I'm going to need a great book suggestion once I'm done with Ondine. And, are all you young adult and middle grade writers out there ready for WriteOnCon?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Conferences & Critique Partners

A little while ago I got to spend a few days with my critique partners the Scribe Sisters while they attended the PNWA conference. We had a great time catching up and I got to see a bit of Seattle Washington. That's me on the right with Karlene Petitt in the middle and Linda Gray on the left. The fourth Scribe Sister, Jule Rowland, hadn't arrived yet when we took this picture.

I didn't attend the conference because I didn't have time to stay for most of it but they did take me as a guest to the opening note dessert where I got to hear bestselling author Andre Dubus. Though I didn't agree with everything he said about writing he was a very dynamic speaker and I liked him so much I bought his book The House of Sand and Fog and got it signed by him. You can read my take on his opening note here.

My friends each did fantastic at the conference pitch sessions. They were all asked for their novels by both agents and editors! A huge congratulations to the Scribe Sisters! Best of luck to you all ladies. For the rest of you, be sure to check out the PNWA conference. According to my critique group it was amazing, and according to their results, I'd have to agree! I plan to try and attend it next year.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Backing Up Your Blog

Every writer's nightmare is to have something they've written dissapear or worse, be hacked and messed with. But how many of you bloggers out there worry about it? Not many? Well you should. It's one of those things that no one thinks can or will happen to them, then it does.

I always thought no one would mess with my blog because I'm just a harmless writer who blogs about writing and books. I thought after I got published I would worry about things like people hacking my blog. But then an author friend of mine who was weeks away from debuting, had her blog hacked. She couldn't log in. They'd changed her passwords and messed with everything! It wasn't a friendly joke either. She lost material she'd written years ago. It threw off what she had planned to do on her blog for her debut.

Ever since that happened to her I've been backing up my blog. It's easy, even for non technical types so don't worry! I'll walk you through how to back up a Blogger blog.

1) Log into your account. From your dashboard (the log-in page) click on Settings.
2) In the Tools section on top of the screen click on Export Blog.
3) Click on Save Blog. It may ask if you want to view or save, click on save.
4) It may ask what you want to save it as and at this point it should suggest either the name of your blog, or just 'Blog' along with the date. In this same screen it will show where it's saving it, most likely your documents.

Now you'll have a back up of your blog saved on your own computer in your documents. I recommend saving to it often. Just go through the prompts and save it to the same document. That way it will replace the old one with the new one. I save mine weekly, but you can save it after each post if you like.

If you have a different blog than Blogger check out this in depth post on Chuck Samubchino's (Writer's Digest) blog that runs through each type of blogging account.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

August's Featured Debut Author~Kristina McBride

The featured debut author for August is Kristina McBride! First a bit about Kristina's haunting book, The Tension of Opposites. Here is a bit about her:

Kristina McBride, a former high-school English teacher and yearbook advisor, wrote The Tension of Opposites in response to the safe return of a child who was kidnapped while riding his bike to a friend’s house. She lives in Ohio with her husband and two young children.

          And now for a bit about The Tension of Opposites:
Sometimes I saw Noelle sunning herself on a tropical beach, away on an endless vacation. But like my old therapist had told me, it isn’t healthy to ignore reality. Most of the time, I envisioned Noelle in a dark basement, chained to a moldy wall. But that went directly against the information I had found online the day the crisis-intervention speaker came to our middle school and tried to soften the blow of Noelle’s absence. In my worst moments, I pictured Noelle’s clean bones peeking up from a pile of damp leaves in the woods.

Now that she's given you a serious case of the shivers, please welcome Kristina McBride to Heather's Odyssey. The Tension of Opposites is being hailed as a psychological thriller taken straight from the headlines that explores the emotional aftermath of a kidnapping on the victim, and on the people she left behind. That sounds like some very powerful material. Was this a difficult book to write, either on an emotional or craft level?

Kristina: I’ve always been into creepy stuff, so I thought I’d take this book on with no issues. But it was difficult to write, especially as I really got to know the characters. I wanted to keep them from the difficult situations they had to deal with, but had to make my way through the hard stuff along with them. I think, also, that being a mother made this a difficult write. As I researched kidnapping, the thought of any parent going through the loss of a child made the subject matter that much more difficult to tackle.

That kind of research had to be grueling in many ways. On a brighter note, what was your favorite part of writing this book?

Kristina: When I knew – like really-deep-down-knew – I had gotten a scene right. When I read a new chapter and everything flowed so well it seemed like the characters hopped off the page and came to life. Okay, that and summer of 2009 when I received 3 offers on the book and waited while a mini-auction ensued (squee!).

How exciting, 3 offers and an auction! Can you tell us a bit about The Tension of Opposites that we may not know from your website?

Kristina: This is the story of Tessa McMullen, a sixteen-year-old girl whose best friend was kidnapped two years ago. The book starts when Tessa learns that Noelle has been found alive and is coming home. Tessa struggles to reconnect with her friend, who is very distant and self-destructive, and also to reconnect with a life she has felt too guilty to live for the two years that her friend was missing. There’s also a romantic plot thread with a new boy in town named Max. Max attempts to help Tessa move through the different stages of her struggle, and we are left to wonder if she’ll ever really recover this lost friendship or be able to open up to Max and let him all the way into her life.

Love amidst turmoil, I love it! From your website I see that it took three novels and a lot of rejection before you landed a fantastic agent. All that hard work definitely shows in how finely crafted The Tension of Opposites is. With that experience under your belt, is there anything in the publishing process that surprised you?

Kristina: The waiting. Everything takes so long! And I was on the fast track, publishing with Egmont in their first year. They offered me a deal in July of 2009, and the book came out in May of 2010. I was in awe of the amount of times the manuscript was read by different people at Egmont (my editor, copy editors, etc.) to make sure that every detail was as true to life as possible. For example, in a scene that takes place on Halloween, I had the sun setting at the wrong time. Someone at Egmont looked up the details of an Ohio sunset in October, and I changed the details accordingly. I love how thorough everyone is!

Sounds like you have an excellent team in Egmont. I noticed on your website that you said you signed a two book deal with them. Does that mean we'll see a sequel or will there be something different?

Kristina: Book two will be a stand alone – totally separate from The Tension of Opposites. I’m working on it now, and can’t wait to share it with the world!

As amazing as The Tension Of Opposites was Kristina, we can hardly wait too! I'm excited to see what you will come up with next. Any closing thoughts to leave us with?

Kristina: I hope that anyone who picks up The Tension of Opposites enjoys the read. Any teachers, librarians, or book clubs can find a Reader Guide on my website. Thanks so much for having me and featuring my debut novel! This has been fun!

Thank you so much for joining us Kristina. I know my readers are going to love your book just as much as I did. I can't wait for your next one!

You can find Kristina on twitter here: https://twitter.com/McBrideKristina
Be sure to check out her website to learn more about her and her books here: http://www.kristinamcbride.com/home.php
And check out her blog here: http://kristinamcbride.livejournal.com/

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Twitter Tuesday~The Best Of

This week I decided to start something new for Twitter Tuesday. I wanted to spotlight some of the best tweets for writers and book lovers. I'll be doing so every other week and writing about a great person I found on Twitter the other weeks. You aren't going to want to miss these tweets, they are fantastic! The @ symbol before a person's name means it is their Twitter name. The # symbol means it's a hashtag, or ongoing conversation that can be followed by looking up that word. See my post on Twitter hashtag's for a more in depth explanation of that.

@WritersDigest Agent Advice: Seth Fishman of Sterling Lord Literistic - "Agent Advice" is a series of quick interviews with literar... http://ow.ly/18iYXo

@thecreativepenn The Write and Wrong Way to Promote Your Book http://dld.bz/n8rK via @bookgal

@NathanBransford The one question writers should never ask themselves when reading: http://goo.gl/b/pWg1

@JaneFriedman No. 1 thing that sells books is word of mouth--which is driven by emotional power of book. (Hensley) #mww10
#MWW10 is the hashtag for the Midwest Writers Workshop 

Now you non-Twitters know why I rave about Twitter so much. Its to writers what the Rosetta Stone is to linguists. There is so much information and so many great connections to make. Your writer's platform can't afford to be without it.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Monday's Muse~Stormy Weather

The tension in my novel is really ramping up this week, as my picture inspiration probably indicates. I've passed the halfway mark of my book and with each page that passes things are rolling faster toward the inevitable climax. This week's chapter involved storms and dragons and was all about my main character learning he has to trust someone besides himself. I'm currently sitting at 56,000 words! I think it will mature between 80,000 and 90,000 so I'm over halfway there!

I'm still reading The Tension of Opposites and it has me absolutely hooked. It is so hard to put this book down! Check in this Wednesday to find out more about it when I interview the author Kristina McBride.

The song for this week's chapter is Enter Sandman by Metallica. What's inspiring you this week? Are you reading any great books?