Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My Gift to Me

All I want for Christmas is a two hour chunk of time where my three small children are entertained by their father and I can sit at the computer--uninterrupted--and write.

In Stephen King's ON WRITING, he says if you truly want to be a writer you have to write every day. Even on Christmas. I thought to myself, I am so there already. Writing is like my most special place I go for me time. And writing during the day (I write almost exclusively at night while littl'uns are asleep) is heaven.

What about you? Do you want to write on Christmas? Or do you count Christmas day as a vacation from writing?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Awesome Giveaway

My friend and fellow writer, B.J. Anderson, is holding a contest on her blog--a gift giveaway. And it rawks!

But the rawking part has nothing to do with the fact that I'm giving a five page MS critique. The contest would rock even without that. So go check it out! And I mean it!! I want to see some comments over there because she's one of my absolute best friends. And her contest rawks!

On another note, is anyone else being pummeled with snow? We have shoveled our driveway at least ten times since Sunday. We've gotten more than two feet of the white stuff. It is slowly going from Winter Wonderland to Thank Goodness I've Done All My Christmas Shopping Because This Is A Nightmare!

Have a lovely day!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Fawning Over Firelight::A Bookanista Review

I have the best luck in the world. First of all, I was asked by the Bookanistas if I wanted to join them and be mailed ARC's to read and review online. HECK YES! And then, I get sent some of the most amazing books to read! Like Sophie Jordan's Firelight. This is probably my favorite ARC yet!

Descended from dragons, the draki's ability to appear human protects them from hunters. Jacinda lives with her pride in the Cascades, but she chafes under her special status as the only fire-breather in hundreds of years. Recklessly breaking the “no-fly” rule, she attracts hunters; mercifully, one hunter, a beautiful boy who looks upon her with wonder, lets her escape. After this, the pride intends to hobble her rebelliousness, and Jacinda is forced to flee. But Jacinda feels only anguish within Nevada's desert climate. Then she meets Will and, despite recognizing him as the same draki hunter, feels herself come alive.

What I liked about this book: Everything! It brought me back to the more traditional fantasy novels I read as a teen, where magic and love have no limits. Yet this is a contemporary read.

What I liked about the Character: Jacinda is strong, yet breakable. In the beginning of the book, she's a rule-breaking rebel who has no fear, but removed from her ideal climate, she almost crumbles.

What I liked about the setting: Set mainly in the Nevada desert, Sophie Jordan does a beautiful job of bringing the reader there. I could feel my skin tightening under the hot desert sun as I read.

The other thing I liked: The love story. It was sweet and beautiful, and left me tingling with anticipation right until the very end. The kissing scenes were totally on fire! And it made this book impossible to put down.

For more spectacular Bookanista reviews from my fellow up-and-coming writers, check out:

Kirsten Hubbard celebrates JOHN BELUSHI IS DEAD and THE MOCKINGBIRDS
Elana Johnson gives a little love to JOEY FLY 2: PRIVATE EYE
Beth Revis chimes in on CHIME
Lisa and Laura Roecker rave about BOOKS THEY’RE DYING TO READ
Carolina Valdez Miller looks ahead to JANUARY RELEASES

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Meaning Behind the Letters

It is snowing, my kids are at the neighbor's house, and my YA MS is ATTACKING my sanity like a relentless ninja. So, JSYK, this post will be short.

Anyway, my BFF writer pal Sheralyn Pratt asked me to post about the meaning behind the letters. Letters? What Letters, you ask? See below .

YA=Young Adult
MG=Mid Grade (as in genre/mid grade)
LMAO=Laughing my ass off.
IMO=In My Opinion
JSYK=Just So You Know
BRB=Be Right Back
BFF=Best Friend Forever
BTW=By The Way

BTW, If you have any to add to these, post them in comments and I'll put them in the post with a link to you and your blog.

From Magenta:
ROTFL=Rolling On The Floor Laughing
WIP=Work In Progress
AFK=Away From Keyboard
POS=Parent(s) Over Shoulder
TTFN=Ta Ta For Now.

From Nicole:
BICHOK - Butt In Chair, Hands On Keyboard
ROTFLMAO - Rolling On The Floor Laughing My Ass Off

Angela says:
WB = write back

Elana says: FTW=For The Win

Jacoby Says (and how'd I forget this one, LOL): LOL=Laugh Out Loud

Emma Says: TTYL=talk to you later
TTIB=talk to you in a bit
BBIB=be back in a bit
BFFL=best friends for life

Monday, December 13, 2010


"We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become each day." -Richard G. Scott

I believe this pertains to more than becoming a writer. It pertains to every day life. Do you agree? And more importantly,

What do you want to become?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Anna and the French Kiss::A Book Review

I had the pleasure of reading Stephanie Perkins' Anna and the French Kiss. It was fantastic! I'm a very you-gotta-have-some-kind-of-magic-or-sci-fi-junk-in-a-story-to-make-it-good type of reader, and this book didn't have any of that. But I had a hard time putting it down! That should be enough of a recommendation for you to go read it--trust me.

"Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris until she meets Etienne St. Claire: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home."

What I liked about this book: The voice! Stephanie Perkins really knows how to do funny. She keeps the story alive with her humor.

What made it stand out: The hot, sexy, British-French-American Etienne St. Claire. He's not tall. He doesn't have perfect teeth. He's full of flaws. Yet all of those things make him even more desirable. Seriously!

The Characters: I already mentioned Etienne. Anna's quite awesome herself. She has a space between her two front teeth (So do I)! And she's hilarious.

Another thing: Reading this book made me hungry. For French food (banana and Nutella filled crepe, anyone? I love Nutella). And French culture. And French architecture. I want to go to France because of a book. Lame reason? Read it and you'll get me.

So, go check it out. Here's the Amazon link.

And for more Bookanista reviews, check out:

Carolina Valdez Miller praises ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS
Christine Fonseca and Elana Johnson recommend THE WRITERS GUIDE TO PSYCHOLOGY
Shannon Messenger raves about DESIRES OF THE DEAD and gives away the ARC
Megan Miranda gushes about REVOLUTION
Lisa and Laura Roecker present a special Guestanista review of PERSONAL DEMONS

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Talentless Hack? Or Writer in the Making?

Advanced warning... abnormally long post below.

Someone asked me a brilliant question. Something I have never been asked. Here's what she said:

So you got started by writing an hour a day? What made you continue when you reread what you had written and you felt like a talentless hack? I want so badly to write all of these stories in my head, but I feel like I can't do them justice and so I don't write very often because I'm so afraid of it turning out horribly.

This really hit home, guys! I could have written this very same question to an author seven years ago. So brace yourselves for my bitter truth.

(WARNING: If you think becoming a published author is easy and you don't want your hopes and dreams taking a reality check, don't read on!)

The first book I wrote took me almost a year to complete. It was 700 pages, a terrific story with beautiful characters, and an absolute prose NIGHTMARE! In fact, it was so poorly written, when I tried to start editing, I gave up on it completely and stuck it on my Shelf of Things Best Forgotten (right beside my dreams of being a musician, famous inventor, and doctor).

I wrote another book, much shorter... about 300 pages. Again, a great story, great characters, slightly better writing. I polished it, wrote up a horrible query letter, and started querying while penning part two. That book went nowhere. I racked up about fifty rejections over a year and then stuck it on the The Shelf, along with book two.

So with three shelved manuscripts under my belt, I did what any sane person who discovered the relentless drive to write would do... the inevitable. I wrote a forth manuscript. I wrote a decent query. I queried agents. And I got rejection after rejection after rejection after...

The only thing that made the rejections not sting as badly was writing. So I started manuscript #5. As I wrote this manuscript, I laughed, I cried, I'd stay up half the night with my heart pounding, jumping at the smallest sounds as I wrote terrifying scenes, and knew what I was writing was magic. And it was. Still is. But it was magic that had to be edited and edited and edited until it was good enough to get me a fantastic agent (thanks Marlene!), and an amazing publisher willing to take a chance on me (thanks Walker!).

Let's jump to today. I wrote for years, wrote thousands of pages to get where I am, spent days, hours, weeks, months, years in front of the computer honing my skill. And if I hadn't...


It doesn't get any easier! I still work until I can't see straight, the only difference between now and then is now I write better, faster. If I didn't, if I hadn't "practiced" for all those years, there's no way I'd survive the publishing world.

So enjoy every second of your journey. Embrace the editing process and what you learn from it. And most of all,

Never. Give. UP!


Friday, December 3, 2010

The Drive to Create

As a teen, I'd have these sudden, indescribable urges. They went on into my twenties. Now I know what you're probably thinking and ... GET YOUR MINDS OUT OF THE GUTTER!!! I don't mean those urges. It was something like this:

I'd feel a painful, internal yearning, like my heart was trying to claw its way out of my body, and the only thing that would fix it was to sit down at the piano and play for an hour.

Other times everything around me would become overwhelmingly bright, bringing me close to tears, and I'd grab a pen and paper and try my best to create some artistic masterpiece (and fail miserably).

And then I discovered writing. And for the first time in my life I understood what that feeling was--

The Drive to Create.

Writing eats it up. Funny thing is, the more I channel it into writing, to more of it I have.

How about you? How else does your creative bug manifest itself? How old were you when it started? And when did realize what it was?

BTW: for a hilarious post on dialogue, go to Ian's blog here. Want an honest look into editing for a publisher? Check out Mary's new blog here.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thrilling News!

We are taking a detour from our usual Bookanistas post to celebrate something huge. (Though be sure to check below for linkies to our fellow Bookanistas as they talk about books that rock!)

And now for The News. =)

Our good friend and fellow QueryTracker blogger Carolyn Kaufman has a brand new book published!!! Suzy was lucky enough to beta this book so she can vouch for its awesomeness. It reads like a novel and (to warn you) is very hard to put down. Read on for insight plus a sneak peek at what's in the book.

How did you decide to write The Writer’s Guide to Psychology?

While I was in grad school, I noticed a lot of discrepancies between what I was learning and seeing in the therapy room and what I saw in the popular media.  I started investigating, and discovered that there’s a branch of psychology – Division 46, Media Psychology – that addresses the problem.  And though a few scholarly books have been written, and though there are some consultants available to accomplished writers through big organizations, there was no interesting, accessible, affordable guide on clinical and counseling psychology that was readily available to writers – so I decided to write one!

Could you give us a quick rundown of The Writer’s Guide to Psychology?

  • ·         Chapter 1 explores and corrects common myths and mistakes we see in the media.
  • ·         Chapter 2 teaches the writer how therapists think about human behavior, both to help them create stronger characters, and to help them portray therapy realistically.
  • ·         Chapter 3 delves into the therapist’s profession, describing the different degrees your characters can have (psychiatrist, psychologist, or social worker? for example), how therapists are trained, and the real ethics of doing therapy (another big place writers make mistakes).
  • ·         Chapter 4 takes you behind the closed door of the therapy office and provides you with more character-building tricks, including ways to get tough characters to open up.
  • ·         Chapter 5 helps you understand the difference between a “normal” problem and a disorder, as well as how diagnoses are made.
  • ·         Chapters 6, 7, 8, and 9 explore the most common diagnoses, including uncommon tidbits to help you portray the disorders realistically.
  • ·         Chapter 10 is all about the psychology of villains and psychopaths.
  • ·         Chapter 11 gives you the ins and outs of biological interventions, from medications to “electroshock” therapy and cutting-edge treatments like Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS).
  • ·         Chapter 12 teaches you to portray emergencies realistically (yet another place lots of writers make mistakes), including suicide and homicide assessments and hospitalization.

What impact would you say completing THE WRITER’S GUIDE TO PSYCHOLOGY has had on you personally and on your writing?

This might sound a little silly, but it taught me that I really could reach out to people using this medium, ie books.  And now that I’ve done it once, I know I can do it again. 

I think what I’m trying to say is that I feel a sense of competence, which we psychologists call “self-efficacy,” about writing nonfiction. That makes me even more excited about this book; it also makes me excited about future books that I don’t even know I’m going to write yet.

Who has been the greatest influence on you with respect to encouraging you to write and become a published author?

Probably my parents – they raised me to believe I could do anything if I put my mind and a great deal of effort into it.  As I’ve gotten older I’ve become more aware of the negative messages some women and some artists get: that they can’t accomplish certain things.  I was never given those messages, and my parents supported my dreams when I wanted to be a writer just as strongly as they supported me when I decided I wanted to be a doctor.

My mom in particular has been a huge support on THE WRITER’S GUIDE TO PSYCHOLOGY.  When I first created my website, she read every single thing I wrote and provided wonderful feedback.  She let me bounce ideas off of her and read my proposal and then every word I wrote for the book itself.  When I was asked to add an Introduction to the book in a very short period of time, she was there to read it in the few hours I had before I needed to turn it in.

How can we purchase your book?

The book is available from all the big and small online retailers like  You should also be able to find the book in brick-and-mortar stores like Borders!

You can visit Carolyn’s WGTP website for more information including the media kit and a detailed table of contents, follow her on Facebook, visit her YouTube channel, or send her your psychology and writing question at Archetype Writing, her website on psychology for writers.

Congratulations, Carolyn!

For some awesome reads check out the Bookanista links below:
Christine Fonseca recommends JOEY FLY, PRIVATE EYE in BIG HAIRY DRAMA
Elana Johnson raves about MATCHED

Shannon Messenger loves on ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS and offers a Giveaway
Megan Miranda celebrates DESIRES OF THE DEAD
Beth Revis sings the praises of CHIME
Lisa and Laura Roecker salute REVOLUTION

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


What season inspires you the most?

For me, it is the changing seasons... dead winter to thriving spring, parched summer to golden fall, bitter fall to a winter wonderland. The funny thing is, I tend to write my stories in whatever season I am NOT in. I wrote a book set in bitter, frigid winter during a summer heat spell. The book I am working on now takes place in the heat of summer.

How about you? Do the changing seasons stir your creativity?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Walk Down Memory Lane

When I was twelve, I wanted to be my sixteen-year-old sister (the taller girl on the right with the totally hot date). I crept into her bedroom in the morning and snuck clothes out of her closet. I stole her books... and returned them after I'd read them. I fell in love with her boyfriends (and there were lots). I even listened to the same radio station because if she listened to that weird alternative stuff, like Depeche Mode and Gene loves Jezebel, then it was the ultimate cool.

Jump ahead thirteen years. My sister decided to be a writer of novels and asked if I wanted to be one too. I was doubtful of my own abilities (failed 9th grade english, didn't go to college) but if she was going to do it, obviously it was the ultimate ULTIMATE cool. That night I sat down and wrote my first page.

Dude. Thanks for the lifelong inspiration, Sue!
Originally posted 4/8/10

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Our Wish for You

Just down the hill from my home is an idyllic little pond which I've blogged about before. Every time we're out driving and it's dark (we make four karate-studio-runs per week) my kids beg to drive by Salem Pond. And so we loop around the pond, the kids ooh-ing and aah-ing, and I find myself caught up in the magic of the floating displays and the hauntingly beautiful trees.

Today as I sat down, I found myself wanting to share the magic with you.

And so our wish for you is that you will find childlike wonder in your holidays.

Wishing you and yours peace, joy, and happiness.

Suzette Saxton and Bethany Wiggins
Originally posted 12/24/2009

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Addiction or Hobby?

Suzette: We should start writing books.
Me: Huh? What do you mean writing books?
S: I was watching this interview with the author of Holes. He said all it takes to write a novel is an hour a day and a year.
Me: Really? I've always wanted to write a book.
S: Me, too. So do you want to do it?
Me: Seriously?
S: Why not?
Me: Because I failed ninth grade English and didn't finish college?
S: So what. We might as well try it.
(This is where I stare at her, my mouth hanging open, wondering if she's gone crazy)
Me: Sure. An hour a day. I can do that. (Insert internal groan)

One year later: Status: We had both written two manuscripts (45,000 to 120,000 words--yeah, I was a little long-winded back then!).
Two years later: Status: We had both written another manuscript (or two).
Six+ years later: Status: My debut novel, currently untitled, is being released in September 2011 by Walker Books.

Conclusion: Writing can become a long-term addiction. Beware!

So, are you addicted? How long have you been writing? And what in the world inspired you to try it?

Originally posted 2/1/10

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Significance of a Significant's

The scene: I am standing in the kitchen with my baby on my hip, chopping onions for the dinner I am making ahead of time since I have cub scouts in the afternoon, while simultaneously cleaning the kitchen, drawing a food pyramid for afore mentioned scouts, entertaining crabby 3-year-old, and watching for 8-year-old to come home.

Me=Me. Jaime=Husband.

Me: Jaime, you seem a little miffed that I asked you to watch the kids for an hour so I could work on my writing.
Jaime: Shrug.
Me: Just out of curiosity, how do you see my writing?
Jaime: I'm glad you have something you enjoy doing, and that it gives you a sense of accomplishment.
Me: But it's more than that. I have the potential to be published. I have to treat it like a job.
Jaime: Shrug. When you start making money I'll see it differently.
Me: Biting my tongue. Waiting for fire to start flaming out of my nostrils. Deep breath. Another deep breath. Imagination overload--If only I had magic at my fingertips... I'd turn you into a toad!
Jaime: Don't get me wrong. I'm glad you have such a fulfilling hobby.
Me: Almost bite clean through my tongue. Pound the crap out of a chicken breast, kiss baby's forehead.You know, you're lucky you're still a good looking man. It's your only defense right now.

My dear Jaime
Husband of twelve years

So tell me, please! How does your significant other view your writing addiction?

UPDATE: My book will be published in September 2011 by Walker Books!!! Husband takes my writing very seriously!

Originally posted 2/9/10

Monday, November 22, 2010

Writing is Like...

... getting a slab of granite and being handed a chisel, and then uncovering David.

Writing is like being thrown a jumble of 85,000 words and being told that if you arrange them just so, they will have the power to make people laugh, cry, and remember how true love feels.

Writing is like snow. One flake is a beginning. A million flakes are a winter wonderland.

Writing is like running. You start out slow. And it hurts. But the more you do it, the swifter you become. The stronger you get.

When I was a teenager I finally admitted to myself that magic doesn't exist. As an adult, I know better. Writing is... magic.

What is writing like for you?

Originally posted 12/15/09

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Moments That Make Us

Just so you know, for the next week, in preparation for Thanksgiving and being barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen A LOT, I'm going to post a week's worth of old but awesome posts. Even though it isn't next week yet, we'll start with this one, written by my amazing blog partner and sister, Suzette Saxton. Enjoy!

XO, Bethany

There are things in life that we have no control over that leave their mark - death of a loved one comes to mind - and then there are those subtle things that make just as big an impression.

Take opera. My exposure to it consisted of Pretty Woman, when Edward Lewis (played by Richard Gere) said, "People's reactions to opera the first time they see it is very dramatic; they either love it or they hate it. If they love it, they will always love it. If they don't, they may learn to appreciate it, but it will never become part of their soul." I made a point of listening to a smattering of opera after that - nothing happened. I figured I was one of those who would never have it in my soul. Many years later I bought a collection of classical music, and tacked on at the end, almost as an afterthought, was a very short opera piece by Puccini. I was so stunned by its beauty I found myself crying. That one piece unlocked a window in my soul, and I have loved opera ever since.

Another involves Flaming June, a painting I think you all know I love, as I use it as my Google icon. (Sweet Cynde even sent me Flaming June emery boards!) On a recent trip to the museum I found myself face-to-face with an original 4x4 inch oil study that was part of the planning stage for Flaming June. To see the actual brushstrokes of Lord Fredrick Leighton ... I stood riveted to the spot as a long line of patrons accumulated behind me. When one of them finally cleared his throat, I gave up my place and moved to the back of the line to await another turn.

Other life-altering moments that come to mind include a recent camping trip I took with my children, The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, and sunsets in general, which never fail to spur spiritual growth. This past weekend I swam in a million-year-old crater pool. Once I got used to the fact that I was floating atop 65 feet of water, the experience was profound.

I want to know about those subtle, life-shaping moments that make you who you are.

Originally posted 10/10/09

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Lili St. Crow's Strange Angels, a Book Review

Don't you love sitting down and finding a book that you love right from the beginning? One that makes you semi-neglect your kids (not that this is good!) and totally neglect your laundry? Well, this is one of 'em.

Strange Angels
Lili St. Crow

Sixteen-year-old Dru Anderson has grown up traveling the country with her demon-hunter father. When he tries to tackle a powerful sucker named Sergej in the Dakotas, he is turned into a zombie. After stopping him from killing her, Dru must save herself when she, too, becomes Sergej's target.

What I liked about this book: This book made my heart speed up, made me jump at the smallest sounds, and made me temporarily scared of the dark. And, call me old fashioned, but there was no teen sex--I found that kinda refreshing.

The Main Character: Dru is awesome. She NEVER needs a guy to jump in and save her butt. At the same time, she's so down-to-earth and normal, her character is believable--even when she's battling a flaming hound.

The Side Character: Graves. He was awesome! Totally your average, dorky guy that melts your heart just by being himself.

What Made This Book Unique: The author's take on the supernatural was so creative, so engrossing, it sent shivers down my spine.

For more book love from these awesome fellow writers/Bookanistas, check out:

Shannon Messenger is awestruck by THE MARBURY LENS and giving away a signed hardcover
Carolina Valdez Miller is spreading picture book love for CHICKEN BUTT!
Megan Miranda is captivated by MATCHED
Elana Johnson is in love with PERILOUS
Christine Fonseca is amazed by DESIRES OF THE DEAD
Beth Revis is blown away by DEMONGLASS
Lisa and Laura Roecker share a YA review from an actual YA: a "Guestanista Review" on THE REPLACEMENT

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Short and Sweet

Remember a few posts ago I talked about how short query letters are the way to go (strictly my opinion, of course)? Well, my agent, Marlene Stringer, recently posted this on Twitter:

I'm seeing a lot of Qs with way too much backstory/setup.

So it's not just me. You've got to remember when writing your query, leave just enough of a taste of that short and sweet to leave them wanting a little bit more. Skip the main meal and to straight to the dessert, the very best part! And hook 'em with that!

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Short Post and a Recipe

So I had another writEr momEnt the other day.

Every fall I make Butternut Squash Soup (with squash I grow in my garden). It is the best.

Now, I pulled out my big binder of recipes (which are totally unorganized) and started going through them in search of the butternut recipe. But after a moment or two, I paused. On the back of each recipe was a page of a former draft of one of many manuscripts I'd written. And by reading each edited-slashed-to-pieces manuscript page, I could tell what year I'd printed the recipe.

Total walk down memory lane.

How do you recycle edited-slashed-to-pieces manuscript pages?

And BTW, here's a link to the recipe.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Black Hole Sun Book Review

The black is back, guys, as I write another book review post linked with the Bookanistas, a fabulous group of some of the most awesome fellow bloggers/writers in the universe. (See below for the links.)

Black Hole Sun
David Macinnis Gill

"Durango is the 16-year-old chief of a team of mercenaries who eke out a living on Mars by earning meager commissions for their dangerous work. Their current job, and the main thrust of this high-energy, action-filled, science-fiction romp, is to protect South Pole miners from the Dræu, a cannibalistic group who are after the miners' treasure." (From Amazon)

What I liked about this book: I liked everything about this book. From the first paragraph, I was sucked into the action. The voice is amazing. I was laughing throughout. There's never a dull moment!

The Plot: The author doesn't tell you what things in this world mean, just writes them in and lets you figure 'em out. And it was refreshing! No info-dump.

The Characters: The MC was smart. REALLY smart. Without being the least bit cocky about it. And he was hot!

The other thing: The author made up his own language for swearing. It was really nice. A refreshing break from having to read the f-word five times per page.

For more fantabulous reviews, check out the other bookanistas:

Elana Johnson marvels over The Mockingbirds
Lisa and Laura Roecker dish about The Love Goddess' Cooking School
Christine Fonseca is nostalgic over books she loved growing up
Shannon Messenger is excited about the Ninth Ward
Megan Miranda adores The Adoration of Jenna Fox
Myra McEntire raves about NetGalley
Kirsten Hubbard considers the good, the bad and the ugly impact of reviews
Jamie Harrington is thrilled about The Secret Society of the Pink Crystal Ball

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Other Stuff

So we talked about query pitches. I said a three sentence hook is ideal. A lot of you gasped.
WHAT??? So short!?!?

But think about it. Short catches attention (see above photo). If you get a short email, or see a short blog post, aren't you a lot more likely to sit down and give it 60 seconds of your time?


So short is good. (But you can do long, too.) Think about this, though. You're a great writer. So it should be a piece of cake to sell your book in three sentences, right? Because writing is your thing?


There are a few more thing you need to put with your query.

1. Name and contact info
2. Genre (you know... Urban Fantasy, Romantic Comedy, Horror...)
3. Word count (because no one will want to read a 300,000 word manuscript)
4. Any other info the agent specifically asks for (sometimes they want to know a little bit about you, or if you have writing experience, or if you went to school, are previously published...)
5. A sample of your writing, in the body of the email, right below the query (NO ATTACHMENTS!) (Try 2-5 pages, even if they don't ask for it... trust me)

AND if you have any more questions, may I please direct you to the Query Ninja herself... Elana Johnson. She blogs about this stuff all the time and she's 100 times more awesome at it than me. And she's funnier!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Hook, Line and Sinker

I had the awesome privilege of speaking to a group of people at my local library this week. And they were awesome!!! I thought it would be tough (first time talking to the public about writing), but the words spilled out, sort of like writing a story. A couple of attendees asked me the same question.

What is a Query Letter?

Definition of a Query Letter by Bethany Wiggins:

A query letter is a three-ish sentence pitch of your book that has a hook baited with something so tempting, the agents you send it to are drooling to get their hands on your manuscript.

Here are a couple of examples:

1. As Seattle is ravaged by a string of mysterious killings and a malicious vampire continues her quest for revenge, Bella once again finds herself surrounded by danger. In the midst of it all, she is forced to choose between her love for Edward and her friendship with Jacob--knowing that her decision has the potential to ignite the ageless struggle between vampire and werewolf. With her graduation quickly approaching, Bella has one more decision to make: life or death. But which is which?
(From Eclipse)

2. At Fairfield High, everyone knows that south siders and north siders aren’t exactly compatible elements. So when cheerleader Brittany Ellis and gang member Alex Fuentes are forced to be lab partners, the results are bound to be explosive.

Neither teen is prepared for the most surprising chemical reaction of all – love. Can they break through the stereotypes and misconceptions that threaten to keep them apart?

(From Simone Elkeles Perfect Chemestry... see? don't you want to read this?)

So there you have it! Any more query questions? Post them in the comments and I'll try to help you out in my next post. Cheers! And go do something fun this weekend.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Bio Winner!

This was a hard, hard choice, guys. I had some awesome entries for author bios, but in the end could only pick one.

Congrats to Catherine Misener aka justwritecat!!! And here is her winning bio (which had me laughing till the tears came).

Born in San Antonio, Texas—home to more BBQ joints, Mexican restaurants and comfort food diners than people—Catherine Misener was destined to either become a chef or marry one. She played it smart and got hitched to a professionally trained chef and baker, thus freeing her to pursue her other passion—writing. With some patience and much chocolate, they lovingly raise their two children in Vancouver, Washington

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bio Time

So it is time.

Time for me to write my

author bio.

So, what do you guys like to know about authors?

What would you write in your own bio?

What would you write about me?

How's this... the person who comes up with the best author bio (about me or you--I'm not picky) gets a prize... their choice.


A. A five page critique

B. A signed copy of The Body Finder

C. Hand-dipped chocolates from my most favorite chocolate shop in the world.

Let the bio ideas pour in! (And don't forget to tell me what prize you want.)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Bookanistas: Extraordinary by Nancy Werlin

Phoebe finds herself drawn to Mallory, the strange and secretive new kid in school, and the two girls become as close as sisters . . . until Mallory's magnetic older brother, Ryland, shows up during their junior year. Ryland has an immediate, exciting hold on Phoebe, but a dangerous hold, for she begins to question her feelings about her best friend and, worse, about herself.

Soon she'll discover the shocking truth about Ryland and Mallory: that these two are visitors from the faerie realm who have come to collect on an age-old debt.

What I liked about this book: It was a new spin on an old fairy tale, throwing in a bit of history to give the story a little believability factor.

What I liked about the characters: The best friend, Mallory. She's a confused fairy suddenly dropped into the mortal world. She wears stuff all wrong... like a see-through Halloween costume with no panties. And inside-out shirts. Totally believable.

What made this book stand out: The main character, Phoebe. She's so down to earth normal--in a good way--that you feel like you live next door to her.

Release Date: September 7, 2010

The Bookanistas: Books are the New Black!

We are a group of writers in various stages of the publishing process, and we've decided to band together and review books. We--as fellow writers--will only post positive reviews, because The Bookanistas are all about spreading the love! Check out these other blogs for more awesome reviews.

Elana Johnson raves about PARANORMALCY