Tuesday, February 26, 2013

New Followers and Link to Giveaway

Hey guys!
So first I want to give a shout out to a few of my new followers.  Hi!  I don't think I've seen you guys around the web before.  How did you find Inklined?  I'd love for you to comment with your blog link, how you found me, one things about yourself, your favorite genre to read/write in, and any other information you think I might want to know.
A few of those followers are:
Joan H.
Laura Otta
Marni Jarmen

And even if you're not new, I would still love a comment from you.  Comments make me happy.
(I'm still have trouble getting my mind around the idea that 64  people are interested in what I have to say on a weekly basis.)

Okay, on a completely unrelated note, back in October I had an author interview with S.J. Kincaid the author of Insignia.  She has a giveaway for an ARC of one of her upcoming books on her website.  If you read Insignia or are just plain interested, click here to go to the website.

I think that's it for today.  Don't forget to leave a comment and make me smile.

Guest Vlog: Deleted Scenes

Hey guys!  A fort night ago, we had teen writer Mandi Lynn here with a guest blog, and I enjoyed it so much that she's back again today.  If you have a google/youtube be sure to like and comment on Mandi's videos.  Thanks!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Guest Post: How to Write a Query Letter

Good morning . . .or afternoon, or evening, whenever you happen to be reading this!  Today, we have a friend of mine here with a guest post.
Everyone please welcome Jake Bringewatt from Jake's Writing Adventure.  But enough of me.  On to the guest.

How to Write a Query Letter
To become a published writer by following the traditional route you need a literary agent. Well, technically you don't need an agent, but you need an agent if you know what I mean. Breaking in as an author is hard enough. The 15% or so you'll have to pay your agent is more than worth it. An agent knows the publishing business. They know specific publishers and they can do a much better job of selling your book than you can. But first you must sell your book to the agent.

   Enter the query letter. This one page letter is what you send out to agents, usually along with a synopsis or the first few chapters of your book. I'm preparing to start sending out a bunch of these to try and find an agent for my book, The Crystal, so I've done a lot of research into writing a good query letter. I'm certainly not a master yet, but I can definitely share some pointers.

   A query letter follows a very particular format. Its best not to break out of this structure and be original because it will probably just come off as unprofessional. Here are the pieces:

1. First write the agent's name, business, and address in the top left corner of your page as shown (but not in italics).

 John Doe, Agent
 Random Literary Agency
 111 Some Street
 Sometown NY 00000

2. After writing "Dear Mr. Doe," its time for the first paragraph. This is your hook. Its a catchy one or two sentence description of your book. Make the agent want to read more. If you're struggling try the "when" formula - "When such and such event happens, your main character - descriptive adjective, age, job - must do such and such or faces such and such conflict." Here's a "when" formula hook for my novel.
 When Krysta, an orphan with a mysterious past, finds herself in possession of a magical item so powerful that almost everyone will kill to get, she   must face the true nature of friendship, trust, and power itself. 

Sometimes, however, a less formulaic version works better. You could make a hook that is a question. For example:
 What if you found yourself on the run with a magical item so powerful that almost everyone will kill to get?
Or maybe something else entirely.
 One day a dark man comes to Krysta's sleepy town, killing her best friend and leaving her on the run with a magical item so powerful that almost   everyone will kill to get it.

Finally you could set up your novel as a cross between a couple of different well known authors or books. I don't have a good one for my novel, but a general example is:
 My 62,000 word novel, Random Novel, is a psychologically complex cross between Random Novel 2 and John Doe's Random Novel 3.  

Anyway, you get the idea. There are some more great examples and tips at http://www.agentquery.com/writer_hq.aspx.

3. The next paragraph (or two if you need it) is a mini synopsis. Expand on your hook and make the agent want to read your manuscript. It's probably a good idea to include an approximate word count too. This should be like something you read on the cover of a book. As an example that follows the last hook example I gave for my book:

  My 86,000 word fantasy novel, The Crystal, tells the story of this teenage girl, her long-lost brother, the conflicted son of a ruthless mercenary, and a    sarcastic talking squirrel, who are all thrown together into a dangerous world of magic and intrigue where friends may be enemies, enemies friends,         and wizards battle for a magical crystal that can control time itself. As they struggle not only to protect the crystal, but to survive, they learn about   trust, friendship, and the true nature of power.
 This is probably the bare minimum in terms of detail. You may or may not want to include some more of the plot.

4. Next include a writer's bio. If you're unpublished this will probably be pretty short, but include something. Maybe mention if you blog - it shows that you have at least a little bit of a platform, which is always a plus. If your book is going to be part of a series mention that. If you've done some research into the agency perhaps you could describe how your book is similar to something that agency has successfully sold before. As an example:

 The Crystal is the first book in a trilogy I am working on (I am currently in the middle of the second book). In addition to writing fiction, I have also   blogged for almost a year now, developing an audience of other young writers and lovers of fantasy. I have also guest posted on  several other     blogs.

5. Lastly, write your closing. Mention if you've included a synopsis or a few chapters of your work as requested in the submission guidelines. Then write "Sincerely, Your Name" followed by your contact information. This is demonstrated below.
 As stated in you guidelines I have attached the complete manuscript for The Crystal. Thank you for considering my novel.
 Jake Bringewatt
 000 Some Road
 Sometown NC 00000

And that's it. Writing good query letters takes a lot of practice and I'm still working on it myself. On the plus side I'll probably get plenty of time to perfect them trying to break in as a writer. Remember, don't give up no matter how many rejection letters you get. There's a bunch of agents out there and if you keep believing in your work and sending out good query letters eventually you'll succeed.

Jake Bringewatt is a sixteen year old writer. His work primarily includes fantasy and science fiction novels and short stories aimed at young adults. You can visit his blog at http://jakebringewatt.blogspot.com/.

Thanks so much for coming, Jake!  Good luck on all you future writing, publishing, and querying adventures.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Author Interview: Lenore Appelhans

Hi everyone!  Today we have one of my personal favorite type of post, an author interview with debut author Lenore Appelhans.  Last week, after I did a Fridays with First Timers post, I e-mailed Ms. Appelhans--the author of the book Level 2--asking for an interview.  She was really prompt in getting back to me with a response!
But enough of me, onto the published people:

Can you describe Level 2 for those of us who haven't read it?

Level 2 is an afterlife thriller about a girl who died the day before her 18th birthday and now finds herself in this stark white afterlife world where she relives the memories of her time on earth and rents the memories of others. Until one day, a boy from her past breaks her out, tells her there is a rebellion brewing and promises her the one thing she wants most …

When did you know you wanted to be an author?
I actually never dared to dream of being a published author – until a few hours before my deal went down.  It always seemed to me to be such an unattainable dream. It was meeting authors through my blog that led me to take a chance and start writing Level 2.  YA authors are super approachable and many have given me great advice and support. I am happy to pay it forward!

What are a few of your favorite books or authors?
I love high-concept novels and authors that innovate – like AS King, David Mitchell, Lauren Oliver and Laini Taylor.

How much did you write before you were published?
I was an advertising copywriter for over ten years, so I wrote every day. But if you mean fiction, Level 2 was the first novel I finished. I’ve also been collaborating with my illustrator husband on picture books since 2004.  We are finally getting our first book published this summer – Chick-O-Saurus Rex.

What is your favorite part of writing?
I love the days where everything comes together. Where a flash of inspiration leads to figuring out a plot point that has been nagging at you for weeks.

What's you least favorite part?
The days when nothing seems to flow. When you stare at your curser willing the words to come. But they don’t.

What does your writing process look like?
Lots of showers and naps. Showers help me untangle my thoughts and gain focus. Naps allow my subconscious to work out problems.

Do you have any advice for writers looking to get published?
Read. Write. Revise. The road to publication is a long one, so you need to be tough. Don’t make the mistake of submitting your writing before it is ready. There’s no rush to get published.

Thanks so much for coming, Lenora!  Good luck with Level 2!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Give-Away Galore!

Hey guys!  Just a quick note to link to this post on Literary Rambles. This one includes Prodigy, Clockwork Princess, Scarlet, and a host of others.

If you're interested, go the blog here.

Monday, February 11, 2013

In Which I am Very Confudled

Hey guys!
So, I'm currently listening to the Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare.  And re-reading part of this series made me think of the other series by Ms. Clare, The Mortal Instruments.  Now, I know that the Clockwork Princess is coming out sometime this year, which makes me think of when the next Mortal Instruments books comes out.
I go to Goodreads and find the Mortal Instruments series and look for the next book after the one I remember last reading, City of Fallen Angels.  Lo and behold, I  realize that City of Lost Souls has been out for more then six months.  But that's not the crazy part.  The crazy part is that on Goodreads, I've marked it as "Read."  This is very confusing for me, as I had no memories reading this 500-some page book.  But then I remember a scene.  Just one scene in which Jace gets in a fight with Sebastian in a house that is hidden by some sort of spell.  And that is the only memory this half-thousand page tome left me with.  One scene.  So I'm thinking maybe I just read that scene on a FanFic website, mistook Lost Souls for Fallen Angels (which I hadn't marked as Read on Goodreads.) But then I come over to Inklined and search for City of Lost Souls, and find a post saying I read it.  This is what I (apparently) wrote after reading a book I don't remember reading:
This Mortal Interment book made me cry.  I've talked about how hard it is for a book to make me cry before.  The relationship between Claire and Jace was just as tangled as ever but when you bring in Sebastian, there is no end to the craziness.  No end.  So yes, this book was a great addition to the series and I can't wait for the next one!

So, not only have I read the book!  But it made me cry.  One would think that they would remember 500 pages that made one cry.
But nope.  I don't. So I'm going to try reading it again and see if it brings back any other memories.
If you find this as funny as I do, comment and let me know.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Fridays with First Timers: Level 2

As you might know, I'm taking part in the 2013 Debut Author Challenge.  So with me reading 12 debut author books, I thought it would be a good idea to return to the Fridays with First Timers!
So, equipped with my list of potential debut books, I made my way to my local library's website.  And guess what?  They didn't have a single one.   *insert sad face here*
But, have no fear!  My library has a page made of awesome called the "Purchase Request" page.  This page does exactly what it sounds like it does.  It allows you to ask your library to buy books so that you can read them.  Like I said, pure awesome.
So after making a whole slew of requests, the first book has been bought by my library.  It's still in the mail (or hiding somewhere in the midst the library repackaging awesome) so I haven't actually read this book yet.  But I'm excited for it and I thought I would do my part to share the love!

So About the Author:

Thanks to my father's job in the US military, I became addicted to travel early.  To date, I've visited nearly 60 countries and have stepped on every contintent except Antartica. My travels inspire my writing - in fact, the original spark of the idea for LEVEL 2 grew out of an discussion with my grandmother about whether it was better to spend my money on Precious Moments figurines (her view) or plane tickets (my view).

I currently live in Frankfurt, Germany and the last foreign country I visited was Krygyzstan (Sept 2012).

Fun facts:

  • I've lived in 7 US states (North Dakota, Colorado, Utah, California, Ohio, Kansas, Oklahoma) and 5 foreign countries (Greece, Ecuador, Spain, Japan, Germany)
  • I have 3 fancy Sacred Birman cats. You can see pictures of them in cute and crazy poses on my blog.
  • I wrote my first book, Timothy the Bug, in the car on a family vacation when I was in the 5th grade. In 8th grade, I made it to the state semi-finals in Ohio's Power of the Pen competition (I placed 5th at the regional level).
  • I've swam with sea lions in the Galapagos Islands, walked with lions in Zimbabwe, fed anteaters in Tikal, Guatemala, braved fire ants in Australia, chased a puffin across a black sand beach in Iceland and narrowly avoided stepping on a snake in Burma.
You can find her website by clicking here.

And About the Book: (from said website)
In Level 2, the liminal place between our world (Level 1) and heaven, Seventeen-year-old Felicia Ward spends her days in her pod reliving her favorite memories - until she gets broken out by Julian, a boy she knew when she was still alive. There’s about to be an uprising in Level Two, and Julian wants to recruit her to the cause. But unsure whether she can trust Julian, and still in love with her boyfriend Neil on Earth, she finds herself torn between two loves—and two worlds.

I will be reading this.  You should too.  And isn't that cover just intriguing?

See ya around!