Musings of Jenny Martin

eternaldreamers

Survival Lessons of an Author
by Jenny Martin

My first book, Tracked, came out last year. Recently, the sequel did, too.

It’s about a young driver who rockets from street racing to galactic stardom, from reckless child to formidable warrior. My heroine, Phee, is bold. She’s fearless. She’s ready to tear up the road and smash through any setback that gets in her way.

And mostly…she’s everything I’m not.

Yes, I confess. I’ve never rescued an exiled prince, or slipped behind the wheel of a flying car. Truth be told, I’m as timid as they come, and I tend to dine on self-doubt, more often than not. As for obstacles, I stumble over them. I crash and burn. Wreck and roll. Every time.

But I also know how to be ruthlessly stubborn. I know how get back up. I know how to put a book aside, when it’s clunky and terrible. I know how to pin a hundred rejections to the wall of my heart, and still keep clacking the keys. I know how to work with an agent, and what to expect from a publisher, once the ink is dry on the deal. I’ve learned what real revision is, and that nothing matters but the real heart and soul of the story.

I’ve learned how to let go of a book, and give it readers. How to accept total failure, without beating myself into a pulp. How to shelve a dream that’s not working, and how to trade it for one made of sturdier words. I’ve figured out that my friends are right; success truly is just a matter of luck, talent and persistence. What’s more, all you need is two of out of three, and at the end of the day, you can make your own luck, though the timing’s crucial and the alchemy’s tricky.

I’ve learned how to sit back and sit by the phone. How to recover from close calls, and how to not-cry, definitely-do-not-cry when no call ever comes. I’ve learned how to say forget it, never sit by the phone, just forget the phone already, and just keep clacking those keys.

I’ve discovered the magic spell for keeping my eyes on my own paper, and how to grow a wiser spirit and a bigger heart. It requires a shrunken ego, but leads to celebration. It is possible to cheer for a friend’s triumph, as fiercely as one’s own.

I’ve learned that a bad agent is worse than no agent, and that a good agent is everything, and is worth quadruple her weight in gold. I’ve learned what to do when your editor leaves, and what to do when your new editor is wicked smart, and what to do when your season changes, and what to do when your year changes, and what to do when your chances are next to nothing, and what to do when you finally figure this out, as your last deadline looms and your ninetieth draft transmogrifies into a cat-batted lump of nonsensical yarn.

And lastly, I’ve learned what you already know–that obstacles aren’t really obstacles at all. They’re simply stern instructors, and we are all enrolled. Since figuring that out, I can breathe. I can thank them for everything they’ve taught me. How to bulk up on humility and get by on gratitude and feast on stolen joy. And now, for once, I am doubtless. I know, as surely as you, that whatever’s waiting around the next turn, be it success or failure, I will be fine. I will be better than fine. I will be the strongest I’ve ever been.

Because I know how to climb out of a spectacular wreck. And that will make all the difference.


Jenny  Martin

About Jenny

Jenny Martin is an author and librarian. Her first novel, Tracked, has been featured on The Mary Sue, Bustle, Bookriot and Hypable. Tracked was named one of Paste Magazine’s and Teen Magazine’s ‘Best Books of 2015’, and its sequel, Marked, released May 17th, 2016, from Dial, an imprint of Penguin-Random House. Jenny is also an experienced speaker, panelist and presenter who’s appeared Texas Teen Book Festival, Texas Library Association and San Diego Comic Con. She lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area with her husband and son, where she hoards books and writes fiction. And yes, she’s still on a quest for the perfect pancake.

If you are interested in having Jenny visit your school, library, meeting, conference, etc., e-mailreadjennymartin@gmail.com for more information. 

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Tracked (Tracked, #1)

Tracked (Tracked #1)

The Fast and the Furious gets a futuristic twist in this action-packed debut!

On corporately controlled Castra, rally racing is a high-stakes game that seventeen-year-old Phoebe Van Zant knows all too well. Phee’s legendary racer father disappeared mysteriously, but that hasn’t stopped her from speeding headlong into trouble. When she and her best friend, Bear, attract the attention of Charles Benroyal, they are blackmailed into racing for Benroyal Corp, a company that represents everything Phee detests. Worse, Phee risks losing Bear as she falls for Cash, her charming new teammate. But when she discovers that Benroyal is controlling more than a corporation, Phee realizes she has a much bigger role in Castra’s future than she could ever have imagined. It’s up to Phee to take Benroyal down. But even with the help of her team, can a street-rat destroy an empire?

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Penguin


Marked (Tracked #2)

Mad Max meets Firefly in the exhilarating sequel to the sci-fi novel Tracked.

After an escape gone wrong, Phee barely made it out of Castra alive. But Cash, the leader of the rebellion, is still missing–and Charles Benroyal is to blame. Caught between grief and blinding thoughts of revenge, Phee fights for the resistance, gaining new allies and, perhaps, making new enemies, too. Meanwhile, Phee can’t control her growing feelings for Bear, her best friend since childhood, and she’s forced to make a choice–between the boy who has always been there for her, and the one who might never return. As Benroyal’s attacks grow bolder, Phee and her team embark on a daring mission to defeat the Sixers and save the planet. But no one is prepared for the sacrifices Phee will have to make to win this war once and for all.

With nonstop action and a wholly original science fiction world,Marked will have your heart racing until its breathless conclusion.

Godreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Penguin


Thank you so much, Jenny, for writing this amazing post! I love this type of life advice and being able to see someone truly succeed and grow as a person because of what they’ve learned about themselves. You are such a wonderful author and I look forward to more advice and many more experiences to come. =)

As always, a huge thank you to everyone who has and/or will participate in this feature. You’re helping so many writers and authors succeed and follow their dreams. We appreciate it more than you know!

We hope everyone has a great rest of your week and a wonderful weekend!

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Waiting on Wednesday: Furthermore

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Title: Furthermore

Author: Tahereh Mafi

Genre: MG, YA, Fantasy

Page Count: 430

Release Date: August 30th, 2016

Summary:

The bestselling author of the Shatter Me series takes readers beyond the limits of their imagination in this captivating new middle grade adventure where color is currency, adventure is inevitable, and friendship is found in the most unexpected places.

There are only three things that matter to twelve-year-old Alice Alexis Queensmeadow: Mother, who wouldn’t miss her; magic and color, which seem to elude her; and Father, who always loved her. The day Father disappears from Ferenwood he takes nothing but a ruler with him. But it’s been almost three years since then, and Alice is determined to find him. She loves her father even more than she loves adventure, and she’s about to embark on one to find the other.

But bringing Father home is no small matter. In order to find him she’ll have to travel through the mythical, dangerous land of Furthermore, where down can be up, paper is alive, and left can be both right and very, very wrong. Her only companion is a boy named Oliver whose own magical ability is based in lies and deceit–and with a liar by her side in a land where nothing is as it seems, it will take all of Alice’s wits (and every limb she’s got) to find Father and return home to Ferenwood in one piece. On her quest to find Father, Alice must first find herself–and hold fast to the magic of love in the face of loss.

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About the Author:

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She was born in a small city somewhere in Connecticut and currently resides in Santa Monica, California, where she drinks too much caffeine and finds the weather to be just a little too perfect for her taste.
When unable to find a book, she can be found reading candy wrappers, coupons, and old receipts.

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TTT: Things We Want to Do/Learn After Reading

toptentuesday

hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday we’re talking about Ten Things Books Have Made Me Want To Do or Learn About After Reading Them.  Okay this one was really tricky because most of what we read is fantasy and let’s be real we can’t all fly to Hogwarts. One can dream though!

Travel – When a book transports you to a different world or country who doesn’t get the itch to travel to said place? Whether it’s Hogwarts or Paris or even the Underworld, traveling is definitely our number one WANT after reading a book.

 

Eat/Bake – There have been plenty of times where we don’t always eat while reading. So we’re always finding ourselves hungry afterwards, especially when Simon from Becky Albertalli’s Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, mentions Oreos ALL THE TIME. Also, if you’ve read To All the Boys I Loved Before by Jenny Han, you know Lara Jean loves to bake. So does Catherine from Heartless by Marissa Meyer. Home baked goods are the best kind there isso of course I, (Melissa), will want freshly baked cookies.

 

Fangirl – When we say fangirl, we mean freak out and immediately messages our friends who’ve read the book. This also includes tweeting at the world and letting them know all the feels!

 

Read/Buy ALL the Books – By this we mean you fell in love with the author’s writing and you want to read/buy all the books they ever wrote/will write. For me (Melissa) that was most recently Emery Lord, Morgan Matson, and Kasie West!

 

Learn a Skill – Okay I think this may just be me, but I want to learn how to wield a sword and become a kick ass fighter like all the female heroines or learn to shoot with a bow and arrow. (I did not feel like Katniss when during lessons BTW) This also includes riding a broom, using a magic wand, etc.

 

Be Spontaneous! – Okay again this is more me because I’ve read Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson, but also Lauren too! If you’ve read the book or the synopsis, then you know Emily receives a list of tasks form her friend Sloane daring her to Take Chances! Make Mistakes! Get Messy! Why yes I did just quote Ms Frizzle.

 

Learn a Language – We definitely wish we could speak more than just one language!

 

Buy a Pet – Uhm this is self explanatory! We want puppies! Kitties! Dragons! Wyverns! Unicorns! Rabbits! Owls! I think you get the idea.

 

We were only able to come up with 8, but that’s alright. What did you guys add to your list?

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2016 ARC August Challenge

Hello!

I’ll be participating in another reading challenge next month. This will be my first time joining ARC August!! I am super excited because I need something that’ll keep on me track.  For those of you who don’t know ARC August is a month long reading challenge hosted by Read Sleep Repeat where we tackle our ever growing pile of ARCs we’ve gathered over the years. There will be a weekly linky where you can share your progress on their blog. You can read as many ARCs as you want, but you must leave a review of the book somewhere (Goodreads, Twitter, Instagram, Amazon, your blog) so Octavia and Shelly can confirm what you submitted. This is going to be interesting as I am terrible with these things.

You can follow along with my over all progress here, but I’ll probably do a weekly recap as well plus link to the reviews too.  I haven’t figured this all out yet, so I could just wing it.

 


Title: Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit
Author: Jaye Robin Brown
Release Date: August 30, 2016
Publisher: HarperCollins
Date Read:
Rating:


Title: A Torch Against the Night
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Release Date: August 30 2016
Publisher: Razorbill
Date Read:
Rating:


Title: Stalking Jack the Ripper
Author: Kerri Maniscalo
Release Date: September 20 2016
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson
Date Read:
Rating:


Title: A Darkly Beating Heart
Author: Lindsay Smith
Release Date: October 25 2016
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Date Read:
Rating:


Title: This Adventure Ends
Author: Emma Mills
Release Date: October 4 2016
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Date Read:
Rating:


Title: Rebel Genius
Author: Michael Dante DiMartino
Release Date: October 4 2016
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Date Read:
Rating:


Title: Frost Like Night
Author: Sara Raasch
Release Date: September 20 2016
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Date Read:
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Title: Vassa in the Night
Author: Sarah Porter
Release Date: September 20 2016
Publisher: Tor Teen
Date Read:
Rating:


Title: What Light
Author: Jay Asher
Release Date: October 11 2016
Publisher: Razorbill
Date Read:
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Title: No Holding Back
Author: Kate Evangelista
Release Date: October 18 2016
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Date Read:
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Title: Everland
Author: Wendy Spinale
Release Date: May 10 2016
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Date Read:
Rating:


Title: And I Darken
Author: Kiersten White
Release Date: June 28 2016
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Date Read:
Rating:

So there you have it! Twelve ARCs I hope to read during the month of August. It may be difficult the first week as I’ll be in California until the 6th. You guys can also follow my progress on Goodreads or Twitter or Instagram!

 

Wish me luck guys! Because I have a tendency to do terribly with reading challenges.

MelissaSig

Waiting on Wednesday: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

waitingonwednesday

 

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Title: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Author: J.K. Rowling

Genre: YA, Fantasy

Page Count: 320

Release Date: July 31st, 2016

Summary:

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a new play by Jack Thorne, is the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. It will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on 30th July 2016

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband, and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes darkness comes from unexpected places.

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About the Author:

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Although she writes under the pen name J.K. Rowling, pronounced like rolling, her name when her first Harry Potter book was published was simply Joanne Rowling. Anticipating that the target audience of young boys might not want to read a book written by a woman, her publishers demanded that she use two initials, rather than her full name. As she had no middle name, she chose K as the second initial of her pen name, from her paternal grandmother Kathleen Ada Bulgen Rowling. She calls herself Jo and has said, “No one ever called me ‘Joanne’ when I was young, unless they were angry.” Following her marriage, she has sometimes used the name Joanne Murray when conducting personal business. During the Leveson Inquiry she gave evidence under the name of Joanne Kathleen Rowling. In a 2012 interview, Rowling noted that she no longer cared that people pronounced her name incorrectly.

Rowling was born to Peter James Rowling, a Rolls-Royce aircraft engineer, and Anne Rowling (née Volant), on 31 July 1965 in Yate, Gloucestershire, England, 10 miles (16 km) northeast of Bristol. Her mother Anne was half-French and half-Scottish. Her parents first met on a train departing from King’s Cross Station bound for Arbroath in 1964. They married on 14 March 1965. Her mother’s maternal grandfather, Dugald Campbell, was born in Lamlash on the Isle of Arran. Her mother’s paternal grandfather, Louis Volant, was awarded the Croix de Guerre for exceptional bravery in defending the village of Courcelles-le-Comte during the First World War.

Rowling’s sister Dianne was born at their home when Rowling was 23 months old. The family moved to the nearby village Winterbourne when Rowling was four. She attended St Michael’s Primary School, a school founded by abolitionist William Wilberforce and education reformer Hannah More. Her headmaster at St Michael’s, Alfred Dunn, has been suggested as the inspiration for the Harry Potter headmaster Albus Dumbledore.

As a child, Rowling often wrote fantasy stories, which she would usually then read to her sister. She recalls that: “I can still remember me telling her a story in which she fell down a rabbit hole and was fed strawberries by the rabbit family inside it. Certainly the first story I ever wrote down (when I was five or six) was about a rabbit called Rabbit. He got the measles and was visited by his friends, including a giant bee called Miss Bee.” At the age of nine, Rowling moved to Church Cottage in the Gloucestershire village of Tutshill, close to Chepstow, Wales. When she was a young teenager, her great aunt, who Rowling said “taught classics and approved of a thirst for knowledge, even of a questionable kind,” gave her a very old copy of Jessica Mitford’s autobiography, Hons and Rebels. Mitford became Rowling’s heroine, and Rowling subsequently read all of her books.

Rowling has said of her teenage years, in an interview with The New Yorker, “I wasn’t particularly happy. I think it’s a dreadful time of life.” She had a difficult homelife; her mother was ill and she had a difficult relationship with her father (she is no longer on speaking terms with him). She attended secondary school at Wyedean School and College, where her mother had worked as a technician in the science department. Rowling said of her adolescence, “Hermione [a bookish, know-it-all Harry Potter character] is loosely based on me. She’s a caricature of me when I was eleven, which I’m not particularly proud of.” Steve Eddy, who taught Rowling English when she first arrived, remembers her as “not exceptional” but “one of a group of girls who were bright, and quite good at English.” Sean Harris, her best friend in the Upper Sixth owned a turquoise Ford Anglia, which she says inspired the one in her books.

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TTT: Books Set Outside the U.S.

toptentuesday
hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is all about book that take place in other countries! So many books we own mainly take place in the United States.  However ,we were able to come up with a list of our favorites that take place somewhere else!

 


Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
(Wales)


Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
(East Prussia)


Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman
(England)


This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee
(Geneva)


The Square Root of Summer
(England)


Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
(France)


Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman
(Germany)


Strange and Ever After by Susan Dennard
(Egypt)


13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
(Scotland)


Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
(Czech Republic)

What’s the one country you’d most like to visit? Can you name a book that takes place there? Let us know in the comments below!!

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*Giveaway* Musings of Kimberly Karalius

eternaldreamers

Writing From The Real World
By Kimberly Karalius

I eat cereal without milk. I sit in commuter traffic in the mornings, gather around the coffee machine with my fellow bleary-eyed coworkers, and fold my laundry (terribly). And yet, people think that because I’m a writer, my reality is different than everyone else’s.

It’s not.

But my comfortably mundane life is what inspires me to seek inspiration outside of my reality. I want to write books that take me far away from my cubicle, to worlds where logic is crooked, mermaids run cake shops, and Love has a voice and a bone to pick with someone it made a bad bargain with.

When I’m looking for a new story to write, I usually find it buried in strange historical facts, objects, or images I come across rather than pulling from my day-to-day experiences with the people I work with and the conversations I overhear while grocery shopping. My instinct is always to move away from what I know as reality and explore the what ifs.

Yet real life does play an important role in every good story. For me, it has to do with capturing very real emotions on paper. Most of the time that involves digging up some uncomfortable or overwhelmingly lovely feelings from my past to write convincing and truthful scenes in my books.

I’ve never flown on the back of a dragon, but I’ve been on a ton of roller coasters. The wind in my hair, the squelchy stomach-dropping sensation when I barrel roll down the tracks, and the tickling in the back of my throat from laughing through the entire ride. I’ve never lost a magical pearl necklace in a storm, but I’ve been caught in torrents of sudden rain (oh, Florida) and still regret forever losing a precious toy that I had dropped in elementary school through the cracks in a sewer drain.

No matter how small the memory, the emotions tied to them stay with us. As a writer, it’s important to use emotions to connect a reader with your characters. Because no matter how unusual your book’s world is, the struggles, hopes, and dreams of your characters should always be familiar and grounded in real life – the real emotions that come with living.


Kimberly Karalius

About Kimberly

Kimberly Karalius is the author of Love Fortunes and Other Disasters and its forthcoming sequel Love Charms and Other Catastrophes (May 2016). If you gave her a wish bone, she would wish fervently for snow in Florida. Her love for 90s cartoons (or any cartoons, really) knows no bounds. Being in Florida certainly has one big perk: going to Disney World. Which she does. Frequently.

Kimberly holds an MFA in fiction from the University of South Florida. Her fiction has appeared in literary journals such as Luna Station Quarterly, The Medulla Review, andHogglepot. Her chapbook, Pocket Forest, was published by Deathless Press in August 2013.

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Love Fortunes and Other Disasters (Grimbaud, #1)

Love Fortunes and Other Disasters (Grimbaud #1)

In the tradition of Alice Hoffman’s Practical Magic, one girl chooses to change her fortune and her fate by falling in love.

Love is real in the town of Grimbaud, and Fallon Dupree has dreamed of attending high school there for years. After all, generations of Duprees have successfully followed the (100% accurate!) love fortunes from Zita’s famous Love Charms Shop to happily marry their high school sweethearts. It’s a tradition. So she is both stunned and devastated when her fortune states that she will NEVER find love.

Fortunately, Fallon isn’t the only student with a terrible love fortune, and a rebellion is brewing. Fallon is determined to take control of her own fate—even if it means working with a notorious heartbreaker like Sebastian.

Will Fallon and Sebastian be able to overthrow Zita’s tyranny and fall in love?

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Love Charms and Other Catastrophes (Grimbaud, #2)

Love Charms and Other Catastrophes (Grimbaud #2)

Sometimes love comes gift-wrapped…literally.

Aspiring love-charm maker Hijiri Kitamura was excited to come back to Grimbaud for her sophomore year—until she learned about the upcoming charm-making competition. She, along with her friends and fellow rebels, had worked too hard to free the town from Zita’s tyrannical love fortunes to allow some other charm maker to move in and take over. The only solution is for Hijiri to win the contest herself.

Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done, especially when Love itself has decided to meddle in Hijiri’s life. Concerned that its favorite charm maker has given up on finding a love of her own, Love delivers a very special gift—the perfect boyfriend, specially crafted just for her.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Giveaway!

Melissa is kind enough to be giving away an ARC of each of Kim’s amazing books in the Grimbaud series to one lucky winner! A few rules:

U.S. Only.
Ends Midnight July 26th (7/26/16)
We have the right to disqualify entries that have violated ours and/or Rafflecopter’s rules.

Click to enter HERE!


A special thank you shout out to Kimberly, who is so sweet and extremely helpful with this post! You are dead on with your writing relativity to real life instances. I’m sure many writers will benefit from your wise words. =)

A huge thank you to all who have, are, and will be participating in this feature. Your words do not go unread, and your advice doesn’t go unheeded. You’re helping writers all over the world fulfill their dreams. Thank you. ❤

We hope you have a wonderful rest of your week!

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Waiting on Wednesday: Rebel Magisters

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Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by the lovely Breaking the Spine.

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Title: Rebel Magisters (Rebel Mechanics, #2)

Author: Shanna Swendson

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Steampunk

Page Count: 238

Release Date: July 12th, 2016

Summary:

Tea, Love … and Revolution!

The Rebel Mechanics aren’t the only group plotting revolution against the magical British Empire. There are rebel magisters, as well, and Verity Newton and her magister employer, Lord Henry, know that the only way for the revolution to succeed is if both groups work together. A diplomatic mission seems like the perfect opportunity for them to meet with rebels in other colonies and gather support—right under the governor’s nose.

From drawing rooms, ballrooms, and the harbor in Boston to the streets of Charleston, Verity and Henry find themselves up against stubborn factions of both magisters and Mechanics and increasingly aware that they can only really count on each other as their relationship deepens. It may take a real crisis to unite the rebel movements and rally them to the cause—but could such a crisis also tear them apart?

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About the Author:

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Once upon a time …

A little girl learned to amuse herself by making up stories in her head. She turned everyday activities into exciting adventures, and she made up new adventures for characters from her favorite movies, TV shows and books. Then one day she realized that if she wrote down those stories, she’d have a book! But that was crazy, she thought. Real people don’t become novelists. That was like deciding you were going to be a movie star. You couldn’t just go and do it.

But, it turns out, you can, and she did. She realized her dream of becoming a novelist and seeing her stories in bookstores.

And then she started to wig herself out by writing about herself in the third-person.

This is her story.

The Novelist’s Journey

As I said above in that bit of silliness, I’ve always been a writer at heart. My favorite way to play was to create stories and act them out with my Fisher-Price people, my Barbie dolls or myself and a box of play clothes. If none of those things were available, I could just sit and make up stories in my head. I occasionally got into trouble for being a little too creative, such as the time when I embellished a bit on my kindergarten experiences (where’s the dramatic hook in coloring, cutting out and pasting?).

When I was in seventh grade and a bit old for Fisher-Price people, Barbie dolls or the dress-up box, I started writing these stories down in spiral notebooks. Later, I found an old manual typewriter, taught myself to type, then wrote a lot of first chapters of novels on it. I still hadn’t figured out how to actually be a working novelist who gets paid for writing (finishing a book instead of writing a lot of first chapters might have been a good start), so when it came time to go to college, I went to journalism school at the University of Texas. While getting my degree in broadcast news, I managed to structure a curriculum that might also help me in my real career plans. I took fencing (which I thought would be useful for writing fantasy novels), an astronomy course on the search for extraterrestrial life (in case I wanted to write science fiction), psychology, interpersonal communication, and parageography (the geography of imaginary lands).

I got serious about pursuing my novel-writing ambitions soon after I got my first job in public relations (TV reporting, it turns out, would have taken away from my writing time) when I started joining local writing organizations and reading books on how to write a novel. Then I took the big step of registering for a writing conference. With the registration fee, you could enter two manuscripts in a contest that went with the conference. I figured if I was paying that much money, I’d get the most out of it, so I wrote two entries. At the conference, I met a real, live editor, who encouraged me to submit, and one of my entries won the science fiction/fantasy category of the contest. I hurried to finish the novel the editor had asked for, then mailed a proposal.

She ended up rejecting the book, but encouraged me to keep trying. I ended up selling that novel elsewhere, then sold two more books to that publisher before I had another idea for that original editor. That book ended up selling, and then one more.

And then I hit the wall. Due to a number of circumstances, some of which weren’t my fault and some of which were, I didn’t sell anything else for eight years. But then I had the idea that became Enchanted, Inc., I wrote it, sold it, and here I am.

Other Life Stuff

I think I need to get a few more hobbies or something else going on in my life that isn’t related to reading or writing because currently my bio in my books is shorter than the “about the typeface” section. Yes, a typeface has a more interesting life than I do.

When I’m not writing, I’m most often reading. Otherwise, I enjoy watching science fiction TV shows and then discussing them on the Internet, working crossw

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TTT: Random Facts About Us

toptentuesday
hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is Facts About Us whether it be bookish or not.  We decided to choose random non-bookish facts about us that you might never have known.

 

Melissa

1. A random trick. I can make that ‘flower’ thing with my tongue. I decided against posting a photo.

2. I love video games. I’ve always been a Nintendo girl so Pokemon, Mario, Zelda, Harvest Moon, Kirby, etc. Recently I got into this app called Habitica! If you follow  Susan Dennard then you might’ve heard about it. It basically turns your life into a video game!!

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3. I go to Anime conventions and sometimes I cosplay as a character I love.

 

Oh you actually thought I’d post pictures of myself? HA!
Left: Shana from Shakugan no Shana Right: Kyoko Sakura from Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Apparently I love sassy red hair characters who love to eat.

4. Linkin Park is still my favorite band! Aside from Kpop groups BIGBANG & 2NE1

5. I took ice skating lessons for 8 1/2 years and it’s one of those outside activities I actually REGRET quitting. I had just begun to learn the basics of jumps too. ERGH!

 

Kelly

1. I belong to a UFC gym and can throw a mean punch

2. I can’t roll my tongue or whistle

3. My hair is naturally curly like Shirley Temple

4.  I recently started archery

5. I teach dance to kids in my spare time

 

Lauren

1. I collect stamps. My great grandmother started this tradition with me because she used to say it was little pieces of art on letters and I continue it in memory of her.

2. I really enjoy drawing, although I’m still trying to learn new techniques.

3. Photography is another passion of mine. Capturing moments in time is priceless.

4. I have tried 6 musical instruments and signing, only to discover I am not musically talented. hehe

5. My eyes change colors from blue to green.

 

We hope you enjoyed learning new things about us because we know we loved learning more about each other!  Have you guys found any similarities? Let us know in the comments below!

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Musings of David Arnold

eternaldreamers

 

How Other Author Friends Have Helped/Influenced Me
By David Arnold

In 2010, I attended my first professional writing conference. It was the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Midsouth conference in Nashville. Armed with a sure-fire bestselling picture book (rhyming, of course, because obviously), a checklist of agents to meet, and a can-do attitude, I waltzed right into that Hilton like I owned the place. I was going to get published, see, and nothing could stop me.

Things did stop me—namely myself. Because what I couldn’t have known then was that I was missing the point.

Enjoy the process. This is a pretty common phrase, usually applied to something that is difficult to achieve, something that takes massive amounts of time and energy, but if you put in the work, if you prove to have the requisite amounts of skill and sticktoitiveness, then in the end, your rainbow leads to a pot of gold. Enjoying the process means looking up every now and then, because hey, there’s a rainbow, like, right there.

 

Okay, truth: while I love everything about writing—including the rainbow—I don’t necessarily feel the same way about publishing. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been massively blessed with the best professional team: from my agent to my publisher to my editor to my publicist and everyone in between, I could not ask for more. But if I’m honest with myself, I sometimes forget to look up. I’m so focused on the pot of gold, I forget about the rainbow. Because what people don’t tell you (or at least, if people told me, I chose not to listen, which, okay, totally my bad, but hey, all I asked was to publish a book and then all my dreams would come true, not a cloud in the sky, a carefree life from here on in) is that it’s a scary thing putting yourself out there like that.

There’s this scene in the movie Jerry Maguire that I often think about. Tom Cruise’s character has just written a mission statement (not a memo) that basically suggests turning his particular industry on its head. In a fit of inspiration, he rushes to an office supply store and prints up over a hundred copies of this mission statement, one for everybody in his office. While it’s printing, a random longhaired employee slowly nods his head, and says, “That’s how you become great, man. Hang your balls out there.” Now I don’t care if you’re writing mission statements, contemporary YA, fantasy, romance, memoir, poetry, or fan-fiction—if you’re writing creatively, that longhaired employee has some sage advice for you. (True, Jerry Maguire goes on to get fired and fall into a downward spiral of poor decision-making and drunken monologues, but… sage advice, nonetheless.)


So what does any of this have to do with friendship among authors? Well, my friends are the ones who smile and nod when that’s what I need, and they’re the ones who offer advice when that’s what I need, but more often than not, they’re the ones who point up and say, “Hey. Check out that rainbow.”

I’m still pretty new at this, so I don’t have a ton of advice to offer. But here’s one thing. To all you pre-published writers who are attending conferences and workshops, researching which agents are looking for which genres, and which houses accept unsolicited manuscripts, etcetera, etcetera: stop. Put down your pen. Take a second. All those things you’re doing are good. Important, even. But let me tell you in a sentence what took me over two years to figure out: people are more important. Than writing, than publishing, than every last thing on your conference checklist. The relationships you build early on are the ones you’ll have for the rest of your life. And you cannot manufacture that kind of history. You can check every last thing off your list, and maybe you’ll even get published. But if you don’t have someone next to you, someone who nudges you every once in a while and says, “Hey, check out that rainbow,” well—you’ve missed the point.

 


About David

Hi. I’m David.

I write stories and songs. I like pesto, Arcade Fire, indie bookstores, Middle-Earth, GARP, Elliott Smith, Christmastime, and all things Sorkin. I don’t like olives, liars, or wet socks. My debut novel, MOSQUITOLAND, is out now from Viking/Penguin, and is available wherever books are sold. My second book, KIDS OF APPETITE, will be released on September 20, 2016. I am represented by Dan Lazar at Writers House.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


Mosquitoland

“I am a collection of oddities, a circus of neurons and electrons: my heart is the ringmaster, my soul is the trapeze artist, and the world is my audience. It sounds strange because it is, and it is, because I am strange.”

After the sudden collapse of her family, Mim Malone is dragged from her home in northern Ohio to the “wastelands” of Mississippi, where she lives in a medicated milieu with her dad and new stepmom. Before the dust has a chance to settle, she learns her mother is sick back in Cleveland.

So she ditches her new life and hops aboard a northbound Greyhound bus to her real home and her real mother, meeting a quirky cast of fellow travelers along the way. But when her thousand-mile journey takes a few turns she could never see coming, Mim must confront her own demons, redefining her notions of love, loyalty, and what it means to be sane.

Told in an unforgettable, kaleidoscopic voice, “Mosquitoland” is a modern American odyssey, as hilarious as it is heartbreaking.

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Indiebound

 

Kids of Appetite

Victor Benucci and Madeline Falco have a story to tell.
It begins with the death of Vic’s father.
It ends with the murder of Mad’s uncle.
The Hackensack Police Department would very much like to hear it.
But in order to tell their story, Vic and Mad must focus on all the chapters in between.

This is a story about:

1. A coded mission to scatter ashes across New Jersey.
2. The momentous nature of the Palisades in winter.
3. One dormant submarine.
4. Two songs about flowers.
5. Being cool in the traditional sense.
6. Sunsets & ice cream & orchards & graveyards.
7. Simultaneous extreme opposites.
8. A narrow escape from a war-torn country.
9. A story collector.
10. How to listen to someone who does not talk.
11. Falling in love with a painting.
12. Falling in love with a song.
13. Falling in love.

Available September 20, 2016 from Viking Books for Young Readers

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | | Book Depository | Indiebound


Thank you, David for your kick ass reference to Jerry Maguire and RAINBOWS!! In all seriousness, I agree it’s important to surround yourself with friends who’ll be there to support you by keeping you on task, provide critical feedback, and above all else drag you away from your work to prevent you from over working yourself.

As always, a huge thank you to all of the authors who have, are, and will be participating in this feature. Your continued advice, tips, and stories help so many more people than you can know. You all are extremely loved and appreciated.

We hope everyone has a great rest of your week!

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