Category Archives: Young Adult

And it’s over before it even started…

Booted at the pitch stage once again… For me, ABNA 2013 is done. I’m out. I must admit I am a bit disappointed. I felt my pitch was good enough this time around… and maybe it was (I don’t know) as everyone keeps saying the pitch round is basically a crapshoot. And that’s fine. Really. It is. I am very happy for all of those writers who made it through. I’m glad they will continue to get a shot for publication and possibly that grand prize of $50,000. 😀

Anyway, as the disappointment sunk in, part of me was saying, “Maybe I’m just not cut out for this… But what else is there for me to do? I have a degree in Art with little experience in graphic design and none in web design… What’s a girl to do?” Then the more rational part of me said, “But it’s what you love. It’s who you are. You couldn’t stop if you wanted to… Sure, you might have a dry spell every once in a while where you just can’t write a goshdarned thing… but that comes with the territory… and none of this means you should quit.” Once I’d given myself a little pep talk, I thought maybe I should get back to querying… but I’m not quite so confident in TERRA INCOGNITA at the moment (maybe that will pass, I don’t know) so (for now) I think I might actually shelf it… focus on something else before I come back to it… I’ve been working on it for so long, editing for so long, it needs a break. I need a break. I have other works-in-progress to complete… maybe one of them will be “The One.” And I’m so close to ending one of them… focus. That’s what I need to do. Focus.

Besides, I have more important things to worry about… I’ll be 25 weeks pregnant on Friday and have a lot to do. Sheesh, I’m due, like, the week before the ABNA Finalists travel to accept their prizes… that would have been an interesting trip, for sure… Traveling across country about a week (or so) after giving birth, newborn in tow. 🙂  Yeah… but it would have been totally worth it.

So, to wrap it all up… Good luck to all who remain in the contest! AND good luck to all who were cut. You shouldn’t give up either… Being cut this early is absolutely no indication of your (or your book’s) worth (yeah, I know, we need to make it a mantra).

Good luck with all of your writing careers! I hope to see you on the other side.

Edit/Update/What-have-you: I just wanted to say that I’m not really discouraged when it comes to writing… I can’t give it up, it isn’t possible… My main reaction/emotion is one of exhaustion, more than anything. This has just been a very trying week… 🙂  I’m already tired, in general, but have a very sick hubby this week and a 3-year old to contend with, so… ha ha. Bad timing, perhaps…?

2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award is on!

2013 ABNA! Yay! The entry period begins on January 14, 2013… Of course, this year it has undergone some interesting changes. First, Penguin is no longer involved and the winners will be published through Amazon itself (physical and ebook formats). Second, there will be more winners and, thus, more prizes. In previous years, there were two winners (publishing contracts with $15,000 advances, one in the General Fiction category and another in the Young Adult category). But this year we will have FIVE winners (yes, five!). The Grand Prize winner will receive a publishing contract with a $50,000 advance, and four First Prize winners will each receive contracts with a $15,000 advance.  Pretty exciting news!

One other major change: while before we could only choose between General Fiction and Young Adult Fiction, we now have the addition of three new categories (Romance, Mystery/Thriller, and Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror). Yay for more categories! It would seem there will be a winner chosen from each category, one of which being the Grand Prize winner… at least that seems to be the consensus of Amazon’s ABNA forum (a lot of fun writers over there – check it out sometime).

Other than that, everything seems to work pretty much the same as before… as far as I can tell. Make sure you take a look at the rules and whatnot before entering.

SO… I’ve been trying to work out which story to enter. Hm… decisions, decisions… 🙂  My choices have been reenter Terra Incognita (entered twice before in GF, would have entered it again this year as YA, though I now have the option to enter it as Fantasy…) or enter my WIP Creeping Slowly & Evaporating (in YA or Fantasy). I just need to write the end of that manuscript… which is the most difficult part for me so… I believe I will reenter Terra, then focus on finishing and editing Creeping. Perhaps I can work on querying it, as the other (hopefully) makes it’s way up the ranks of ABNA… 😉

Now YA or fantasy? I hope I make the right decision.

Review of Spookygirl: Paranormal Investigator

Spookygirl: Paranormal InvestigatorSpookygirl: Paranormal Investigator by Jill Baguchinsky

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had the privilege of reading an advance copy of Spookygirl: Paranormal Investigator and loved it! It was smart, funny, and had it’s scary moments. Though I don’t know much about paranormal investigations and all of the equipment involved, I have read and seen my fair share of books and shows about them, and it seems as though Ms. Baguchinsky has done her research. Violet is an awesome MC – I loved her immediately – and the secondary characters were fleshed out enough to make them likable and interesting enough to make me want to know more. The story was structured and paced well, and the main mystery was very compelling – I wanted to find the answers almost as much as Violet did.

I would definitely recommend Spookygirl: Paranormal Investigator. Anyone who loves ghost stories and mysteries will enjoy this book. I am rating it at 4.5 stars (though that’s not technically possible on here) because I more than “really liked it” but reserve “it was amazing” for only a select few reads.

View all my reviews

Just Wanted to Share…

Hey there…  I promised a little while back to share my most recent work.  Tentatively entitled 3 Wishes, it’s a YA story involving fairy tales, a curse, a genie, and true love.  You can find a description here.

Here is the curse:

Your power achieved:
For an eternity you will see
True Love weaved
For all but thee;
 
Cursed with the power
Of wishes three,
Until the hour
Your flame recedes.
 
But this outcome,
One may forestall;
When they succumb
The One for the All.
 
With the Tools they possess
(the Keys, a Book, and One Wish)
All things will coalesce,
As this Curse they abolish.
 
True Love you will have found,
Perhaps too late, you will see.
By Love, you will be unbound,
By her, you will be set free.
 
So to expound:
If you have doubt,
You have until your candle burns down
And your flame goes out.
 

There you have it!  Of course, now I’ve gotten back into writing Creeping Slowly & Evaporating…  and I’m kind of on a roll with it right now.

So, I’ve done it…

I have officially edited Terra Incognita and made it a Young Adult fantasy.  I know, I know… can we say “sell out!”?  😉  Heh, not really…  It turned out it didn’t change as much as I thought it would… I changed her age from twenty-three to seventeen (almost eighteen) and since it already had the feel of a YA book, I didn’t need to change how she talked or the way I told the story.  (I did keep a copy of the original file, just in case.)  And I have decided that I like it (and it’s chances) better as a Young Adult Paranormal Fantasy…  so yeah.  It’s my genre/category of choice anyway (most of my other stories are YA), so it makes sense.  The character remains unchanged (which was my main concern) and the story still reads the same way, with only some minor age-appropriate changes (not for the reader but for the character).  Below is my rewritten pitch… hopefully it’s better than the others anyway… 🙂

TERRA INCOGNITA

Seventeen-year old Haylee Wells thought her mother pressuring her to choose a college was her only problem.  But between her aunt’s death and a wraithlike creature attacking, she suddenly has much more to handle.  When she finds herself in a post-apocalyptic future where these creatures reign and can kill with a single touch, she takes refuge with a group of humans who have their own special abilities.  She needs to find her way home.  But the connection she shares with Derik – the duty-bound protector of the group – and her own developing abilities complicate things further.  If she fails to realize the power within herself, she risks becoming a slave to the “Pale Ones” and never returning home.  

Eh, not too bad… but we’ll see.

As always, thanks for reading…  Until next time….

YA or Adult?

I have been struggling with this question for well over a year… Where to categorize my book Terra Incognita… I always felt it fit better into the YA category but, unfortunately, my MC is 23 years old. Hm… conundrum, indeed. Of course, I have (very briefly) considered changing her age… but that would involve a number of other changes, especially to her backstory… so, in effect, I would be changing WHO she was and not just her age… At least, that’s the way I see it. So, while I believe the story should be the defining factor in determining whether it is YA or adult fiction, most people in the publishing world go by the protagonist’s age (for YA, ages 12-18, approximately).

I’ve been doing research into this over the last year and have somewhat recently discovered a fledgling category that St. Martin’s Press (as well as a few other publishers) had/has been trying to push since a contest they held in 2009: New Adult. After reading as much about this as I could find, I realized it is the perfect category for my story.

A step up from YA, it still focuses a lot on the “coming-of-age” theme because – let’s face it – we aren’t automatically adults just because we’re no longer teenagers.  There’s a lot to deal with in the late teens and early twenties: college, relationships (old ones end, new ones begin), being out on your own for (most likely) the first time, etc. … etc.  Anyway… not nearly enough stories focus on this “in-between” phase, the necessary step between being a teenager and being an adult…  New Adult is about becoming an adult and finding our place in the world, whether it’s reality-based or fantasy.

Based on the blog posts I’ve found, it would seem New Adult would be a welcome category for both readers and writers.

Find out more about the “New Adult” category and judge for yourself.  Here are a few links:

Postadolescent or “New Adult” Fiction – even if you go to no other site, visit this one.

In Support of New Adult Fiction

2012 “New Adult” Reading Challenge

New Adult Fiction – the missing genre?

I’m Okay with YA protagonists that are over 18 years old…