Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • Sarah Stephens Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveawawy on 10/10/2022
  • Eve Adler Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 10/17/2022
  • Adria Goetz Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 11/14/2022
  • Kelly Dyksterhouse Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 12/12/2022
  • Savannah Brooks Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 12/19/2022

Agent Spotlight & Agent Spotlight Updates

  • All Agent Spotlights & Interviews have been updated as of 7/15/2020, and many have been reviewed by the agents. Look for them to be fully updated in 2023.

Debut Author Interview: Kim Bartosch and Ask the Girl Giveaway and IWSG Post

Happy Wednesday Everyone! Today I’m excited to have debut author Kim Bartosch here to share about her YA ghost story/mystery Ask the Girl. She’s my wonderful critique partner, and it’s awesome to help her celebrate the release of her debut book. I know you’re going to enjoy hearing about her unique path to publication. I read an early version of Ask the Girl and loved that it was a ghost story/mystery with strong main characters that I really cared about.

Here's a blurb from Goodreads:

Nobody believes sixteen-year-old Lila Sadler, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Nobody believes that Lila’s sister Rose is possessed by the ghost of Katy Watkins. As Rose’s health worsens each day, the only way to save her is to uncover the awful truth of Katy's death so many years ago. And nobody knows what happened to Katy on October 31, 1925. Not even Katy. Unaware that she was murdered, Katy has wandered for a hundred years in complete ignorance, until the day she meets Rose and Lila. Together Lila, Rose, and Katy must confront their demons to escape this hell. But will they be able to escape? Can they forgive the unforgivable?

 


Before I get to my interview with Kim, I have my IWSG Post.

Posting: The first Wednesday is officially Insecure Writer's Support Group Day.

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

The awesome co-hosts this month are Tonja Drecker, Victoria Marie Lees, Mary Aalgaard, and Sandra Cox!

Optional Question: What do you consider the best aspects of your favorite genres?

I love fantasies and mysteries. For fantasies, I love the magic, magical beings, and world-building. For mysteries, the plot has to keep me guessing till the end. For both genres, I need the plot to be fast-paced. I can’t slog through plots that drag anymore.

What do you consider the best aspects of your favorite genre?

Interview With Kim Bartosch

Hi Kim! Thanks so much for joining us.

1. Tell us about yourself and how you became a writer.

I’ve always enjoyed reading and writing ever since I could read and write. I loved playing pretend and creating worlds and adventures for me and my friends. Soon these stories were kept secret in a locked chest when I got older. But like most dreams, I put writing on hold to do life stuff, such as get a job, get married, and having children. I always dreamed of being a writer but never actually attempted the process until my oldest was born. While on maternity leave, I got restless and began to write a YA novel. That story is in a file cabinet somewhere, and one day may come back out but it was the beginning of many more stories and my pursuit of becoming a published author.

2. Where did you get the idea for Ask the Girl?

Ask the Girl started out as a contemporary story about a girl who has a sister with bipolar disorder. It was inspired by my experience with my sister and my mother with her sister. I struggled with the story and soon got bored of it until I added my ghost, Kate Watkins. Then the story came to life and soon developed into the book today. Which I like to add, write what you know AND write what you love. I love mysteries, ghost stories, and the paranormal so I like to combine this genre with experiences I know.

Your Writing Process

3. That’s great that adding Katie made your story come to life. How long did it take you to write and edit Ask the Girl?

Oh boy, it took me five years. That’s because I was juggling a job, babies, and eventually a diagnosis with breast cancer. In between, all of these life events I squeezed in writing, and editing. Now that I’m cancer free and my kids are older I do have more time and hope my next book won’t take as long.

4. I have to juggle a lot and need to squeeze my writing in too. Were you a plotter or punster when you wrote this manuscript? Has this changed since you wrote Ask the Girl?

Ask the Girl was a panster book. I just sat down and began to write. But since then, I’ve discovered creating an outline of my story works better and saves time on the editing process. Out of the five years of writing Ask the Girl, I would say the majority of that time was spent editing. Now that I do outlines, I feel I’m better organized, the plot flows better, and I’m less likely to have writer’s block.

5. I wish I could create a complete outline, but I haven’t been able to yet. Was it hard to write from Lila’s and Rose’s points of view? What are your tips for getting multiple main characters’ voices right?

Rose was easy because that was basically me. Lila too was simple because that character was based on my sister. The difficult POV was Kate, because she was from a different time and I had to get her voice to sound different from Rose and Lila. That took a lot of research of 1920’s slang and a lot of editing. My big tip for finding your character’s voice is to do an imageboard of your character before you begin writing. Paste and tape photos of what your character may look like, the clothes they may wear, their favorite music, makeup, hobbies, food, house, bike, or any like or dislike on a poster board. Then hang it up in your office or wherever you write. When you're stuck look at your imageboard. Also, music is useful for helping me find my character’s voice. I will listen to songs my character likes.

6. What was a challenge you faced in writing Ask the Girl? How did you overcome it?

The biggest challenge was the middle few chapters. I don’t know why but I struggled getting those middle chapters completed. At one point, I got frustrated and wrote my final three chapters hoping it would inspire me to finish. Instead, it left a gap in my book. So I forced myself to sit my butt down at one point and finish it. It was a few late nights and five or six tubs of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream before I got it done. 

Your Road to Publication

7. Your road to publication is different from the way many authors get their first book deal. Share about how you got your book deal.

So, I won a Facebook sweepstake to a writer’s retreat called When Words Count in Vermont. It was a fabulous getaway and I met some awesome authors and writers. During this visit, I learned of a competition they have twice a year called Pitch Week. After much debate, I entered the competition and became one of the five finalists. So for this competition, I had to create a cover page, marketing plan, and presentation of the author behind the book. Long story short, I won and the prize was a publishing deal with Woodhall Press, a small independent publisher.

8. Your publisher is Woodhall Press. What was it like working with a small press? Do you have any advice that would be helpful for an author working with a smaller press?

A small press is like a small privately owned business. Everyone wears many different hats. Therefore, my editor, who helped me with Ask the Girl, also was the CEO, accountant, and more. So everyone is doing many things, often at the same time. Because of this I found that I had more control over the cover art, and layout of my book, where many authors with larger imprints don’t. But, I also found many errors within the book  and on the cover. I would highly recommend always looking over your book once you receive your final ARC with a small press. Overall, I liked working with Woodhall Press. They’re very friendly and with a small press, they celebrate with you on each accomplishment.

Marketing

9. You were assigned a publicist. How did working with a publicist help you develop your marketing plan?

I didn’t have a publicist. The first place prize included a publicist but the one the organization used resigned so I did not get any help when originally. But I did develop a marketing plan through the competition and I pretty much kept with that plan.

10. That’s too bad you didn’t get the help of a publicist like you were supposed to. Your book was released on 9/6/2022. How have you been marketing your book? Do you have any advice on promoting a book for authors planning to debut?

So, marketing is a mystery to me. I read every book and searched every site on how to develop a good marketing plan for a book. I learned a few things but most of my help came from Natalie’s suggestions, one was to use a blog tour company. The two I used were Rockstar Book Tours and Bewitching Book Tours. Both were excellent and offered some wonderful bloggers and instagrammers to promote my book. I also use Bookfunnel to promote my book with newsletter swaps, giveaways, and promos with other authors and Netgalley for reviews. I highly recommend Bookfunnel, it has great promotions, for example I found one with Bookmojo called The Sound of Stories. This audiobook promo provided so many subscribers to my website and sales of my audiobook, which was awesome!  One thing I didn’t do was a giveaway with Goodreads because it was too expensive and I didn’t see how it would help, particularly trying to compete with the big 6 publishers pushing their books on the site. Finally, SCBWI.org has helped out so much with the promotion of my book by including it on their blog and offering bookselling events at local festivals. I highly, highly recommend joining SCBWI or a writer’s organization as another source for marketing and sales.

11. Glad my advice helped. These are great tips. What are you working on now?

Currently, I’m working on a young adult fantasy romance about vikings and a psychological thriller of twin sisters. I also have a fun chapter book called Maggie Muddle, who is too honest, direct for her own good.

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Kim. You can find Kim at kimbartosch.com, Facebook, or @kimbartosch on Twitter or Instagram. You can buy Ask the Girl on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Bookshop.org. Ask the Girl is also available on Audible and Chirp.

Giveaway Details

Kim is generously offering a signed paperback of Ask the Girl for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower of my blog (via the follower gadget, email, or bloglovin’ on the right sidebar) and leave a comment by October 22nd. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter the contest. Please be sure I have your email address.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog and/or follow me on Twitter or Kim on her social media sites, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry for each. You must be 13 years old or older to enter. The book giveaway is U.S.

Upcoming Interviews and Guest Posts

Monday, October 16th, I have an agent spotlight interview with Sarah Stephens and a query critique giveaway

Sunday, October 16th, I’m participating in the Cheeky Pumpkin Giveaway Hop

Monday, October 17th, I have an agent spotlight interview with Eve Adler and a query critique giveaway

Monday, October 24th, I have a guest post by debut author George Jreije and a giveaway of his MG fantasy Shad Hadid and the Alchemists of Alexandria 

Hope to see you on Monday!

 

Howloween Giveaway Hop: $15 Amazon Gift Card




Happy Tuesday Everyone! Today I'm thrilled to be participating in the Howloween Giveaway Hop hosted by The Mommy Island and The Kids Did It. I'm keeping this giveaway simple because I'm overextended this month. My mom is in an extended home hospice, and I spend time with her most days. Plus I committed to directing a community theater play for a director of a library (I couldn't say no) and am a co-coordinator of a critique carousel for SCBWI. I have to focus on priorities for the next few months.

Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

I'm offering a $15 gift card to Amazon for this giveaway.

Giveaway Details

One lucky entrant selected by the entry form will receive a $15 Amazon Gift Card. Open to entrants internationally as long The Book Depository ships to you for free, 13 years and older. Open for entry from 10/4 – 10/25/2022 at 11:59 pm EST. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. The selected winner will have 48 hours to respond to the notification email to claim this prize or a new winner will be selected.

Please note that you must be a blog follower and leave a blog comment to enter the contest. 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Upcoming Interviews and Guest Posts

Today, October 5th, I have an interview with debut author Kim Bartosch and a giveaway of her YA mystery/ghost story Ask the Girl

Monday, October 16th, I have an agent spotlight interview with Sarah Stephens and a query critique giveaway

Sunday, October 16th, I’m participating in the Cheeky Pumpkin Giveaway Hop

Monday, October 17th, I have an agent spotlight interview with Eve Adler and a query critique giveaway

Monday, October 24th, I have a guest post by debut author George Jreije and a giveaway of his MG fantasy Shad Hadid and the Alchemists of Alexandria 

Hope to see you tomorrow!

And here are all of the blogs participating in this blog hop:



The Other Side of the River Review by Alda Dobbs and Giveaway

Happy Monday Everyone! Today I’m super excited to share Alda Dobb’s new historical MG The Other Side of the River. When Alda emailed me and asked me if I wanted an ARC in exchange for an honest review, I jumped at the chance because I loved her debut book, Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna. You can read my interview with Alda when she debuted here.

Here’s a blurb of The Other Side of the River from Goodreads:

From the award-winning author of Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna, Alda P. Dobbs, comes a compelling new novel about building a new life in America. Strong and determined, Petra Luna returns in a story about the immigrant experience that continues to be relevant today.

Petra Luna is in America, having escaped the Mexican Revolution and the terror of the Federales. Now that they are safe, Petra and her family can begin again, in this country that promises so much. Still, twelve-year-old Petra knows that her abuelita, little sister, and baby brother depend on her to survive. She leads her family from a smallpox-stricken refugee camp on the Texas border to the buzzing city of San Antonio, where they work hard to build a new life. And for the first time ever, Petra has a chance to learn to read and write.

Yet Petra also sees in America attitudes she thought she'd left behind on the other side of the Río Grande―people who look down on her mestizo skin and bare feet, who think someone like her doesn't deserve more from life. Petra wants more. Isn't that what the revolution is about? Her strength and courage will be tested like never before as she fights for herself, her family, and her dreams.

Petra's first story, Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna, was a New York Public Library Book of the Year and a Texas Bluebonnet Master List Selection.

My Review

The Other Side of the River tells Petra’s story after her family and she arrive in San Antonio. You do not have to read Alda’s first book to enjoy this one. I devoured it in two sittings. I totally loved it and can’t wait to read Alda’s next book.

Here are five things I really enjoyed about this book.

  1. The setting. I loved learning more about San Antonio in the early 1900s, especially since I’ve visited there on a few occasions. It was so interesting to see what life was like for immigrants coming here from Mexico. They sure didn’t have it easy.
  2. Riveting story. Historical fiction has to be factually accurate. But it also has to tell a compelling story. I found The Other Side of the River to be a page-turner because the story and plot were so good.
  3. Petra. I already loved Peter from Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna. I love her even more in this story and so admire her tenacity, courage, and strength as she tried to take care of her family and follow her dreams of a new life in America. When I start to get down about my own problems and challenges, I think about all the hardships she and other immigrants have faced and face today.
  4. Secondary characters. Alda did a fantastic job creating a cast of secondary characters. I enjoyed learning more about her abuelita, younger sister, baby brother, and other characters that helped and hindered her in her attempts to take care of her family.
  5. Ending. I’m not going to spoil things for you by telling you the ending. I’ll just say that the ending was a great one.

 Giveaway Details

 I’m offering my ARC of The Other Side of the River for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower of my blog (via the follower gadget, email, or bloglovin’ on the right sidebar) and leave a comment by October 8th. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter the contest. Please be sure I have your email address.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog and/or follow me on Twitter s, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry for each. You must be 13 years old or older to enter. The ARC giveaway is U.S.

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday is hosted by Greg Pattridge. You can find the participating blogs on his blog.         

Upcoming Interviews and Guest Posts

Wednesday, October 5th, I’m participating in the Howloween Giveaway Hop

Wednesday, October 5th, I have an interview with debut author Kim Bartosch and a giveaway of her YA mystery/ghost story Ask the Girl

Monday, October 16th, I have an agent spotlight interview with Sarah Stephens and a query critique giveaway

Sunday, October 16th, I’m participating in the Cheeky Pumpkin Giveaway Hop

Monday, October 17th, I have an agent spotlight interview with Eve Adler and a query critique giveaway

Monday, October 24th, I have a guest post by debut author George Jreije and a giveaway of his MG fantasy Shad Hadid and the Alchemists of Alexandria 

Hope to see you on Wednesday, October 5th!

 

 

Agent Spotlight: Jazmia Young Interview and Query Critique Giveaway

Today I’m thrilled to have agent Jazmia Young here. She is an associate literary agent at Curtis Brown, LTD.

Hi­ Jazmia! Thanks so much for joining us.

About Jazmia:

1. Tell us how you became an agent, how long you’ve been one, and what you’ve been doing as an agent.

Sure thing! I am an associate agent at Curtis brown, Ltd and have been for almost 4 years now. Initially I didn’t think I wanted to work in publishing, I only knew that I had a love for writing and reading but didn’t know what to do with it. I just told everyone I wanted to be a writer. At my alma mater, City college of New York – a CUNY school – I studied English with a concentration in creative writing. Through the English department and my creative writing professors, I learned about the Publishing Certificate Program. It was a 5-course program taught by publishing professionals with the final course being an internship with a publishing company. One of the many great things about the PCP program is that they circulate various scholarships, grants, and job listings for students to apply to. While I was completing courses, the assistant director of the program, Retha Powers, reached out to all the students about an opportunity to apply for the AAR (now known as the AALA) diversity fellowship. If won, you receive a stipend and get to work at a literary agency of your choice. 

I didn’t know much about working at a literacy agency besides what was taught in class and it didn’t seem to interest me so I wasn’t going to apply. But Retha reached out to me personally and encouraged me to apply. I did and within a month’s time, I was one of the students who received the grant. I started to receive a slew of emails for interviews and the first agency that I interviewed with was Curtis Brown. I met with two senior agents who were truly insightful and super kind. After going on a few more interviews, I ultimately choose to intern at Curtis Brown and they were more than happy to have me. I had a wonderful experience there and on the very last day of my internship, an assistant position opened up for two other agents at the agency. One of the agents I was interning for immediately forwarded my resume to the hiring manager and I have been here ever since. 

I was an assistant for three out of the four years I’ve been at Curtis Brown and most of that job consisted of heavy admin work. As I started to grow in the position, I realized I wanted to do more agent work so I can potentially build my list. So, I spoke with my bosses about elevating and they were more than happy (and encouraging) to help. I became an Associate Agent early last year and having been building my list ever since. I juggle between still assisting and agent work daily and that can consist of liaising with editors, handling incoming payments, monitoring my query inbox, editing manuscripts, executing small contracts, i.e., magazine, audio, and etc. The responsibilities vary each day. 

About the Agency:

2. Share a bit about your agency and what it offers to its authors.

Curtis Brown, Ltd. is a prestigious agency that has been around for over 100 years. I enjoy working here because we have a variety of agents who represent authors across all genres. What really attracted me to Curtis Brown is the hard work that goes in for representing a client in all aspects of their career. I’ve learned so much about what it takes to have a healthy and sustaining agent-author relationship. We have the utmost respect for our authors and I am so happy to be a part of this agency. 

What She’s Looking For:

3. What age groups do you represent—picture books, MG, and/or YA? What genres do you represent and what are you looking for in submissions for these genres?

I exclusively acquire children’s books. I’m interested in picture books through YA, focusing on middle grade fiction and picture books. Here is a breakdown of what I’m looking for in each category: 

PICTURE BOOKS: I’m looking for stories that are steeped in culture. Exploring deep emotions like in Remembering Ethan by Lesléa Newman, is important to me. But I do love and enjoy dreamy lyrical prose and creative stories like Bedtime for sweet creatures by Nikki Grimes

MIDDLE GRADE: I gravitate towards voice and the ability to capture the complexity of emotions of that age. I am in love with King and the Dragonflies! So, if your work is similar to that, I’d love to see it. I’m always interested in characters with unbeatable courage, anything filled with heart as in Front Desk or stories that make your heart clench like The Thing About Jellyfish. Most importantly, give me little black girls saving the world!

YOUNG ADULT: With YA, I’m looking for stories that attach themselves to you and don’t let go. Books that amplify LGBTQ voices while exploring what it means to fall in love for the first time like Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, immigration stories that open your eyes as in The Book of Unknown Americans, and standout voices like You Should See Me in A Crown.

4.  Is there anything you would be especially excited to seeing in the genres you are interested in?

            Anything that explores grief or loss across picture books through YA. I tend to gravitate towards darker emotions more.

What She Isn’t Looking For:

5. What types of submissions are you not interested in? 

I’m not a fan of high fantasy, historical fiction, fart humor or a story that relies on the punchline of a jokes, and sports or Animal stories. My list for what I don’t want to see isn’t long but I’ll know what I won’t like when I read it. 

Agent Philosophy: 

6. What is your philosophy as an agent both in terms of the authors you want to work with and the books you want to represent?

            I’m looking for authors that want to build a partnership with me, and have a long-lasting career in publishing. I want to work with authors that are receptive to feedback and continue to perfect their craft. Publishing is a long game and there’s a lot of rejection, so I’m looking for clients who can take that rejection in stride.

For the books I want to represent, I’m looking for black children’s stories that are going to have an impact on black kids. I want to for those children to see themselves in a variety of stories that help them explore their emotions. 

Editorial Agent: 

7. Are you an editorial agent? If so, what is your process like when you’re working with your authors before submitting to editors? 

            Yes! I go through several rounds of edits before going out on submission. 

Query Methods and Submission Guidelines: (Always verify before submitting) 

8. How should authors query you and what do you want to see with the query letter?           

Authors can send me an email the word query in the subject line and the name of their work with the first ten pages in the body of the email to jky@cbltd.com. 

9.  Do you have any specific dislikes in query letters or the first pages submitted to you? 

            My one major dislike in query letters is when someone writes my name wrong. It shows that you either didn’t double check your work or you just disregarded the spelling of my name. 

Response Time: 

10. What’s your response time to queries and requests for more pages of a manuscript?           

            I try to respond within 4-6 weeks. 

Self-Published and Small Press Authors: 

11.  Are you open to representing authors who have self-published or been published by smaller presses? What advice do you have for them if they want to try to find an agent to represent them? 

            Yes, I am! I would say to lead with a work that isn’t published yet. 

12. With all the changes in publishing—self-publishing, hybrid authors, more small publishers—do you see the role of agents changing at all? Why? 

            I think publishing is forever changing and agents should always adapt to fit the needs of their clients. 

Clients: 

13. Who are some of the authors you represent? 

            As of right now, I only represent one author, Karly Pierre. She’s an amazing black children’s book author and I’m excited to sell her debut picture book. 

Interviews and Guest Posts: 

14. Please share the links to any interviews, guest posts, and podcasts you think would be helpful to writers interested in querying you. 

My SCBWI interview. 

Links and Contact Info: 

15. Please share how writers should contact you to submit a query and your links on the Web. 

Either on the Curtis Brown website here: https://curtisbrown.com/agents/jazmia-young/ or Manuscript Wish List: https://www.manuscriptwishlist.com/mswl-post/jazmia-young/. 

Additional Advice: 

16. Is there any other advice you’d like to share with aspiring authors that we haven’t covered?        

            I would say be sure of who you want to represent you as much as they are sure of representing you. There should be a mutual feeling of certainty from both parties. It can be so tempting to say ‘yes’ to the first agent that shows interest in you but you have to be sure that agent is the right fit for you as you are to them. 

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Jazmia.

­Jazmia is generously offering a query critique to one lucky winner. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (via the follower gadget, email, or bloglovin’ on the right sidebar) and leave a comment through October 8th. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter the contest. If you do not want to enter the contest, that's okay. Just let me know in the comments.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. This is an international giveaway.

Have any experience with this agent? See something that needs updating? Please leave a comment or e-mail me at natalieiaguirre7@gmail.com

Note: These agent profiles and interviews presently focus on agents who accept children's fiction. Please take the time to verify anything you might use here before querying an agent. The information found here is subject to change.

 

 

 

How to Write Historical Fiction by Stacy Nockowitz and The Prince of Steel Pier Giveaway

Happy Monday Everyone! Today I’m excited to have debut author Stacy Nockowitz here to share about how she writes historical fiction and about her MG historical The Prince of Steel Pier. I love historical fiction, and the time period and Atlantic City setting in Stacy’s book really appeals to me, so I’m excited to read it.

Here’s a blurb from Goodreads:

A Young Teen Falls in with the Mob, and Learns a Lesson About What Kind of Person He Wants to Be

In The Prince of Steel Pier, Joey Goodman is spending the summer at his grandparents' struggling hotel in Atlantic City, a tourist destination on the decline. Nobody in Joey's big Jewish family takes him seriously, so when Joey's Skee-Ball skills land him an unusual job offer from a local mobster, he's thrilled to be treated like "one of the guys," and develops a major crush on an older girl in the process. Eventually disillusioned by the mob's bravado, and ashamed of his own dishonesty, he recalls words of wisdom from his grandfather that finally resonate. Joey realizes where he really belongs: with his family, who drive him crazy, but where no one fights a battle alone. All it takes to get by is one's wits...and a little help from one's brothers.

 Follower News

First, I have Follower News to share. An Insecure Writers Support Group Anthology
Romance – Clean & Wholesome/Contemporary/Historical

First Love: The Art of Making Doughnuts was recently released. Here’s a blurb: Featuring the talents of Linda Budzinski, Melissa Maygrove, Michael Di Gesu, Sylvia Ney, Katie Klein, Kim Elliott, Templeton Moss, S.E. White, Denise Covey, and Sammi Spizziri. Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these ten tales will touch your heart and rekindle lost feelings. Prepare to return to that first love…

Links:
Amazon 
https://www.amazon.com/First-Love-Art-Making-Doughnuts-ebook/dp/B09QH3Z28P/
Barnes & Noble 
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/first-love-insecure-writers-support-group/1140884369?ean=2940165751301

 

Deniz Bevan recently released Druid’s Moon. Here’s a blurb: Archaeologist Lyne Vanlith discovers an ancient Druidic curse on her first dig. When a Beast rescues her, she kisses his snout and he transforms into a man. Lyne is meant to be Beauty to his Beast. She must take up her legendary role, to defeat the curse and monster after them, and save Frederick—and herself.
Fantasy – Romance  / Paranormal  / Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, Legends & Mythology
Print ISBN 9781939844866 / EBook ISBN 9781939844873

Links:
Apple - 
https://books.apple.com/us/book/x/id1588920227
Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09HRDWJZ8
Barnes & Noble - https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/2940165040276

 

Sandra Cox recently released Geller’s Find. Here’s a blurb:

It’s summer break and Dr. Luke Geller history prof and part-time archeologist is in Nevada looking for potsherds. What he finds is an antique rifle and a portal in time.

Buy link: https://tinyurl.com/GellersFind

 


Nick Wilford is releasing Reckoning, part 3 of a YA dystopian series tomorrow. Here's a blurb: The time has come for those who perpetrated wrongdoing and suffering on the land of Loretania to face their judgement, but nothing is that simple. Lunkin, the psychotic former Chief Scientist, has one more trick up his sleeve and is wreaking havoc even from behind bars. Can Welles and Ez, the kind and benevolent new rulers of Harmonia, turn the tide of public opinion and secure justice for the people of Loretania before it’s too late? Here are a few link:  

Amazon US / Amazon UK / Smashwords / Barnes & Noble / Kobo 


Now here’s Stacy! 

How and Why I Write Historical Fiction

I’m a debut author, but I’m no spring chicken. I’m 55, the age when many children’s authors are well-established in the industry, with a good number of books already out in the world. I don’t mind being on the older side. I’ve had a long and satisfying career in education that began when I was only 23 years old. Right after undergraduate school, I earned a Master’s Degree in education from Columbia University Teachers College. I started out teaching 4th grade in New York City and went on to teach middle school language arts for many years in New York, Massachusetts, and Ohio. Fourteen years ago, I decided to go back to school for my Master’s in Library Science, and I became a middle school librarian in 2010. I’ve been around for a while.

            From the time I was about 6 years old, I dreamed of being a writer, and I wrote consistently over the years. Most of this writing was in notebooks that I didn’t show to anyone. I wrote Star Wars fan fiction when I was a kid, and I even wrote a couple of short novels in my twenties and thirties that I showed to maybe three people.  

            In 2017, an idea came into my head for a story about a kid who gets involved with some mobsters. I loved the movie A Bronx Tale, and I thought that the basic premise for that movie would make a great children’s book, if it was written right. I saw a scene in my mind: This kid is playing Skee-Ball, and the mobsters surround him and start betting on his score. I’m from New Jersey, so mob culture is something I grew up with. The Sopranos was set in New Jersey for a reason. So, I had my idea. But I had to decide on the setting, the when and the where.

            One thing I knew for sure. This story was not going to take place in 2017. The scene in my head was old school. These mobsters did not have cell phones. This kid was not tethered to a screen. That was when I realized that my writing future is fixed in the past. I wanted to write historical fiction. 

            I read somewhere that you shouldn’t write historical fiction just because you don’t want to deal with cell phones, but that’s exactly why I write it. I’m no Luddite, but I find 21st century technology to be stifling to my writing. I don’t like that a kid can get out of a situation just by looking something up or using an app or texting mom. I like a lot of one-to-one interaction, face-to-face dialogue, and even some back-to-the-wall, real world tension that only comes from being “in the room where it happens.” Also, technology shifts and morphs so quickly these days that some tech tool I write about today might be obsolete tomorrow. And kids don’t like to read about obsolete technology in contemporary fiction. 

            I prefer to immerse my readers in another era and get kids excited about history. In my library, students are passionate about books set in the past– medieval times, the Wild West, World War II. My goal is to introduce kids to eras that they’re not as familiar with, like the 1970s or the 1950s. At some point, I may tackle pre-20th century history, but for now, I’ll stick with the past 100 years or so.

            Doing research for historical fiction is one of my favorite parts of being a writer. It’s essential to get all of the historical details right. Obviously, I couldn’t write about a 1970s kid using a cell phone, but what about other, smaller details? For example, in The Prince of Steel Pier, the main character, Joey, keeps all of his arcade prize tickets in a grocery bag. In my first draft, that was a plastic grocery bag. But after some research, I learned that plastic bags hadn’t been introduced into grocery stores yet in 1975. So, the bag became a paper bag. My book is filled with all kinds of period details that required research far beyond Wikipedia. Joey uses a big Nikon camera in one scene, so I had to find out what features Nikon cameras had in 1975 to make that scene authentic. Even though I was a kid myself in the 70s, I couldn’t rely on my memory to get those details right. Might Joey’s older brother have attended a Pink Floyd concert in 1975? I had to find out if I was going to have him put on a Pink Floyd concert shirt.

But I also had to know when to stop doing research, too, or else I could continue seeking out resource after resource and never get to the actual writing! How does a writer know when to put on the brakes? In grad school, I attended a workshop about writing historical fiction led by the great author Anna-Marie McLemore. She said you should only do enough research so that you could comfortably time travel back to that time. Then STOP. In other words, you don’t have to know everything. You don’t have to know when toilet paper was invented if you’re not going to show a character using a toilet. But if a character is going to eat candy, you’d better know when that Snickers bar became available!

Chances are pretty good that your book is going to have dialogue in it, no? So, you will definitely need to research things like slang from that era or dialects or regional speech variations. I moved from Massachusetts to Ohio 25 years ago, but I still call soda “soda.” Here, they call it “pop.” If my book takes place in Ohio, I need to call it pop in the manuscript.

Being a librarian helps a lot when I’m doing research for historical fiction. I know how to dig deep, find information, and verify it. If you don’t have those kinds of information literacy skills, I have a few tips for you. First, consider doing the majority of your research at a library. If you have access to a university library, that’s great, but public libraries are wonderful, too. If it’s a decent library, the librarians there should know their stuff. Try to work with a librarian, not an aide or volunteer. Next, if you choose to do research at home on the Internet, be sure the sources you use are reliable, authoritative, current, and well-presented. Is the site trying to sell you something? Is it biased? Are there a bunch of ads all over the page? Avoid those sites if at all possible. And finally, understand that good research involves working horizontally in your web browser. In other words, when you read a fact, open another tab and verify that fact in another source. 

So, I’m an older debut author. That’s the way things worked out for me, and I’m thrilled. I know that if I hadn’t had 30 years of experience as a middle school teacher and librarian, I would not have written The Prince of Steel Pier. Or at least, it wouldn’t have been nearly as good as it is. At 55, I’m okay with tooting my own horn a bit. 

My website: www.stacynockowitz.com

Twitter: @snockowitz

Email: snockowitz@gmail.com

 Giveaway Details

Stacy has generously offered an ARC of The Prince of Steel Pier for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower of my blog (via the follower gadget, email, or bloglovin’ on the right sidebar) and leave a comment by October 1st. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter the contest. Please be sure I have your email address.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog and/or follow me on Twitter or Keely or Tara on their social media sites, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry for each. You must be 13 years old or older to enter. The ARC giveaway is U.S. and Canada.

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday is hosted by Greg Pattridge. You can find the participating blogs on his blog. 

Upcoming Interviews and Guest Posts

Wednesday, September 21st, I have an agent spotlight interview with Jazmia Young and a query critique giveaway

Monday, September 26th, I'm reviewing Alba Dobb's MG historical The Other Side of the River and doing an ARC giveaway

Wednesday, October 5th, I’m participating in the Howloween Giveaway Hop

Wednesday, October 5th, I have an interview with debut author Kim Bartosch and a giveaway of her YA mystery/ghost story Ask the Girl

Monday, October 16th, I have an agent spotlight interview with Sarah Stephens and a query critique giveaway

Sunday, October 16th, I’m participating in the Cheeky Pumpkin Giveaway Hop

Monday, October 17th, I have an agent spotlight interview with Eve Adler and a query critique giveaway

Hope to see you on Wednesday!