Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • Rebecca Williamson Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 7/8/2024
  • Sheila Fernley Agent Spotlight Interview, Critique Giveaway, and One-Hour Zoom Call on 7/29/2024
  • Erica McGrath Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 8/12/2024

Agent Spotlight & Agent Spotlight Updates

  • Agent Spotlights & Interviews have been updated through the letter "K" as of 3/28/2024 and many have been reviewed by the agents. Look for more information as I find the time to update more agent spotlights.


Hi Everyone! Before we get to our post today, I got a request to post some information regarding a scholarship available for college freshmen. I thought I'd post it in case anyone is interested. Here's the information.
Wrought Iron Art Scholarship
Two $1000 scholarships for two students enrolled in fall/spring school year of 2013/2014 at any college, university, trade or technical school within the United States or Canada (no fees to apply, free for all students).
To apply email or mail your application along with an essay:
Art Metal Workshop Inc.
367 Bering Avenue Toronto, ON M8Z 3B1, Canada
The scholarship has already been listed with several respected schools such as:
• Grand Valley State University  http://gvsu.edu/financialaid/scholarships-home.htm
…and many more!

Today I’m excited to be a part of Liesel Hill’s blog tour for her debut new adult book, PERSISTENCE OF VISION. It’s a dystopian story that has gotten great reviews and is described as filled with mystery, twists, and romance that keeps you wanting to turn the page. It’s definitely on my TBR soon list.

Here’s a description from Goodreads:

In a world where collective hives are enslaving the population and individuals have been hunted to the verge of extinction, Maggie Harper, and independent 21st Century woman, must find the strength to preserve the freedom of the future, but without the aid of her memories.

After experiencing a traumatic time loss, Maggie is plagued by a barrage of images she can't explain. When she's attacked by a creep with a spider's web tattoo, she is saved by Marcus, a man she's never met, but somehow remembers. He tells her that both he and her creepy attacker are from a future in which individuals are being murdered by collectives, and Marcus is part of the rebellion. The collectives have acquired time travel and they plan to enslave the human race throughout all of history. The flashes Maggie has been seeing are echoes of lost memories, and the information buried deep within them is instrumental in defeating the collective hives.

In order to preserve the individuality of mankind, Maggie must try to re-discover stolen memories, re-kindle friendships she has no recollection of, and wade through her feelings for the mysterious Marcus, all while dodging the tattooed assassins the collectives keep sending her way.

If Maggie can't fill the holes in her memory and find the answers to stop the collectives, the world both in her time and in all ages past and future will be doomed to enslavement in the grey, mediocre collectives. As the danger swirls around her and the collectives close in, Maggie realizes she must make a choice: stand out or fade away...

Liesel’s here today sharing about writing new adult stories without making them too racy. The giveaway details are at the end of the post.

Why Lower Content Ratings Make for Better Writers

So anyone who’s read my stuff knows that I don’t include much R-rated content in my writing. In fact, one reason I write New Adult is because I prefer adult characters to YA ones, but I’m not a fan of the gratuitously explicit.

There are lots of reasons for that. Part of it is my religion. Part is that I simply don’t feel comfortable writing such things. But I’ve also come to believe that lack of adult content also makes for better writers.

You see, there are certain things that appeal to human emotions. We always say that sex sells in our society. It’s part emotion, part hormonal reaction. No matter how you explain it, it’s a visceral thing.

For example, if you have a male character walking through the woods, say. And then suddenly he comes upon a naked woman, well, everyone sits up and takes notice. And that’s just from what I said. To say that someone isn’t clothed doesn’t count as adult content. Now imagine you add in stuff that’s more explicit. That’s why Fifty Shades of Gray has sold so well.

Now, I haven’t read Fifty Shades, other than a few excerpts that convinced me I never wanted to read more. But here’s my problem with explicit content: it gives the writer a free pass to not hone their craft. Any author who can’t compel readers any other way can put in some sex, nudity, or gore and get readers to buy their books. But that’s not, in my opinion, what great writers are made of.

If a writer can get people to sit up and take notice without the adult content, now that’s a sign of great writing.

Of course there are many people who would disagree with me about this. Some would even be offended by my opinion, but it’s a challenge I would extend to every writer. For proof of its validity, just look at all the YA novels that are on the market today. Twilight, Hunger Games, Divergent, Beautiful Creatures, Harry Potter, to name a few. They all find ways to be compelling but without explicit content, and they’re the hottest books on the market.

Perhaps some things are more compelling, especially to our young people, than smut. Opinons?

Thanks, Liesel, for sharing your advice. You can find Liesel at:

Goodreads Author Page: goodreads.com/lieselkhill

Liesel has generously offered a e-copy of PERSISTENCE OF VISION for a giveaway. Don’t have an e-reader? No problem. I downloaded Kindle to my computer and read that way until my aunt gave me her old Nook. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment by midnight on March 23rd. I’ll announce the winner on March 25th.

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

Here's what's coming up:

Next Monday I’m interviewing debut author Steven dos Santos and giving away an ARC of THE CULLING. It’s an action packed dystopian and trust me, Steven has no problem being hard on his characters.

Next Wednesday I’m super excited to share THE RUNAWAY KING by Jennifer Nielsen with you. I’ve been dying to read this since I read THE FALSE PRINCE last year, which just made the New York Bestseller list and won the Cybils. THE FALSE PRINCE is one of my all-time favorite books. THE RUNAWAY KING is fantastic and I’ll be doing a giveaway.

The following Monday I'm interviewing debut author Mindee Arnett and giving away a copy of her urban fantasy THE NIGHTMARE AFFAIR. I loved the magical world Mindee created that was also grounded in our world. And there's a mystery to be solved, something I always love.

On Tuesday that week, Maria Dismondy is sharing a Tuesday tip on how to launch a successful book launch and giving away a copy of THE POTATO CHIP CHAMP, a picture book about kindness.

And Saturday that week I'm participating in the Kick Butt Characters Book Giveaway Hop. I have lots of great choices for you.

And don't forget our Tuesday Tips and Casey's Thursday agent spotlights.

Hope to see you on Monday!


Stina said...

I'll admit there's sex in my NA story, but it's there for a reason that had to do with the story and not so it'll sell copies.

Love the cover. It's very creepy. :D

middle grade ninja said...

As I write mostly Middle Grade, sex usually doesn't come up:) When I've written for adults, I've aimed to be more effective than explicit, but I've seen explicit writing that is also effective. I think it comes down to the personal tastes of the reader and writer.

I have a friend whose Mother accused her of keeping porn because she had a copy of Esquire magazine. I'd guess their reading preferences vary as does their definition of explicit.

Jess said...

Thanks for the post, Liesel! I'm pretty uncomfortable writing those kind of adultish scenes as well~ maybe that's one reason I've been sticking to middle grade lately :) Persistence of Vision sounds really cool~ love the idea of collective "hives"!

S.A. Larsenッ said...

I've heard so much about this story. It sounds so intriguing. As far as the sex issue, I'm not going to comment except to say that it or even the inclination of it does sell. What's too bad is when our craft is sacrificed merely to add it to a story for sales. If it's in a story, (as I'm sure we all know) it should be pertinent, telling, not just for show. I'm a firm believer in the tease and mystery of sexual tension, even in YA. Give a little slice and let the reader figure the rest out.

Liesel K. Hill said...

Thanks so much for hosting me here today! I appreciate you participating in my tour. :D

Kristin Lenz said...

I think there's a need for both - "safe" stories and explicit stories. Sometimes a story requires explicit, honest details and it's just as challenging to write this without making it "smut," as it is challenging to show emotion without explicit details. Congrats on your debut, Liesel!

Stephanie Garber said...

Thanks for this post, Liesel! I feel as if I hardly ever see anyone talk about the benefit's of writing with lower content ratings. I couldn't agree more with everything your wrote. Thanks for sharing. Persistence of Vision sounds awesome!

Jessie Humphries said...

I agree with there being no need for gratuitous explicit content. I don't like to read it and I don't like to write it! Well said.

Christina Lee said...

I think there's plenty of room (and interest) for both kinds of stories and each merits it's own degree of difficulty (I've written each kind, so I know the struggle on both sides). GOOD LUCK with you book, looks like a good one!

Unknown said...

I basically agree with Leisel. I've switched to NA, too, and I include romance, but not graphic content. I'm not comfortable writing it, but mostly, it isn't in the books I've read all my life (horror, sci-fi, and thrillers). Ann Rice has some graphic content, but it seems to fit her style. None of my other favorite authors include it in their books. I think it's kind of sad that the biggest sellers (after self-help) are romance and erotica.

But - to each his own! :-)

CG @ Paper Fury said...

I totally agree with Liesel. Good writing is everything and cheating is always the easy way out. I've been pretty wary of NA because apparently it's supposed to be steamy from cover to cover and that doesn't fit in with what I believe either. I'm off to mark this book to-read on Goodreads!

Jess@Fairday's Blog said...

I haven't read an NA book yet- but I plan to give the genre a try. It sounds like there are a lot of interesting books. I don't like tons of R rated material in the books I read (although I do read Anne Rice- but her style just seems different). Fantastic post!

Rachna Chhabria said...

As I write MG, no question of adding anything x-rated or sexy scenes.

Kimberly Gabriel said...

Great post Liesel! I love books for good writing- plain and simple. There are so many books I enjoy and then I'll get to a overly graphic scene and wish the author hadn't put that in there. I'm all for authentic writing and staying true to the story as long as that's the reason for including those scenes. Bravo to writers who don't need them! I also love your cover - very creepy!

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Tyrean Martinson said...

Thank you Liesel for your wise words on writing. I think that great story and great writing should get us to take notice, not the adult content. I think that many readers are getting tired of adult content and that is driving the popularity of the YA market.

Heather said...

I have to disagree that sex, nudity, and gore replace good writing. I've read a lot of authors that include those elements who are masters of their craft. Clive Barker, Stephen King, many epic fantasy authors include violent content but are still outstanding authors. I understand where you're coming from in that authors shouldn't use it instead of good writing, but I disagree that it replaces good writing.

Jemi Fraser said...

I love dystopians and this world sounds unique and exciting!

Gwen Gardner said...

I don't write explicit sex, just a little romance. But I do have to think that explicit sex can't be that easy to write. It still takes a range of emotions, setting and physical description. *shrugs* Having said that, a sex scene should fit the novel and not take away from the plot.

Taffy said...

Good post! Thanks for your time to write it.