Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • Caroline Trussell Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 5/20/2024
  • Jenna Satterthwaite Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 6/10/2024
  • Bethany Weaver Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 6/26/2024

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.

FAVORITES GIVEAWAY HOP


Happy Saturday Everyone! Hope you're having a great weekend.

Today I’m thrilled to be part of the Favorites Giveaway Hop sponsored by Stuck in Books. I always love this giveaway hop. I’ve got lots of my favorite YA books and some that are favorites of yours that I really want to read. And if you’re reading a different book in the series listed or want a different book by one of the authors listed, I’m glad to get you that book instead as long as it doesn't cost more than the book I've chosen.

Don’t see a book you like? You can win a $10.00 Amazon Gift Card instead. I hope you'll all enter to win a book or gift card for yourself or as a gift for someone.

So here are your choices. Click on the title to read a blurb from Goodreads.

 

 


 

 

 


  

AN EMBER IN THE ASHES (Pre-order)
MARK OF THE THIEF (Pre-order)

If you haven't found a book you want, you can win a $10 Amazon Gift Card.
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 through February 14th telling me the book you want to win or if you want to win the Gift Card instead. I’ll announce the winner on February 16th. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it 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. You must be 13 or older to enter. International entries are welcome as long as The Book Depository ships to you for free.

Here's what's coming up:

On Monday I'll have an interview with debut author MarcyKate Connolly and a giveaway of her MG fairy tale story MONSTROUS.

On Wednesday next week I'll be reviewing Jennifer Nielsen's new MG mythology/fantasy MARK OF THE THIEF and giving away my ARC. Jennifer is one of my favorite authors and I loved this start to her new series. 

And the next Monday I'll have an interview with debut author Laurie McKay and a giveaway of her MG fantasy THE LAST DRAGON CHARMER.

The next Monday I have an interview with debut author Rhiannon Thomas and a giveaway of her YA fairy tale retelling A WICKED THING.

The Monday after that I have a guest post by debut author Karen Bao and a giveaway of her science fiction YA DOVE ARISING.

Hope to see you on Monday!

And here's all the other blogs participating in this Blog Hop:







MICHAEL JENSEN AND DAVID POWERS KING INTERVIEW AND WOVEN GIVEAWAY



 Happy Monday Everyone! Hope you're having a great start to the week. Can you believe it's already the end of January? I've been doing great on my commitment to exercise regularly. I joined Planet Fitness and it's really helped keep me on track when it's too cold to walk outside. Hope you're doing good on whatever new plans you made for the new year.

Before I get to our fantastic interview, I have a few winners to announce.

The winner of A CONSPIRACY OF US is Jessica Lawson!

And the winner of TUNNEL VISION is Jenni Enzor!

And the winner of the Kate Testerman critique is Susa Silvermarie!

Congrats! For the book winners, please e-mail me your address so I can have your books sent to you. Please e-mail me by the end of Wednesday or I'll have to pick another winner.

Today I’m super thrilled to have follower David Powers King and his co-author Michael Jensen here to share about their new YA fantasy WOVEN that releases tomorrow. For those of you who have followed their road to publication, this is a sweet day for them. And I’m so happy to share in it with them.
WOVEN is a fantastic story. I loved the magical system they created around the idea of threads. And Nels and Princess Tyra are such fantastic characters who both grow through the story. This was a real page turner for me and I can’t wait for the second book in the series to come out.
Here’s a blurb from Goodreads:

Two unlikely allies must journey across a kingdom in the hopes of thwarting death itself.

All his life, Nels has wanted to be a knight of the kingdom of Avërand. Tall and strong, and with a knack for helping those in need, the people of his sleepy little village have even taken to calling him the Knight of Cobblestown.

But that was before Nels died, murdered outside his home by a mysterious figure.

Now the young hero has awoken as a ghost, invisible to all around him save one person—his only hope for understanding what happened to him—the kingdom’s heir, Princess Tyra. At first the spoiled royal wants nothing to do with Nels, but as the mystery of his death unravels, the two find themselves linked by a secret, and an enemy who could be hiding behind any face.

Nels and Tyra have no choice but to abscond from the castle, charting a hidden world of tangled magic and forlorn phantoms. They must seek out an ancient needle with the power to mend what has been torn, and they have to move fast. Because soon Nels will disappear forever.
 

Hi David and Michael! So excited to have you here today!

DPK: Thank you for having us, Natalie! This is an honor for us both.

1. Tell us about yourselves and how you became writers.

MJ: I came from a musical family where everyone sang or played an instrument. I sing and play the piano, myself. I began making my own compositions and even tried my hand a writing a few musicals. That’s when I discovered a passion for writing and storytelling.

DPK: I grew up near Hollywood, so I was pretty much surrounded by movie culture all the time. I tried my hand at singing, acting, and animation. Then one day, I had a crazy idea pop into my head when I was 14, leading me to give writing a shot. Been writing and submitting ever since.

2. So cool how you've both been artistic since you were kids. How did you decide to co-author
this book and what considerations went into that decision? What tips do you have for other writers considering co-authoring a book?

DPK: Michael and I first met as coworkers and soon became friends. I let him read one of my practice novels. Then, when he shared his idea with me over lunch—a ghost and a princess in a forest looking for a needle that could bring the ghost back to life—I was sold. “We HAVE to write a book!” was my response. I have always loved ghost stories, and this idea was killer.

MJ: David has been a wonderful co-author. The reason we work so well together is that we put the project above our artistic differences. We never compromise our artistic differences; we just work together to come up with a solution that is better than either of us had on our own. It helps having a co-author who is also your friend.

3. That's so awesome that you met as co-workers. It's like it was destined. Where did you get the idea for WOVEN and how did it change, if at all, as you collaborated together?

MJ: Almost a decade before meeting David. I dreamed I was crushed by a tree and became a ghost. I could pass through walls and fly around. It was very frustrating because no one could see or hear me. I even sang about my frustrations in my dream. I woke up thinking this was my next musical project. I wrote an outline and several songs for it. As much as I loved the story, it just wasn’t working as a musical, so I put it on the shelf. When I read one of David’s books, I remembered it. The basic storyline is still there, but the collaboration process altered WOVEN into something better than I could have dreamed. Who knows, maybe someday I’ll still make that musical.

DPK: I instantly fell in love with this concept. Some of the fantastical elements didn’t make the cut after deciding to ground the story in reality, but it’s possible that we’ll use them in the future. What I have treasured throughout this whole experience is Michael’s trust in sharing his brilliant concept with me, a fledgling writer. Michael has since helped me find my voice as a writer.

4. I loved how the magical system in WOVEN dealt with threads and a magical thimble. What was your world building process like?

DPK: We knew early on, if we wanted a magic needle, we needed a world with a magic system to match. We applied every aspect of sewing and weaving, giving them a place in our world. The concept that everyone is a thread in a tapestry allowed us to invite a different kind of ghost, too.

MJ: Neither David or I knew anything about weaving and sewing before this. We did quite a bit of research and spoke with professionals to help make the magic system parallel the trade.

5. Interesting all the research you did on weaving and sewing. I can imagine you didn't know much about it beforehand and probably weren't very interested in such things. I’ve heard from other authors that co-author books that it’s common for each author to write from one character’s POV? Was this true for you too? And what else did you do to make the story seem so seamless like it was written by one person? Because it seems like there is a whole lot more to co-writing a book to ensure that both characters move the plot along in a cohesive fashion and so that hints and foreshadows are suggested along the way.

MJ: We would sit down and discuss the story chapter by chapter. David would write a treatment of the chapter and hand it to me. I would keep the elements I liked, rewrite a different direction if needed, and send it back. We repeated this process until we had a chapter we were both proud of.

DPK: The Lead Writing approach has worked exceptionally well for us. That’s when one writer handles the initial draft while the other focusing on editing and adding elements. We always plan our chapters ahead of time, as Michael said. This helped us streamline the presentation into one that is unique. This would be a very different book if it was written by either of us on our own.

6. Your collaboration process is fascinating. And I haven't heard any other authors describe it like you have. Who was the harder character to develop—Nels or Tyra—and why?

DPK: Tyra. We wanted her to be unlikable, in a good way. I think we rewrote her character three times. Eventually we found a balance that made her justifiably unlikable, or as one of out early readers put it, “wonderfully flawed.” She does become more sympathetic as the story continues.

MJ: I disagree with David—sorry buddy. Nels was the most difficult because his character arc is so subtle. He starts out flawless; too good and kind. We had to dig deep and consider how dying would change him, how he resents having to put his afterlife in the hands of the spoiled princess Tyra. Nels had to lose every sense of his self while remaining the loveable, all-around good guy.

7. Your competing answers are making me laugh. I know your road to getting an agent and your fantastic publisher Scholastic were not without bumps in the road. And your story is such an inspiring one of not giving up. How did Meredith Bernstein become your agent and Scholastic your publisher?

MJ: Our road certainly has been ... unusual. After the rights for WOVEN were returned to us, the controversy with our previous publisher ignited a media frenzy that soon landed us six offers of representation with major literary agencies. All of the Big Five publishing houses requested and read the manuscript, too. After carefully weighing our options, we selected Meredith Bernstein to represent WOVEN in an action with major publishers—it was acquired by Scholastic at auction. They happened to be our first choice, so everything worked out.

DPK: An unusual road ... Michael couldn’t be more right. It’s not a path any author plans on, but it happened. Michael’s battle became mine. He had my back through the thick of it and he will for always. Being offered a contract with Scholastic at the end is the equivalent of a dream come true. I’m proud and consider myself exceptionally lucky to have an amazing team to work with.

8. I have been jumping up and down with excitement for you just knowing what you've gone through and how things tend to work out for the best. What are your plans for marketing your book? Any decisions made based on watching other authors before you promote their own books?

DPK: Being in the blogging community for six years, I’ve seen many authors promote their books. Because of this networking experience (and a great publisher), I believe the marketing is practically taking care of itself. We are doing a blog tour/giveaway for the next three weeks.

MJ: While Scholastic is doing the majority of marketing for us, we plan marketing where we can, and we will also make ourselves available for signings, school visits and conferences.

9. Glad you've feeling it's a smooth process. Some authors feel overwhelmed with the marketing aspect of it. What are you working on now?

MJ: Among our personal projects, we are currently working on a companion novel to WOVEN.

DPK: The companion novel is coming along great. We hoping to have it wrapped up before the end of this summer. Our primary focus is writing the next two books that follow after WOVEN.

Thanks for sharing all your advice, David and Michael. You can find David and Michael at:

David: Blog: www.davidpowersking.com , Twitter: @davidpowersking
Woven Website: www.wovenbook.com

And WOVEN is available now wherever books are sold:
iTunes             

David's and Michael's publisher Scholastic generously offered an ARC of WOVEN for a giveaway.  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 through February 7th. I’ll announce the winner on February 9th. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, please leave it 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 for for US.

Here's what's coming up:

On Saturday I'll be participating in the Favorites Giveaway Hop. I'll have a lot of your and my favorite books to choose from and will also offer an Amazon Gift Card if you don't see a book you want.

On Monday I'll have an interview with debut author MarcyKate Connolly and a giveaway of her MG fairy tale story MONSTROUS.

On Wednesday next week I'll be reviewing Jennifer Nielsen's new MG mythology/fantasy MARK OF THE THIEF and giving away my ARC. Jennifer is one of my favorite authors and I loved this start to her new series.

And the next Monday I'll have an interview with debut author Laurie McKay and a giveaway of her MG fantasy THE LAST DRAGON CHARMER.

The next Monday I have an interview with debut author Rhiannon Thomas and a giveaway of her YA fairy tale retelling A WICKED THING.

The Monday after that I have a guest post by debut author Karen Bao and a giveaway of her science fiction YA DOVE ARISING.

Hope to see you on Friday!

 

DIANNE SALERNI GUIEST POST AND THE INQUISITOR'S MARK GIVEAWAY

 Happy Monday Everyone! Hope you're having a great start to your week.

FOLLOWER NEWS

Jaimie Ayres new YA paranormal, 18 DAYS, releases on January 27th. To celebrate her publisher,Curiosity Quills is running a contest where they post a thought daily from the book cover and ask people to share on social media. Then you can enter their contest for a $50 Amazon Gift Card. Here's a link to the contest:
https://curiosityquills.com/news/18-days-18-thoughts/

And I have a winner to announce.

The winner of CITY OF SAVAGES is Maisha at Books Equal Awareness.

Congrats! E-mail me your address so I can have your book sent to you. Please e-mail me by the end of Wednesday or I'll have to pick another winner.

Today I'm thrilled to have blogger friend and follower Dianne Salerni here with a guest post on how to write a sequel under contract. Whenever I think of having to do this, I get scared, so I found her advice very helpful. Hope you do too.

And there's a giveaway of THE INQUISITOR'S MARK which releases January 27th. This is a fantastic story. Dianne shares just enough backstory at the start of the book to remind us of things we may have forgotten without making it feel like an info dump. And I liked that we get to see Jax in a new setting with new characters. This is a real page turner. Details of the giveaway will be at the end of the post.

Here's a plot summary of THE INQUISITOR'S MARK from Amazon:

After the all-out Eighth Day war in Mexico, Jax, Riley, and Evangeline have gone into hiding. There are still rogue Transitioners and evil Kin lords who want to use Riley, a descendant of King Arthur, and Evangeline, a powerful wizard with bloodlines to Merlin, to get control over the Eighth Day.

So when Finn Ambrose, a mysterious stranger, contacts Jax claiming to be his uncle, Jax’s defenses go up—especially when Finn tells Jax that he’s holding Jax’s best friend, Billy, hostage. To rescue Billy and keep Riley and Evangeline out of the fray, Jax sneaks off to New York City on his own. But once there, he discovers a surprising truth: Finn is his uncle and Jax is closely related to the Dulacs—a notoriously corrupt and dangerous Transitioner clan who want Riley dead and Evangeline as their prisoner. And family or not, these people will stop at nothing to get what they want.

Now Here's Dianne.

Writing a Sequel Under Contract

In December of 2012, having recently signed a 3-book contract with HarperCollins for my manuscript,
The Eighth Day, I sat down at my computer to attempt – for the first time – writing a book that had been contracted and paid for, sight unseen.

A sequel.

People often ask me: Did I have other stories planned for this series when I wrote Book 1? The answer is yes, sort of, but because of the way this book deal went down, I discarded most of them. Originally, I wrote The Eighth Day as a YA urban fantasy, with my protagonist Jax Aubrey 15-years-old. However, when I submitted the story to my agent, she felt very strongly that the premise and story would work better for MG readers. And as soon as she said it, I knew it was true. I think, in my heart, I knew all along.
So, in a quick round of revisions, I reduced Jax’s age to 13, adjusted his voice, removed darker elements that weren’t appropriate for MG, and before I had to time to recover from that, HarperCollins bought the book in a pre-empt deal and wanted to talk about revisions to Book 1 and sequels!

I was a little nervous taking my first phone call with the head editor at Harper Childrens, but she quickly put me at ease. One of my biggest worries – did I have to change the age of the other two main characters, Riley and Evangeline – was immediately laid to rest. Riley, Jax’s guardian, would remain 18, and Evangeline, the mysterious girl next door, would remain 16. The editor called them “aspirational characters,” and I do believe she was right. Feedback from MG readers of The Eighth Day suggests that kids really like Jax, but they want to be Riley.

However, the editor also encouraged me to shift the focus in later books toward the MG characters. Not that Riley and Evangeline couldn’t be in the books (they are!), but the MG characters needed a more active role. This meant throwing out some of my earlier ideas in favor of making sure the main plot-movers were Jax, his friend Billy Ramirez, Tegan and Thomas Donovan, and Evangeline’s younger sister (whose whereabouts are currently unknown). I couldn’t rely on the older teens to lead all the action.

Staring at the blank first page for Book 2, I considered my options. I knew who the villains of this book would be: the corrupt and deadly Dulacs who were mentioned in The Eighth Day but never made an appearance in that book. But what would the story be?

It was another brainstorming session by telephone that pushed me in the right direction – a conference call between me, my editor, and her assistant. Her assistant was the one who casually mentioned, “I’d love to learn more about Jax’s deceased father. He’s a bit of a mystery.”

And there it was. I already knew the villains. Suddenly I knew how they were connected to Jax. From that point, the plot outline practically wrote itself. There were a few changes along the way; my first drafts always divert from my outlines and some of the best parts of The Inquisitor’s Mark were never part of the original plan. But it all came down to this:

Family ties can be deadly.

You can find Dianne at her Website, her Blog, and on Twitter.

Dianne generously offered an ARC of THE INQUISITOR'S MARK for a giveaway.  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 through January 31st. I’ll announce the winner on February 2nd. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, please leave it 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 for for US and Canada.

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday was started by Shannon Messenger. To find all the other bloggers Blog.
today, go to her

Here's what's coming up:

On Monday I have an interview with follower and blogger friend David Powers King and his co-author Michael Jensen and a giveaway of their fantastic YA fantasy WOVEN.

Next Friday I'll be participating in the Favorites Giveaway Hop. I'll have a lot of your and my favorite books to choose from and will also offer an Amazon Gift Card if you don't see a book you want.

The next Monday I'll have an interview with debut author MarcyKate Connolly and a giveaway of her MG fairy tale story MONSTROUS.

And the following Monday I'll have an interview with debut author Laurie McKay and a giveaway of her MG fantasy THE LAST DRAGON CHARMER.

Hope to see you on Monday!