CURRENT GIVEAWAY CONTESTS

Here are my current Giveaway Contests

THE PRINCESS AND THE PAGE through April 22nd
Happy Easter Giveaway Hop through April 30th
Tracy Marchini Query Critique through April 29th

Upcoming Agent Spotlights and Query Critique Giveaways

Laura Spieller on 4/26/2017
Loren Oberweger on 5/10/2017
Alyssa Jennette on 5/24/2017
Bibi Lewis on 6/12/2017
Kelly Van Sant on 6/21/2017

MARGOT HARRISON GUEST POST AND THE KILLER IN ME GIVEAWAY

Happy Monday Everyone! Are you staying cool enough in all this heat?

Today I'm excited to have debut author Margot Harrison her to share about her YA thriller THE KILLER IN ME. It sounds like a real page turner.

Here's a blurb from Goodreads:

Seventeen-year-old Nina Barrows knows all about the Thief. She’s intimately familiar with his hunting methods: how he stalks and kills at random, how he disposes of his victims’ bodies in an abandoned mine in the deepest, most desolate part of a desert.

Now, for the first time, Nina has the chance to do something about the serial killer that no one else knows exists. With the help of her former best friend, Warren, she tracks the Thief two thousand miles, to his home turf—the deserts of New Mexico.

But the man she meets there seems nothing like the brutal sociopath with whom she’s had a disturbing connection her whole life. To anyone else, Dylan Shadwell is exactly what he appears to be: a young veteran committed to his girlfriend and her young daughter. As Nina spends more time with him, she begins to doubt the truth she once held as certain: Dylan Shadwell is the Thief. She even starts to wonder . . . what if there is no Thief?

Now here's Margot!


How I Learned to Love First-Person Present Tense

“Stay away from present tense,” an agent once warned me. “You can’t pull it off.” Several adult readers—including a librarian—have told me they won’t read first-person present tense: it “bothers” them. I’ve seen the format disparaged on writing forums as a “gimmick,” and called out in online reviews as a novelty.

Yet, in young adult fiction, first-person present tense isn’t new—or rare. Of the 40-plus YA debuts I’ve read this year, across all subgenres, I’d guess slightly more than half are FPPT. My debut novel, The Killer in Me, is one of them.

It wasn’t easy for me to dive into FPPT after years as a fan of third-person past. It just seemed so raw and personal—I wasn’t sure I wanted to be that close to my characters.

Then I started getting editor rejections that pegged my manuscript as lacking “immediacy.” While a
more traditional narrative style works for many YA writers, it clearly wasn’t working for me. I needed to shake things up.

I soon realized that writing in FPPT wasn’t as simple as changing the tenses: the new style nudged me to write in new ways. Here are some things I learned along the way:

1. FPPT narration always wants to become an interior monologue.

Don’t let anyone tell you FPPT is a new gimmick inspired by the eternal “now” of the Internet. The form goes back (at least) to the dawn of the twentieth century.

In college, I studied the Austrian author Arthur Schnitzler, who pioneered the “interior monologue”
in his novellas “Lieutenant Gustl” (1901) and “Fräulein Else” (1924). Both are FPPT narratives told from the point of view of a young person experiencing emotional crisis—just like many YA novels. Schnitzler cut the filtering words and presented each narrator’s stream of consciousness—to powerful effect.

You can do the same—write what the character would be thinking and feeling in the moment, not how she might summarize it later. In a suspenseful scene, “Who’s that behind me?” grabs us more than “I think I sense someone behind me.”

Just remember to edit aggressively and stay focused; present tense isn’t an excuse for rambling (as we often do in our real-life internal monologues).

2. Because FPPT imitates the immediacy of a play or movie, it’s best for zeroing in on “real-time” scenes and vignettes.

Some readers find present tense jarring when it describes a time-span longer than a single scene (Example: “It takes me nearly a week to figure out how wrong I am.”). Such summarizing, they claim, implies the narrator is looking backward, and should therefore be using past tense.

It’s true that some of the most effective FPPT novels consist of brief, vivid, you-are-there scenes with little or no exposition or summary connecting them. (One great example is Tess Sharpe’s Far From You.)

But I don’t think writers should absolutely forbid themselves from using exposition and summary in FPPT. Sure, past tense might seem more logical, but every narrative form fudges the truth. Plus, we can make FPPT exposition less awkward by presenting past time in a “montage,” or a series of distinct moments that progress toward some conclusion. (Example: “On Thursday, waking from uneasy dreams, I start to think I may be wrong. On Friday, when I see her in her red dress, I know I am.”)

3. Watch all your tenses.

When your dominant tense is present, other tenses change, too. You generally won’t need pluperfect to refer to the past. AWKWARD: “I’m petrified of snakes because one had bitten me last summer.” SMOOTH: “I’m petrified of snakes because one bit me last summer.”


Are we entering a world where present-tense narratives will dominate? Hard to say. But one thing’s for sure: Far from just a gimmick, FPPT is a powerful tool you can use to bring your characters closer to the reader. I’m glad I dived in.

You can find Margot at:

Website

Twitter

Goodreads
Margot generously offered a copy of THE KILLER IN ME 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 August t6h. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter either contest.

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 years old or older to enter. This is an international giveaway.

Here's what's coming up:

Next Monday I will be off for a week as my mom and uncle are coming to town for a few days.

The Monday after that I'm interviewing debut author Bridget Hodder with a giveaway of her MG Cinderella retelling THE RAT PRINCE.

The following Monday I will be doing another Summer Fun Book Giveaway--my last for the summer.

The following Monday I plan to take off.

The final Monday in August I have a guest post by Hannah West and a giveaway of her YA fantasy KINGDOM OF ASHES AND BRIARS.

Hope to see you in two weeks!

SUMMER FUN BOOK GIVEAWAY #2

Happy Monday Everyone! First, thanks to everyone for my birthday wishes. It's a special birthday. I can't believe I'm 60! Glad I still feel so much younger. I had a fantastic birthday with family and special friends.

Welcome to Week 2 of my Summer Fun Book Giveaway.
I hope you'll find a book here for yourself or someone you know. I want to give a special shout out of thanks to Harper Collins for sending me most of these books. They send me many books I can't feature, and I make sure to donate them to a school that I know could use books.

Here's how the giveaway will work. Each week one winner will win the book of his/her choice or a $5 Amazon gift card. Most of the books are middle grade, which is why I'm offering the gift card for those who don't see a book they like. I am adding a book to the pile every giveaway.

Here's your choices this week. Click on the title to read a blurb from Goodreads.

Middle Grade Books:

 




 




 


And my two YA choices:

 

Big Nate Flips Out
Bridget Wilder
eleven and holding
The Magnificent Mya Tibbs
Nancy Clancy
The Keepers
The Land of Forgotten Girls
Forest of Wonder
gena finn
salt to the sea
Wishing Day

Didn't see a book you want? Enter to win a $5 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 telling me what book you'd like or that you want the Amazon gift card through July 30th. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter the contest.

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. This is US for the books and International for the gift card.

Here's what's coming up:

Next Monday I have a guest post by debut author Margot Harrison and a giveaway of her YA thriller THE KILLER IN ME.

The Monday after that I'll have another summer fun giveaway.

The following Monday I will be off for a week as my mom and uncle are coming to town for a few days.

The Monday after that I'm interviewing debut author Bridget Hodder with a giveaway of her MG Cinderella retelling THE RAT PRINCE.

Hope to see you next Monday!


SUMMER FUN BOOK GIVEAWAY

Happy Monday Everyone! For those who celebrate, I hope you had a great July 4th weekend. I hope everyone is having a great start to the holiday with lots of time for family, friends, fun, and reading. I'm definitely looking forward to all of that.

For much of the summer, I'll be doing a Monday book giveaway. I do have a few guest posts and interviews scheduled too. I hope you'll find a book here for yourself or someone you know. I want to give a special shout out of thanks to Harper Collins for sending me most of these books. They send me many books I can't feature, and I make sure to donate them to a school that I know could use books.

Here's how the giveaway will work. Each week one winner will win the book of his/her choice or a $5 Amazon gift card. Most of the books are middle grade, which is why I'm offering the gift card for those who don't see a book they like. I will add a book to the pile every giveaway.

Here's your choices this week. Click on the title to read a blurb from Goodreads.

Middle Grade Books:

 




 




 
And my two YA choices:

 

Big Nate Flips Out
Bridget Wilder
eleven and holding
The Magnificent Mya Tibbs
Nancy Clancy
The Keepers
The Land of Forgotten Girls
Forest of Wonder
gena finn
salt to the sea

Didn't see a book you want? Enter to win a $5 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 telling me what book you'd like or that you want the Amazon gift card through July 23rd. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter the contest.

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. This is US for the books and International for the gift card.

Here's what's coming up:

Next Monday I'll be doing another summer fun giveaway.

The following Monday I have a guest post by debut author Margot Harrison and a giveaway of her YA thriller THE KILLER IN ME.

The Monday after that I'll have another summer fun giveaway.

Hope to see you next Monday!



FREEDOM TO READ GIVEAWAY HOP



Happy Friday Everyone! Hope you have a great holiday weekend planned. I’m thrilled to be part of the Freedom to Read Giveaway Hop sponsored by Book Hounds.

I'm making this giveaway simple. I'm offering a $10 Amazon Gift Card to one winner so you can use it toward the purchase of your choice.


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 July 15th. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter the contest.

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.

Here's what's coming up:

Starting Monday, July 11th, I'll be doing a Monday giveaway of MG and YA books from Harper Collins through most of the summer. I hope you'll stop by and enter to win a book for yourself, your child, or someone else you know would enjoy these books and ARCs.

Hope to see you on July 11th!

And here are all the other blogs participating in this Giveaway Hop: