Friday, March 6, 2015

The Novice by Taran Matharu

I've got a brand new YA from Feiwel and Friends to review today, The Novice- Summoner Book One by Taran Matharu. Its expected release date is May 5, 2015.

The Story-
Fletcher is an orphan raised by the blacksmith in the small mountain town of Pelt. Things change when he gets a hold of a book once belonging to a mage. In the middle of the night, hiding in the cemetery, he reads the words of the book and summons a salamander demon. That same night, the town bullies find him in a mausoleum and try to kill him. The salamander saves his life, at the cost of one of the bullies, the town's most prominent son.

Fleeing into the forest, Fletcher makes his way to the one place he might find sanctuary, the Adept Military Academy, a school for other mages with demons, Fletcher is accepted and trained. A battle with a neighboring kingdom has demolished the Academies ranks, and Fletcher finds himself forced to learn five years of study in one year. His only hope of getting assigned to a decent unit lies in beating the noble children in an end of the year contest, a contest against students who have been studying for years.

My Thoughts-
Okay, the premise hooked me right away. An orphan who summons a demon that is unable to be summoned by normal mages. Great start! And the rest of the story delivers. Fletcher is an engaging character who fights the odds and doesn't give up. He is brave, loyal and a true leader. He gathers his friends around him and trains with them to beat the noble children and second year students. Plus, he does not show prejudice towards any race, but relies on the character of the person to tell him their story.

The plot is fast and filled with action. Another premise I enjoy is when the hero is the underdog and must pass some type of skills challenge to overcome the naysayers. The author handles this challenge in a fun way that kept me at the edge of my seat. Plus, there is a twist on the very last page that will make you wish you already had book two in hand. 5 Stars!

I'd pre-order this one :)

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

John Rudolph- Agent

Let's get to know John Rudolph, an agent with Dystel & Goderich Literary. I had the pleasure of meeting him at the Spring ANWA conference last month.

A little background first. John joined Dystel & Goderich in 2010 after twelve years acquiring children's books at GP Putnam's Sons and Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers.

He stressed that his opinions reflect just one agent, not the industry as a whole. So what does he want? What are his pet peeves? and What does he think?

First, why should you have an agent? John says that agents are a writers first line of defense. They are on your side and are able to wade through the nitty-gritty stuff. They will also try to monetize your book the best that they can.

But, how do you get that agent? You query and pitch, but be ready first. John says that half of the queries he passes on just aren't ready to pitch. Make sure you get critiques and edits done first. Once you are ready, make sure your pitch works. First, read the submission guidelines on the agency site and follow them. In your query mention what category your book fits into. Mention any connections what so ever you might have with him. Also, he likes email best. Make  sure you spell his name right!

He likes short queries, maybe two paragraphs. He wants them to be well structured and full of active verbs.

What is he looking for? He likes to be blown away, to say "Whoa, what is going on here?" He wants you to take him to see things he's never seen. Not just new planets, but new cultures. He wants beginnings, middles and ends, no cliffhangers. He reps both adult and children's books.

 I got this from the agency website- "On the children’s side, John is keenly interested in middle-grade and young adult fiction and would love to find the next great picture book author/illustrator. For adults, he is actively looking for narrative nonfiction, especially in music, sports, history, popular science, “big think”, performing arts, health, business, memoir, military history, and humor. He is also interested in commercial fiction, but is very selective in what he takes on."

His do list:
Do have a social media presence: blog, tweet and have a website. Produce content consistently and be a professional author.

Do put out books, The more volume you put out, the more distribution you get.

Do know your grammar.

Do read lots of books in your genre.

His don't list:
Don't fall into cliche writing. He see's a lot of thrillers that start out with an ex-cop/soldier in the Florida keys drinking beer on a boat. He has also seen too many teens in high school with super powers.

Don't tell him you can write because you're retired or have free time.

He doesn't rep romance.

Avoid prologues.

Don't start a children's book out with an adult character.

Don't have characters that make *mental notes to do something later.

How to send him a query- Here are SOME of the agency quidelines:

We prefer email queries, as most do nowadays, so please make sure your cover letter is in the body of the email. Synopses, outlines or sample chapters (say, one chapter or the first 25 pages of your manuscript) should either be included below the cover letter or attached as a separate document. We won’t open attachments if they come with a blank email, by the way.

John's email address- jrudolph@dystel.com

Friday, February 27, 2015

New Release- Hollow City -The Second Novel of Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

A new release for YA Friday
Hollow City: The Second Novel of Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children
By Ransom Riggs

Blurb- This second novel begins in 1940, immediately after the first book ended. Having escaped Miss Peregrine’s island by the skin of their teeth, Jacob and his new friends must journey to London, the peculiar capital of the world. Along the way, they encounter new allies, a menagerie of peculiar animals, and other unexpected surprises.

Complete with dozens of newly discovered (and thoroughly mesmerizing) vintage photographs, this new adventure will delight readers of all ages.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Manuscript Wish lists from Agents and Editors

I actually have a post for Inside the Publishing World for today :) I thought it would be fun to update a previous post about #MSWL, Manuscript wish lists from twitter. Last week there was  a run on posts, so I'm just copying and pasting all the good stuff. For more follow #MSWL or check out that agent/editor yourself. Oh, FYI- never tweet a pitch for #MSWL.

Brooks Sherman ‏@byobrooks  Feb 19
7. YA: I love humor, horror, fantasy & realistic contemporary. Examples: Shadow and Bone, Grasshopper Jungle, I’ll Give You the Sun. #mswl

Brooks Sherman ‏@byobrooks  Feb 19
1. All right, here we go: My belated #mswl stream-of-consciousness tweets! For starters, I am seeking PBs, MG, YA & adult—fiction & non.

Kathleen Rushall ‏@KatRushall  Feb 18
And I'll say it again. A YA with a feminist bent and a clever, memorable protagonist? Try me. #MSWL

Kathleen Rushall ‏@KatRushall  Feb 18
Got a diverse or multicultural YA fantasy w/ beautiful writing, strong world-building and a kickass voice? I'm your girl. #MSWL

Michelle Witte ‏@michellewitte  Feb 18
I want YA/MG with meat on its bones, something I can sink my teeth into. #MSWL Er, maybe I should stop the food analogies & get some lunch.

Lindsay Ribar ‏@LindsayRibar  Feb 18
#MSWL Please don't send me: vampires, angels (fallen or otherwise), teens with cancer, dystopians, Chosen Ones, or destiny/prophecy.

Lindsay Ribar ‏@LindsayRibar  Feb 18
#MSWL Also on the lookout for YA magical realism -- or just paranormal YA that's really grounded in the real world.

Rhonda Helms ‏@RHelmsBooks  Feb 18
I'm very picky about sci-fi, fantasy, paranormal, but if you have something thrilling & different, I want to read it! #MSWL

Hannah Bowman ‏@hannahnpbowman  Feb 18
Big-idea science fiction, especially by women. (But no cheesy aliens!) #MSWL

Hannah Bowman ‏@hannahnpbowman  Feb 18
Big sweeping historical fantasy like JONATHAN STRANGE. #MSWL

Tu Books ‏@tubooks  Feb 18
General #MSWL for us at @tubooks: MG and YA science fiction, fantasy, mystery, and other genre fiction starring people of color.

Kaylee Davis ‏@Kaylee_Davis_  Feb 18
I'd love to see a scifi with a retro aesthetic and a postmodern approach. Really, anything with a style all its own! #MSWL

Brent Taylor ‏@NaughtyBrent  Feb 18
#MSWL time. Upmarket thrillers & mysteries, women's fiction, contemporary & girl-driven YA. Literary MG. Anything Karen Russell-esque.

Rena Bunder Rossner ‏@renarossner  Feb 18
Historical fiction in ALL genres: PB, MG, YA and adult. #mswl Give me mashups. Give me alternate histories.

Rena Bunder Rossner ‏@renarossner  Feb 18
I want great middle grade right now more than anything. #mswl All kinds.

Saba Sulaiman ‏@agentsaba  Feb 18
And in all categories: more funny, shrewd, self-aware female protagonists with agency and spunk and lots and lots of SECRETS #MSWL

Bree Ogden ‏@breeogden  Feb 18
Hey you guys…I still want a psychosexual horror novelization of the board game CLUE. Dying for it. #MSWL

Fey Publishing ‏@FeyPublishing  Feb 15
Call for anthology submissions: We need your creepiest, scariest stories ever. And we'll pay for them too. #mswl http://www.feypublishing.com/submissions.html …

Beth Phelan ‏@beth_phelan  Feb 12
you guys should check out my #MSWL page here: http://bhphelan.tumblr.com/wishlist  http://tmblr.co/ZIlRKl1dDzmzv

Lydia Moed ‏@LydiaMoed  Feb 13
I just posted my current #mswl to my blog. If you're writing anything that looks like this, please get in touch! https://lydiamoed.wordpress.com/wish-list/

Jessica Faust ‏@BookEndsJessica  Feb 11
Talked to an editor today who wants a big, hardcover mystery. Dark, gritty, suspense, female protagonist. Me too I said! #MSWL

Brent Taylor ‏@NaughtyBrent  Feb 11
I'm still looking for a serial killer novel à la THE FOLLOWING. #mswl

Beth Phelan ‏@beth_phelan  Feb 10
I want to see a #YA contemporary with storms, natural disasters, blackouts, whatever, with short timelines. #MSWL Anyone?

StormLiteraryAgency ‏@StormLiterary  Feb 10
Hoping to see heartwrenching, unusual, trendbreaking #MG #MSWL Books that challenge my expectations, perceptions & beautiful #PB #AgentMatch

Monday, February 23, 2015

Breaking Brandon Mull and Fablehaven news!


Brandon Mull was the keynote speaker at the writer's conference I attended this past weekend. I am so excited to say that he announced a follow up series to Fablehaven! It will be called Dragon Watch and will include 5 more books! This series will start right where the last one left off, and will involve the same characters. Instead of focusing on demons, these books will focus on wizards and dragons.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Outpost by Ann Aguirre

Welcome to YA Friday! Today I am looking at Outpost, book 2 in the Razorland trilogy, by Ann Aguirre.

The Story-

Deuce, Fade, Stalker and Tegan have made it to the city of Salvation and finally have a chance to heal from their battles. Each of them is placed with a different foster family and given town jobs. Things are very strange for Deuce. She is a grown woman and a huntress in the eyes of her old enclave, but topsoil she is considered a kid, and worse the town has strict codes about how a woman should act.

However, things aren't as safe as the town's people believe. Deuce and her friends discover a village of Freaks in the forest. When the Freaks attack the town's crops, Deuce has a chance to whip out her knives and do what she does best, fight. Now a part of the protection detail, Deuce feels more like herself and she finally figures out Fade's feelings towards herself. Love blossoms, but all too soon Fade is taken by Freaks, and Deuce races against the odds to save him. What she discovers will change her world.

My Thoughts-

I am thoroughly enjoying this series. I love the character of Deuce. She is strong, brave and courageous yet, she allows herself room to understand the new world around herself. I was super excited when she finally gets to fight and show the menfolk her skills. Her to side characters, Fade and Stalker are true partners and tough individuals. The love triangle between them is fun because truly both guys love Deuce and are good to her.

The post apocalyptic world the character's live in seems real. The town they are in developed from a group of plague survivors that rationalized that the world feel apart because of the iniquity of man, thus the strict rules. The Freaks are great antagonists. They're like zombies, but are really mutants. They are terrifying and as they evolve are becoming true challenges. The tension runs high as the town slowly realizes their danger.

I can't wait to read book 3, Horde. 5 stars.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Camp Ohmigosh kickstarter campagin

It's Here! As I mentioned yesterday, today is the opening day of the fundraising kickstarter campaign for Camp Omigosh by Wade Bradford. Please take a second to visit the site and donate if you can :) https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/skyrocket/camp-omigosh