Category Archives: Young Adult

Pitch Wars, Here I Come

motivation

I have a completed mg manuscript that generated many requests but in the end no cigar!

I have a completed YA manuscript that generated many requests but in the end no cigar!

I BELIEVE in both of these manuscripts. I LOVE both of these manuscripts. I poured blood, sweat and tears into these manuscripts.

I want to understand what’s wrong with them. I want to understand how to make them better.

So, I have decided that I’m going to participate in Pitch Wars again this year. I’m still deciding which one of my babies (manuscript) to enter.

Wish me luck. If you are participating in Pitch Wars and want to swap pages or bounce ideas off of each other, leave a comment or find me on the Pitch Wars forums. I posted the first 250 words of both for review.

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Filed under BLOG, Fiction, middle grade fiction, pitch wars, Uncategorized, writers, writing, Writing, Young Adult

If My Book Were A Song

You hear a song for the first time and think, I don’t like this song. You hear it a second time and think, I still don’t like it but I don’t hate it as much as I did the first time I heard it. It plays again and you say to yourself, “Hmm, I’m actually starting to like this song.” By the tenth or so time, you are starting to turn it up. Maybe, you’re even singing the catchy verse that repeats throughout, but still you are not listening to it. Then one day, you stop listening to the music and begin listening to the lyrics and realize the story behind this song is awesome.
Songs have an advantage that books do not. Wouldn’t it be nice, if author’s books got played over and over again until people had no choice but to sit up and listen to the story being told? Yeah, that’s not going to happen which is why it is so important authors engage the reader from the get go. I am currently writing a book that I truly am in love with. I really feel like I have thought outside of the box and created a world that is mine alone. But, if I don’t nail the beginning, I may never get anyone to explore the world that lies deep within the pages. There is no tune that will prelude my words, no beat that will beckon someone’s attention and no melody that will drive the emotion. There are only words, words written by an author wanting to tell a story that someone will remember as good as they remember a favorite song.

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Filed under constructing, novel, story writing, writer's life, writers, writing, Writing, Young Adult

Books at the Beach

When I was about eleven years old I went to Ocean City New Jersey with my family. We set our spots up and unpacked all of the beach essentials. As I was about to lay on my blanket and get some sun I noticed my aunt was reading. I recall looking around and becoming fascinated by so many people holding books. I wanted to be one of them. I begged my mother to take me to the boardwalk that night so I could select a book of my own. I wanted to read on the beach too.

My first beach read was Tigers Eye by Judy Blume. I, along with my aunt and the other beach readers stretched out a blanket, plopped down and read on the beach. I was part of a club and I couldn’t help but feel special.

Many years later, I am still part of the beach reading club. This past week as I sat with legs stretched along the sand reading my selection (Go Ask Alice), inspiration hit. There were so many people holding traditional books and kindles in front of their noses that I just had to know, what they were reading.

I started off by nonchalantly strolling past them sneaking a peak at the titles. When I couldn’t make out the titles, I had to muster up the courage to ask them what they were reading. No one seemed to think I was crazy which made me happy. Everyone I asked, was happy to tell me what they were reading.

Below is a list of the books I found being read on the beach.

  1. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn – This book was the most popular book being read on the beach. At least three of the people I approached were reading the suspense novel. One lady advised me that she loved that the story fluctuated point of views, going from husband to wife. Prior to the beach, I was hearing a lot of buzz about this book. I think it might be one of my next reads.
  2. Velocity: Combining Lean, Six Sigma and The Theory of Constraints to Achieve Breakthrough Performance—A Business Novel
  3. Bared To You by Sylvia Day—Erotic Romance. Book reviews say that this book has an emotional feel similar to Fifty Shades of Grey.
  4. Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris (Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood Book 12) If you still are yearning for vampires this series of books might be a good beach read for you.
  5. Go Ask Alice-Anonymous–This book is a diary of a young fifteen year old girl who experiences drugs for the first time when giving a soda laced with LSD. She gets caught up in the drug scene and writes about her struggles in daily journal entries.
  6. Chain Reaction (Perfect Chemistry) by Simone Elkeles– Love, family secrets, gangs, this book has it all.

So, there we have it. Those are the books I spotted being read while vacationing. I know there are a few listed that I have already added to my TBR list. Did you vacation this year? What book did you bring along? Are any of these on your TBR list?

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Filed under books, Fiction, life, novel, random, reading, writers, writing, Writing, Young Adult

From Gold to Junk

 

My father and mother loved garage sales. Each Saturday morning they would wake up very early, outline the sales in the newspaper and drive around looking for treasures. Their idea of treasures differed. My mother loved to find costume jewelry, purses with tags still on them, kitchen supplies and sealed makeup. My father’s idea of a treasure was a first print edition, a series of books or a signed copy. He hunted for books so he could sell them on ebay. Once, he made a four hundred dollar profit and was ecstatic.

Their love of garage sales rubbed off on me. I liked finding high ticket items for pennies. If my father were alive he would be disappointed in me today. He would ask me “Why didn’t you look inside?” The same question I have been asking myself for the last week.

A year ago, I wondered into the giant flea market at our church bazaar. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular. I, like my mother would go directly to the jewelry, hoping to find a unique piece. I skimmed over the bangles, earrings and plastic necklaces but found nothing. I searched the purses, glanced over home decorations but wasn’t impressed.

I ended my visit to the flea market by rummaging through a mound of books. I wasn’t looking to find a first print or a signed copy. I only wanted something to read. After tucking a few under my arm an author’s name jumped out at me. The Tenth Circle by Jodi Piccoult rested atop the literary mountain. I snatched up the book made my purchase and went on my merry way. When I arrived home, I placed the book on the lower shelf of my bookcase and thought, I will read it soon. I wasn’t expecting to receive the Kindle as a gift which meant for a while the hard covered books nestled on my shelf would take a back seat.

It’s a year later, my Kindle is broke, we got a new puppy (Edgar Allen Pug) and I feel like throwing up.

Edgar has a thing for wood, feet, blankets and books. Last week he pulled The Tenth Circle from the bottom shelf and ripped the cover off. Ugh, I thought looking at the strips of book cover lying on the floor besides my shelf. The next day I found the book lying on the floor again. This time the edges were chewed. Puppies, I thought. I might as well read it, I thought again. I curled up on the couch opened the book and wanted to cry. For a year, I had a mint condition signed book by Jodi Piccoult and I had no idea. What’s worse is I am a writer, I should have thought to look.

Do you think if I wrote to Jodi and said my dog ate your book she’d give me a new one? 🙂

Surely, my father was looking down from somewhere shaking his head saying “Didn’t I teach you anything? The first thing you do when you get a book at a yard sale or flea market is check to see if it is signed.”

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Filed under books, editing, emotions, Giveaway, random, Uncategorized, writer's life, writers, Writing, Young Adult

Interview with author Rebecca Hamilton

 

 

Rebecca Hamilton is another author I met thanks to Twitter. I’m looking forward to today’s interview with her. Rebecca’s debut novel The Forever Girl (Book 1 of the Forever Girl Series) was recently released and I’m excited to say I won a free copy for my Kindle. Please join me in welcoming Rebecca and don’t forget to leave a comment for her. 

 

Hi Rebecca how are you?

I’m a bunch of things right now. I had a lot of mixed emotions over releasing my novel and right now I’m still a bit excited and a lot nervous. At the same time, it feels weird, like it hasn’t really happened yet. I’m also feeling quite honored to be interviewed on your blog. I can’t thank you enough for having me. Hope things have been well on your end.

Thank you for stopping by Writing Like Crazy

Okay Rebecca Let’s jump right into the interview.

First, I’d like to know what made you decide to become a writer. Did you have an aha moment or was it something you did ever since you can remember?

Honestly? Originally, it was a bucket list item. You know, something I wanted to do before I died. (I’m too much of a fraidy-cat to put skydiving on my list, but I guess it turns out this whole writing thing comes close.) Anyway, I was never able to really come up with an idea or finish anything. Then, about four years ago, I had an idea. Finally. And as I wrote that book, it turned into 3 ideas. And as I’ve revised the book, it’s turned into 7 ideas. And along the way, I came up with some other stories as well. So I guess once I started, it just sort of … took over.

Book 1 of The Forever Girl is about a girl named Sophia who is dealing with family skeletons. Can you tell us a little more about this book?

The novel is a bit of the paranormal and also a bit of the mundane. And by mundane, I hope I don’t mean boring. What I mean is, I explore a lot of issues in the novel. Normal day-to-day issues, like dealing with tough family members, being judged or not feeling at home in your home-town. Sophia’s cursed with a buzzing in her head and when she tries to get rid of it with a Wiccan spell, the buzzing turns to whispering voices. As she looks into that, she discovers a family secret about an ancestor hanged during the Salem witch trials. Solving the mystery might cure the noise, but it turns out that in order to find her answers she will have to fall into another life she never expected. There’s a lot of themes there, however, with the biggest one being acceptance—acceptance of yourself, acceptance of others, and acceptance of the way things are.

*Neat, I like the idea of the buzzing becoming whispers. It’s definitely nothing I have heard of before.

Besides Sophia, what other characters will we find in The Forever Girl?

The most memorable characters to my readers have been: Sophia’s mom, a woman with bipolar who maybe means well but is often harsh and out of touch with reality, and Charles, who brings up a lot of issues of trust … can he trust her, can she trust him, can either of them trust themselves or their future together? A lot of readers seem to either love or hate Sophia’s friend (Lauren)’s quirky attitude, which leads them to favor Sophia’s other friend (Ivory) who’s a bit jaded and tells it like it is. 

What inspired you to write this book?

Oh man. Now you’re making me think. It all started four years ago… Umm… 🙂 Okay, I’m going to be honest but it’s not gonna be pretty. I read a series of novels (I won’t say which ones, because that would be mean) and thought, “If this can get published, then so can I!” Ha! How little I knew. (Like the fact that the author was mega famous BEFORE any of her books were published) Anyway, I do feel like a butt for having thought that way. The story itself … IDK, it just came to me. What a freaking cliché, huh?

When did you know that this book would be part of a series?

About half way through the first book. One of the characters sort of … took over unexpectedly, which ended up changing the entire second half of how I thought the story would unfold. That part of the story will make it to book 4 though, I believe.

Can you tell us about your road to publication? Was it a long journey?

Oh, I could bore you with this story. Really I could. To keep it short, I started writing four years ago and I’m just now putting my first novel out there.

Do you have an agent?

I came close many times, even had some agent approach me after seeing my work online, but nothing ever came of it. I seemed to have better luck with editors believing in my work.

Did you spend a lot of time querying for this book? May I ask how many rejections you got?

I queried for about a year. Every agent that covers my genre rejected me. I lost count. Over a hundred, I think. Some were very nice and asked to see future works. One of them plans on buying a copy of my novel. Another said my work reminded her of another author she represented who had won awards, but that publishers wouldn’t pick up the novel so she had to pass on mine. It’s a tough market. I met some really cool agent-people along the way, though.

Rebecca do I understand you are a co-owner of a publishing company? I think that is super cool, can you tell us a little more about this?

 My partner and I were both looking into self publishing around the same time we were considering starting a small literary magazine. We decided to combine our idea to self publish with our idea of publishing others into one effort–at least for now. That’s how Immortal Ink Publishing was born. We used my first novel as a test pilot (and have learned a lot) and have since acquired a few more titles to be released in 2012. We want to stay small, and we want to put our all into the authors we do publish. That said, we also want to support other indie authors–whether they be self published or published through other small publishing houses–by reading their works and promoting them if we find the read enjoyable.

Can authors come to you to have their work published?

 Yes. We’ll be opening for submissions in May. We may open for a paid short story anthology sooner than that, too, where we will be paying those who submit (and are selected) $50 per story plus 5% of the profits each.

What was the reaction from your family when they found out Mommy’s book was going to be on shelves?

I don’t think they get it LOL. They knew immediately I’d spend any money I made on them, though.

I adore the cover for your book. What did you think when you first saw it?

When I saw the cover model, I about fell over at the likeness to my MC. That is EXACTLY how I envision my MC. (Except I know the model has blue eyes and Sophia does not. But otherwise…)

Her Sweetest Downfall and Come, the Dark are the next two books. What can we expect from these?

Her Sweetest Downfall is one of the novellas. It’s related to the series, but not explicitly part of the series. I guess what’s neat about all the books under the Forever Girl brand is that they all can stand alone. The Novellas (called “Journals”) will be put out between releases of The Forever Girl Series Books, as long as I have a story to tell. They are more loosely related to the main story line. Then, within the series itself, there is Sophia’s Trilogy (which consists of books 1, 4, and 7 in the series). Come, the Dark is the second book in the series itself, and this story is a bit more experimental in style. I think it might be my favorite in the series, to tell the truth. There will be romance, paranormal elements, more on the Salem witch trials, and a bit more of a historical flavor (as opposed to the contemporary style of The Forever Girl).

I love the titles of your books. How did you come up with them?

I honestly have no idea. The Forever Girl was actually named for me by my friend Gerry Johnston, an amazing up-and-coming horror novelist. 

How can readers find you? Blog? Twitter? Facebook page?

Blog: http://www.beccahamiltonbooks.com/

Twitter: @InkMuse

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/RebeccaHamiltonFanPage

 

How can they purchase your book? Can you tell us where it is available?

 Currently it’s available in several Amazon stores, including the US and UK. It’s also available on Smashwords and Barnes&Noble. It’s coming to iBookstore soon as well, and a print version will be available in the near future.

Some Links:

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Forever-Girl-ebook/dp/B00729GQ0A/ref=sr_1_11?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1327715594&sr=1-11

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Forever-Girl-ebook/dp/B00729GQ0A/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1327715654&sr=8-1

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-forever-girl-rebecca-hamilton/1038037801?ean=2940014060196&itm=2&usri=the+forever+girl

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/127100

I will say I mostly only use Smashwords to provide a discounted copy (via coupon, for giveaway participants). The regular listing price is the same as the other sites and I don’t the formatting is as nice, so I don’t recommend buying through them unless you’ve got the coupon 🙂

Okay, I love to end interviews with some fire questions I hope you don’t mind

*Do you have a thinking spot?

The bath. Not on purpose. It’s just where all my good ideas come to me. Unfortunately, then I have wet hands and can’t write those ideas down .

*What is your writing ritual?

I always write at night.

*Do you keep Journals?

Not really, but I recently started keeping a day planner! Sometimes I write poetry when I’m hurt or angry.

*What is your favorite word?

Tacos. Especially Moes.

*What are you reading right now?

The Grimoire: Lichgates by SM Boyce. (PEOPLE NEED TO CHECK THIS OUT!)

*Do you have a favorite author?

Nancy Pickard. I adore her stories. She’s brilliant. I can’t really put it into words. You’ll have to read her work to see what I mean. AND she’s just a really nice person. We’ve had a few email chats. She has been one of the few authors who inspires me to bend the rules a little for the sake of suspense.

Rebecca this was an awesome interview. I can’t wait to download The Forever Girl onto my Kindle. I wish you success, peace, and happiness. Thanks for stopping by

Thanks for having me!!

Is there a thought you would like to leave us with?

A quote, from George S. Patton: “If everyone is thinking alikethen somebody isn’t thinking.”

You are very interesting Rebecca, I hope nothing but success for you.

Thank you so much, Maribeth 🙂 My main goal is to bring books to readers that they will enjoy, and I’m finding there’s many ways to pull that off.

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Filed under Author Interview, books, Fiction, writer's life, writers, Writing, Young Adult

MY GUEST BLOG POST FOR AGENT BREE OGDEN

Do you think a writer needs to go on a diet? A writing diet that is. Check out my guest post over at This Literary Life. Bree Ogden (a super agent) was cool enough to allow me to write a blog for her site. It is the first time I have written for another blog as a guest and I’m super excited.

Make sure you leave a comment so I know you stopped by.

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Filed under audience, Author Interview, books, character, character building, constructing, creating, critique, critique groups, editing, Fiction, Inspirational, life, rejections, stories, story telling, story writing, Style, Voice, writer's life, writers, writing, Writing, Young Adult

Getting Rid of My Book’s “Baby Fat”


I’m approaching the end of my YA novel titled The Cult. I have been writing this suspense novel for about two years. The idea came to me in a dream right around the time Nanowrimo was about to start. I was about three chapters into a middle-grade novel (I’m excited to get back to that one) when my sister-in-law presented me with a challenge. “Hey, let’s do Nanowrimo,” she said. She had been contemplating writing a book for some time and Nanowrimo was the push she needed to get started. I accepted her challenge and began writing never realizing at the time it would take me two years to finish the book I never planned on writing. Writing this book was different from the others I have written. It was the first time I chose to just keep writing and not look back. My previous books I would write a chapter, edit a chapter, and then continue. I took more of an organic approach with this one and I’m hopeful it will pay off.

Growing up in an Italian family meant that eating was good. The more you ate the healthier you were. As I got older I realized that what I ate mattered more than how much I ate. It was time to get rid of the “baby fat”. Today I am getting rid of my book’s “baby fat” and replacing it with healthier options. I have to be honest with myself and admit that some of what I wrote was nothing more than junk or fillers. At the time it sounded good but in the end it weighed the book down. The junk made the pace sluggish and hid the story inside.

It’s time to sculpt my book and help it become the best version of itself. I don’t want it to be filled with empty words. I want it to be healthy and full but not stuffed.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on editing your book for publication. How do you know when your story is weighed down?

“Do you have a hard time putting your book on a “diet”?

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Filed under audience, books, character, character building, constructing, creating, editing, emotions, Fiction, Giveaway, Inspirational, life, meme, middle grade fiction, NaNoWriMo, novel, random, rejections, routine, story telling, story writing, Style, Voice, writer's life, writers, writing, Writing, Young Adult