Saturday, November 28, 2015

This Time Last Year

I wrote a post similar to this last year, and if you want to see it, click here.

So. This time last year, I was turning twenty, without an agent, and taking a semester off from college. I had written a book called THE WAYWARD DARK and was editing it to pieces, preparing to send off my queries for it. That October, I had visited my first ever critique partner and super close friend Sarah Glenn Marsh in Virginia for the first time.

The first query for THE WAYWARD DARK I sent on December 1st, 2014. On January 23rd, 2015, I got the offer of representation from my agent Emmanuelle. A few months later, we took the next step and sent the manuscript out to editors. And then I became a Pitch Wars mentor, something I had dreamed about since I was a wee writer in Pitch Wars as a mentee back in 2013. It was utterly, completely insane to be the one mentoring rather than the one being mentored. And now I'm so close to finishing the second manuscript I've written since signing with Emmanuelle, and it will be the second manuscript she reads (after THE WAYWARD DARK).

And it is absolutely, 100% surreal to look back on this year and think about everything that's happened. I never once thought I would be this successful. That I would make it into the 1% of writers who are represented by agents.

I never thought I would be a mentor in Pitch Wars, that I would receive 182 amazing submissions, that I would get to work with the irreplaceable Jo Hathaway, who has become such a close friend.

I never thought I would somehow be lucky enough to make so many more amazing friends in the writing community, or that I could become friends with so many fellow Pitch Wars mentors, or that I would be part of my amazing Word Girls group, or make so many Twitter friends I could never name them all.

I never thought I would meet Leigh Bardugo at a book signing, the author who inspired my books so much I would not be where I am now without them, and that she would recognize me!

I never thought I'd meet my soul twin, aka my literal other half, Hafsah Faizal. If people can be two halves of the same coin, that's what we are. She's more than a best friend to me. I would not be complete without her.

Looking back on everything that has changed since my twentieth birthday exactly one year ago today, it's no wonder 2015 has literally flown by. And writing this has reminded me to be so, so grateful for everything I have and everything I've done, even if that's hard to remember on a day-to-day basis.

I made it this far, and I'll make it even further, because I refuse to give up .The book world is my home. It's where I have finally found I belong. So here's to another great year and every single surprise it will bring.

Monday, November 16, 2015

#PitchWars Feedback

Hi everyone,

This is my apology for how late my feedback for Pitch Wars is. And because I pride myself on always being honest, I'll explain why my feedback was so late in coming...and why it will continue to be late.

I am a full time college student with an internship at the museum that is associated with my university. What little time I have left over from the internship I spend in class, and what little time I have left over after class is spent doing homework. It is also nearing the end of the semester, so I have a lot of extra papers, projects, and exams to work on and study for.

After school comes my own personal writing. I am an agented writer hoping to get published, and as such I have to keep writing books. My agent expects manuscripts, as do I, and as having a career as an author is something I am actively striving for, my books take priority. Thus, I will be writing books and editing them and everything else that entails.

Then comes my family, my CPs, and my friends. My CPs take priority over giving Pitch Wars feedback, as my CPs and I have working relationships (albeit very friendly ones, and I'd consider them some of my closest friends, but we still have work expectations from each other and that takes precedence). My family is very important to me, and thus they take up a large portion of my time. With the holidays coming up, my life is going to be even more hectic than it already is. (And as an aside, we had a recent death in the family and that took up a lot of my time as well.)

At the end of the day, I don't have a lot of extra time on my hands, and as such I didn't get to my Pitch Wars feedback as quickly as I had hoped. I know I promised feedback to a lot of people, but I am only one person with a hundred things to do on a daily basis, and I had to make the tough decision of what was to take priority. During the Pitch Wars months, my mentee came first.

All of this is to say, I apologize deeply for how slow my feedback has been in coming. I am not giving feedback to all 182 submissions I received, as--again--I am only one person and sometimes, I just don't know what feedback I can give other than "It just wasn't for me." I know that's a horrible rejection. Believe me, I saw that plenty of times when I queried. (I've been where you are! I understand how dejecting it is!) But sometimes that's the case. It doesn't have that spark you're looking for. There doesn't have to be anything wrong with your prose, your plot, your characters, your setting. It just didn't work with me.

So, if you've read this far, let me tell you I WILL get feedback out before 2015 ends. I promise (Though I don't promise it will come to all of you. Some asked, some I requested from, and those are who take priority.) I won't be getting to feedback writing and sending until December, though, due to everything above, and because December is when I will have free time with the semester ending and my manuscript out with CPs.

Again, I apologize immensely, and I know "sorry" only goes so far. Do know I see you on Twitter if I'm following you, and I am constantly rooting for you, because I want each and every one of you to succeed. Also know you can always reach out to me. My inbox is always open, as is my Twitter. I don't want any of you to give up, and if I can somehow help, please reach out to me.

All the hugs and luck,
Katie

Monday, November 2, 2015

#PitchWars Mentee Interview - Joanna Hathaway (MY MENTEE!)

Hi, everyone!

This is the final interview for the mentees of Pitch Wars! It was a series through the month of October, so be sure to click around to learn a bit more about some of the mentees and their Pitch Wars stories so far!

In case you're curious about what Pitch Wars is, learn more here

What is your name? Your mentor’s name? Your team name?
Jo, KT, Team Buckaway!!!

What is your Twitter handle?
Describe your manuscript in tweet-like format (no more than 140 characters).
(Oh no! Not this question! *sigh* Here goes.) A young fighter pilot and princess come of age—and fall in love—as war ignites and family loyalty puts them on opposing battle lines. 

What is the #1 thing you’ve learned so far in Pitch Wars?
That's a tough one to narrow down. I feel like I've learned a whole series of little things about the flaws in my MS that I sensed were there, but that for the life of me I couldn't see well enough to fix. So all of KT's observations have sparked new life into areas that needed clarity and focus and more oomph. And I'm thrilled with the changes! Does that answer the question? No? Not really? How about I've just learned that KT IS AWESOME. :) 

What is your guilty pleasure food/drink when writing?
Anything with cheese. Mmmm.

What is the theme song for your MC(s)? Why? What about for your villain(s)?
For my fighter pilot MC it's Death by White Lies. And for the princess MC it's Forget That You're Young by the Raveonettes. As for the villain...well, I don't really have one. Everyone is a bit good and a bit bad in the story. :)

You're stranded on a desert island. You have no provisions, but you are with three of your favorite characters (either in your MS or elsewhere). They each promise they can help you survive. Who are they?
Wait, no provisions? Does this mean no airplanes? Drat. There goes that plan... Alright, I'll have Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, and R2D2. Eventually, either the rebels or the Empire will show up to retrieve their lost leaders, and in the meantime, we can have some awesome and highly entertaining father/son therapy sessions while R2 scours the island finding food for us and just generally being useful because that's what R2 does. Ta da!

Friday, October 30, 2015

#PitchWars Mentee Interview - M.C. Vaughan

Hi, everyone!

This is the next interview for the mentees of Pitch Wars! It will be a series through the month of October, so be sure to check back to learn a bit more about some of the mentees and their Pitch Wars stories so far!

In case you're curious about what Pitch Wars is, learn more here

What is your name? Your mentor’s name? Your team name?
M.C. Vaughan, Lynnette Labelle, Team Labelle

What is your Twitter handle?
@MC_Vaughan

Describe your manuscript in tweet-like format (no more than 140 characters).
Starving artist Zara facepaints @ kiddie parties to make extra $. She has no time for love & no love for kids. In walks a hot single dad...

What is the #1 thing you’ve learned so far in Pitch Wars?
Celebration and commiseration in a community are the greatest tools in a writer's utility belt. Also: Lynnette Labelle has the eagliest of eagle eyes when it comes to spotting excessive present participles, buried dialogue, pacing issues, and motivation issues.

What is your guilty pleasure food/drink when writing?
Not Your Father's Root Beer. Ooh, no, Schlafly's Pumpkin Ale. Ah, sheesh. Now I sound like a lush. Coffee? Yes. Excessive coffee during daylight hours, and boozy goodness at night (but typically only during shmexy scene-writing).

What is the theme song for your MC(s)? Why? What about for your villain(s)?
Soft as Snow (But Warm Inside)' by My Bloody Valentine. I don't have a villain, really...

You're stranded on a desert island. You have no provisions, but you are with three of your favorite characters (either in your MS or elsewhere). They each promise they can help you survive. Who are they?
I'm leaving my MS out of it because *those* people only live in my head. My three choices, whom I believe to be very real people, are: Bridget Jones (because she would make me laugh and also make me look more capable/together), Fitzwilliam Darcy (because GodDAMN he looks good in a wet shirt), and Ender Wiggin (because he would figure out how to keep us fed and get us off the island).

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

#PitchWars Mentee Interview - Sheena Boekweg

Hi, everyone!

This is the next interview for the mentees of Pitch Wars! It will be a series through the month of October, so be sure to check back to learn a bit more about some of the mentees and their Pitch Wars stories so far!

In case you're curious about what Pitch Wars is, learn more here

What is your name? Your mentor’s name? Your team name?
Sheena Boekweg, Megan Grimit, #TeamNutMEG

What is your Twitter handle?
@SheenaBoekweg

Describe your manuscript in tweet-like format (no more than 140 characters).
Wax girl Sarah’s heart is a living seed that grants a powerful wish to the person who kills her and lights it on fire. A wish Blake needs.

What is the #1 thing you’ve learned so far in Pitch Wars?
So much! I've learned that a love story needs a reason why it will all fall apart, and the reader needs to think the love story will all fall apart, in order for it to work. I've learned the power of an awesome villian, I've learned how to sharpen the focus in my story, and I've also learned that I can completely rewrite my novel in three weeks. Didn't know I could do that.

What is your guilty pleasure food/drink when writing?
Candy. Swedish fish mostly. Also any kind of sugar cereal, especially chocolate.

What is the theme song for your MC(s)? Why? What about for your villain(s)?
The theme song for my book is Naked As We Came by Iron and Wine. It's Blake and Sarah's love song. When I'm writing my villain, I like to listen to Monster by Imagine Dragons.

You're stranded on a desert island. You have no provisions, but you are with three of your favorite characters (either in your MS or elsewhere). They each promise they can help you survive. Who are they?
Molly Weasley, The Doctor (eleven), and Bear Grylls

Monday, October 26, 2015

#PitchWars Mentee Interview - Terry Bell

Hi, everyone!

This is the next interview for the mentees of Pitch Wars! It will be a series through the month of October, so be sure to check back to learn a bit more about some of the mentees and their Pitch Wars stories so far!

In case you're curious about what Pitch Wars is, learn more here

What is your name? Your mentor’s name? Your team name?
I'm Terry Bell, my mentor is L.L. McKinney, and we are Team Catalytic Chaos!

What is your Twitter handle?
@what_eats_owls

Describe your manuscript in tweet-like format (no more than 140 characters).
Two dangerous teens in a wartorn Empire. Her lost past could salvage his bloody one - if they can survive both their enemies and each other.

What is the #1 thing you’ve learned so far in Pitch Wars?
That there are people out there as unflinchingly masochistic as I am!

What is your guilty pleasure food/drink when writing?
Ben and Jerry's. So, so much Ben and Jerry's.

What is the theme song for your MC(s)? Why? What about for your villain(s)?
Oh boy. My female MC gets "Castle" by Halsey, because 'there's an old man sitting on the throne that's saying that I probably shouldn't be so mean' is just so *subtle*, you know? Just kidding, it's about as subtle as a brick to the face, which fits my female MC about right. My male MC is a "Run Boy Run" kind of boy, because it's the perfect blend of "it might be okay tomorrow" and "get me out of here", which fits! The villain has always been Beethoven's 7th for me, because she's a snob like that.

You're stranded on a desert island. You have no provisions, but you are with three of your favorite characters (either in your MS or elsewhere). They each promise they can help you survive. Who are they?
Fie, from my current WIP, who knows a good deal about surviving out of doors without a lot of materials on hand, so I'd trust her. (Also she's got a rotten poker face, so I trust that too.) Julius Starling, from my Pitch Wars MS, is a stone-cold badass and knows a piece about survival too, so I'd keep him around. And Annie Murrieta, from a project I will someday tackle again. She is entirely untrustworthy. I'm pretty sure I've described her as an apex asshole, with no natural predator, so I guess she's got that going for her!

Friday, October 23, 2015

#PitchWars Mentee Interview - Vanessa Barger

Hi, everyone!

This is the next interview for the mentees of Pitch Wars! It will be a series through the month of October, so be sure to check back to learn a bit more about some of the mentees and their Pitch Wars stories so far!

In case you're curious about what Pitch Wars is, learn more here

What is your name? Your mentor’s name? Your team name?
Vanessa Barger, Sarah Cannon, Do we have a team name? I don't think so......

What is your Twitter handle?
@VanessaBarger

Describe your manuscript in tweet-like format (no more than 140 characters).
Detention. Space Pirates. Mayhem.

What is the #1 thing you’ve learned so far in Pitch Wars?
It's the little things that count!

What is your guilty pleasure food/drink when writing?
Tea. And tiny tea cakes/cookies. I'm really an 80 year old woman.

What is the theme song for your MC(s)? Why? What about for your villain(s)?
The title theme to The Last Starfighter. Villians? Bad Guy by 3oh!3

You're stranded on a desert island. You have no provisions, but you are with three of your favorite characters (either in your MS or elsewhere). They each promise they can help you survive. Who are they?
Mr. Darcy, Captain Wentworth, and Asimov (the globular vacuum worm from my manuscript).

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

#PitchWars Mentee Interview - Lyndsay Ely

Hi, everyone!

This is the next interview for the mentees of Pitch Wars! It will be a series through the month of October, so be sure to check back to learn a bit more about some of the mentees and their Pitch Wars stories so far!

In case you're curious about what Pitch Wars is, learn more here

What is your name? Your mentor’s name? Your team name?
Lyndsay Ely, Elizabeth Briggs, #TeamBriggs

What is your Twitter handle?
@lyndsayely

Describe your manuscript in tweet-like format (no more than 140 characters).
In a decadent, lawless city, a gunslinger girl becomes a theatre sharpshooter. But the price for her new life is higher then she expects.

What is the #1 thing you’ve learned so far in Pitch Wars?
There are a lot of animated gifs on the internet.

What is your guilty pleasure food/drink when writing?
2 or 3 simultaneous drinks (coffee, soda, and wine being the preferred trinity)

What is the theme song for your MC(s)? Why? What about for your villain(s)?
For my MC, I guess I have to say "Pistolero" by Juno Reactor, for obvious reasons. For my "villain"(intriguing quotes are intriguing), Shirley Bassey's "Dangerous Games."

You're stranded on a desert island. You have no provisions, but you are with three of your favorite characters (either in your MS or elsewhere). They each promise they can help you survive. Who are they?
Seriously, is anyone not going to say Hermione here? Her, obviously. Also, Katsa from GRACELING (yeah, bit of a cheat). And how about Arya Stark, to round out the inhabitants of Tough Chick Island. 

Monday, October 19, 2015

#PitchWars Mentee Interview - Brian Palmer

Hi, everyone!

This is the next interview for the mentees of Pitch Wars! It will be a series through the month of October, so be sure to check back to learn a bit more about some of the mentees and their Pitch Wars stories so far!

In case you're curious about what Pitch Wars is, learn more here

What is your name? Your mentor’s name? Your team name?
Brian Palmer. Holly Faur. Team Dumbledore Shrugged.

What is your Twitter handle?
@Brian_C_Palmer

Describe your manuscript in tweet-like format (no more than 140 characters).
A cold-hearted woman learns she has 10,000 words left to speak before she dies, and then has to navigate the fallout of this revelation.

What is the #1 thing you’ve learned so far in Pitch Wars?
There's always a some way to make your novel better if you're ready to put in the effort and (in some cases) kill your darlings, so it's best not to be afraid of making such a commitment. Also, my mentor is the most awesometastic mentor in the history of ever!

What is your guilty pleasure food/drink when writing?
Hmm, in my mind it's a Coke and pizza, but it's almost always water and/or a cup of the nearest cereal I can find. :)

What is the theme song for your MC(s)? Why? What about for your villain(s)?
"Five Senses" by Violents encapsulates my female protagonist's state of mind perfectly. "I'd been away three years / None of them worth keeping / All of my five senses / Were either numb or fading."

You're stranded on a desert island. You have no provisions, but you are with three of your favorite characters (either in your MS or elsewhere). They each promise they can help you survive. Who are they?
Dumbledore (natch); Alex from Robin Parrish's Dominion Trilogy; Grady Tripp from Michael Chabon's Wonder Boys.

Friday, October 16, 2015

#PitchWars Mentee Interview - Mairi Kilaine

Hi, everyone!

This is the next interview for the mentees of Pitch Wars! It will be a series through the month of October, so be sure to check back to learn a bit more about some of the mentees and their Pitch Wars stories so far!

In case you're curious about what Pitch Wars is, learn more here

What is your name? Your mentor’s name? Your team name?
Mairi Kilaine, Kristin B. Wright, TeamKilt

What is your Twitter handle?
@mairvin

Describe your manuscript in tweet-like format (no more than 140 characters).
CometCon virgin Molly tries to save her flash-in-the-pan writing career from the fire while BBC babe Archie turns up the heat.

What is the #1 thing you’ve learned so far in Pitch Wars?
I've learned that my fellow writers are tenacious, supportive, and prone to fits of tears. Also have some good leads on new whiskey.

What is your guilty pleasure food/drink when writing?
Cheap wine and Cheez-its. Mentor-approved.

What is the theme song for your MC(s)? Why? What about for your villain(s)?
Not sure about a theme song, but Beyonce always puts me in the right head-space to write Molly. My villain listens to whatever music you hate the most. 

You're stranded on a desert island. You have no provisions, but you are with three of your favorite characters (either in your MS or elsewhere). They each promise they can help you survive. Who are they?
Hermione Granger and Katniss Everdeen, who could establish an entire city on their own, and Archie from my own manuscript because he's dreamy.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

#PitchWars Mentee Interview - Jennifer Ray

Hi, everyone!

This is the next interview for the mentees of Pitch Wars! It will be a series through the month of October, so be sure to check back to learn a bit more about some of the mentees and their Pitch Wars stories so far!

In case you're curious about what Pitch Wars is, learn more here

What is your name? Your mentor’s name? Your team name?
Me: Jennifer Ray Mentor: Lee Gjertsen Malone Team: Dark Horse

What is your Twitter handle?
@JRay_NYC

Describe your manuscript in tweet-like format (no more than 140 characters).
Brooke discovers a mysterious garden and meets a girl living a century earlier. Can she find a way to change the past before time runs out?

What is the #1 thing you’ve learned so far in Pitch Wars?
The writing community rocks!

You're stranded on a desert island. You have no provisions, but you are with three of your favorite characters (either in your MS or elsewhere). They each promise they can help you survive. Who are they?
1. Hermione Granger (She's smart, resourceful, and she can do magic) 2. Emily Windsnap (She's a mermaid, so she can swim for help) 3. Fitzwilliam Darcy (Do you need to ask?)

Monday, October 12, 2015

#PitchWars Mentee Interview - Rebecca McLaughlin

Hi, everyone!

This is the next interview for the mentees of Pitch Wars! It will be a series through the month of October, so be sure to check back to learn a bit more about some of the mentees and their Pitch Wars stories so far!

In case you're curious about what Pitch Wars is, learn more here

What is your name? Your mentor’s name? Your team name?
Rebecca McLaughlin; Laura Salters; #TeamTackleHug

What is your Twitter handle?
@McRebecky

Describe your manuscript in tweet-like format (no more than 140 characters).
Coin is Nameless—no family, no home, no legal rights—and she has just been named Queen.

What is the #1 thing you’ve learned so far in Pitch Wars?
Community is key. The writers I've met and become friends with have taken this solitary activity of writing and made it something wonderful and fun and social! I've finally found a lunch table where all the cool kids are nerdy kids, and we get to sit together and be awesome.

What is your guilty pleasure food/drink when writing?
Coffee. More coffee. Sometimes tea. Then more coffee.

What is the theme song for your MC(s)? Why? What about for your villain(s)?
The MC's song is the perfectly titled "Remain Nameless" by Florence + The Machine) The story is all about her searching for her name, trying to balance the street thief/con artist life she grew up against the regal expectations since she has been named Queen. Continuing that theme, the villain's song is self-serenade of "Conquest of Spaces" (by Woodkid), because it's about the balancing of ambition, responsibility, and purpose.

You're stranded on a desert island. You have no provisions, but you are with three of your favorite characters (either in your MS or elsewhere). They each promise they can help you survive. Who are they?
I'm going to go with the three most recent incarnations of The Doctor. I mean, you can survive with only one, but it's always more fun to have multiple Doctors around. (PS: if you don't watch Doctor Who, you're never getting off that island.)

Friday, October 9, 2015

#PitchWars Mentee Interview - Amanda Christine

Hi, everyone!

This is the next interview for the mentees of Pitch Wars! It will be a series through the month of October, so be sure to check back to learn a bit more about some of the mentees and their Pitch Wars stories so far!

In case you're curious about what Pitch Wars is, learn more here

What is your name? Your mentor’s name? Your team name?
Amanda Christine and Sharon Johnston

What is your Twitter handle?
@A_ChristineD

Describe your manuscript in tweet-like format (no more than 140 characters).
After buying a laptop from a thrift store, seventeen-year-old Sunny Edwards finds a virus in the hard drive... and it has a game of its own.

What is the #1 thing you’ve learned so far in Pitch Wars?
How to kill my darlings quickly and mourn them with my fellow (amazing) writers! It has truly been an awesome experience learning and growing with everyone.

What is your guilty pleasure food/drink when writing?
I really love V8--spicy V8 specifically. I have no idea why, but I drink at least one a day. 

What is the theme song for your MC(s)? Why? What about for your villain(s)?
The theme song for my MC Sunny would have to be Everything Dies by Type O Negative. She loves her some metal, and she's a Goth kid, so bam! My villain's theme song (which is a computer virus) would be System by Korn. It hits the tone quite well. 

You're stranded on a desert island. You have no provisions, but you are with three of your favorite characters (either in your MS or elsewhere). They each promise they can help you survive. Who are they?
Oooh, definitely not my MC Sunny. She would probably freak and try to swim her way off the island, leaving me starving to death with three degree sun burns. Damien, the computer whizz in my MS who tries to quarantine the virus, would probably be my best option. He's good at coding, so he has great problem solving skills. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

#PitchWars Mentee Interview - Shanna Rogers

Hi, everyone!

This is the next interview for the mentees of Pitch Wars! It will be a series through the month of October, so be sure to check back to learn a bit more about some of the mentees and their Pitch Wars stories so far!

In case you're curious about what Pitch Wars is, learn more here

What is your name? Your mentor’s name? Your team name?
Shanna Rogers, mentor: Joy McCullough-Caranza, team Alory

What is your Twitter handle?
@ShannaRogers29

Describe your manuscript in tweet-like format (no more than 140 characters).
DIY turns into D-I-yi-yi when 12yo Rory and her design-savvy brother Mag decide to tackle a renovation job to save their family property.

What is the #1 thing you’ve learned so far in Pitch Wars?
I've learned there are a TON of amazing writers out there, and the writing community is the most generous, supportive group out there. I've also learned there is no one-size-fits-all sort of feedback. Every manuscript has its own strengths and weaknesses.

What is your guilty pleasure food/drink when writing?
Beef jerky or Australian licorice. Anything chewy! And coffee, but that's not a guilty pleasure, that's just functioning 101.

You're stranded on a desert island. You have no provisions, but you are with three of your favorite characters (either in your MS or elsewhere). They each promise they can help you survive. Who are they?
I'll take my character, Rory, for her ability to build a shelter. If I can borrow characters from other works, I'd love to have Hermione from the Harry Potter series. You just know she'd find the exact spell to help us out. Finally, I'll bring Marcus from WHEN YOU REACH ME because he knows how to time travel, which could come in pretty handy. ;)

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

#PitchWars Mentee Interview - Jen F

Hi, everyone!

This is the next interview for the mentees of Pitch Wars! It will be a series through the month of October, so be sure to check back to learn a bit more about some of the mentees and their Pitch Wars stories so far!

In case you're curious about what Pitch Wars is, learn more here

What is your name? Your mentor’s name? Your team name?
Jen F, mentored by Sonia, #TeamMotivationalPoster   

What is your Twitter handle?
@jennyleeSD

Describe your manuscript in tweet-like format (no more than 140 characters).
Hahaha. This is impossible. Ghost chick with a sassy attitude teams up with hemispherectomy survivor to figure out who killed her.

What is the #1 thing you’ve learned so far in Pitch Wars?
Everyone, no matter how skilled or talented needs PitchWars and a mentor.

What is your guilty pleasure food/drink when writing?
None. Writing/revising requires my full attention. So does eating. Ha.

What is the theme song for your MC(s)? Why? What about for your villain(s)?
Panic! at the Disco "Miss Jackson". Well, because Greer is a little bit of a Miss Jackson figure. And the guys love her for it. Plus, when she ghosts, well, she is a lot like Miss Jackson. No villain theme songs.

You're stranded on a desert island. You have no provisions, but you are with three of your favorite characters (either in your MS or elsewhere). They each promise they can help you survive. Who are they?
Carey (my male MC because hot hot hot and capable), Kip (from the English Patient), and Briony (from Atonement, for drama and fun).

Monday, October 5, 2015

#PitchWars Mentee Interview - Monica Hoffman

Hi, everyone!

This is the first interview for the mentees of Pitch Wars! It will be a series through the month of October, so be sure to check back to learn a bit more about some of the mentees and their Pitch Wars stories so far!

In case you're curious about what Pitch Wars is, learn more here


What is your name? Your mentor’s name? Your team name?
      My name is Monica Hoffman. My mentor is the wonderful Wendy Spinale. And our team name is TeamDG4L (Disney Girls for Life)

What is your Twitter handle?
      @mmhoffman14

Describe your manuscript in tweet-like format (no more than 140 characters).
AVATAR meets ENDER'S GAME where 17yo pilot seeks source behind humanoid robot sentient glitch, risking exile & her heart.

What is the #1 thing you’ve learned so far in Pitch Wars?
Revising is HARD work. It is not for the faint of heart. You will kill more darlings than you ever thought possible. What you thought about your MS going in will be questioned and you better have a good reason why you have unnecessary characters/scenes or why you broke a grammar rule.

What is your guilty pleasure food/drink when writing?
      Cherry coke and coffee. Not much of a snack eater.

What is the theme song for your MC(s)? Why? What about for your villain(s)?
      Survival by Muse for my MC. Not sure about the villain.

You're stranded on a desert island. You have no provisions, but you are with three of your favorite characters (either in your MS or elsewhere). They each promise they can help you survive. Who are they?
Katniss Everdeen; Evie Thornhill; and A.I. 1408 (last two from my MS)

Monday, September 28, 2015

Monday Music 101

Hi, everyone.

This week's Monday Music is the cover of Writing's on the Wall by Sofia Karlberg. Hope you enjoy!



Happy Monday!

Katie

Monday, September 21, 2015

Monday Music 100 (with #PitchWars Surprise!)

Hey, everyone.

Yay! It's the 100th Monday Music post! WOO! Thus, I'm going to share more songs than just one today. All of these are from the playlist for a fantasy WIP I've been playing with. (Also, look to the bottom of this post if you're a Pitch Wars mentee!)

Aaron Wilde - Legacy

Linkin Park - Easier to Run

Sofia Karlberg - Shameless (cover)

Halsey - Trouble (Stripped)

Epic Score - Always With Honor

Five random, completely gorgeous songs. I hope you enjoy them!

As for Pitch Wars mentees... I'm doing a blog series with you guys for the month of October! As there are more than 100 of you, I thought I'd group you together for each post, asking you a few fun questions. Thus, please fill out this form to the best of your ability: Pitch Wars Mentee Interview Questions

Please note: I will only take the first 30 mentees who respond! I wish I could take more, but I don't have enough time between balancing school and my mentee's manuscript.

Happy Monday!

Katie

Monday, September 14, 2015

Monday Music 99

Hi, everyone.

This week's selection is called Hold Me Down by Halsey. Hope you enjoy!


Happy Monday!

Katie

Monday, September 7, 2015

Monday Music 98

Hi, everyone.

This week's selection is called Return from Darkness by Two Steps From Hell. Hope you enjoy!


Happy Monday!

Katie

Sunday, September 6, 2015

#PitchWars Homework

Hi everyone!

Contrary to what my title is, this homework is fun--I promise. When I was a PitchWars mentee in 2013, my mentor gave me this assignment, and it is one of the best lessons I've ever had for writing. It forever changed the way I plot my books and my character arcs.

I've given this assignment to my own mentee, but I thought I would share it with you, too, especially since my feedback to those who subbed to me will be weeks in coming.

There are three parts to this assignment. The first part is to watch a series of videos (found here) about the Seven Point Plot Structure. They're by Dan Wells, an author published with Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins. Watch all five of the videos (all found on the link I provided) and take notes, do some further research, have some fun learning about this method of plotting. It's well worth it.

The second part is to do further research on character arcs. I provided my mentee with three links, pasted below:
http://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/character-arcs-1/ (this website is a well of information, so feel free to click around!) 
http://www.veronicasicoe.com/blog/2013/04/the-3-types-of-character-arc-change-growth-and-fall/ (in this, as you read, try to figure out which type of arc fits with your main characters)
http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/blog/2010/12/28/putting-a-character-arc-in-your-novel/ (in this one, pay special attention to the five parts of the character arc mentioned)

The final part of the homework assignment, after watching the five videos and reading the links I provided, is to write up the character arcs AND plot of your main characters AND manuscript in the Seven Point Plot Structure format. After you've written it up, share it with critique partners, if you want! See if they can give you any feedback. Maybe you'll learn something new about writing, or figure out a plot knot that you were having an issue with before. Lord knows I certainly did. :) 

If you have any questions, please feel free to comment! 

Monday, August 31, 2015

Monday Music 97

Hi, everyone.

This week's selection is called A Howling Wilderness from the Tudors season three soundtrack. Hope you enjoy!


Happy Monday!

Katie

Monday, August 24, 2015

Monday Music 96

Hi, everyone.

This week's selection is called Full of Sound and Fury by Dean Valentine. Hope you enjoy!


Happy Monday!

Katie

Monday, August 17, 2015

Monday Music 95

Hi, everyone.

This week's selection is called My People Were Horsemen from the Pompeii movie soundtrack. Hope you enjoy!


Happy Monday!

Katie

Monday, August 10, 2015

Monday Music 94

Hi, everyone.

This week's selection is called Devil's Backbone by The Civil Wars. Hope you enjoy!


Hope you enjoy!

Katie

Monday, August 3, 2015

Come One! Come All!

You! Hey you!


If you've come here for PitchWars, you're in the right place. Thanks so much for stopping by. It's always been a dream of mine to be a mentor, ever since I was chosen as a mentee (top pick!) for the 2013/2014 year by the stupendous Stephanie Garber. I remember how hard it was to go through the mentor bios and attempt to narrow my selections down. But never fear, for I am here to tell you all about me and what I want.


Very short description of what I'm looking for: 

I want to fall in love--with your plot, your world, your characters. Plain and simple. 

Short list of genres I'm looking for:

YA: epic fantasy, high fantasy, dark fantasy, urban fantasy, low fantasy, contemporary fantasy, historical fantasy, historical fiction, alternate history, contemporary, action-adventure.

NA: contemporary, speculative fiction. 

Across all genres, I would love for there to be romantic subplots of all varieties.

And now to be much more detailed...

My Young Adult Wishlist: 

It's no secret I'm a fantasy nerd. Huuuuuge fantasy nerd. I live and breathe fantasy novels because there's just something so magical (pun intended) about creating new worlds. With that said, I love all kinds of fantasy--historical, urban, contemporary, low, high, epic (the latter two being my true loves). So give me all your fantasy. I will fight others for it.  


In fantasy, I love love love big, epic plots. The bigger, more epic the plot, the better. Think novels like THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS, AN EMBER IN THE ASHES, DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE, or MISTBORN. I want plots that put the world (and, as a result, the characters) at stake. Make me squee or cry or punch me in the feels and you've got me hook, line, and sinker. 

I also love fantasies on the quieter side. Think UPROOTED, THE SCORPIO RACES, GRACELING, or THE WINNER'S CURSE. If you have dark elements, I will probably love your book forever. The darker, the better (I love SHADOW AND BONE and THE YOUNG ELITES). I love finding out what prompts characters to kill, make bad decisions, hop over into the dark side...If you're wondering about what qualifies as "dark" to me, feel free to shoot me a question (either in the comments, on Twitter, or through my Contact Me page, though Twitter is definitely fastest)!

Beyond fantasy, I would also love to see historical fiction. The Agency series by Y.S. Lee is one of my favorites and so is BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY by Ruta Sepetys. I'm a history major in university, so history is definitely my thing. If it has a fantasy twist, so much the better. I absolutely adored GRAVE MERCY by Robin Lafevers. 

In contemporary, I fell in love with (and continue to force upon others) I'LL MEET YOU THERE by Heather Demetrios. Huntley Fitzpatrick is another favorite author, as are Miranda Kenneally and Jennifer Echols. 

Other things I like: wars, empires, epic battles, swoons, kissing, forbidden romance, adventure, genre mashups, re-imaginings of paranormal creatures (my book is about a new take on demons, for example), anti-heroes/heroines, unreliable narrators, palaces, swords, magic, dragons, heists, assassins, pirates, spies, strong friendships between girls, brothers/male friendships that are like brothers (think Sam and Dean from Supernatural), plot twists, heartbreak, character deaths (I love to feel that pain!), cocky heroes, kick-ass heroines (and it doesn't have to be in the physical sense), people with pasts better left unsaid, hate-to-love romance, happy endings, not-so-happy endings, and multiple points of view. If you have sex in your YA, I'm your gal! I'm a huge advocate for representing sex in YA

My favorite cultures are medieval anything, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Persia, Ancient Rome, Sparta, the Mughal Empire, Athens, and Troy. But if you introduce a new culture to me, I might love you forever, so go ahead and try me! 

Things I dislike: abusive relationships (unless it's about overcoming them!), too-young protagonists (if your book features protags under the age of 16, there are better people than me to query), and love triangles (or squares, pentagons, hexagons, etc). 

New Adult Wishlist: 

In NA, I am mostly looking for contemporary, though do feel free to send me your speculative fiction queries. NA is definitely mostly contemp, but I would love to see it branch out. I recently read INSPIRE by Cora Carmack, which is paranormal, and it was amazing. In NA, I'm mostly looking for books set in/around college, or following life shortly after graduation. I love sexy contemporaries.

My favorite type of NA books are those like BOOMERANG by Noelle August, UGLY LOVE by Colleen Hoover, and FAKING IT or FINDING IT by Cora Carmack. I love forbidden romance, resisting romance, stolen kisses, fuck-ups and hook ups, families, friends, loners, soldiers, pilots, cowboys...Gimme gimme gimme. 

Why you should pick me: 

On the silly side, I overuse gifs. A lot. (I had to really restrain myself in this post!) I'm a huge book-pusher and cheerleader (my CPs can attest to this!). I'm addicted to peanut butter, Oreo cookies, Chinese food, Dr. Pepper, and orange mango Sparkling Ice drinks. I'm a map enthusiast and hope to work as a cartographer one day (or star in a real life National Treasure, because how cool would that be?). My absolute favorite TV shows are Supernatural (I'm such a Dean girl) and I Love Lucy. My pastimes are kickboxing, hiking, drawing maps, making playlists, recommending books to random strangers in Barnes & Noble, and pinning on Pinterest (it's research, I promise). 

On the more serious side, I've been writing for eight (going on nine!) years, across all genres of fiction. My strengths for writing lie in action/battle scenes, intrigue, romance, character arcs, world-building, and solid endings. My query-writing skills are top notch. To be honest, I can edit in my sleep, and I didn't earn the nickname Grammar Nazi for nothing. I have plenty of industry knowledge after being involved in the YA community for more than three years. 

I'm represented by the invincible Emmanuelle Morgen of Stonesong Literary Agency, who also happens to be participating in the agent round this November! I blog occasionally on Write For Apples for the Teen Speak posts. If you want to know more about me, just take a look around my blog or my Twitter. And if you want to know about my journey to getting signed, check out this post on Brenda Drake's blog! 

I am completely, 100% honest in my critiques, but I am extremely conscientious about it, and I am ALWAYS open to questions you may have. I'm happy to talk you through problems and help smooth out plot knots, both during and after the contest. I'm afraid once you're my mentee, you're stuck with me for the foreseeable future. ;) 

And if you can use any of the books I listed in this post as comp titles, please send me a query! 


If you have any questions, feel free to comment (I always reply to comments), tweet me, or send me an email through my Contact Me page. Please reach out to me if you're considering me as a mentor (or even if you think we'd get along). I love meeting new people, and talking to me may improve your chances. Hey, it couldn't hurt. :)

I can't wait to read your queries!



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Monday, July 27, 2015

Monday Music 93

Hi, everyone.

This week's selection is called Open Your Eyes by Epic Pop. Hope you enjoy!


Happy Monday!

Katie

Monday, July 20, 2015

Monday Music 92

Hi, everyone.

This week's selection is called Asylum by Synthphonia. Hope you enjoy!


Happy Monday!

Katie

Monday, July 13, 2015

Monday Music 91

Hi, everyone!

I've decided to share a few songs from my WIP's playlist. I've shared many from my demon fantasy's playlist, so I think it's only right for the next few weeks to be full of a different book's music. :)

This week's selection is called Wars of Faith by Audiomachine. Hope you enjoy!


Happy Monday!

Katie

Monday, July 6, 2015

Monday Music 90

Hi, everyone.

This week's selection is called Paladin's Light by Epic Soul Factory. Hope you enjoy!


Happy Monday!

Katie

Monday, June 29, 2015

Monday Music 89

Hi, everyone.

This week's selection is called Casual Affair by Panic! At The Disco. Hope you enjoy!


Happy Monday!

Katie

Monday, June 22, 2015

Monday Music 88

Hi, everyone.

This week's selection is called Life After Life by Really Slow Motion. Hope you enjoy!


Happy Monday!

Katie

Monday, June 15, 2015

Monday Music 87

Hi, everyone.

This week's selection is called Legends of Power by Sencit Music. Hope you enjoy!


Happy Monday!

Katie

Monday, June 8, 2015

Taking Breaks (Even When You Don't Want To)

It's no secret I'm a workaholic when it comes to writing. My (crazy) philosophy is that if I have free time, that free time needs to be spent working on something pertaining to writing. As I am on summer vacation from college, I have plenty of free time. As I am waiting for my agent to read revisions, I have plenty of free time. Thus, my workaholic mind has one word on repeat: WORK WORK WORK WORK WORK WORK WORK - you get the idea.

While this is sometimes a very good mindset to have (it helps me get revisions done lickety split and I can fast-draft like nobody's business), it's also a very bad one. Burnout happens a lot as a result. And this stems from not giving myself time to read other books in my genre (YA fantasy) to refill my writing well of inspiration.

Don't get me wrong; I've read a bit. I've finished a few New Adult contemporaries (all of which I loved to pieces). But New Adult isn't YA fantasy, and so it's a completely different well I'm filling. When I'm drafting, I rarely read, and if I do it's in other genres mostly so I don't accidentally mix up worlds/ideas/etc. It's just all around a safer road to take.

I'm in the outlining stage for another YA fantasy, one I am extremely excited about, but...I lack the motivation to work on it. Why? Well, it isn't because I'm not excited (see above). It isn't because the characters' voices are difficult to hop into (they're not). It's not because I haven't figured out the world, the mythology, or the social structure (all of which I have).

It's because my well is empty. And that right there is the hole in my balloon. When I have free time, I have to be working. It's how my brain is wired, as loathsome as that can be. And it's hard to convince my workaholic mindset that reading in my genre IS work. It's giving the story time to sit in my subconscious and create itself. It's giving myself time to see what works in YA fantasy that I may not know about yet.

It's just really damn hard to rewire my brain to think in different ways. To allow myself to relax and pick up a good book (or two or ten). I'm very skilled at stressing about stress before there's even stress to stress about. Which is ridiculous, I know, and I have no idea how that came around. Perhaps it's because when I'm in school, most of my free time is spent working on writing in some way, shape, or form.

But breaks are important, even when you don't want to take them. And to that end, I'm forcing myself to step back from drafting for the time being. I know once I get into it, I'll enjoy it. I've already started AN EMBER IN THE ASHES and have THE WRATH AND THE DAWN up next.

How about you? Do you ever force yourself to take a break? Or are you one of the lucky ones who finds it easy to take a step back?

Monday Music 86

Hi, everyone.

This week's selection is called Journey to Polaris by Silver Screen. Hope you enjoy!


Happy Monday!

Katie

Monday, June 1, 2015

Monday Music 85

Hi, everyone.

This week's selection is called Light Spirits by Silver Screen. Hope you enjoy!


Happy Monday!

Katie

Monday, May 25, 2015

Monday Music 84

Hi, everyone.

This week's selection is called United We Stand, Divided We Fall by Two Steps From Hell. Hope you enjoy!


Happy Monday!

Katie

Monday, May 18, 2015

Monday Music 83

Hi, everyone.

This week's selection is called Into the Twilight by Gothic Storm. Hope you enjoy!


Happy Monday!

Katie

Monday, May 11, 2015

Monday Music 82

Hi, everyone.

This week's selection is called Dawn by Arn Andersson. Hope you enjoy!


Happy Monday!

Katie

Monday, May 4, 2015

Monday Music 81

Hi, everyone.

This week's selection is called Irresistible by Fall Out Boy. Hope you enjoy!


Happy Monday!

Katie

Monday, April 27, 2015

Monday Music 80

Hi, everyone.

This week's selection is called The Last of Us by Chroma Music. Hope you enjoy!


Happy Monday!

Katie

Monday, April 20, 2015

Monday Music 79

Hi, everyone.

This week's selection is called Arrival to Earth by Steve Jablonsky. Hope you enjoy!


Happy Monday!

Katie

Monday, April 13, 2015

Monday Music 78

Hi, everyone.

This week's selection is called Eve of Battle by Audiomachine. Hope you enjoy!


Happy Monday!

Katie

Monday, April 6, 2015

Monday Music 77

Hi, everyone.

This week's selection is called Hailstone by Epic North. Hope you enjoy!


Happy Monday!

Katie

Sunday, April 5, 2015

If We Were Having Coffee...

Spoiler: I don't drink coffee, but I saw a post on the Perpetual Page Turner in the vein of this post and it made me want to write one of my own.

Instead of coffee, I'm drinking an orange mango Sparkling Ice because Sarah got me hooked on them. So, without further ado, pull up a chair.

If we were having coffee... I'd tell you I feel overwhelmed. There are so many things I have to do--for school, family, friends, writing--that I wind up just falling into a well and only surfacing when there's a deadline or due date looming over me. It's not the wisest way to go about life, but I can't help it. Do you ever just feel so overwhelmed with everything you have to do, so you just end up not doing any of it? Yeah, that's happened with increasing (and scary) frequency. I'd ask you if you have any advice for how to break this vicious cycle.

If we were having coffee... I'd tell you that I feel uninspired. I've blogged before about the dry spell that occurred after PitchWars and my novel A SEA OF HOLLOW HEARTS. Well, now that I've turned my manuscript THE WAYWARD DARK into my agent, I'm turning my sights on a new WIP, and I'm afraid that I won't be able to finish it. It took until WAYWARD to get me writing again. I'm scared to death the dry spell is going to hit a second time. I'd ask if this has ever happened to you and how you got over it. 

If we were having coffee... I'd tell you that I miss my friends. Moving to Idaho separated me from all of those I'd gone to high school with, and a ton of my friendships have suffered because of that. A few friends and I are trying to stay in touch, but it's hard because of the distance. My critique partners are those whom I'd consider my closest friends ever. They've always been there and supported me through thick and thin, but I feel like we're drifting apart. Maybe they don't feel the same, but I do, and I think it's my fault. I'm not as active on social media anymore (mostly because it gives me the sads, as Sarah says, for reasons I won't go into) and I feel like I hardly talk to them. We're all busy with life and jobs and our own writing, so I understand why we haven't been as chatty as we used to. And although this could be completely just in my head, I feel like--because I'm only 20 and still figuring my life out--that it's making a trench between us. Crazy, right? But these are the things I cruelly tell myself to make sense of the divide I feel growing between us.  If I was having coffee with my critique partners, I'd ask them if they feel the same way. 

If we were having coffee... I'd ask you how your life is, both now and when you were my age. How long did it take you to figure out where to go, what to do, who to be? I know I'm further ahead than many, since I have an agent at only 20, but I also feel so far behind. A lot of my friends are older than me, have jobs and families, and they seem to know what to do and who to be and where to go. I could be mistaken, but when I compare them to myself, I feel like a bumbling mess of a person. I'd ask if you have any idea how to stop this.

If we were having coffee... I'd tell you that I finished the Mistborn trilogy and am feeling extremely disenchanted with the ending. What kind of ending was that? I won't go into details because of spoilers, but it was not an ending I was expecting. I invested so much time to this trilogy and for it to end the way it did leaves me feeling robbed. I'd ask if you've read the trilogy and what you thought of the ending.

If we were having coffee... I'd apologize profusely at letting my inbox/critiquing lax in recent weeks. I'm horribly behind on things and it is entirely my fault. Normally I'm better at organization (I have such a love for concrete plans) but lately everything seems to have scattered. I'd ask if the "keep calm and carry on" mantra actually works for you, because sometimes it doesn't work for me.

If we were having coffee... I'd tell you about my insomnia. Because with all the things I have to do, I've been suffering more and more from the insomnia that's plagued me since I was 16. But lately, it's gotten worse. I'm lucky if I fall asleep by 2 AM most nights.

If we were having coffee... I'd want to know all about your life, your dreams, your worries. I'm not very good at sharing my feelings (I have a few ideas on why that is), and I feel like sometimes my relationships with people suffer because of that. But I do want to know about you and how you're doing. I want to know the people I care about are happy. I'd tell you that every time I get an email or text from my friends (which just happened as I was writing this section) I smile because it makes me happy to know that they think of me and want to talk to me. And I hope they know that I always want to know how they're--how you're--doing.

If we were having coffee... I'd ask what songs you've had on repeat lately. What TV shows you've binge-watched recently. What movies you're looking forward to seeing.

And there you have it. There's probably more but I'm feeling kind of drained. How about you? What would you want to tell me if we were having coffee?