Tuesday, July 26, 2011

SMALL TOWN SINNERS winner & More Links!

Thanks to everyone who shared their struggles in the comments. I don't know about anyone else, but for me it helps to know I'm not the only one who gets her boat rocked from time to time. SMALL TOWN SINNERS is especially for us! But, alas, only one winner, so here we go...

*drumroll* The winner is.... *drumroll*


Please send your mailing information to gerb (@) lindagerber (.) com and we'll get that sent out to you.

Meanwhile, I promised more links to go with this week's Tip with Jennifer Echols. To make it easier for everyone to follow them, I have edited yesterday's post to add the links here.

Have a great Wednesday!

For Writers - LOVE STORY with Jennifer Echols

Today I'm pleased to bring you a special edition of Tip Tuesday, celebrating the release of LOVE STORY by Jennifer Echols.

We're big fans of Jen in our house. Her ENDLESS SUMMER is a permanent fixture on my daughter's bedside table. Now we're looking forward to diving into LOVE STORY. Jennifer is a former newspaper editor and college writing teacher. We're glad she is now writing books for teens. You can find more about Jennifer on her website, on facebook, and by following her on twitter.

Here's the official blurb on LOVE STORY:


For Erin Blackwell, majoring in creative writing at the New York City college of her dreams is more than a chance to fulfill her ambitions—it’s her ticket away from the tragic memories that shadow her family’s racehorse farm in Kentucky. But when she refuses to major in business and take over the farm herself someday, her grandmother gives Erin’s college tuition and promised inheritance to their maddeningly handsome stable boy, Hunter Allen. Now Erin has to win an internship and work late nights at a local coffee shop to make her own dreams a reality. She should despise Hunter . . . so why does he sneak into her thoughts as the hero of her latest writing assignment?

Then, on the day she’s sharing that assignment with her class, Hunter walks in. He’s joining her class. And after he reads about himself in her story, her private fantasies about him must be painfully clear. She only hopes to persuade him not to reveal her secret to everyone else. But Hunter devises his own creative revenge, writing sexy stories that drive the whole class wild with curiosity and fill Erin’s heart with longing. Now she’s not just imagining what might have been. She’s writing a whole new ending for her romance with Hunter . . . except this story could come true.

And here's Jennifer's tip:

It’s great to get feedback about your writing, but you should only pay attention to revision suggestions that ring true to you. I’ve overheard so many writers talk about making every change their writing groups want them to make, whether they understand those changes or not. Writing a novel may be a collaborative effort--especially after you sell it, and you are under contract to produce something your editor wants to buy--but *you* are still the author.
When I was trying to sell my novel *Going Too Far*, an editor said she was interested in buying it, but only if I made one very significant revision. As it stood, the book was a romantic drama with a happy ending. This editor wanted me to KILL THE HERO at the end of the book. When my agent relayed this message to me, she asked me if I was sitting down first. And when I started to cry, she told me she had expected me to react that way and assured me that she didn’t think it was strange at all.

In my heart, I knew that the revision the editor was suggesting might make the book sell better. Witness the success of the movie *Titanic*, in which Leonardo DiCaprio bites it at the end. Personally, I hated that movie. I did not want to see it because I knew how it ended. I suffered through it because I was trying to get a YA novel published even then, and I felt that for the sake of my writing, I needed to keep up with popular culture for teenagers. But observing that teenagers loved this tragic love story did not make me want to write one. I knew what I wanted to write, and that wasn’t it.

I was afraid that if I didn’t make the change this editor was suggesting, I would not be able to sell *Going Too Far* anywhere at all. But that was a risk I was willing to take. Writing is difficult. Selling writing is even harder, at least for me. If I am not writing the book I want to read, none of this is worth it. I want to produce books that other people want to read, but my most important reader is myself. Luckily, there were two other editors who were willing to buy *Going Too Far* just as it was, and we sold the book to one of them. But if we had not, I would have stood by my decision to stay true to my own artistic vision.

Thank you, Jennifer! I for one am glad you stuck with your original vision!

And now, this week's links:

The Gift Writers Give (Great Thoughts) Inspiration

The Learning Curve (BethRevis) It has its ups and downs...

The "new" Author Platform (TheBookDeal) How's your visibility?

Visual Story Maps (The Creative Penn) Fun... but don't use to procrastinate!!

Embrace Failure (FromTheMixedUpFiles...) From the ashes of disaster grow the roses of success. (First one to tell me where that's from wins a five-page critique.)

Writing vs. Acting (BeyondtheMargins) From scratch or script.

Procrastination (WriterUnboxed) Something I understand much too well...

Write What They Don't Know (TheOtherSideofTheStory) Plot the unexpected.

Writer as Observer (BeyondtheMargins) Enter the trance...

MG/YA Question Roundup (TheOtherSideoftheStory) Good stuff.

Dealing with Critique Feedback (WriterUnboxed) Also, see Jen's tip, above.

When to Show & When to Tell (AdventuresinChildrensPublishing) Bonus: links within the link!

Indie, Small Press, or Big 6? (AnneRAllen) From someone who has published w/all three.

Writing life: Ideal vs Reality (JodyHedlund) "Barking Dog Days of Writing Life"

Preparing for Luck to Strike (AdventuresInChildrensPublishing) Luck is what happens when
opportunity meets preparation.

JK Rowling dishes on how to write and publish (TheAdventurousWriter) "It's LeviOsa, not LevioSA..." (Quick! Which Harry Potter book/movie is this line from?)

The Intern on How Books Work: THE HUNGER GAMES (part 1) (part 2) ***Excellent***

Can your character change? (Genreality) If not, why do we care?

Performing Plot CPR (JulieMusil) Great spreadsheet idea

Performing Scene Open Heart Surgery (James Kilick) (What is up with these emergency medical references this week? Too close to home at the moment!)

Pacing Checklist (TheOtherSideoftheStory) Finding and fixing pacing issues

Voice Tips from the Pros (TheBookshelfMuse) Don't forget this blog as an excellent resource for emotional, setting, character, etc. thesaurus listings. Love!

Testing the Idea (Kristin Lamb) Is it Strong enough to make a novel?

60 Tips on Craft (TheEditor'sBlog) The down and dirty...

45 Flaws that Expose Inexperience (Plot to Punctuation) Scroll down for part I.

10 Rules for Manuscript Evaluation (TheKillZone) Especially for thrillers

8 Steps for More Concise Writing (DailyWritingTips) my favorite remains: Omit needless words.
7 ways to Structure Your Picture Book (Writers' Digest)

7 Steps to Better Villainy (BeyondtheMargins) How to make 'em so bad, they're good.

6 Vital Signs of a Healthy Plot (BeyondtheMargins) Good tips in comments, too.

5 Ways to build coherent scene transitions (HeroNation) "most scenes should build on the preceding scene."

4 Step Strategy for Research (LetTheWordsFlow) Research provides authentic details

Now go. Write!!!

Friday, July 22, 2011

FF - SMALL TOWN SINNERS with Melissa Walker

I'm excited to celebrate this week's release of SMALL TOWN SINNERS by Melissa Walker with another Freebie Friday.

The Author:
Melissa is both a GCC sister and TFC sister. You probably know her as the author of LOVESTRUCK SUMMER and the VIOLET ON THE RUNWAY
series. She's also a former ELLEgirl Features Editor and Seventeen Prom Editor, and currently manages the e-newsletter I Heart Daily. Also, check out the hilarious Before You Were Hot. You can find Melissa online on her website, on twitter, or on facebook.

The Book:

Here's the official blurb for SMALL TOWN SINNERS:

Lacey Anne Byer is a perennial good girl and lifelong member of the House of Enlightenment, the Evangelical church in her small town. With her driver's license in hand and the chance to try ou
t for a lead role in Hell House, her church's annual haunted house of sin, Lacey's junior year is looking promising. But when a cute new stranger comes to town, something begins to stir inside her. Ty Davis doesn't know the sweet, shy Lacey Anne Byer everyone else does. With Ty, Lacey could reinvent herself. As her feelings for Ty make Lacey test her boundaries, events surrounding Hell House make her question her religion.

What people are saying about SMALL TOWN SINNERS:
"A devilishly-good read." - Lauren Myracle.
"Non-judgmental, nuanced, fascinating..." - Romantic Times
"Both tender and provocative..."
- Publisher's Weekly
"Walker takes her character's crisis of faith seriously and sensitively..." - Kirkus Reviews

The Interview:

What inspired you to write SMALL TOWN SINNERS?

My friend Joy's mother, Betty, started telling me about her church's "Judgment House" and my jaw dropped. I researched more about Hell Houses and Judgment Houses, and then I pitched my ELLEgirl editor on a magazine story. She bit, I got to write the story. And the small town I visited, plus the teenagers in it, never left me. Here's that original non-fiction story:


Are you superstitious in any way?

I would at first say no, but a black cat crossed my path the other day and my husband said, "We just got black catted!" So I guess we both noticed and worried a little, and that qualifies, right? For the record: Nothing bad happened... uh, yet?

Do you have any special writing rituals or totems to connect with your muse?

Now that I'm very pregnant, I've moved from my traditional writing chair (overstuffed, pink with flowers, so comfy!) to one of those exercise balls. Because good posture and bouncing seems more essential these days. But I still feel like that big blue ball can be a different kind of muse.

What's your favorite quote?
"A rising tide lifts all boats." (It helps me remember to avoid being jealous of others' successes. It's so much more fun to be joyful with them.)

What are you working on now?

My next book will be a May 2012 release from Bloomsbury. The title isn't final yet, but it involves a dual love story with a hefty dose of friendship angst. I'm deep in revisions right now!

If SMALL TOWN SINNERS were made into a movie, who would you like to see in the role of Lacey?

If I could shuffle around the cast of Friday Night Lights, I'd use them all to play the characters in this book.

The Freebie:
To be entered to win a signed ARC of SMALL TOWN SINNERS, leave a comment below telling us how your summer is going and/or if you have ever had a crisis of faith. The drawing will remain open until Wednesday, July 27.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Friday Winner!

It's Friday! Which means I am late in announcing the winner of the Amazon gift certificate and Possession swag. I do apologize. Deadline weeks are insane.

And now, without further delay, the drawing.

*Drumroll, please*

And the winner is... Erica.

Please send your mailing info to gerb (@) lindagerber (.) com and we'll get your gifts sent out to you.

Everyone, please join us back here on Tuesday for the return of Tip Tuesday, and next Friday for another Freebie. Have a stellar weekend!

Friday, July 01, 2011

FF - Possession by Elana Johnson

Just in time for your Independence Day weekend - Freebie Friday returns with Elana Johnson and her newly-released YA dystopian, POSSESSION.

Elana is a GCC sister with a unique vision of the perfect world. (In her world, Oreos and bacon would be the only food groups. Everyone would drive 10 over the speed limit. Winter would be eliminated as a season. She would have the ability to experience her first kiss again, tell the mean girl where to shove it, and have cool superpowers like mind reading and controlling fire.) She lives and writes in central Utah with her husband and two kids.

You can find her online on her website, on facebook, by following her on twitter, reading her blog, and catching her on the league of extraordinary writers.

Here's the official blurb for POSSESSION:

Vi knows the Rule: Girls don’t walk with boys, and they never even think about kissing them. But no one makes Vi want to break the Rules more than Zenn…and since the Thinkers have chosen him as Vi’s future match, how much trouble can one kiss cause? The Thinkers may have brainwashed the rest of the population, but Vi is determined to think for herself. But the Thinkers are unusually persuasive, and they’re set on convincing Vi to become one of them….starting by brainwashed Zenn. Vi can’t leave Zenn in the Thinkers’ hands, but she’s wary of joining the rebellion, especially since that means teaming up with Jag. Jag is egotistical, charismatic, and dangerous: everything Zenn’s not. Vi can’t quite trust Jag and can’t quite resist him, but she also can’t give up on Zenn. This is a game of control or be controlled. And Vi has no choice but to play.

What people are saying about POSSESSION:

"...countless moments of 'Wow.'" --James Dashner, bestselling author of The Maze Runner and The Scorch Trials "...very nice balance between badass action and romantic tension for readers who like a good mix of the two." --MTV.com “... a dark twist ending that maintains the faintest glimmer of hope.” --Publisher's Weekly "This debut dystopian succeeds at suspense and tension.... Revelations come hard and fast." --Kirkus “... heroic adventure turns into a tragic love story.” –School Library Journal "...intriguing distopia." --Booklist

The Interview:

What's one thing most people don't know about you?

I attended four universities/colleges before I graduated from Southern Utah University with a BS in Elementary Education and a minor in Mathematics. Doesn’t sound like what a writer would do, does it?

What's your favorite quote?

“Never give up! Never surrender!” ~Galaxy Quest

What is an interesting writing quirk of yours?

I don’t write in order, and I don’t outline. I simply open a document and start pouring words into it.

If POSSESSION were made into a movie, who would you like to see in the role of Vi? Jag?

Well, Vi is harder, because she’s got a particular look in my head. But Jag could easily be played by David Henrie from Wizards of Waverly Place.

What kind of chocolate best describes you?

Semi-sweet. I’m the best of both worlds, baby. Ha!

What are you working on now?

I’m currently stewing over a contemporary novel that takes place in an industrial sized elevator. It’s giving me fits, but I’ll figure it out.

The Freebie:

* a $10 Amazon gift certificate, perfect for ordering your copy of POSSESSION, or downloading the e-book.

* POSSESSION swag, bookmarks, stickers, etc.

To be entered to win, leave a comment below, telling us one feature of your perfect world. This drawing will remain open until Wednesday, July 6.