Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What Makes it MG with Amanda Ashby

I'm happy to welcome my friend and TFC and GCC sister Amanda Ashby to the blog, celebrating the release of her new MG series, SOPHIE'S MIXED-UP MAGIC. You might know Amanda as the author of YOU HAD ME AT HALO, FAIRY BAD DAY, and ZOMBIE QUEEN OF NEWBURY HIGH. Her books have been nominated for Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice award, New York Library's Stuff for the Teen Age, and selected as Voya's Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers. She's also a SCBWI Crystal Kite Finalist for the Australia/NZ region.

She lives and writes on the Sunshine coast, where she also likes to eat chocolate, watch TV, and sit around doing not much. (Her words, not mine. Personally, I don't believe the not do much bit. I've read her books. She's doing. Plus she's got two kids, so not doing much isn't even an option!) 

Anyway, here's the lowdown on her new series:

Book One: Wishful Thinking 
Be careful what you wish for…
After eleven year old Sophie accidentally gets herself turned into a djinn, she starts to think that it might not be so bad after all. (Of course, that’s after she gets the whole orange skin problem sorted out.) Who wouldn’t enjoy having the power to grant wishes! But when Sophie develops RWD (Random Wish Disorder) and can’t STOP granting wishes, things get more than a little mixed-up!
Book Two: Under a Spell (May 31st Puffin)
And that spells T-R-O-U-B-L-E…
As Sophie gets used to her magic, her relationship with the adorable Jonathan Tait is blossoming. There’s only one problem: Jonathan’s twin sister, Melissa. She’s a total mean girl who seems intent on making Sophie’s life miserable. On top of that, Melissa somehow seems to sense that Sophie has powers–and manages to bind Sophie to her in a totally self-serving way. Can Sophie figure out a way out of this–without ruining her chances with Jonathan?
Amanda's Writing Tip:

"When I started writing this middle grade series, I read somewhere that the difference between YA and MG is that while MG characters do have cellphones, they still need to ask permission to go to the mall. That advice really resonated with me and helped me out so much when I was writing Sophie's Mixed-up Magic. In fact, I used it when her djinn guide tried to tell her that they needed to fly to Istanbul to get the secret cure she needed!"

You can find more about Amanda's books and stalk follow her online on her website, on twitter, on facebook, and on goodreads.

This week's link roundup:

LIGHTS CAMERA CASSIDY Charmed Summer Giveaway (LightsCameraCassidy)

A Checkup from the Neck Up (Ginger Calem)

1,000 Words A Day Or Else! (Arthur Slade)

7 Strategy Tips from the World of Screenwriting (Big Spaceship)

5 Things that Turn Agents Off in Chapter One (Words I stole)

5 Reasons Your Current Scene Isn't Working (Great Minds Ink Alike)

5 Techniques for Adding Subtext to Your Stories (The Bookshelf Muse)

3 Writing Exercises in Search of Character (Jungle Red Writers)

2 Questions That Will Stunt a Writer's Progress (Christie Craig)

Ursula LeGuin's Hypothesis (Book View Cafe)

The Need for Speed (Is it advisable?) (Nephele Tempest)

Your Punctuation Personality Type (Brian Thomas Schmidt) Made me laugh.

How Writing is Like a First Date (Novel Rocket)

The First Basic Question (Genreality)

Remaining True to Your Vision (Write it Sideways)

There Are Two Kinds of "Busy". Is Yours the Good Kind? (Jane Friedman)

What Inspires Sarah Zarr (Distraction No. 99)

Using Setting as a Character (Rachelle Gardner)

Making the Most of a Scene (Jamie Gold)

Layering Emotion (

Fight Scenes: The Waltz of Death (Fiction Notes)

What Makes a Children's Book Great? (Publishing Perspectives)

Write a Killer Query Letter for Your YA Manuscript (WriteWorkshop)

The Ultimate Guide to Pitch Writing (Jamie Gold)

Now go. Write!