Pitch Wars Mentee Contender Blog Hop: Mentee Bio!

PitchWars-Snowball

Alright, I’m joining in!  For those of us writers who entered Pitch Wars, we have some waiting ahead of us before we find out if we’ve been chosen by a mentor. In the meantime, the wonderful Christopher Keelty and Dannie Morin have a wonderful way for us to take off some of the stress…Mentee Bios!!! 

Introduction

Hi Y’all, *waves* I hope everyone is having a wonderful Monday. I’m especially happy because not only did I just get this super-great-further-inspiration for my YA WIP I’ve been stuck on (FYI followers: the Snow White retelling), I also get to do this awesome blog hop! I LOVE meeting writers. So if you’re a writer and you happen upon this post, please do tell a little about yourself and your current project!!!

Back to the introduction: I hail from Texas, but I attend college in/near Boston (Wellesley). The MS I submitted for Pitch Wars is a MG Thriller, Sci-Fi to be exact, about a twelve-year-old criminal mastermind and her companions who must traverse their city, New Atlantis, for a cube–codename Pandora’s Box–that, in the wrong hands, can destroy their city. Think Artemis Fowl mixed with the TV show Alias along with a bit of Fast and Furious (I like fast cars) and a ton of mythology/supernatural creatures.

Three Facts about Me

(because three is my favorite number)

1. I love inspirational quotes. I used to be really obsessed with horoscopes, as in I had to know the horoscope of anyone I liked to see if we were compatible. I gave up on that, thank goodness but in case you’re a horoscope person, I’m an Aquarius. I’ve heard we’re pretty awesome. Back to the quotes. Beside me, right now, is a huge Muhammad Ali poster with a quote about being a champion on it. I routinely post quotes on tumblr, my blog posts etc…basically anyone who works with me, will get back in return as much inspiration and hope as I’m sure you’ll give me. I love making people laugh and “get back on the horse.” Life’s too short to not live and I am to live every second of it (see what I mean about the quotes).

2. I like interpreting dreams. Why I’m stating this, I’m not quite sure. But I do have a dream dictionary and a knack for pulling dreams apart. This love *cough* obsession, came from all the weird dreams I have or used to have as I haven’t had any lately. Not complaining. At all.

3. My writing is comprised of everything I love. Growing up, I read everything, I still do, and though my interests tend to lean toward speculative fiction, there’s a bit in my stories for everyone (though I do usually write with one person in mind). I love mythology so you’ll always find that. I love Lemony Snicket, so my narrators, at times, tend to get a bit involved (don’t worry, I’ve gotten pretty good at taming them). But I can promise that anyone who works with me, will have a manuscript that constantly surprises them, in many good ways. My friends like to say my mind is every where. That’s probably because I take from everything, I’m constantly watching, listening, alert, awake. This is probably why my current WIP, though based off Snow White, has a bit of The Matrix, some great ink… tattoos, raises questions about healthcare and the use of antibiotics, and has romance because in tough times, love is what you need…oh and maybe a cure, but that story is for another time.

*Bonus – since a picture tells a thousand words and Pinterest and I are best buddies, I thought I’d share with you the Pinterest board for the MG I submitted to Pitch Wars and the rest of my boards (there’s an inspirational quote & writing inspiration one too!).

Many thanks to Christopher for starting this and to Dannie for organizing them. If you want to join in on the fun, click here to visit the linky (be sure to stop by others blogs)! Also, a huge thank you to Brenda Drake and all the wonderful mentors & agents ❤

P.S. I just bought THE SCORPIO RACES by Maggie Stiefvater & THE UNWANTEDS by Lisa McMann and cannot wait to read them!!! I’ve heard some great things so if they’re not on your to-reads, go put them on it 🙂 Also, this post by Maggie Stiefvater is what sold me on buying her book.

Whimsically Yours,

PnC

My Year in Review – 2012

you are a writer

It’s the motto.

2012, what can I say about you.  It was the year I ended my first semester of college and began my second.  It was also the year of the summer during which I created this wonderful blog, my professional website, my tumblr, my twitter, yada, yada, yada, but most importantly 2012 was the year I claimed the title of writer and actually began to write.

Now, I have always written things, especially when I was younger, but it wasn’t until this year (this summer to be exact) that I actually began to write consistently (or somewhat) and write not just in journals but blog posts, short stories, poetry, and most of all novels.

My 2012 year has included many ups and many, many downs but honestly, I can’t change a thing because it’s almost over and I’m very proud of the things I have accomplished.

So…2013, wow, 2013…two more years until I graduate college and enter “the real world” (but honestly, that’s a lie…I’m a writer, when do I ever fully live in reality???).

So, once again 2013, what shall you hold for me?

–Well, I don’t exactly know now do I?  But I do know this, for 2013 and beyond I vow to focus more on Just Writing and less on the business side of things.  I, unlike many writers (or so I’ve heard), love the business side of things.  I consider myself to be great at networking (of any kind), marketing, selling, and so forth but in order for me to accomplish my dream, become a published author and see my book in bookstores, I must focus more on writing and less on marketing.

It’s going to be a challenge, yes, but it will be worth it, and I know if I can do this…well, with all the projects I’m working on, ideas buzzing around in my head, I’ll have a literary agent by the end of 2013 and well on my way to my dreamland.

I also want to focus more on my academics and learning how and when to balance my professional life with being a student.

Best of luck to all of you and your endevours…enjoy the new year!!! 🙂

How has 2012 treated you, what do you want to accomplish in 2013…what do you need to do first in order to accomplish your dreams?

Whimsically Yours,

PnC

Interview with YA Writer Stephanie Diaz

Meet Stephanie who, at the time of this interview, was a fellow 19 year old writer and is a college student.  She’s now 20!!! Happy belated birthday.  But for the purpose of Teens Can Write TOO! Week she’s a writer who has some great words of wisdom for us all 🙂

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I’m Stephanie, a 19-year-old writer (I’ll be 20 on October 7!) born and raised in Southern California. The book that got me my agent and will be on sub pretty soon is a YA sci-fi called Extraction. It’s about a girl named Clementine who wins an escape from a settlement on a planet where the moon is poisonous and children are killed off when they turn twenty. Only, she has to leave a boy who’s very special to her behind.

UPDATE: EXTRACTION sold to St. Martin’s Griffin and will be published on July 22, 2014. So Stephanie’s going to be a published author, YAY, I can’t wait to read it!!! (you can add it to Goodreads, here!)

Enjoy the interview 🙂

 What is your favorite place to write?

I’m constantly struggling with finding places to write where I won’t be distracted by the internet! My bedroom is nice. But I really wish I had access to an ocean cave or a glass room in the middle of a forest (preferably during a storm). Somewhere far away and pretty.

 What is the first story you remember writing?

A YA fantasy about a girl who discovers a magical world of fairies and elves hidden by the lake in her neighborhood.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I can’t quite remember the first time, but by third grade I was writing stories all the time.

If you could be any character from a book, movie, play, or musical who would it be and why?

I’d be Tris Prior from Divergent, because she’s brave. 

When & why did you start writing?

I’ve been writing since I was so young, it feels like I was born with a need for words and stories ingrained in my brain. I’ve stuck with them because they’re my release and my comfort. 

How do you overcome “writer’s block” ? 

Usually it means there’s something not quite right about what I’ve written recently, or the way the plot is headed. So, I go back to the last point where things were working, and then I try to think of a brand-new, inspiring place to head from there.

Are you a full time writer…why/why not?

I study film production at San Diego State University, so sadly I can’t write full time yet. I hope someday!

Coffee or tea?

Tea! (wild berry and chai are my favorites) 

Fun Fact about yourself most people don’t know?

I sing and play guitar. I have some videos of original songs up on youtube. 😛 

How did you find a literary agent?

I found my lovely agent, Alison Fargis of Stonesong (without whom Extraction would not be anywhere near what it’s become), through the good old querying process. I had a lot of help from writer friends and a few other supportive agents along the way. 

–how long did it take?

I signed with Alison six months to the day after I sent my first query letter for Extraction. But I queried two other manuscripts in previous years—the first when I was 13. All in all, it took me six years of writing/revising/querying.

–what was querying like for you?

With Extraction, I received two revise-and-requests from agents before Alison read my manuscript. So, the six months of querying were fraught with periods of intense revisions. Some days I’d feel like Extraction was “the one,” while on others I was exhausted and ready to turn my attention to a new manuscript. I did garner a number of requests—26 in all, out of about 130 queries—and those kept me going. But I was close to giving up at times, and was never more so than on the day I received a rejection letter for my second R&R. 

The next day I got an email from a different agent asking when a good time would be to talk on the phone. A week later, after four offers of representation and a weekend of hair-pulling/nail-biting, I signed with Alison. 🙂

 What is some advice you would impart to teen writers who wish to be published?

Remember that you’re young and you have lots of years ahead of you. Keep writing, no matter what. And take time to live and enjoy the world. 🙂

 If you had/have an animal spirit which animal(s) would it be…why?

Either a bear or a sea otter.  They’ve always been my favorites.

 What is your favorite childhood book and/or author?

It’s a tie between The Giver by Lois Lowry and The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman.

What is the next book you want to write?

To cope with my impatience/worry about the impending submission process for Extraction, I’m working on a YA fantasy that’s Pirates of the Caribbean meets Shadow and Bone, with dragons. 🙂

Thanks for stopping by Stephanie, best writing wishes to you 🙂 I look forward to seeing your books in stores!

Whimsically Yours,

PnC

Interview with YA Author Lauryn April

Meet Lauryn April:

College student and Indie Writer

author of:

Into the Deep

I’m Lauryn, I’m 23. I’m studying psychology at UW Oshkosh, have 2 dogs, and love to write.  my debut novel “Into the Deep: explores the intricacies of the adolescent mind and what it means to feel alone… there’s also a snarky bad-boy, the paranormal element of mind reading, and explosions.

What is your favorite place to write?
Honestly, just in my living room. Usually I’ll turn off the TV, get comfy, and pull out my laptop.

What is the best piece of constructive criticism you ever received?
“You need an editor” After sending out my book to beta readers some of them had words of praise, but there was a lot of harsh criticism as well. It’s hard to catch your own mistakes, but you don’t really realize how many of them you make until someone else points them out.

How did you choose the title and the main character’s name?
“Into the Deep” was titled as so partly because of how my main character, Ivy, develops her powers (although originally she fell into the deep end of the pool so I suppose it made more sense then, but it fit the story better to have her fall and hit her head in the shallow so I changed it) It also is somewhat of a metaphor for Ivy developing her powers. The deep- the subconscious, Ivy discovers something that was deep and buried in herself.

As for Ivy’s name, I wanted to pick something that was short, two syllables, and Ivy is a symbol for friendship which is one of the themes of the book.

How do you overcome “writer’s block” ?
When I get stuck writing I take a break. Sometimes I’ll pick up a book and just read for a while, and sometimes I’ll start writing or taking notes for another book. (I started the sequel to “Into the Deep” before I even finished writing “Into the Deep”).

What was your writing & publishing process for Into the Deep like, from start to finish?
I talk about a lot of this on my blog as I wanted to document it as I went. First I finished the book. I spent a few months writing – the first draft. Then I re-read it a few times (each time thinking that it was “done”) So, then I found beta readers, some family, some friends, and a few strangers. It was after reading their feedback that I realized that I was far from “done”. I read through my book another dozen times, did more re-writes, added, deleted, then had a few more people read through it. After that I found an editor. When I got my book back from her I read it a few more times, then finally deemed it “done”. After that it was all about publishing. I already had accounts at Createspace and KDP, and I had drawn my cover months earlier. So, I just had to format (which took me days to get right) and then put it all together. All together it took about a year, but there wasn’t a day that went by that I didn’t do some work on it.

Why did you decide to become an Indie Writer?
I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but after doing some research I felt that the market is moving to a place where indie and self-published books are going to be the way of the future. I don’t think traditional publishing is ever going away, but I think self-publishing is here to stay and that it’s going to continue to change the way we read books. That’s why I chose to go indie.

What is the next book you want to write?
I have a sequel planned for “Into the Deep”, as well as a ghost story that involves lost love and bootlegged wine. I’m currently working on both of them now.

Thanks again.

Whimsically Yours,
PnC