Saturday, April 28, 2012

Just Write

I've struggled off and on for the past few months with books and projects. I've set stuff aside, multiple times. I've wracked my brain on plotting and characterization and word choice on certain books--over thinking and over thinking, which for me leads to frustration, minimizing the screen and firing up Twitter. I've been in and heard of people being in writing funks before and they're brutal on you. So hard and stressful and if you're like me, you feel like you're doing nothing, if you're not writing. I also have a friend who has a great story idea and wants to try her hand at writing, but hasn't yet. I wonder if the solution can be really simple for us all... If you're a new writer or a writer in a funk or whatever the situation is, for me, the only way out of it is to-- JUST WRITE. I have a friend who is an editor and she's told me before, crap can be fixed. Just write. I think that's awesome advice. Of course everyone is different so you have to do what works for you, but for me? I need to just write. Can you write yourself out of a funk or do you need to separate yourself from writing to get back in the grove? If you're not a writer, this can go with other aspects of your life too. Are you the type to keep going until you push through or do you need to stop and regroup?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Think Twice About Stereotypes

I'm about to get super serious on y'all so we'll just get the lolcatz out of the way now...

 
I know I wasn't a normal kid, and I definitely wasn't a normal teen.

I adored English class. Math & Science made me giddy. Oh, but Sarah, nobody likes English and Math. Does that mean I have to choose? I don't want to choose.

I loved to play volleyball. Oh, but nobody can be both smart and athletic. So does that mean I'm not smart? Or am I not athletic? Do I have to choose between books and sports?

I was on the Science team with all guys. Because girls don't like science. Wait, am I not a girl, then? Or is me liking science wrong? Do I have to like "girly" things less to fit in - or more to compensate?

I got some of the best grades in my class. But popular people are dumb and smart people aren't popular. Great, so I either have to do worse in class or accept that I'm not going to have many friends.  

I loved reading more than just about anything. Except for maybe people. But bookworms are awkward introverted wallflowers. Are you sure? I don't know how to decide whether I'm an extrovert or book nerd...

I got along with just about everyone. You really shouldn't associate with those people (poor, rich, christian, atheist, white, black, green, whatever). But, but... they're so nice.

I knew I never wanted to choose a guy over my school/career. There is something terribly wrong with you; the most important thing in a girl's life should be falling in love. Then getting married. Then having a baby. Ummmm... I'm 15?


Here's the thing about all those red statements: They were stereotypes perpetrated over and over again by movies, tv shows and - yes, books. But they're harmless stereotypes, right? I mean, who doesn't love that smart geeky girl who's painfully shy and clumsy? Who doesn't love to hate the dumb pretty bitchy rich girl?

As a teen, trying to figure out who you are is hard enough without media telling you who you can and can't be. I loved these books/shows/movies. Everyone loved them. So that meant they had to true, right? Unfortunately, my parents did nothing to contradict these images I was seeing. I don't mind admitting (now) a lot of these messed me up for a long while - I'm still straightening some of them out.

What I'm saying is - just think twice before you put that old stereotype in your book. It may be a harmless, easy characterization for you, but to someone else it may be another thing telling them they can't be who they want to be. I'm the absolute last person to advocate political correctness (really, ask any of my IRL friends), but I'm seeing a lot of books lately with not one single character who defies a stereotype - and I think that's troubling.

Most will tell you the danger of stereotyping lies in judging a group of people based on what one or a few people in their "group" do. But I think there's also a danger in the subconscious message stereotypes impress on everyone who doesn't fall into the mold.

"Stereotypes can sink into people's real image of themselves and do real harm. When stereotypes sink into the psyche of a group and they come to define themselves by that stereotype, a whole culture is harmed."  For more, read this article at BrightHub Education. (I wrote this blog, then found this article, which basically says everything I want to say, but better)


On that note, do you have any book recommendations with characters who defy stereotypes?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Opportunities take flight

I'm excited to announce that I'm going to be presenting at The Whitsunday Voices Youth Festival this year - "Words Take Flight". It's a rather exciting prospect for me to see myself on the program along side some of Australia's best YA and Children's writers. Cath Crowley (Graffiti Moon), Steph Bowe (Girl Saves Boy), Andy Griffith (too many awesome books to pick just one to highlight!) and Kate Forsyth, with many others.

It's a bit out-of-the-box thinking to have an emerging author on the program. I've got an anthology under my belt and short story competition success, but that's not why I'm presenting. I'll be talking about effective use of social media for aspiring authors and passionate readers.

This will be the first year that there will be a session like this included in the festival. Of course I'm not at ALL nervous about being a presenter at a festival which has about 5,000 students attending it! But I am excited at the recognition that the virtual world is getting for it's role in publishing.

I'll be talking about have to engage authors, agents and editors in the various social media platforms (which will include when not to engage them as well), the opportunities available to aspiring writers on social media, navigating online writing communities and blogging. I'm sure I can squish all that into 45 minutes.

The most important thing I've gotten out of this is to take opportunities when they present themselves. Self promotion is an important part of being a writer in the current climate. Being part of a Youth Festival will show potential agents and editors that I'm not afraid to put myself out there for public speaking events (note I didn't say I wasn't afraid of public speaking itself) and that I look for unique opportunities.

So if you could present at a literary/writers festival what would you talk about? And if you've been to any festivals or conferences, what's been your favourite topic/speaker from that event?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Teentopia: Chase and Jamie


Teentopia is a monthly feature here on YAtopia where we ask real teens questions about what they like to read and how they choose the books they read. For more information and more Teentopia posts, click here.

This week, we're interviewing two brothers, Chase and Jamie.

Chase is turning 17 on the 27th (Happy Early Birthday!) He's a junior in high school and likes to play video games and build models. After high school he plans to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering.

Jamie is a college freshman studying computer engineering. In his spare time he plays video games, ultimate Frisbee, and goes out with his friends.
 

What are some of your favorite recently-read books?

The Skulduggery Pleasant series by Derek Landy
The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancy
The Gone Series by Michael Grant

The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
The Son of Neptune – Rick Riordan
The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
Artemis Fowl: The Atlantis Complex – Eoin Colfer

How do you find out about and choose books that aren't assigned in school?

Actually, my mom recommends them to me.

Either by word of mouth, or by seeing an interesting title or cover.

On a related note, do you read reviews before you decide to read a book? Where?

No.

I do not read reviews before reading a book.

Do you read author's blogs/facebooks/twitters? If yes: before you read their book or after - and what kind of content do you like to see?

No.

After I read a good book I will check the author's blog for future release dates.

What kind of covers draw your attention?


I don’t have a preference.


Covers that show a scene from the book.

Do you feel like YA books accurately represent teen culture? How so?

I think that YA books more closely represent preteen culture, they are too innocent for teen culture.

Is there anything (themes, character types, genres, time periods, etc) you'd like to see more of in YA books?

Sci-fi, comedy, fantasy and horror

I'd like to see more Sci-fi YA books.

Anything you want to see less of?

Romance

Vampires.

How do you read books? (paper, e-reader, phone, audio, etc)

The old fashioned way—those paper things that have covers and that aren’t powered by batteries.

I read hard copies of books, preferably paper back.

What do you think about all the YA books that have recently been made into movies?


Most YA books I've read that were made into movies are good books, but with the exception of the Hunger Games none of the movies have accurately represented the book.

What book have you read that you think deserves more attention?


Interworld by Neil Gaiman and Michael Reaves

The Red Pyramid – Rick Riordan

What novel are you most looking forward to in 2012?


Fear by Michael Grant
Artemis Fowl: The Last Guardian by Eoin Colfer

The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan.

Do you use any book-specific sites to keep track of what you've read?


No

No.
 
What's the most important element to you: characters, plot, writing style?

They’re all important, but if I had to choose one, I’d say, plot.

Plot, with likeable characters being a close second.

Have you ever seen a book trailer? If so, did it make you want to read the book? What do you think about them?

No.

I have never seen a book trailer.

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Great Dress Debate

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So there's been a lot of debate going around the internet about 'Dress Covers'. Some people are so over them, while others still appreciate the pretty. I thought we could discuss what we think of dress covers.

Firstly, I think it's important that we remember unless you've self published, you can have little to nothing to do with what goes on your cover. You might want a girl all in leather, or in a hoodie and jeans, but you might get a girl in a ball gown. It's also very easy to judge a book when you first see it and compare it to the description and decide, just from those few lines, that the cover has nothing to do with the book. As an author with a dress cover, I can safely say that my character wears that exact dress in the book. It does fit the book - but you wouldn't know that from the description.

Then I think it's also good we remember that sometimes, getting your book in a bookstore can be reliant on the cover. And quite obviously, dresses on books seems to be what bookstores are buying. Maybe there's a reason for all these beautiful gowns.

Maybe there isn't.

Let's take a look at some dress covers.

Books where the dress fits


All of these are gorgeous, and all of them are fitting to the book. For example, The Selection. The main character, America, is in a reality show to become the new Queen. She has to dress up and wear beautiful gowns. Hence the cover. Masque of the Red Death is also fitting because the characters enjoy wearing lovely dresses and corsets when they go out. Arise, well the character dies in a white dress and therefore stays in the white dress. And what else do all of these covers have in common? Well, they're beautiful. Absolutely stunning.

Books where the dress is gorgeous, but doesn't fit


Each of these covers is absolutely stunning. And definitely eye-catching. But, from what I know, these dresses aren't actually used in the book. Fallen - the main character goes to a dank, dark boarding school. No dresses there. Shatter Me has a main character who is locked away in a prison for a long time and doesn't have the time to attend a beautiful ball. And Everneath (which is my favourite cover of the three) doesn't have a scene with a gorgeous red dress. But the imagery on these covers is very powerful and would make me pick up the book on look alone.

I have to be honest, it was a lot harder finding a cover with a dress on it that featured in the book than it was to find one that didn't. However, I'll be the first to admit that I'm attracted to pretty things. And as a girl, I like beautiful dresses. I can't help it. I love dress covers. 

But, one problem with these gorgeous dress covers is that it's not exactly male friendly. I don't know about guys you know, but the ones in my life wouldn't feel too comfortable walking around with a cover featuring a kick-ass dress on the front.

But enough about what I think. What do you think about dress covers? What have been some of your favourite and least favourite dress covers and why?

Also - and unrelated - Harlequin Teen are hosting a giveaway over at my personal blog, and it's super easy. So drop on over and enter!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Key Points

So at the end of last month/into this month, several YAtopians helped out with the 250-word critique workshop. It got me thinking about the important "key moments" in a YA book, particularly when querying agents who request different sample pages. (Some want 5, some want 10, or 50.)
You goal is to catch someone's attention—be it a reader, an agent, or an editor. In my completely personal opinion, I thought I would break it down to what I look for when critiquing and writing, and maybe it'll help some of you out.

First 250 words:
This is the very, very first impression your story is going to make. It needs to be pretty, well-written, but concise because you have very limited words in which to grab someone's attention and hold it. If you have a prologue full of information you think is 'useful', get rid of it. Don't think But it gets interesting around page 5 because I guarantee you, most people aren't going to read that far to find out. Cut all the stuff before where it gets interesting.
Give us your narrator. Give us a brief sense of what they're like. Give us a sense of urgency. Avoid waking up, starting with their typical day of brushing their teeth, eating breakfast, going to school, thinking how normal everything is. Start where something new and unique is happening.
Don't start with the fireworks being set up, start with them being lit.

First 5 Pages:
If someone enjoys your first few paragraphs, they're likely to get through your first chapter. A lot of agents request a sample of five-ish pages. A lot can happen in five pages. Murders, death, love, first meetings, hauntings, fights, apocalypses. Take the first big event in your story, the first real turning point, and make sure you're right there at the five page mark. This moment should somehow have a lasting effect on the rest of the book, be it your narrator meeting a love interest, or an enemy, or anything that will be of importance.
If your narrator is discovering he/she has special powers, something needs to happen within these pages to show it. All the explanation doesn't have to be there, but something needs to be happening that spurs a reader onward while answering some of their questions from the first 250 words.

First 10 Pages:
Like in your first 250 words, the first 5 pages ought to answer some questions, but open up some more. By now, your reader should be invested and settling into your writing style and wanting to get to know your narrator. They should start having more empathy because there's a lot of connection that can be built, even from 5 pages.
By the end of 10 pages, if you're writing a paranormal, dystopic, fantasy, etc sort of story, there should most definitely be a sense of the setting by now. Don't throw paranormal elements into a story 50 pages in. Introduce it early on, even if the narrator isn't fully aware of what's happening. Ditto for narrators transferring to new worlds, or interacting with non-human beings, etc.
Ten pages is your time for get us interested and give us a solid feel for what kind of book we're in for.

First 50 Pages (about ¼ through the story):
Partial requests can be anywhere between 50-100 pages, or thereabouts.
So you've had time to give us a solid sense of world-building, character-building, and some relationships. Now it's time to, pardon my language, fuck it all up!
This is a fantastic time to pick up the snow globe and start shaking it. Upset your narrator's world. Starting really ramping up the conflict, and start making the stakes clear. Don't wait until ¾ of the way through the book to show us what's really at stake. At least allude to it earlier on, so we can feel anxious and worried, and we have ample time to really see the characters struggle against this. Nothing ever needs to be said plainly, but there needs to be a feeling of what could go horribly wrong. (And maybe does!)

Obviously this is just a template, and a rough one, with exceptions.
Try taking one of your books, or your favorite book, and flip open to these pages or thereabouts. See what's happening at those key moments and why it works, or why it doesn't.
As I said, this is totally a personal opinion and one I work with when writing. If I've reached page 50 and not much is happening, I've got to seriously pick up the pace. If I've reached page 100 and things still aren't ramping toward a climax, I know I've got a serious problem and need to rework what I have before continuing onward.

What do you guys think?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Vote for Sarah in the Independent Book Blogger Awards

Hey guys, Sarah here. We don't normally like to ask our readers for favors, but the YAtopians are allowing me an exception for the day. I'm nominated for the Independent Book Blogger Awards and I'd really appreciate your support.

All you have to do to vote for me is have a Goodreads account and click on the button below.


Independent Book Blogger Awards
Vote for Sarah for the Independent Book Blogger Awards!
Vote




I know y'all probably follow a lot of blogs that are nominated, but you can vote once per category and I'm actually nominated in the Adult Fiction category (for Sift Book Reviews) instead of YA, so that should make it easier on you!

If I win, I receive a free trip to Book Expo America, where I'm sure to pick up awesome info to share with you guys and awesome books to do giveaways with!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Life is too short...

Life is too short to wake up with regrets.
Love the people who treat you right.
Forget about the ones who don’t.
Believe everything happens for a reason.
If you get a second chance, grab it with both hands.
If it changes your life, let it.
Nobody said life would be easy. They just promised it would be worth it.



You've probably seen these quotes before. Each sentence is so true, and they become my mantra when I'm trying to reset my life.  Every now and again I need a reminder that there is a whole other world going on outside of my writer's bubble.
When my head is firmly wedged up my butt as a result of too much time spent on the internet, working social media, frantically following and emulating those more successful than me in the attempt of achieving unrealistic goals set in over enthusiastic moments, my world becomes insular. I lose track of things that are important. I'm never good enough for myself. Things and people who aren't important, become pivotal. 
I continue, blinkered, until something happens. Something small like one of my daughters saying something poignant, or a big squishy hug from one of my boys. Then the old cliched sayings start to filter into my self imposed prison. I remind myself of all the things I really hold dear, that all the other stuff really doesn't matter. In the overall scheme of things, it's all garbage, and the only person keeping me imprisoned in the superficial world I've created, is me. Then the walls come crumbling down and life becomes simpler. More pleasant. Enjoyable. 
Until... I start to build my walls again, which is inevitable, I'm a writer after all. It's what we do...we build worlds, worlds to  set new goals in, raise our standards, expect more from ourselves, and beat ourselves up for mistakes, crappy stats, and missed opportunities. But that's okay, because there's always our friends and family to bring us back and reel us in.  I think all of us creative types need our lifelines to pull us back from the brink of self destruction. 
If you're caught up in the cycle, read the quotes above, and press reset. Remember, you are fabulous, most of what you think is important, is not, and you're not alone. It's onward and upward from here guys. I wish you a pleasant journey.
Leigh

Friday, April 6, 2012

Agentopia: Marisa A. Corvisiero

BIO

Marisa A. Corvisiero is the founder of the Corvisiero Literary Agency and their Senior Literary Agent. During the few years prior to starting her own agency, Marisa worked with the L. Perkins Agency, where she learned invaluable lessons and made a name for herself in the industry. She is also a Literary Consultant at Literary Powerhouse Consulting and Attorney. Marisa has over ten years of legal experience in New York City.

WISHLIST

Marisa seeks creative stories with well developed plots and rich characters with unique voices. She will consider Romance, Thrillers, Adventure, Paranormal, Fantasy, Science Fiction, and any combination thereof. She will also consider the same genres for Young Adults and Middle Grade readers. In non-fiction, she enjoys out of box and high concept spiritual, self-improvement, parenting, science, business, and pop-culture.

HOW TO QUERY

Please e-mail your Query letter with the five pages of your complete and polished manuscript as an attachment, and a 1-2 page synopsis to query@corvisieroagency.com. If your work is non-fiction, then you should include a proposal instead of the synopsis. All sample pages must be properly formatted into 1 inch margins, double-spaced lines, Times New Roman black font size 12.

For tips and discussions on what she looks for in Query letters and Submissions, please take a look at Marisa's blog at Thoughts From A Literary Agent.

Monday, April 2, 2012

First 250 Words Work Shop: #Y15 - Kat Ellis


We are joining forces with Brenda Drake, Shelley Watters and Erica Chapman in critiquing the first 250 words of manuscripts of the lucky 60 people who signed up for the After the Madness Workshop.

YAtopians Sarah Nicolas, Kelley York, Sharon Johnston and Leigh Fallon have taken on a few workshop submission each to provide some feedback on the opening paragraphs. We'd love it if you'd add your thoughts (constructive criticism only please) and visit the other critiquers blogs to provide more feedback on the other work submitted:

Brenda Drake
Shelley Watters
Erica Chapman

Time to get into it.


#Y15 - Kat Ellis


ORIGINAL


The blast turned everything piercing white for a moment. Then the soundwave hit her.
“Bloody hell!” Beth’s ears rang as she gripped the steering wheel to ride out the aftershocks. For a moment, it felt like the whole world would collapse in on itself.
The silence that followed was almost as deafening.
Beth blinked through her dark goggles, trying to make out any sign of life outside the vehicle. All she saw was the burning crater where the bomb had hit, the already bleak expanse swallowed by a blanket of dust and smoke. Beth kept watching for Michael to reappear, her leg spazzing in rhythm with the proximity alarm.
“We should go,” Saul said, his breath moist on Beth’s neck. She edged away.
“We can’t just leave Michael there!”
“Don’t see why not. It’s not like he’s a real person.”
She could hear Saul’s sneer without even looking at him. Another blast rocked the roach, further away but still too damned close. The vehicle lurched as it struggled to maintain its balance. No part of the landscape was left untouched by the bombs, rough craters and ditches carved like war wounds into the ground.
“Not. Yet.” Her mouth set in a firm line, one hand hovering near her gun. Saul rolled his eyes.
“Fine…” His words trailed off as Beth hurried past him to the rear hatch of the roach. Saul followed just in time to see Michael striding out from the dust cloud towards them. 


With Sarah's Comments

The blast turned everything piercing white for a moment. Then the soundwave hit her.
“Bloody hell!” I don't know; I think after an explosion like that, she'd be less coherent. Beth’s ears rang as she gripped the steering wheel to ride out the aftershocks. For a moment, it felt like the whole world would collapse in on itself.
The silence that followed was almost as deafening.
Beth blinked through her dark goggles, trying to make out any sign of life outside the vehicle. All she saw was the burning crater where the bomb had hit, the already bleak expanse swallowed by a blanket of dust and smoke. At this point, I'm getting frustrated because I can't picture the scene. A crater, yes, but where? In a city, in a desert, on another planet? Beth kept watching for Michael to reappear, her leg spazzing in rhythm with the proximity alarm. This sentence is awkward - do the two thoughts have anything to do with each other?
“We should go,” Saul said, his breath moist on Beth’s neck. She edged away. Isn't she in the driver's seat? Where does she go? Why isn't Saul in a seat?
“We can’t just leave Michael there!”
“Don’t see why not. It’s not like he’s a real person.”
She could hear Saul’s sneer without even looking at him. Another blast rocked the roach I don't know what you mean by "roach." Like, no idea at all. You may want to use the word first in a sentence with context that tells us it's the vehicle they're in, further away but still too damned close. The vehicle lurched as it struggled to maintain its balance. No part of the landscape was left untouched by the bombs, rough craters and ditches carved like war wounds into the ground. Are they like war wounds? Or are they war wounds?
“Not. Yet.” Her mouth set in a firm line, one hand hovering near her gun. Saul rolled his eyes.
“Fine…” His words trailed off as Beth hurried past him to the rear hatch of the roach. Saul followed just in time to see Michael striding out from the dust cloud towards them. 

The main thing here is I just don't care. You've thrown these three characters in the middle of an explosion and I have no idea who they are or why. I have no reason to care for them and I'm not engaged in the story. I realize that you're trying to start with action, but it needs to be meaningful action.
Secondly, I'm having trouble picturing the scene, the location of people. After reading this page a few times, I still don't have an image in my head. This may be one of those rare instances where you want to start a little earlier and let us have a few seconds of normalcy before the bomb hits.

What do you think YAtopians? As always, feel free to disagree with me! 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

First 250 Words Work Shop: #Y14 - Anya Harker



We are joining forces with Brenda Drake, Shelley Watters and Erica Chapman in critiquing the first 250 words of manuscripts of the lucky 60 people who signed up for the After the Madness Workshop.

YAtopians Sarah Nicolas, Kelley York, Sharon Johnston and Leigh Fallon have taken on a few workshop submission each to provide some feedback on the opening paragraphs. We'd love it if you'd add your thoughts (constructive criticism only please) and visit the other critiquers blogs to provide more feedback on the other work submitted:

Brenda Drake
Shelley Watters
Erica Chapman

Time to get into it.



#Y14 - Anya Harker

Original



Acrid smoke stung his eyes and Aiden's lungs burned as he sucked in another breath of tainted oxygen. Racing across the grassland at near preternatural speed, his footfalls left small craters in the soft ground. His quarry managed to stay a few steps ahead of him and Aiden wasn't sure how much longer he could keep up this breakneck pace. The woman and the bundle in her arms were just out of reach and Aiden knew he had to catch them before they reached the portal. Everything depended on it.
Everything.
Around him, the other Hunters fought against their Seelie opponents, paying him no heed while he flew across the dew covered grass. They had their own fights to win; he had his.
Aiden was given the simplest of tasks: keep an eye on the prisoners while the Hunters revealed their ultimate weapon. The Hunters were a race that survived by feeding off the energy of pure Fae – Seelie and Unseelie alike. Thus the alliance between the Hunters and their dark Unseelie brethren would be unexpected. They'd emerge victorious. Meanwhile the Seelie Queen, Inaria, and her babe would be powerless to stop her subjects from being sucked dry of their precious grace.
The Fae Hunter Elders said at his three hundred and seventeen years he was too young to be of any use. How much trouble could the two cause, held within warded iron bars? All he wanted to do was participate in the fight and prove his worth.
Aiden refused to admit his bruised ego was about to be the end of everything.

Sarah's Comments

Acrid smoke stung his eyes and Aiden's lungs burned as he sucked in another breath of tainted oxygen. Racing across the grassland at near preternatural speed Is it actually preternatural? If so "near" is seriously weakening this sentence. If it's not, I'm going to assume he's human among non-humans, which I don't think is the case, his footfalls by structuring this sentence this way, you're saying his footfalls race across the grassland - which really doesn't make any sense. I would change footfalls to feet. left small craters in the soft ground. His quarry managed to stay stayed a few steps ahead of him and to speed up the pace, you could make this two sentences Aiden wasn't sure how much longer he could keep up this breakneck pace. The woman and the bundle in her arms were just out of reach and same comment on splitting up the sentences to speed up the pace Aiden knew he had to catch them before they reached the portal. Everything depended on it.
Everything.
Around him, the other Hunters fought against their Seelie opponents, paying him no heed while he flew across the dew covered grass. They had their own fights to win; he had his.
Aiden was given the simplest of tasks: keep an eye on the prisoners while the Hunters revealed their ultimate weapon. The Hunters were a race that survived by feeding off the energy of pure Fae – Seelie and Unseelie alike. Wait, so is he a bad guy? I think most readers usually assume we're going to ride along with the hero in the first scene so at this point, I'm really confused. Thus the alliance between the Hunters and their dark Unseelie brethren would be unexpected. They'd emerge victorious. Meanwhile the Seelie Queen, Inaria, and her babe would be powerless to stop her subjects from being sucked dry of their precious grace. These last three sentences feel a bit out of place to me. Let's see if the commenters have anything to add, but I think it's because you're saying they're definitely going to win after and before you're saying he screwed up and they may not win.
The Fae Hunter Elders said at his three hundred and seventeen years he was too young to be of any use. I would say: "... at his three hundred and seventeen years, Aiden was too young..." How much trouble could the two cause, held within warded iron bars? I might move this sentence before the last one so that you're talking about the queen and the baby and then "the two" instead of switching back and forth between subjects. In four sentences you go: queen, Aiden, queen, Aiden All he wanted to do was participate in the fight and prove his worth. Still? I think right now, all he wants to do is catch the queen.
Aiden refused to admit his bruised ego was about to be the end of everything.

I'll admit, I tried to find your pitch but couldn't because I wanted to see what the crux of your story was. I'm not sure how I feel about jumping into the action of this guy chasing a woman and her baby with the goal of sucking them dry. It's definitely not making me wish for him to succeed.

Anything to add YAtopians? Feel free to disagree with me :-)

April is Aussie Author Month

Don't make me use the Force on you. Go buy an Aussie book.
Aussie Aussie Aussie! *puts hand to ear* Oi Oi Oi!

It's a war cry that nearly ever Australian knows, and will join in on. And today I call it out proud, not just to my fellow Aussies, but to everyone involved in the literary industry - writers, readers, bloggers, agents, publishers, to join in on the April activities.



Australians produce some great writers with amazing stories that are just waiting for you to read or to be discovered by the publishing industry. My hopes for April are that:

  • Bookshops have an Australian display, making Aussie authors easy to find in April.
  • Readers will buy or borrow at least one Aussie book.
  • Bloggers will review at least one Aussie book, interview an Aussie author or have a competition with an Aussie book as the prize.
  • I hear about an agent offering rep to an Aussie author.
  • I hear about a new Aussie book deal.
  • I see Tweeters and bloggers involved in the Aussie Author Month events.
  • People give to the Aussie Author Month fundraiser: Indigenous Literacy Foundation.
 We have a small industry, but have produced some amazing writers. We should support them all year round, but let's all make an extra special effort this month to get behind Aussie authors.

So what do you think you can do to support and promote Aussie authors?