Monday, December 17, 2012

Very Exciting News

I really don't know what to say in a post like this, so I'm just going to say it:

MY BOOK SOLD! 

My book is going to be a book. And not just that--it's going to be a trilogy!

That's right! My YA romantic thriller trilogy, working title THE ELITE, is coming from the amazing Putnam/Penguin in late 2014!! 

I know. I still can't quite believe it. I am the luckiest girl in the world!

About two weeks ago, on a Thursday, my fabulous agent Claudia sent THE ELITE out on sub. The following Wednesday, when I saw Claudia calling, I assumed I'd maybe attached a synopsis wrong or something. So when she said, "We have our first offer!" I didn't scream or cry or dance with joy or anything like that. I just said, very eloquently, "... ...What?"

And then she gave me all the details and I was kind of writing them down, but really I was just going:


I was still doing that a few days later when we got another offer, and a couple days after that, I accepted a 3-book deal from Putnam/Penguin, with the absolutely amazing Arianne Lewin as my editor! (My editor! Whoa. And she is so great, you guys. I am so excited to work with her!!)

I just wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone who has been excited about the book and sent encouragement and talked me down from the crazy through this whole process. There were definitely times I was sure this wouldn't happen. There were times I thought my book was just too different. (Fun fact: one scene I love but worried was just too weird is Editor Ari's favorite scene!) And through it all, it was the love from you guys for my story and my characters that kept me going. 

And now, the world gets to know my characters! Avery, Jack, and Stellan are going out into the world! And that, more than anything, is what makes me freak out all over again whenever I think about it. So even though it hasn't quite sunken in yet, I have pretty much looked like this the past few days:


Thank you guys again for all your support and for believing in my book and for everything! I love you all!

EDIT: Ahhhh! I'm on Goodreads!! http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17134589-the-elite

(PS--After Christmas I will be doing a giveaway to celebrate! Check back soon for more info!) <3

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thankful

I know it's a few days after Thanksgiving, but today is my birthday, and it always makes me a little reflective. This year, I've been thinking about what I'm thankful for. There's way too much to list, and I don't want to make this post a million pages long, so just in terms of writing, I'm thankful for:

-My writing friends (all of them, but especially the lovely Dahlia, Gina, Marieke, and Erica!) They read anything I write, they obsess over my characters with me, and they talk me down from the ledge when I'm feeling off. I truly could not do this with out them. I love you guys!

-My agent, Claudia Ballard. She has been amazingly patient and encouraging and awesome, and her brilliant suggestions have made my MS so much better than it ever could have been without her. I'm so lucky she wanted to work with me!

-The YA Misfits. They are writing friends (see above) but they've also given me the chance to be part of something great. If you haven't seen the site yet, check it out!

-My husband. Not only is he supportive of my writing, he takes the time to talk through plot points with me, to read new scenes, and to give me a glass of wine when he knows that's what I really need. (And no, you can't have him. He's all mine!)

What (or who) are you thankful for this Thanksgiving season?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Get Your Pitch On: UNCOVERED



Hi everyone! Today we have a pitch for Get Your Pitch On. Please feel free to critique in the comments.

Name: Lindsey Frydman
Country of residence: US
Title: UNCOVERED
Genre: YA Sci-Fi Romance
Word-count: 62,000

Pitch: When Hallie meets Colton, a guy with more frightening secrets than being an alien, she finds herself hunted by the Megaera. This deranged alien mafia group says she’s a Hamartia, a half human race who isn’t allowed to exist because they’re a threat. The Megaera thinks she could be an asset. Hallie must decide whom to trust if she wants to avoid being a prisoner or worse—dead.


Hi Lindsey! Happy to have you here on my blog and in the contest! UNCOVERED sounds like a very cool concept. Deranged alien mafia? Whoa. I'd love to see how that played out!

What I'd love to see in this pitch is even MORE of what makes this story unique. "Half human race who isn't allowed to exist..." is a good specific sentence, and as I mentioned, "deranged alien mafia" sounds awesome. 

But then we have some sentences that, to me, sound a little too general. "More frightening secrets," "an asset," "must decide who to trust"--I feel like I could fit those sentences into pitches for quite a lot of books. To make this pitch even stronger, I would hone in more on the details we'll only find in THIS book. What exactly do the Megaera want with Hallie? Who is she deciding to trust or not? Colton? I'd love to see him come up again, since the genre is listed as Sci-Fi Romance. 

And my other question would be: does Hallie have a 'positive goal?' Avoiding something certainly sounds important in this case, but is she working toward anything at the same time? Positive goals (working toward something) are generally more active, and therefore more interesting in a pitch than negative goals (avoiding something).  

I know how hard it is to get details in such a short pitch, but it's also the place you need them the most! The more you can pack the limited space you do have with specifics rather than generalities, the faster a reader will snatch it up!

Best of luck!! 


Agree with me? Don't agree with me? Let us know in constructive critique in the comments! And once you're done here, you can hop around to all the other participating blogs (see the other blogs here) and leave feedback there, too! 

For each critique you leave in the comments, you get an entry into the drawing to win one of eight 10-page critiques from our contest host Sharon Johnston and workshop hosts Larissa HardestyStephanie DiazCatherine ScullyJodie AndrefskiPaula SangareTalynn and Kaitlin Adams, and Sarah Nicolas with three query critiques. Please use the exact same name for all of your critiques.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Get Your Pitch On!



Hello querying writers! Exciting news--there's a great new contest starting TODAY!

For Get Your Pitch On, Commissioning and Managing Editor of Hardie Grant Egmont, Marisa Pintado, will be taking pitches both on Down Under Wonderings and on the group blog YAtopia on October 15th. 

Marisa is looking for YA in any genre and is accepting submissions from anywhere in the world. This is your chance to skip the slush pile and put your pitch right under the nose of a fantastic editor. There's even better news - there is no limit on how many requests Marisa will make from the contest. 

THE CONTEST
Here are the rules:

  • Your manuscript must be complete, polished and ready to query - this means no first drafts or almost-finished manuscripts.
  • It must be YA.
  • Your entry detail needs to include a 50 - 70 word pitch.
  • You can enter more than once if you have more than one complete, polished, ready to query manuscript.
  • Entries MUST follow the formatting guidelines in the example below: 
Name: Sharon Johnston
Email: smjohnston [ @ ] live.com.au
Country of residence: Australia
Title: SLEEPER
Genre: Speculative Fiction
Word-count: 58,000

Pitch: Seventeen-year-old Mishca Richardson is a sleeper soldier with a weak heart. She has no idea that a life saving heart transplant has accidentally triggered her programming. In the search for answers, she discovers the truth and that her creator, Wirth, has classified her remaining “sisters” from her experiment group as defective, scheduling them for termination. Mishca sets out to save them before they’re eliminated.




THE WORKSHOPS

You might be wondering how this blog fits in. I (and a whole bunch of other blogs you can find here) am helping workshop your pitches to get them in the best shape they can be before October 15! Each entry submitted will get a pitch critique from a participating blog, plus have their pitch posted for other participants to comment on. These workshops start on October 1, but you can send your pitches now to secure your spot with a host blog.

There is no date deadline for the workshops. Each blog has allocated a set number of pitches that they can host and once those spots are full then no more submissions will be taken. 

Important Rule: If you want to participate in a workshop, you must be prepared to comment on at least one other pitch. For each critique you leave in the comments, you get an entry into the drawing to win one of eight 10-page critiques from our contest host Sharon Johnston and workshop hosts Larissa HardestyStephanie DiazCatherine ScullyJodie AndrefskiPaula SangareTalynn and Kaitlin Adams. Please use the exact same name for all of your critiques. The opportunity ends 10/14/2012.

How to submit: Email your draft pitch to pitchonws@gmail.com, and don't forget to put PitchOn WS and the name of your manuscript in the subject line of your email. Pitches must follow the formatting above.

Draft pitches will be evenly distributed between host blogs. 

What are you waiting for? Start sending your pitches! And also – make sure to use the #PitchOn hashtag on Twitter to follow all the news now and be part of the excitement during the contest.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

YA Misfits Giveaway WINNER!

Thank you all SO much for entering my YAMF Launch Giveaway! I was happy to see that so many of you had heard of Save the Cat, and hopefully the winner will get some good use out of it.

I know you just want to know who won, so let's get to it! I numbered your comments, put them into random.org, and the winner is................

EMILY MEAD!!!

Emily, I am going to tweet you, but if you see this first, go ahead and email me at maggie.bunting (at) gmail (dot) com

Thanks again for entering, everyone, and I'm so glad to see you on board for YA Misfits!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

YA Misfits Giveaway!

So, if you haven't heard, there's a new blog on the block. We're called YA Misfits, and we're a group of YA writers from all across the genre spectrum and all across the world!

To celebrate our launch, we're giving away all kinds of great stuff. On the Misfits blog, you can enter to win a KINDLE (!!!) and the other Misfits are giving away fabulous prizes from books to crits to music and more!

So what am I giving away? Only one of my favorite writing books of all time, plus a critique to help get you going. 



Though Save The Cat is technically a screenwriting book, I think every writer should read it. Something wrong with your pitch? Blake Snyder will give you some hints. Can't figure out why your story is dragging 1/3 of the way through? Check out the famous Beat Sheet. Having problems with an infodump? See the chapter about the Pope in the Pool (seriously!).

One of you lovely readers will win a copy of this book, PLUS (if you need it!) a query critique. 

Why a query critique? Because see, I actually like queries, and you should too. We all know you need a fantastic query to snag an agent, but did you know it's a great plotting tool, too? No matter what stage of the writing process you're in, a query's a good thing to have. And since my query had somewhere around an 80% request rate, I guess I might have some tips to give!

To enter, all you have to do is comment below by 11:59 pm EST on Monday, September 10. (It'd be NICE if you were a follower here and over at YA Misfits--and our Twitter accounts!--but it's not required.) I'll pick a winner and announce it the next day! International entries are welcome!

Oh yeah, and if you haven't done so yet, GO CHECK OUT YA MISFITS! You know you want to.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Vlog

In which you learn that I have a bunch of cats, that my desk is in a closet, and that I build furniture.

And be sure to check out all my lovely CPs-- Leigh Ann Kopans has compiled all our vlogs from this week, and they are fab.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Critique Partners Vlog -- On Inspiration

This week in Critique Partners 2.0, we're talking about inspiration. And I'm also talking a little bit about wine, and about the magical properties of my hair. Check out the rest of my lovely and talented CPs over at Leigh Ann Kopans' blog!


Monday, March 26, 2012

Help Me Choose!

So last weekend, my family did a family portrait thing. Since I actually did my hair and put on makeup for it, I figured I might as well have Andrew snap a quick picture so I could put up a real avatar (and not one chopped out of an engagement pic from three years ago!). We were headed out to my in-laws' house for St. Patrick's Day, so we only had a few minutes before the pull of Guinness and whiskey took us away from this photo session, but I managed to get at least two with my eyes open! This is the one I chose, but I can't decide whether to use it normal, or use one with some effects. 

Thoughts? 



1. Black and white
2. Soft light filter
3. Normal
4. Overexposed 

I kind of like the ones with effects because they distract a little from...you know. Me. And the fact that I have vampire fangs and that my head looks a little disjointed from my body. :) But I've been staring at myself way too long and don't feel like I'm being objective. Help?

PS- Hunger Games! I liked it! Did you like it? My favorite part was walking out past a group of teenage boys discussing the differences between the book and the movie. Love it!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

On Travel Anniversaries and Impossible Dreams

Six years ago today, I packed up a travel backpack and ran away to the other side of the world for about four months, all by myself. Six years ago. It seems like a lifetime ago and like yesterday at the same time. And it (not to get totally overdramatic) (okay, yeah, it's overdramatic, but true!) changed my life.

Loch Ness--after I accidentally got my hair dyed platinum blonde. Meant to get it dyed back to my natural color (medium/dark blonde) but apparently that doesn't translate in Hungarian.

It wasn't even the traveling. I mean, the traveling was great. Amazing. One can never be exactly the same once one has searched for the Loch Ness monster and wandered the streets of Cambodia and learned to do all one's laundry in the sink all in the same couple-month period.


On the street in Cambodia
 It wasn't exactly even the fact that I was traveling alone, though if I hadn't had the trial-by-fire of months of solo travel, I have no doubt I'd be a different person now. (Being alone is fun sometimes! Have you ever gone to a movie alone? You should try it.)
Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Tiger Temple, Thailand  
Snorkeling, Thailand


Hagia Sophia, Istanbul
No, it was an epiphany I had six years and a few months ago now, before I left on that trip. I'd graduated from college, and had no idea what to do with my life. I wasn't like a lot of my USC classmates, who knew they were going to law school immediately, or already had a job offer at Deloitte, or were moving to Manhattan Beach with ten friends. I graduated with degrees in psychology and Italian (yeah, what the heck was I going to do with that??), I had a long-term boyfriend back home in Albuquerque but wished I could move to a big city instead of going home, or that I could do something else exciting, though I had no idea what. I was pretty much lost.

   
Church doors,
Transylvania, Romania
One day, I found myself sitting at the kitchen table, feeling very sorry for myself and drinking a glass of wine and staring out the window and probably pretending I was the heroine in some dramatic movie. If I could do absolutely anything, I thought, my dream would be to travel for a few months. I'd already traveled a decent amount, but there was so much more of the world I wanted to see, and who knew when I'd have the chance again?

Dunnotar Castle, Scotland
But I didn't have a lot of money. And I had this boyfriend. And everyone around me was being responsible and adult and getting jobs and houses--some were even married already. And who took off and traveled, besides hippies and Brits on Gap Year? I sighed at the impossibility of this crazy thing I'd probably never get to do, and drank some more wine.

And then, out of somewhere magical and mysterious, it hit me.

It wasn't like I'd never thought about actually doing it before. I'd looked into plane tickets, I'd read travel message boards, I'd even thought of what I'd bring to wear. But it always ended with me a little more depressed than I had been earlier, and a little bit resentful of the life that would never allow me to do what I really wanted. Until that day. That day, I thought...WHY NOT?

Cooking class, Thailand
And it wasn't just a thought. It was this feeling, like someone had punched me in the gut and all of a sudden, I saw the world just a little differently than I ever had before. Why not just go? I could think of a million reasons why not, but deep down...there was no real reason why not. At that moment, I realized that I could it. I could do anything I wanted. Sure, it would mean that I'd have to work two jobs and save up for a few months. It would mean that I'd leave the boyfriend (now the husband) behind, since he'd just started a company and didn't want to leave. It would mean I'd be traveling alone. Most of all, it would mean that a lot of people would think I was crazy.

But I could do it. I could literally do WHATEVER I WANTED. Everything going on in my head was just excuses.

And so I just...went. It was the best decision I ever made, and the realization that I could do it was one of the best things to ever happen to me. Whatever that is, there are a million excuses not to, but if I really want to, I can write a book, or decide to move to another city for a month on a whim, or apply for a job I never thought I'd get, or quit a job I hate. There are always going to be reasons not to do whatever it is you really want, but my hope for everyone I care about is that, one day, that little *snick* will happen for them, and they'll realize--not just intellectually, but really understand--that there are way more reasons to do it. You only have one life. Or, as my favorite fortune cookie ever says, "Tomorrow may be too late. Live today."

Koh Phagnon, Thailand

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Lucky 7 Meme

Thanks, Chessie, for tagging me for a blog meme thing! I've never done one before, but here we go!



The rules:

1. Go to page 77 of your current MS
2. Go to line 7
3. Copy down the next seven lines as they're written--no cheating!
4. Tag 7 other writers (I tag: Seabrooke, Sari, and anyone who reads this post) :)
5. Let them know


I had no idea what would be on page 77, but turns out it's SUPER-ACTIONY, which is fun. Here we go!

The clang of heavy footsteps on the stairs turned the pain in my head into wild panic. I crawled as fast as I could to a couch and clung to it, forcing myself dizzily to my feet as the killer reached the bottom of the stairs. He was no more than ten feet away, and he no longer had the knife in his hand. 
He had a gun. 
The room spun like I was on a carnival ride. He stood between me and the front door, blocking my only escape. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Photo Friday

So guess what! It turns out I suck at keeping New Years resolutions, even if they're fun! To be fair, I have been taking a lot more pictures, but I haven't really been keeping up with the daily assignments. So these aren't exactly the photos I meant to take, but nevertheless, here's my week in photos.


{woke up to this one morning. of course now, a few days later, i'm wearing a skirt. ah, new mexico weather}


{practiced my food photography, because food photography is my favorite. bread is so pretty!}


{got some gorgeous produce--hello, blood oranges! the produce aisle looked like spring!}


{got my little brother's wedding invitation! (and discovered, again, how awful the light in our kitchen is for photos)}


How was your week?



Friday, January 27, 2012

Photo Friday

So about that New Year's resolution thing. I usually make really un-fun resolutions, and unsurprisingly, they don't usually pan out. (How many times have I resolved to lose ten pounds? It's never happened.)

This year, I'm making fun resolutions I might actually keep, starting with photography. 

We have a decent camera--not a DSLR, but a point-and-shoot with manual shooting capabilities. We got it when we went to India almost three years ago now, and it takes nice pictures, but neither Andrew or I have any idea how to use the manual features, and that's dumb. 

So this year, I've resolved to learn to take better pictures. To start with, I'm using a couple things I found on Pinterest: A 31 Days to a Better Photo tutorial, and this list of daily photo assignments:
I started at the beginning of January, but then I went out of town, then I got sick, so I only ended up doing through day 6. Oops! I'm going to start being better about it, and to motivate myself, I'm going to post some of the pics here, on Fridays, starting today!


1. Self-portrait. (Wearing a Christmas present from my lovely CP Leigh Ann!)
2. Clouds. (There weren't any clouds in the sky that day, so I just took pictures of the sky. And this photo is SOOC (Straight Out of Camera)! No photoshopping at all! (Most of these have at least a little color balancing/contrast work.) As much as I can complain about New Mexico, the sky here is beautiful. 
3. Something green. (I took these the first week of January--Christmas decor was still up.)
4. From a high angle. (A lamp I bought at a thrift store.)
5. From a low angle. (Kitchen cabinet. Never got the lighting on this one to turn out right, so I went a little crazy in photoshop and tried to make it Instagram-y. Actually it just looks...dark and grainy. Oh well.)
6. Bonus! cat picture. From left, Whiskey, Scotch, and Bourbon hiding behind a stack of Andrew's shirts.

So what did I learn this first week?
-Shooting without flash really is better
-You usually won't get a great shot the first time. I had to take a lot of pictures to get a good one. (This was easier when I was taking pictures of the kitchen cabinet for #5 than when I was standing in the front yard pointing at my boobs for versions of #1 where I was showing off the shirt.) 
-A bunch of technical stuff I'm not going into here. 

I'd say week 1 of my resolution=success!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Thankful


It's that time again--resolution time! I was trying to decide yesterday what writing-related things to work on in the New Year, when I realized that, before I start berating myself for what I'm not doing, I should be thankful for what I do have. Maybe this post should have come at Thanksgiving, but I can't do anything the normal way, can I? So, pre-resolution, the writing things I'm thankful for. (Warning: cheesiness ahead...)

*The fact that I have time to write. I have a job that keeps me busy, but also allows a little time off occasionally for writing. I also don't have kids, and I know that leaves me way more free time than a lot of people have, and I'm super grateful for that and am working on using that time wisely.

*My friends, family, and especially my hubby, who at least pretend that they don't think publishing a book is a crazy goal. I'm sure my hubby gets tired of hearing me agonize over what, exactly, my MC would say to her love interest in chapter 16, but he never complains, and for that I'm lucky.

*Writing friends. I've made such a great group of writing friends in such a short time, and I'm so thankful for them! Just a few of them:

-Leigh Ann-Gina-Chessie for accepting me into the club, :) and for always being willing to send me their newest kissing scenes to lift my spirits. For lovely presents, and 100+ emails in a day, and pictures of shirtless boys, and #lineswelove, and a whole bunch of stuff that has nothing to do with writing, and the fact that, despite all the love, we’re willing and able to rip each other’s manuscripts to shreds to make them shine. 

-Seabrooke, who gave me a huge boost of confidence when she read the book in 2 days, and then made it a lot better by pointing out a zillion and one things I’d never even considered, and for having a ton of confidence in my book and letting me read her new stuff immediately! And for being multi-talented! Stellan, as drawn by Seabrooke: 


-My real life critique group. Maybe we don’t get as much work done as we could, but when we’re laughing at all the hilarious and (mostly) unintentional innuendo in my book, or convincing another member to make a character “more like Kim Kardashian,” I remember that writing is supposed to be fun, and that’s invaluable.  

-Sari, who was the very first person ever to see any of my writing, and whose suggestions and encouragement made my MS an entirely different book from those early drafts. 


-All the other awesome writer buddies I’ve met online (and all the people I'm sure I've forgotten to mention). Writers are the coolest group of people, and one of the things I’m looking forward to most in 2012 is getting to know more writers better. 

Happy 2012, everyone! 

Monday, January 2, 2012

Music Monday

Haunting, sweet, sad, and great as background music.

Poison and Wine, by the Civil Wars