Sunday, July 29, 2012

PUSHING THE LIMITS: Interview with the author!

It's Book Birthday time here at YA Fusion, and I'm so pleased to announce that tomorrow, July 31st, our very own Katie McGarry will release her debut novel, PUSHING THE LIMITS, out into the world!

Congratulations Katie! 

New to Katie's work? Well, let me tell you a little about it.
(From Katie's website)

In Pushing the Limits, two teens, brought together by their court ordered therapist, work together to learn the secrets of their case files, but neither foresaw the shattering consequences of learning the truth regarding their families or of falling in love.
Want to see the trailer?


I can tell you from personal experience that this is not a book you want to miss. It's steamy, heart-wrenching, and absolutely addicting from start to finish. It's the kind of book you carry with you all the time, so even if you have two minutes in the line at the supermarket you can sneak a page or two. Not that I would ever do such a thing...hehe.

I'm lucky to say that Katie and I have a very special friendship. We talk a lot. Maybe a little too much. Sometimes we even finish each others sentences! So in honor of PUSHING THE LIMITS Week, I present you with Kristen and Katie's sentence completions! (Katie's answers are in blue)

Katie, if I say...

The grass is always greener... 
I would say, on the other side of the septic tank. Sorry, couldn’t help it.

You say tomato, and I say...the little cherry ones that go on salads? I love those.

Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice...shame on me. I can’t mess with that sentence. That statement is one of the rules I live by.

Just a spoonful of not enough to make my fudge brownies taste good.
(So true, my friend. So true)

Sometimes, when everyone else is asleep, music videos online. I particularly like the ones that tell the story of the song. Like High Enough by Damn Yankees.

She's dressed in yellow, she says "hello, ....." “Come sit next to me my fine fellow.” Yes, I’m totally quoting Bust a Move. You want it, you got it. 

Ok, we're back.

The most important scene in any book is...kissing. I love a great kiss scene.

Speak softly and carry...a book or a computer. People will generally leave you alone if you look busy.

This little piggy...became a part of my ham and cheese sandwich from Subway.

Pushing the Limits is the best book in the history of the known world because...Kristen Simmons said she liked it.

Katie is also going on a blog tour this week and you should totally check it out because there are books and swag being given away all over the place! Here's where she will be:

Monday, July 30th

Tuesday, July 31st * Book Bday* –

Wednesday, August 1st –                                                                                                                      

Thursday, August 2nd –          

Friday, August 3rd –      

Monday, August 6th – 

Tuesday, August 7th –   

Wednesday, August 8th –   

Thursday, August 9th –     

Friday, August 10th –

AND THAT'S NOT ALL! This week Katie is giving away a grand prize of a KINDLE FIRE on her website! Click here for more information.

Remember, PUSHING THE LIMITS goes on sale tomorrow, July 31st and can be purchased at any major retailer. Congratulations Katie!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Play Lists

 Play Lists . . . Or Not
 Am I the last person jumping on the Play List bandwagon, or have you been holding out, too?

I first heard of play lists with the release of “Twilight.” Who hasn’t heard how Stephanie Meyers found inspiration in Muse’s music? I didn’t see it as something I might want or need.  Ms. Meyers is just one person, and we all have our unique writing processes. Right?

But suddenly, everyone has play lists. Play lists have their own spot on author webpages. And there are almost as many questions asked about your play list as about your actual manuscript. I had to pull my head out of the sand and start researching this previously ignored aspect of writing.

My first AH HA moment came from reading articles about creativity. Seems creative people generally release their energies in more than one mode. Meaning writers paint, or design, or sing . . . or play music.

Next came a reminder of something we’ve all known at least on a subconscious level for years: music evokes emotions. When I write, creating and eliciting emotions is my number one goal. Hmm. I was starting to see a light.

And then there are life experiences. If I stop to think about it, there’s a play list for my life. Certain songs are forever connected to specific times or events in my life. Isn’t that true for you, too?

So why, I had to ask myself, wouldn’t it be true for the lives of my characters?


Next problem: how do I develop a play list? 

I started by keeping paper and pen in the car (where I’m most exposed to the radio) and writing down any song that might fit with my current manuscript. That turned out to be a short list. Like zero. So I widened my concept to writing down any song I liked. And BINGO!  I found the one song that defines my current work: "I Won't Give Up on Us," by Jason Mraz. (Okay, it may seem sappy, but when you’ve waited four hundred years to be reunited with your one and only, it works very well.)
I also found two songs with stories I have to write. Who knew???

But what, you might ask, are the benefits of having a play list? Besides inspiring emotion? For me, the biggest benefit is a seamless continuity of rhythm or cadence. Have you ever read a book where the prose was so buttery smooth that reading felt more like floating? I want that smoothness in my writing. Hitting the play list before writing puts me consistently in the mindset of my work so that the ups and downs of my ‘other life’ don’t slip onto the pages.

Are you considering a play list? Do you already have one? How did you find it? How do you use it?

 .........Lisa Tapp

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Editing Song

It depends on who you ask. Some writers love editing. Others? They hate it. Like, with the fury of ten thousand fire ants kind of hate. Me? I think I'm on the fence. Some days I love it. Others, I'd rather walk barefoot through a field of spiders. Big ones. With lots of hair. And fangs.

You see where this is going...

I'm currently in the editing cave, working on something for the Deazen series. On the days I'm not feeling the editing love, I'm easily distracted. Since today is one of those days, I thought it would be appropriate to post one of my favorite distractions, The Editing Song. I wrote this to the tune of Sublime's What I Got (because that's the song I was listening to when I wrote it--ironically when I was supposed to be editing...)

Early in the morning, risin’ from my sleep
Brew me up a strong one, and I’ll strap slippers to my feet
Got to find the plot hole, the plot hole’s killin me
Need to find the reason why my plot has gone to sea
I got an Akita, and all she does is sleep
I can spin a cliché better than any of you peeps

Well, the plot’s too thin, you better bulk it up
Cause you might get requested, so don’t get fed up
Never have to wrestle punctuation or adjectives
I always cut em down with the headaches that they give
Take a small example, a tip from me
Take all your extra words, give em up to charity
Edits are what I got
They’re within my reach
Strunk and white’s style got me writin’ like a peach
When the call comes in, gonna get what you deserve
If of course submission guidelines you observed
Edits are what I got
My brains ready to riot
You’ll know when the deadline gets hot

Edits are what I got, I said get em done
Edits are what I got, I said get em done
Edits are what I got, I said get em done
Edit’s, they’re what I got

That’s why I don’t cry when my plot runs away
I don’t get angry at the words I have to slay
I don’t get mad when my hero hits the rocks
My middle sags and dark moment sucks
Plotting and writing, it’s all the same
Crankin' out the edit’s the only way to stay sane
Let the word flow, let the word flow, come back to me

Edits are what I got, I said get em done
Edits are what I got, I said get em done
Edits are what I got, I said get em done
Edits are what I got, I got, I got

So what about you guys? Favorite distraction?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

What is it like to go on book tour?

What IS it like to go on book tour? I was fortunate enough, this summer to experience the whirlwind of the Dark Days  book tour. 

I was fortunate enough to be part of the Dark Days of the Supernatural tour, see the promo poster above? Which is a tour consisting of Harper Collins authors.

The tour coincided with BEA (Book Expo America) which is a whirlwind in itself. I spoke on a panel about he Evolution of YA with Elizabeth Norris and Melissa Marr, as well as other amazing authors, and then on Wednesday was part of a signing at BEA. Now, I don't kid myself that the excitement and lining up (people were in line hours before the signing) was for me! Veronica Roth was there, and Divergent and Insurgent are huge right now, and Aprilynne Pike's Wings series are bestsellers, and I had actually read Unravelling by Elizabeth Norris and LOVED it. I actually think the group tour is a great idea because it can get many readers into the bookstore, and it gives the authors a support network...not so high pressure as some signings.

So the day that the tour began, I went to the Javits center early for the YA authors breakfast. The Giver is one of my all time favorite books (of all time, yes I know that was redundant. I don't care). Hearing Ms. Lowery speak was inspiring and amazing. After that I spend a few hours trying to figure out why my cell phone wouldn't work, which was not a good use of my time, but I was afraid to stray far, because my cell phone wasn't working, what if I somehow missed my signing. When I wondered back to the Harper Collins booth an hour early, the line for our signing was stretched around and through the building.

Okay, so I don't remember much about that signing, except that I signed 150 books in about an hour. With a sharpie. I do not like writing with sharpies, but my own pens were in a cabinet, and stopping the line to get a pen would have been disastrous to the progress of the line.

Here I am posing for a picture! See the piles of books in the back? 

So, I said that sitting around staring at my defunct cell phone wasn't smart, right? It wasn't, because as soon as this even was over we were whisked off to a driver, who took us to the train station because we had a signing that evening in Philadelphia. 

Do we look tired? We were! We barely had time to stop and eat before the event, and even then ended up taking our food with us! 

The next morning we were on a plan to Columbus Ohio. That night we signed at the wonderful Cover to Cover bookstore. 

Then we were off again to Chicago. Luckily we got to stay two nights in Chicago, doing an event in Evanston and then to Printer's Row Literary Festival. 

By Sunday morning I was exhausted and ready to go home, but it was a fabulous experience and I'm so glad that Harper Collins and Greenwillow invited me to be a part of it. 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Pushing the Limits Query Statistics

This month, on July 31st, my first novel, Pushing the Limits, will debut with Harlequin Teen.

And WOW…what a ride it has been.

To celebrate my upcoming release, I thought I’d share with our YA Fusion readers something I’ve never talk about before: my statistics for Pushing the Limits.

Agents Queried: 41
            *Note: I tried to query agents that not only accepted the query letter but also a small sample of my writing. I also tried to avoid agents that wanted a synopsis upfront as I suck at writing a synopsis.

Queries Written: 2
Queries Out With Agents at All Times: 5

Agents Queried with First Query Letter: 5
Rejections: 5  

Agents Queried with Second Query Letter: 36
Rejections: 26
Personal Rejections off query and sample pages (often a note telling me that contemporary was a hard sell, but they liked my voice and asked to keep me in mind for future projects): 2
Requests for Manuscript: 8

Offers for Representation: 1

Kevan Lyon was the first agent to offer me representation on Pushing the Limits and I accepted. I actually had the manuscript still out with several agents and I had two more requests for fulls come in the week that Kevan contacted me. (Those 2 requests are not included in the above statistics.)

On a personal note, I did what was best for me and my manuscript by immediately accepting representation and have never regretted it, but I often advise others who are offered representation to talk to the other agents who have their manuscripts and shop around.

So, I’m opening the floor up to questions. Is there anything you’d like to know about the querying stage of the publishing process? If so, ask your question in the comment space below and I’ll try to answer your question this week.