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March 23rd, 2017

Congratulations to Frederick Turner whose epic science fiction poem APOCALYPSE has been nominated for the prestigious Elgin Award!

The Science Fiction Poetry Association awards the Elgin to the best poetry published in the preceding two years. APOCALYPSE is up for Best Full-Length Book – congratulations!!!

“Frederick Turner reveals the poetic soul of science fiction” — David Brin

APOCALYPSE
It’s 2067. The Antarctic ice sheets have collapsed. World sea levels have risen several feet and are rising faster still. The climate has changed catastrophically, and meteorological disasters are becoming a daily occurrence. Yet global power structures fail to respond, remaining frozen in political and ideological gridlock.

To confront this chaos, billionaire Noah Blazo recruits a team of genius misfits to bypass the political paralysis. With support from a coalition of island and coastal nations that are vulnerable to these catastrophes, his team launches an unsanctioned geo-engineering effort to restore the Earth’s ecological balance—an activity that prompts a global power struggle immediately leading to war.

Learn more about Frederick Turner on his website: www.frederickturnerpoet.com

Filed Under: News

ABOUT

Slightly shoe-obsessed YA and MG superagent Kate Testerman (aka Daphne Unfeasible) blogs about her books and authors, answers your questions, and talks about publishing industry gossip. , subscribe to this blog, or check out her Writer's Resources.

For more information about her About My Query posts, please click here.

Uncategorized

A huge round of congratulations to New York Times bestselling author Roni Loren on her two RITA nominations!!!

From the Romance Writers of America website, “The RITA — the highest award of distinction in romance fiction — recognizes excellence in published romance novels and novellas.”

Nominated for Best Contemporary Romance: Mid-Length = WANDERLUST

WANDERLUST is a story of sex, love, rock & roll, and a reporter who’s about to learn a new meaning for staying on top of her assignment.

Read chapter one of WANDERLUST here (18+ only please): roniloren.com/wanderlust

Nominated for Best Erotic Romance: OFF THE CLOCK

Smexy Books gave OFF THE CLOCK this amazing review, “Fair warning. I am writing this review with fingers contorted to the brink of fracture, as I am a hairsbreadth away from spontaneous combustion, due to barely leashed excitement courses with the power of a hydrogen bomb, through. my. friggin. body! Readers, I really, enjoyed this novel. Smart, sexy, fast paced, funny, and it gives you the feels! Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the- well you get it…My first A+ read of 2016 and a lock for one of the best books of the year. (Yes. Yes it is that good folks).”

Read chapter one of OFF THE CLOCK here (18+ only please): roniloren.com/off-the-clock

The sequel to OFF THE CLOCK is out next month – check out BY THE HOUR and all of Roni’s other books on her website: www.roniloren.com

Say hi and congratulations on twitter @roniloren

22 March 2017

News

A huge round of congratulations to New York Times bestselling author Jason M. Hough and K.C. Alexander on today’s release of MASS EFFECT – ANDROMEDA: NEXUS UPRISING!

From the Bioware and Titan Books press release:
THE OFFICIAL TIE-IN TO THE LATEST INSTALLMENT OF ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR AND SUCCESSFUL GAME FRANCHISES EVER – MASS EFFECT

Titan Books will work closely with acclaimed video game developer BioWare to publish three brand new novels set in the universe of MASS EFFECT(TM): ANDROMEDA. The action will weave directly into the new game, chronicling storylines developed in close collaboration with the BioWare game team. The action takes place concurrently with the adventure of the game itself, setting up the story and events of the game adding depth and detail to the canonical MASS EFFECT saga.

Jason and K.C. are the authors of this very first MASS EFFECT: ANDROMEDA book and whether you are a science fiction lover and/or a Mass Effect player – you will love it!

Follow Jason online at: www.jasonhough.com
Say hi and congratulations on twitter @JasonMHough

Follow K.C. online at: www.kcalexander.com
Say hi and congratulations on twitter @kacealexander

21 March 2017

News

A huge round of congratulations to international bestselling author Stefan Bachmann who was named to the prestigious Aarhus39 at London Book Fair this week!

From the Aarhus39 website:
Aarhus 39 is a selection of the best children’s and YA writers from all over Europe, aged 40 and under, who will take part in an ambitious new Hay Festival project comprising a new festival and two new anthologies for the European Capital of Culture Aarhus 2017.

Stefan’s most recent release is A DROP OF NIGHT – a haunting and terrifying young adult thriller that Kirkus called “Bizarre and hugely suspenseful.”

Learn more about Stefan’s books on his website: www.stefanbachmann.com
Say hi and congratulations on twitter @Stefan_Bachmann

16 March 2017

News

Congratulations to Trish Doller, whose new novel IN A PERFECT WORLD just received a great review from Kirkus!

A white Catholic teen from Ohio spends her months in Cairo getting to know her gorgeous Egyptian driver while learning about social justice and international fellowship. When her mother gets the chance of a lifetime to open up a Doctors Without Borders-style eye clinic in Egypt, Caroline’s both nervous and excited. She ignores dire warnings from her beloved-but-“racist” grandmother, who’s convinced terrorists lurk around every corner. Cairo gains appeal when Caroline meets her driver, Adam, an aspiring chef who shows her a Cairo beyond stereotypes: not just pyramids, but churches, jerk chicken, and Egyptian reggae. At every opportunity Caroline muses on how Egypt resembles home: the call to prayer like church bells, Islam’s attitude about dating resembling her grandmother’s, the unmet promises of the Arab Spring compared to Ferguson. Adam and Caroline have much in common (they’ve both been sorted into Hufflepuff, for instance), but religion, class, and culture demand they stay apart. Caroline’s awareness of the imperialist undertones of her relationship with Adam doesn’t make her stop loving him, and they both struggle to do what’s right. There’s a place for unsubtle messaging about white Americans learning to see humanity in the Muslim world, and Caroline—with her likable tattooed father and her mouthwatering descriptions of food—is a pleasant vehicle for the lesson. Pair with Aisha Saeed’s Written in the Stars (2013) for an insider point of view of Islam.

IN A PERFECT WORLD comes out from Simon Pulse in May, but you can preorder a copy now on Amazon, B&N, the iBookstore, or from your favorite local indie.

And feel free to give Trish some love and follows on Twitter, Tumblr, or Instagram!

15 March 2017

News

Please help us celebrate with international bestselling author Stefan Bachmann whose young adult thriller, A DROP OF NIGHT, releases today in paperback!

A DROP OF NIGHT was originally pitched as Goonies in France and it’s haunting, exciting, terrifying!

“The peculiar circumstances add to the strange atmosphere and also to the suspense, lending the book an appealing, unworldly quality.” – Kirkus

“horror with a streak of science fiction” – School Library Journal

“The sadistic house of horrors is fantastically drawn…readers looking for a scare for scare’s sake will revel in the grotesqueness and cheer when Anouk and company take down their captors for a satisfying end.” – BCCB

A DROP OF NIGHT
A genre-bending thriller from internationally bestselling author Stefan Bachmann perfect for fans of The Maze Runner and Joss Whedon’s The Cabin in the Woods. “A fast-paced thrill ride . . . Chilling . . . The suspense begins from the first page. I Know What You Did Last Summer meets Frankenstein.” —YA Books Central

Seventeen-year-old Anouk has finally caught the break she’s been looking for—she’s been chosen to participate in an exclusive program that includes an all-expenses-paid trip to France and a chance to explore the hidden underground Palais du Papillon, or Palace of the Butterfly. Along with four other gifted teenagers, Anouk will be one of the first people to set foot in the palace in more than two hundred years. But the expedition is not all it seems. The students’ supposed benefactors are trying to kill them. And so is the palace itself, which is filled with deadly traps and invisible monsters. Can Anouk and the others figure out how to work together and escape? Bachmann’s masterful scene-building alternates between Anouk’s flight through the palace and the struggles of Aurélie, who escaped the French Revolution by fleeing into the Palais du Papillon in 1789.

Read more about Stefan’s books on his website: www.stefanbachmann.com

Say hi and congratulations on twitter @Stefan_Bachmann

14 March 2017

About My Query

[Note from Kate: Sara is out of the office today, dealing with a personal matter, but asked me to post her latest About My Query critique.] Thank you so much for sending this query in for a critique – let’s dive in…

Dear KT Lit,

A failed assassination attempt is the first warning Major Katja Kryzanowski has that she’s become entangled in a war she knows nothing about. Deep in the lightning-filled clouds of the Æster, a dark mystic, Asher Koora, has seen that she could threaten his ambition to rule the skies.

Katja’s career as an officer in the elite Rescue Service is her whole life. As much as she loves what she does, she’s haunted by those she’s failed to save and the friends she’s lost along the way. When the man she loves asks her to leave active service for a safer posting on the ground, she breaks things off with him. She’s heartsick, but it’s just one more sacrifice in a long string she’s made to have the life she’s chosen.

As always, her closest friends and adopted family – her shipmates, are there to fall back on. They understand what living up to the motto, “That None Should Be Left Behind” requires. When their ship, the Tomahawk, is drawn into a trap and attacked by one of Asher Koora’s ships, that family is threatened. The enemy ship is defeated in a brutal ship-to-ship slugfest but the Tomahawk is crippled and Katja injured. But there’s no time to recover. With casualties mounting, she joins the only fight that matters, to save their ship and themselves. In a final desperate attempt to save the Tomahawk’s crew, the acting captain crashes them into a mysterious floating island in the sky – one of the fabled “Hanging Gardens.” For two days, Katja is entombed in the wreckage, assaulted by traumatic memories and visions, leaving her badly shaken. But once again, there is no time to recover. She is the only senior officer left standing. She must take command.

In his distant floating capital, Asher Koora’s arcane efforts to confirm Katja’s death turn increasingly desperate and inhuman. But within the breathtakingly beautiful Hanging Garden, Katja finds some peace – and an unexpected ally, its gentle, monastic caretaker, Jinn. The survivors discover that there is more truth than fiction in the mythical stories about the gardens. A rescue fleet is undoubtedly searching for them, but to have any chance of contacting it, Katja must risk the lives of all the survivors – even the destruction of the garden. Jinn shows Katja that healing from her crippling losses is possible. But she also warns that there is more going on in the sky than anyone on the ground suspects. A war is brewing that threatens to engulf not just the sky, but the entire world.

The Tomahawk Incident is a complete ~110k word military sci-fi adventure story set in a reimagined space-style world where shielded warships and titanic sealed platforms float in a nebula-like landscape of supercharged clouds. Part Honor Harrington and part “Lost Horizon,” I wrote The Tomahawk Incident because I loved those “good old fashioned” sci-fi stories of far flung alien places and hidden empires. I was drawn to submit to you after reading that you wanted big adventures in complex worlds. The Tomahawk Incident can stand alone, but is truly the first book in a series that pits Katja and her friends against Asher Koora in a secret war to prevent him from ruling the skies. As a US Navy veteran, writing about life aboard ship was as natural as breathing and I wanted to give readers a glimpse into the harsh but extraordinary world of being part of the military family.

Thank you so much for your time and I look forward to hearing from you!

There is a lot of potential here and I love military science fiction! The crew-as-family angle is one I adore and the description of the beautiful “Hanging Garden” is compelling – great work!

In terms of critique, the first thing I notice is that this query is too long. Even queries for epic science fiction novels should be boiled down to one or two (or, at most, three) paragraphs. We want the query to sound like the back cover of a novel so…think short.

The first paragraph should be the pitch. I like the, “…entangled in a war she knows nothing about” angle but found the introduction of Asher Koora to be awkward. The next two paragraphs are almost entirely backstory and character description. My suggestion would be to trim way way back in these paragraphs. Being “too long/wordy” is a very common mistake in queries and especially in SF/F queries so resist the temptation to explain too much. We don’t need to know about Katja’s career in the military or even about her love life – we just need to know who she is and what the conflict of the story will be. For example, we could delete most of the first three paragraphs and say something like this instead, “The crew of the spaceship Tomahawk is like an adopted family and their leader, Katja, will do anything to save them when a failed assassination attempt embroils them in a war they knew nothing about.” That’s all we need to learn who the story is about, where it’s set and what the protagonists are up against.

From there, my suggestion would be to introduce Asher Koora as the antagonist and say a bit about the plot. I like this line from that very first paragraph, “a dark mystic, Asher Koora, has seen that she could threaten his ambition to rule the skies.” – trim it up a bit and use it after the pitch. Perhaps we say something like, “A dark mystic, Asher Koora, has seen that Katja could threaten his ambition to rule the skies.” Then add in a sentence or two about Asher’s plan to bring down Katja’s ship, how Katja learns about what she’s up against and what the crew will have to do to win this fight.

The resulting query should be around two paragraphs. Not only will it be shorter but it will be more succinct and compelling.

Finally, it’s ok to leave in the last paragraph with info on your inspiration for the book as well as your biography.

I hope that helps – happy writing!
-Sara Megibow

10 March 2017

Uncategorized

I am thrilled to present the cover to Jessie Hilb’s achingly beautiful coming-of-age tale.

Gorgeous, isn’t it?!

About the book:

A poignant debut novel about unrequited love, grief, and finding comfort in one’s own skin.

Worried about her struggling family and her best friend, Aden isn’t looking for love. But when Tate walks into Calculus wearing a yarmulke and a grin, a tantalizingly warm friendship forms, including drives with epic soundtracks and talks about life, love, and spirituality. Everyone else sees Aden and Tate’s connection, but does Tate?

Sounds amazing, right? I thought the same thing when I heard her pitch! The plot is layered and the writing is lush and 2018 can’t get here soon enough!

Find Jessie on Twitter or at her website JessieHilb.com. You can preorder THE CALCULUS OF CHANGE on Amazon or Target.com.

8 March 2017

News

Happy book birthday to Elizabeth Briggs, whose sequel to the New York Times bestseller FUTURE SHOCK releases today!

Six months ago Aether Corporation sent Elena, Adam, and three other recruits on a trip to the future where they brought back secret information—but not everyone made it back to the present alive. Now Elena’s dealing with her survivor’s guilt and trying to make her relationship with Adam work. All she knows for sure is that she’s done with time travel and Aether Corporation.

But Aether’s not done with her—or Adam, or fellow survivor Chris. The travelers on Aether’s latest mission to the future have gone missing, and Elena and her friends are drafted into the rescue effort. They arrive in a future that’s amazingly advanced, thanks to Aether Corporation’s reverse-engineered technology. The mission has deadly consequences, though, and they return to the future to try to alter the course of events.

But the future is different yet again. Now every trip through time reveals new complications, and more lives lost—or never born. Elena and Adam must risk everything—including their relationship—to save their friends.

The reviews so far have been great! Booklist says:

“Elena’s PTSD and anxiety are poignant and chilling, bringing a realistic human element to the sci-fi world of time travel. Briggs incorporates suspense and thrilling adventure, creating a gripping sequel.”

And SLJ adds:

“Contemporary readers will be teleported with delight into this Back to the Future–esque spy thriller. Move this one to the “buy” pile.”

While Kirkus reports:

“As for romance, Briggs raises the stakes in this entry, showing Elena and Adam exactly how beautiful their future could be if they fight for it. A quick and satisfying middle volume”.

Feel free to show Liz some love on Twitter at @lizwrites, Facebook, Instagram, and pick up your copy at Amazon, B&N, iBookstore, or your fave local indie.

1 March 2017

News

APOCALYPSE by Frederick Turner is about fighting climate change.

It’s epic, it’s science fiction and…it’s written entirely in iambic pentameter. We originally pitched APOCALYPSE as Beowulf meets The Day After Tomorrow and the book is available now in ebook from Baen Books and print from Ilium Press.

We’re thrilled to share this glowing review of APOCALYPSE published yesterday at Fantasy Faction:

“Apocalypse is strange and brilliant and possibly one of the most magnificent pieces of writing I’ve yet come across…In one passage, a seemingly mundane passage about salmon becomes a beautiful tale of a journey that is ‘powered by desire, drawn by mad love’. While exploration of universal themes that have long held mankind’s thoughts, offers us gifts such as ‘Time doesn’t only happen by the push of what is past, but by the pull, the draw of some unfinished absence in the future’.

There is also a passage about the deepest pain of humanity near the halfway mark that I’ll probably return to time and again as I get older, because it is encapsulates so well the beauty of life and the struggle we have with death.”

Read the entire review here: Fantasy Faction reviews APOCALYPSE

Congratulations Fred! Read more about Fred’s award-winning poetry on his website: www.frederickturnerpoet.com

28 February 2017

News

I’m excited to share a link to the official cover reveal for Kim Harrington’s ATTACK OF THE NOT-SO_VIRTUAL MONSTERS, the first book in her upcoming Gamer Squad series.

What happens when your cool virtual-reality game . . . becomes REAL?
Pokémon GO meets The Goonies in this action-packed middle-grade series.

Monsters Unleashed—where you catch virtual-reality monsters on your cellphone—is one of the hottest mobile games around, and Bex and Charlie just can’t stop playing. They even check out an old map in Charlie’s grandfather’s attic in hopes of discovering some forgotten places in town where the rarest monsters might hide. But they find a strange machine up there too, and after Charlie switches it on, the WiFi goes down . . . and Bex’s entire catalog of monsters vanishes! And that’s not the worst of it: all the creatures she’s collected on her phone escape into the real world. Can the friends nab the beasts before they become monster lunch?

ATTACK OF THE NOT-SO_VIRTUAL MONSTERS will be published in August, but you can pre-order today on Amazon, B&N, or your favorite local indie bookstore.

23 February 2017

Sales

A huge round of congratulations to Juno Rushdan whose debut romantic thriller trilogy sold to Sourcebooks!

We pitched A LONG WAY TO FALL as sexy Jason Bourne – can’t wait for readers to fall in love with these books!!

From Publishers Weekly:
Sourcebooks’ Mary Altman acquired world rights (excluding audio) to a new romantic thriller series by Juno Rushdan. The three-book deal was negotiated by Sara Megibow of KT Literary. According to Megibow, the series centers on Maddox Kinkade, a “fixer for a clandestine government agency, known as the Gray Box, tasked with preventing the sale of a deadly bioweapon.” Kinkade’s partner in the mission turns out to be a former lover who she’d assumed was dead—“by her own hand.” Sourcebooks plans to publish the first title in the series, A Long Way to Fall, in summer 2018; both sequels will follow later in 2018.

Follow Juno’s launch details on her website: www.junorushdan.com
Say hi and congratulations on twitter @JunoRushdan

22 February 2017

News

Please help us celebrate with Betsy Dornbusch whose epic fantasy ENEMY releases today from Night Shade Books!

ENEMY is Book #3 in Betsy’s SEVEN EYES trilogy – we’re so excited to have the entire adventure available to readers!

“bold sword and sorcery fantasy” – Publishers Weekly

“Betsy has done a remarkable job of creating a diverse cast of characters. These range from the protagonist ‘Draken’ who rivals Robin Hobb’s ‘FitzChivalry Farseer’ for the amount of misery that befalls him.” – Swords & Spectres

ENEMY
Everything Draken thinks he knows is wrong.

The last time Draken traveled Akrasia, he was the highest lord in the land. His journey before that was eased by royal favor and the grace of the gods. This time is different. His adopted country buckling under attack from religious fanatics and his Queen presumed dead, Draken must flee a deadly coup by an upstart lord. Bitter from fighting an insurmountable war and losing the life he’s built, he lets the ghosts of past mistakes drive him into vigilante revenge. But Draken is about to learn gods and wars have a way of catching up to a man.

In the thrilling conclusion to Dornbush’s Book of the Seven Eyes trilogy, follow Draken as he tries to find peace solace in a life that has been surrounded by bloodshed. Will he avenge those he cares about, while striking down those that stand in his way?

Check out the entire SEVEN EYES trilogy on Betsy’s website: www.betsydornbusch.com
Say hi and congratulations on twitter @BetsyDornbusch

21 February 2017

About My Query, Ask Daphne!

Today’s About My Query brought to you by Hilary Harwell!

Dear [Agent]:

I found your interview on […] and think you’ll enjoy my 63,000 word YA novel, Invisible Me. I did a developmental edit with agent Elizabeth Kracht from Kimberley Cameron and Associates to be sure it’s up to snuff. It’s about a girl who feels invisible in high school. Then her feeling becomes reality.

Ana loses her genius best friend, Isaac, to masked men who want the invisibility pill that he invented—and she just swallowed. She escapes but now must rescue Isaac. Getting help from the police is tricky since they’re after her, thinking she’s responsible for his disappearance. Her only hope for clearing her name is to find clues and track down Isaac herself. This gets complicated when she discovers a hidden love note from him. Her own feelings are unclear and become murkier by Ben Cody, a young police rookie she’s had a crush on for years. Why is he always the one to come looking for her? Is what she deciphered true—that she’ll become visible to those who fall in love with her? And if so, will Ben arrest her? Or will he help her in her mission, even if it means reuniting her with a romantic rival?

Invisible Me is the first in a planned trilogy with subsequent titles Invisible Us (in progress) and Invisible Them. The style of this book is similar to the Of Poseiden trilogy by Anna Banks but with a love triangle a lá The Hunger Games.

I’ve traditionally published two non-fiction books: 101 Tips for a Happier Marriage in 2013, which has three foreign translations, and 101 Tips for Marrying the Right Person, published this past October. I’ve done public speaking and twenty radio interviews nationwide. I’ve also written numerous articles, and I blog at parenting is funny.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Author

 

Dear Author,

First of all, thanks so much for volunteering your query for critique! I think you have a strong, nicely personalized opening here. It shows you’ve done your homework and are approaching the agent specifically, which always gets a closer look. My only suggestion here might be to perhaps include a quick line about why you felt your project might resonate based on the interview you read to take it one step further.

While it’s great that you’ve done a revision with a particular agent, I’d suggest leaving it out of your query. Agents are functioning under the assumption that you’ve edited and polished the project. Seeing this might also make me wonder why Elizabeth herself hasn’t scooped it up if you were working with her on a specific revision.

The opening line of the actual pitch has a bit too much going on, I’m afraid, and could use some paring down for the sake of clarity. Start with something clear and punchy to catch the agent’s attention. Moving on to the remainder of the pitch – I think overall your line-level writing here could use some tightening. For example, instead of ‘Getting help from the police is tricky…’, why not ‘She can’t go to the police’? It’s a stronger sentence and also creates a question in the reader’s mind, thus pulling them in.

The complications you introduce at the end of your pitch leave me feeling confused as to what the story is truly about. The pitch starts out with her friend getting kidnapped, leaving the reader assuming the story is about his rescue. Then it shifts gears to a possible love triangle and strong romantic element but doesn’t give us any idea about Isaac and his role throughout. My biggest suggestion overall is to nail down your plot here so it’s clear and easy to follow. What is the protagonist’s main goal, what is the main conflict, what are the stakes if she doesn’t succeed.

Just a couple final thoughts about your second to last paragraph that includes comps and trilogy information. It’s important for a debut author to be sure the first book in their planned series can stand alone. I’d suggest stating this outright in your query letter. Also, as far as comps go, I think one more strong comp that illustrates a world similar to yours or a plot similar to yours would really help paint a stronger picture in the agent’s mind of how the project can be pitched. The love triangle element as compared to the Hunger Games actually kind of reaffirmed my confusion about what the story is about, and comps should really help the agent gain clarity, not the opposite. 😉

Again, thank you so much for sharing your query with us. I hope you find my feedback useful!

16 February 2017

News

A huge round of congratulations to Stefan Bachmann and all the contributing authors in the SLASHER GIRLS & MONSTER BOYS anthology!! The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) just named this book to the prestigious 2017 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults list for Best Horror.

“satisfying, disturbing horror for the modern YA audience” – Publishers Weekly

“Gross, creepy fun.” – Kirkus

“After encountering the horrors here, variously supernatural and disturbingly human, readers may want to leave the lights on.” – Horn Book

“This anthology of stories will scare, thrill, and terrify.” – VOYA

Check out the entire 2017 Popular Paperback list here!

Discover other creepy books by international bestselling author Stefan Bachmann on his website: www.stefanbachmann.com

Say hi and congratulations on twitter @Stefan_Bachmann

14 February 2017