Reviews, rants, and tidbits from an overpassionate novelist

Posts tagged ‘fantasy’

KELLEY SONNACK AT ANDREA BROWN LITERARY AGENCY ~ THOUGHTS

I’m back! I thought I’d share my thoughts on an agent I had an experience with recently:  Kelly Sonnack with Andrea Brown Lit. I got a positive response to a query I sent her back in September and traded three or four rounds of subsequent emails with her before I was ultimately rejected.

Ms. Sonnack was very polite. I can find no fault with the professional nature of her emails, as I could with other agents. She formatted all of her criticisms with “I like… but…,” the exact style I encourage wherever I can.

She did say one thing that got under my skin. She didn’t like the narrative choices I had made with my story, and at one point she expressed this in a way that made my writing sound like a mess that needed to be “put together.” That may simply say a lot about my sensitivity, though.

Overall, she was helpful. Based on her criticism and the concerns of a few other of my trusted critics, I began another rewrite. I reworked the narrative into a simpler if less compact form.

Another positive experience!

Prom Nights from Hell ~ Thoughts on The Exterminator’s Daughter by Meg Cabot

I’ve always been a Meg Cabot fan–ever since 5th grade when the Princess Diaries movie became an obsession of mine. It’s been a while, though. I probably haven’t read any new Meg in a couple of years.

Considering that A) I had possibly outgrown her, B) this was a vampire story, and C) it was told via alternating narrators, never an easy trick to pull, I had a lot of doubts I would enjoy The Exterminator’s Daughter.

But I did.

I have to say, I have not outgrown her at all. Yes, she’s easy to read. That’s a strength. Lots of drive in her voice. Okay, her voice is outright addictive. I was impressed with how well she pulled off the alternating narrators. Yes, it’s annoying to get yanked out of one head and into another. But that sense of annoyance didn’t last long. I enjoyed being in Adam’s head almost MORE than I liked being in Mary’s. ‘Twas not a problem.

It was still a vampire story, though. I’m sick to death of those. And it was very predictable. Can’t give it plot points. Le sigh.

Overall rating:  3 1/2 stars.

A few notes about Kate McKean of Howard Morhaim Literary

I just wanted to say she seems like a nice lady. The open-minded sort. She was another one who made the South Carolina Writer’s Workshop worthwhile for me last year, suggesting I email her at the very last moment of the conference, shortly after the last class. I had asked a question during a panel about young writers and whether my age was something appropriate to mention in a query. She said yes – It’s a marketing point and a strength.

Dream Diary:  I dreamed about getting to see my long-distance boyfriend!

Word Count:  Still around 20,000.

My Whole New World ~ The Little HS Author Starts College

Sorry for the long time no see! My life has been a little crazy as I’ve made a rather epic transition. I am no longer little Fort Millian high schooler. It’s to Columbia with me, to the Honors College at the University of South Carolina.

Sweet freedom. Sweet change. Sweet refuge from dramaaa…

For the last three weeks or so, my focus has been all on the changes and not on my writing. Regrettable. But necessary. Now I am ready to buckle down and GO.

I spent a nice hour in the bookstore today doing my Cinderella Mouse thing – gather stacks of books so high I have to use my chin to keep them from falling. Then I sit down with them and scan through the pitches and acknowledgements pages, taking notes on the books that sound interesting and literary agents I need to check out. (I’ll type my notes up below.)

I LOVE doing this.

I also realized something pretty epic when I was in the bookstore today. There used to be about nine shelves filled with teen fiction. Within the last three or four months, that number has grown to eleven.

If I miss this wave, I will not know what to do with myself. Thanks to Miss Stephanie Meyer and Mr. Edward Cullen, my genre is skyrocketing, maybe just in time, maybe in time….

Meh Notes:

Title – Author ~ Agent
Waiting for You – Susane Colasanti ~ ? *(I found this one interesting because the acknowledgements made references to depression and anxiety, topics of personal interest to me.)
Bait – Alex Sanchez ~ Miriam Altshulter
Snap – Carol Snow ~ Stephanie Kip Rostan
My Soul to Take – Rachel Vincent ~ Miriam Kriss (Interesting for its language. I read the first page.)
Shiver – Maggie Steifvater ~ Laura Rennert
Breathless – Jessica Warman ~ Andrea Somberg (Gorgeous cover on this one, but the only word in the pitch that caught my interest was “semiautobiographical”)
Graceling – Kristin Cashore ~ Faye Bender
Kissed by an Angel – Elizabeth Chandler / Mary Claire Helldorfer (This is one I should read because it resonates so well with my life and the stories I tell, but I haven’t been able to find this lady’s agent if she has one.)
Twenty Boy Summer – Sarah Ockler ~ Ted Malawer (I think this title was a bad idea.)
Reincarnation – Susanne Weyn (This has the potential to be FASCINATING.)
Radiant Darkness – Emily Whitman ~ Nancy Gallt
The Fetch – Laura Whitcomb (I’ve heard this ones really good.)
A Kiss in Time – Alex Flinn ~ George Nicholson
As You Wish – Jackson Pearce ~ Jenoyne Adams


I left the store with:

Crank by Ellen Hopkins (I need to read her books. I just need to.)
Odd Hours by Dean Koontz (So I don’t have to borrow it from Megan again)
Prom Nights from Hell by Meg Cabot, Kim Harrison, Michele Jaffe, Stephanie Meyer, and Lauren Myracle (Needed this too.)
Pride & Prejudice  by Jane Austen (An extra copy because I shall be reading it for SCHOOL ^.^)

More later! ❤

Mollie Glick from Foundry Literary + Media

Sorry for the delay. I have to do my summering sometime. I am 18, after all.

Well, I have an update. I haven’t queried for a month because the literary agent considering my work required a period of exclusivity. Very annoying to someone with a time schedule. However, working with her was a pleasant experience. Around 40 days passed since I sent her the partial, so I emailed asking for an update. She responded quickly with a thoughtful and positive review (strong preface, engaging narrative), and even went so far as to ask that I query her with future ideas. This project, however, wasn’t perfect for her.

Who is she? Mollie Glick of Foundry Media. The cool thing about my experience with this agent was getting to meet her. She was the agent-in-residence at the Southeastern Writer’s Workshop Conference this year, so I got to sit down and talk with her about my writing about the industry. She had not read my chapters yet when I spoke with her, but it was a bonus to get that face time.

Sorry I haven’t posted the review yet. I promise they will come. As soon as the summer funk wears off.

More later! ❤

UPDATING THE DREAM – REALITY GAUGE

I thought I’d blog a little about what’s going on in my own life today and update everybody on how my dreams are going. =) I attended the SWA Conference a few weeks ago, which I blogged about. I repeat:  This conference is an IDEAL beginner experience.

Thanks to this experience, my manuscript is in the hands of a literary agent I like very very much. Keeping my fingers crossed. We’ll see.

The last few days, I’ve been outlining Sunlight, the sequel to Sunrise. No, I’m not completely satisfied with that title. Bubbles would be more appropriate, but it sounds too much. like the name of a poodle. Le sigh. I think I’m going to start updating my second book’s word count on my blog just to add some accountability.

At the SWA Conference this year, I also got a definition for that mysterious thing I’ve been hearing about called Dragoncon–it’s an anime convention, a writer’s conference, and a sci-fi/fantasy convention combined.

Can you say My Paradise? How cool is that

It must be humongous. Apparently there are even something like 1500 registered Storm Troopers in Atlanta. My little brother wants to register and keep his helmet in his car so he can put it on whenever he sees a state trooper

I’m going. =D At least, I’ve got some of my anime friends interested, not to mention my Star Wars-fanatic parents. (Which might be an Oops….)

That’s the general past, present, and future of the moment though. I’ll keep everyone updated.

More soon ❤

Word count:  4000

* NEED BY CARRIE JONES – THOUGHTS AND REVIEW *

Publisher:  Bloomsbury

Cover:  Gold lips

Overall Rating:  ****  Four stars.

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Need was pointed out to me by a bookstore employee when I curiously inquired as to what’s been selling in the YA section lately. I’d never taken a look at it before, and I was instantly hooked by the premise:  This girl has a stalker who leaves pixie dust, and apparently he’s a creature you never thought you’d have to fear. I read the first chapter and loved the intelligent voice and the phobia stuff. Sounds fun, I thought. Sounds like a break from Twilight-formula vampire kicks.

Not exactly.

First let me deliver the good news. This story has an amazing, fleshed-out main character who develops, changes, loves. A little inconsistent at times, but aren’t we all? She’s not a vegetarian, but she does enjoy veggie burgers and constantly writes letters for Amnesty International. She knows all about the situation in Darfur. She quotes Booker T, stands up for her friends, and controls her temper. All of this I love.  I have trouble finding characters I can root for in the YA section these days, fumbling through all the worlds of rustling skirts and fancy parties.

She also loves studying phobias–something we all look up at some point or another. One of the first things she does in the book is name the fear of having peanut butter stuck to the roof of your mouth. Love her.

The bad news:  It follows the Twilight formula.

No vampires appear in this novel. I’ll give it that. Something quite similar to vampires, however, does appear–and something like a pack of werewolves emerges to fight it.  This after a girl takes a plane trip to somewhere North, remote, and miserable vaguely against her will, wears a parka, and finds a new car waiting for her when she arrives. After she goes to school and immediately has boys falling all over her.

Despite this, Carrie Jones mixes it up and keeps the voice catchy enough to keep me from gagging as I read. Most of the characters–Zara, Betty, Issie, and Devyn–are well-rounded and root-for-able. Her mother, however, isn’t. Nor is the villain of the book. Nor is, I hate to say it, the boy. He’s flat. He’s naked and heroic, but he’s flat.

I’d recommend this book for anyone who likes voice. Plenty of laughs, plenty of character development. For anyone who cares little for voice and gags at Vampires vs. Werewolves stories, I’d say pass this one up.

Hope it helped you!

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