Ask Me Anything Bob and Luna

Luna reached out to me with the  “Ask Me Anything” submission form to ask the following:

I just finished reading the entire Daughters of Zeus series! WOW, what a wild ride that was. I read it all over 2 weeks and really enjoyed the characterizations, imagery, and pacing. (Without dropping apoilers for anyone who may be reading this) At the end of the 6th book it seems as though you created an opportunity for a new series centered around Artemis…do you expect to continue this story in a new book or maybe a mini series on wattapad? 
Also, thanks for the world that you created and shared with us all!

Thank you so much! You are absolutely correct. I wrote the end of Venus Rising with the intention of following up with an Artemis series as she hunts down the escaped spoilers. I’d planned to write the Artemis series after completing Blood and Other Matter, but I was sidetracked by another project that I’m super excited about (think Sailor Moon meets Once Upon a Time), and then the pandemic hit, and right now things are kind of crazy writing wise.

I can tell you I have an outlined book for Artemis. I just need to get my act together and finish writing it. Hopefully when schools go back to normal, I’ll be able to make more progress. In the meantime, thank you for your patience :).

Bob also asked for some resources for a report he’s writing. Bob, I wrote a blog about Greek gods associated with love and marriage here, here, and here. But your best best for a report is to check out Theoi.com.

Ask Me Anything: Caitlin

Caitlin reached out to me with the  “Ask Me Anything” submission form to ask the following:

 Oh my goodness I devoured the Persephone books in one sitting I loved them! Do you plan to write more? I would love to see the relationship between Persephone and hades grow along with how she is growing into her new powers and dealing with the loss of her mom. Also in the end zuse mentioned something worse coming was on the edge of my seat wondering what it could be!

Thank you so much! I’m so glad you enjoyed the books :). Persephone’s story continues in the Aphrodite trilogy. Aphrodite is the only point of view character in the first book, but she sees a lot of Persephone, and in the third book, Persephone is back as a point of view character. I hope you enjoy Aphrodite’s trilogy as much as you enjoyed Persephone’s.

YA Scavenger Hunt Winners!

 The YA Scavenger Hunt Winners

We want to congratulate all the YASH winners this fall season. Thanks to all our amazing authors and all the dedicated readers who hunted tirelessly for bonus material. Wasn’t that awesome? I think so!

The News You’ve Been Waiting For

I know you’ve been wanting to know who won our grand prizes, so, with a drumroll, here are the names of our team winners. 

The RED TEAM grand prize winner is…Shruti Gupta!

The BLUE TEAM grand prize winner is…Cathy Mason!

The PURPLE TEAM grand prize winner is…J Lenni Dorner!

And the BONUS grand prize winner is 

If you entered individual author contests during the hunt, we are listing them below as they are updating us. Some authors may be notifying winners individually. Check back as we will continue to update this page during the week. 

AMALIE HOWARD-Giveaway Winner: Champagne Millin

AMANDA MARIN-Winner of $20 Amazon Gift Card: Kristin Duncan

AMY MCNULTY-Winner of a $25 Indie Bookstore Gift Card: Ramona Reads

BREEANA SHIELDS: Winner of a $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card: Stephanie Reyes

BRENDA DRAKE-Winner of Library Jumpers Series: Megan S.

COLLEEN HOUCK-Winners of the Tiger’s Promise/Reignited e-book combo: Kaela, Jenna Kilgore, Megan Coppadge, Tashia Jennings, Veraunica Wyatt, Theresajs, Kristi Baker, Nancy Storms, Olivia Berard, Neko Tatsujin, Alysha Parent, and Lily M.! Winners of the Terraformer audiobook: Candice Gigous, Katherine Paschal, Rachel Verna Shepherd, Auburn, and Bella. Winner of the Colleen Houck Super Fan Bonus Pack: Dina Eltawil!

DEBBIE MANBER KUPFER: Giveaway Winners: Kayla K. McDonald, J. Lenni Dorner, & Tashia Jennings

EMIL SHER– Winners of a signed book: Kristin Duncan, Katie Hawse, Christa Sloan

EVA POHLER-Winner of a $50 Amazon gift card and a paperback edition of The Marcella II: Daniella Bonagura

HELEN VIVIENNE FLETCHER-Winner: Katherine

KRISTI HELVIG-Winner of a bonus e-book giveaway: Kaytee

NATALIE MAE-Winner of a signed copy of The Kinder Poison: Samantha Deen

TRICIA COPELAND- Winner of a Kingdom Journals Ebook Set: Bella

PATTY BLOUNT-Winner of a $10 Amazon Gift Card: mel**ie_br**@yahoo.com

VANESSA BARNEVELD-Giveaway winner: J Lenni Dorner

YVONNE VENTRESCA-Winner of Black Flowers. White Lies: Megan Coppadge

Kaitlin Bevis – Winner of an ebook of choice, Bella!

Congratulations to all the winners!

Before signing off, I wanted to thank all of our readers and the many authors who have participated in the hunt over the past decade. A reader asked why we were closing the doors on the hunt and I wanted to share my answer with you. 

Dear Readers,”Believe me when I say we didn’t come to this decision lightly. When weighing the costs both in time and money compared to the benefits of networking with readers, fellow authors, and promotion, as well my own personal commitment to the project, I had to finally come to terms with the fact that it was time to close the chapter on this beloved event.
But sometimes letting go of something good isn’t a bad thing. Sometimes it just means you’re making room for something new. Something better. 
I’m also keeping the door open to the possibility of a return to the hunt someday. If times change or things shift enough in the industry, it’s possible the hunt might enter a second, perhaps, improved phase. 
You never know. 
Thank you so much for your interest in the YA Scavenger Hunt and books in general. 
It’s so nice to hear from impassioned readers such as yourself. There aren’t as many around as there used to be, which is a little sad. Maybe, together, we can change that. 
All the best,
The YA Scavenger Hunt Organizers

May you all be safe and happy and always have a good book to read.

Ask Me Anything: Cuyler

Cuyler made a great catch using the “Ask Me Anything” submission form.

Hey, Kaitlin,

Your writings about Sean Coyne’s Story Grid have helped me immensely.

I just had a question.

On the chart you’ve created of the 5 Leafs of Genre, you’ve listed the sub-genres of Horror as Uncanny, Supernatural, and Superuncanny.

Sean doesn’t include Superuncanny. He has Ambiguous instead. And when I read your post on the Horror Genre, you listed Ambiguous as well.

So, I’m wondering what your thoughts were on this, and why you listed Superuncanny instead of Ambiguous?

And, what is Superuncanny?

If I can base my past experience with your amazing writing advice, I’m sure your reasons for this will also be helpful.

Thanks for all the help you give us new writers.

Thank you so much for pointing out that discrepancy!

Super uncanny is Robert McKee’s word for the sub-genre Shawn Coyne calls ambiguous. In the ambiguous/super uncanny subgenera, the reader isn’t sure whether the supernatural is at work or if the protagonist is losing their mind.

I prefer the term ambiguous, because to me, the term super uncanny indicates to the reader that the plot is both supernatural and uncanny not that the audience is guessing between supernatural and uncanny. But from a writing standpoint, you would need to hit both sub-plot conventions to keep the audience truly guessing, so either name can work.

I hope that helped clear things up, but please let me know if there’s anything further I can clarify.

The Fall 2020 YA Scavenger Hunt Teams

Fall 2020 is here. That means it’s time to introduce your YA Scavenger Hunt teams! As some of you might already know, this season, sadly, will be our last. Though we might reinstate the hunt at some point in the future, we will be putting it on hold at least for the time being. 

That means the time to win these fabulous YA Scavenger Hunt prizes is now! For those of you who have never joined the YA Scavenger Hunt before, it’s not too late. Here’s a sneak peek of the prizes that await.

Fall 2020 YASH Prizes

Fall 2020 YA Scavenger Hunt Blue Team
Fall 2020 YA Scavenger Hunt Red Team
Fall 2020 YA Scavenger Hunt Purple Team

That’s a total of sixty YA Scavenger Hunt book prizes. Not only can you win a bunch of great new reads but authors will be giving away multiple prizes on their websites during the hunt as well and there will be a $50 Amazon gift card up for grabs too. 

Which 2020 Fall YASH team are you the most excited about?

New to the YA Scavenger Hunt?

That’s totally fine. We have a YouTube video that explains the process and we will be checking in on the YASH website during the hunt to answer any and all questions you might have.

Is Your Curiosity Piqued?

Excellent. Now all you have to do is wait for the hunt to start. You can begin hunting on my blog on September 29th, or to make sure you don’t miss out, you can head over to the YA Scavenger Hunt page, scroll down, and sign up for notifications with your email on the right.

What About the Secrets This Season?

This final season of the Scavenger Hunt needs to be special so because of that, I think I’ll write something new as a gift to my readers. It will be a special little scene of something. I don’t know what it will be yet but it will be a fun surprise.

Did You Miss Out on The Last Hunt?

Not to worry. There are links to all the fun launch party events I did around my last publication, TERRAFORMER, which you can check out on this blog post

Ask Me Anything: Becky

Becky asked a fantastic question using the “Ask Me Anything” submission form. Her question does contain a spoiler for Blood and Other Matter, so continue at your own risk.

You have been warned. On to the question.

Becky asks

 How does Tess come back to life at the end of “Blood and Other Matter”? I just finished the book and don’t know if I understand how she came back. Her body was cremated, so she shouldn’t have a physical form. Does the demon still have control over her in some way? What did the Estrie mean by; ‘that forms a powerful connection that, for obvious reasons, doesn’t often get explored’? Please help me understand because I love she’s back, but just don’t understand the how. Thank you! 

First of all, Becky, thank you for reading Blood and Other Matter. That’s a great question, and I’ll do my best to answer it. 🙂

The ending was intended to be a bit open ended, but the happiest interpretation is by far that Tess is back, alive and kicking. There’s a few key things in the scene and the story that allow that to be possible within the rules of the ritual, in-world magic, and the timing in the story.

Let’s start with that connection. According to the Estrie, there’s a connection that forms between a person who dies and the last person they think of. Typically, one half of that party stays dead, so it doesn’t much matter, but in Tess’s case, she thought of Derrick before being made a host for the Estrie. That link allowed the Estrie to pull on Derrick’s life-force when Tess’s wasn’t enough to fuel all the murder and mayhem. That’s why Derrick kept getting nosebleeds and passing out every time the Estrie used more of her powers than Tess could handle. It also allowed for two-way teleportation. The Estrie could always teleport to the people marked as sacrifices, but the link allowed her to return Tess to a safe, alibied location. Teleportation is specifically described by Derrick as being ripped apart and pieced back together. Both of those facts are about to matter, but first…

There are two rule of the ritual that come into play in the ending. The first is that the victims can’t be killed by the Estrie unless they consent. Tess never did. There were injuries outside of the Estrie that could have killed Tess, but up until that final night, the Estrie healed Tess before they could be fatal. So in the interpretation that Tess dies and Derrick is dreaming, the bonfire and/or pencil are her cause of death. In any other interpretation, re-inflicting the wounds was an action taken by the Estrie, so technically, Tess couldn’t die from them.

The last major detail is the timing of the ritual. The ritual didn’t start with the lighting of the match, it started with the drawing of symbols and chanting the right words at the right time. The match lighting was just a sign it worked. In order to complete the ritual, each sacrifice had to die on the first night of the lunar phase they were marked for. Though Josh was killed early ensuring the ritual couldn’t be completed, Matt was killed on time. By the rules of the ritual, that meant that the Estrie technically had possession of Tess until the first night of the full moon, when Josh was due to be killed.

Dorian’s alarm clock goes off at moonrise on the full moon. Since Josh is unable to be sacrificed, the ritual ends. Since Tess can’t be killed by the Estrie, and the connection dictates she be teleported back to Derrick when the Estrie is done with her, it’s entirely possible that when she pops up on his porch dripping wet from the ocean where Dorian scattered her ashes, that she’s in the exact same shape she was in since before the ritual began.

Or maybe by killing Josh, Derrick took his place and the Estrie is there, using Tess’s form because she knows it will get to Derrick and it’ll be that much easier to guilt him into consenting to be sacrificed.

It could go either way.

Ask Me Anything: Lauren

Lauren asks:

“I’m loving The Persephone Trilogy. I started reading it because I enjoy retellings of Greek mythology and actually have a WIP involving Demeter, so it’s perfect for me.

Here’s my question:
What advice would you give to an aspiring author on how to write an amazing query letter/synopsis and find an agent?
That’s the point I’m at right now with my completed YA fantasy novel, so any advice you have would be great. I appreciate how you open your site up to questions. I have a journalism background, but fiction writing is a whole new world for me.
Feel free to answer on the blog, or email me. Thanks, and I look forward to connecting!

Thanks so much for the question Lauren! And I’m glad you’re enjoying the Persephone trilogy :).

I actually have a template for a query letter that I’ll share below. Beyond that template, I’d highly suggest joining a writer’s group and asking for their help editing your query letter. It is so much easier to summarize someone else’s book than your own.

My second suggestion probably comes too late to help you. Write a summary before you write your story. I try tosnowflakemy stories so when the time comes to query, I have a one sentence, one paragraph, one page, and five page summary ready for my query package. It’s really hard for me to summarize my story once it’s written.

Of course that five page summary almost never gets used for my extended synopsis because I have a pathological inability to follow an outline, but I digress.

Regarding finding an agent, you’ll want to check out manuscript wishlist, or #mswl on twitter, keep an eye out on pitch contests, look at agents coming to conventions or conferences (trickier this year), or look up the agents of similar books and see if they, or anyone at their agency is accepting submissions. Make sure to research their guidelines, what they’re interested in, and how they’ve treated their authors using absolute write or query tracker.

Best of Luck!

Awesome Query Template:

Dear Awesome Agent whose name I have learned how to spell,

If you interacted with me in some fashion, thank you. Here’s a sentence or two about your bio/twitter account/interview/recent conference/manuscript wish list/or books comparable to mine that you represent to show that I didn’t just pick your name out of a hat. Because of above reasons, I’d like you to represent my ALL CAPS BOOK TITLE, a x-thousand word, genre, similar to this story and that story. ALL CAPS BOOK TITLE pitch.

Here’s my one paragraph snowflake summary about my book, including the ending.

Now I’m going to tell you a little bit about myself. Here’s my publication credits if I have any and some relatable interesting fact, haha, aren’t I funny?

I’ve attached my one-page synopsis and first x pages of my story along with whatever else you might have requested. Thank you for your time,

Author

 

 

Ask Me Anything: Dee

Dee asks,

Sorry I know I’m 3 years late on this lol, your books about the daughters of Zeus and are insightful and wonderfully written,
I really couldn’t put them down and wolfed though both trilogies. the plot twists kept me awake and leaping to the next page, I cant seem to figure something out though, how did Hades get kidnapped. Tantalus couldn’t seem to have done it as he went to the ship after he escaped the underworld, I’m thinking that was because he can just port in and out of places ? and not Medea, as she wasnt even aware of his presence in the hidden wing of the hospital so she couldn’t have summoned him
Also, mercy ask, but do Hades and Persephone work through, I was such a fan of their love, was a bummer to see him die, did they fix it somehow or we wait till Artemis’s trilogy

I’m so glad you enjoyed the books!

Thank you for your question. The demigods got to Hades the same way they got to Ares and Artemis. Teleportation and Steele. Hades was already missing before Tantalus was taken to the Underworld, which is why Ares wasn’t around to help out when Tantalus charmed Aphrodite at the campfire. Tantalus would have communicated to the island to have them drop the shield long enough to deposit Hades, but the shield casters wouldn’t have necesserily known what was brought through.
Hades and Persephone are going to be just fine. For humans, the line between the living and the dead would be an insurmountable obstacle. But for gods, particularly powerful gods, especially gods who rule the underworld, the divide isn’t as sharp. As a goddess fully vested in her powers, Persephone can interact with souls. Hypnos and Hera are both dead, too, and they’ve interacted with other characters. The biggest change for them is that he can’t leave the Underworld and as the goddess of spring, she has to spend a chunk of time there. I wrote that outcome as a callback to the original myth where the two live apart half the time. But at the end of the day, they’re just like any other couple that doesn’t spend their working hours together, albeit a couple who work in fields that require travel. Spring may bring longer business trips, but she’ll have more time off in the winter to make up for it.
I’ll definitely be exploring more of those obstacles in the Artemis trilogy, but I can promise you, relationship wise, they’re in a good place.
Hope this answered your questions. Feel free to reach back out any time.

Creative Writing World Building Camp

close up photo of bulldog

Photo by Adrianna Calvo on Pexels.com

Every summer, I teach creative writing camps at UGA. This year, my camp will be available online, which means you don’t have to be in Athens to go! There’s only a few spots left. Interested? Check out the description below:

Whether your story is set out of this world or closer to home, learning to create a vibrant setting, filling it with three dimensional characters, and creating rational laws for magic or far future technology will set your work apart. Join us for a week of creative writing, where you’ll learn how to world build like a pro. Each day will include a combination of hands-on activities that help us develop details, learning strategies from best-selling authors like Brandon Sanderson and Orson Scott Card, workshops with fellow writers, and of course, time to write. We will also be spending time editing and revising our pieces in one-on-one and group writing workshops, so that by the end of the week everyone in the program will have a vibrant world for their stories. No prior writing or camp experience required, but students are encouraged to come in with an outline or a story idea to expand.

When: Monday, June 15, 2020 to Friday, June 19, 2020
Where: UGA Virtual Academy
How: Sign up here! 

 

Also, Venus Rising is still on sale. Get your copy today. 

Ask Me Anything: Brendan

LauranaBrendan asks….
I stumbled across one of your older posts where you listed Laurana from Dragonlance as one of your favorite heroines. Laurana is my favorite fictional character, and I’m always interested in other’s people’s thoughts on her, so my questions to you are:
1) is she still one of your favorite heroines and if so
2) what is it about her that made her stand out to you?

Great question Brendan!

I grew up on the Dragonlance series. Twelve year old me latched on to her character because she resonated with me on more levels than, say Kit could. But she remained one of my favorite characters because she embodies so many contradictions. She’s a pretty elf, but she wasn’t hyper-sexualized like Tika. She was basically a princess, but she was treated like an inconvenience by pretty much everyone for book one. She’s an elf, which symbolically has always stood for this kind of unchangeable, old-guard mentality (particularly by Tanis, but also every other fantasy novel at the time), but she has one of the most drastic character arcs of the series.

She’s also very flawed, which is something I craved in my heroines when I was younger, and appreciate as an adult. She gets to be a hero despite being a bit desperate for attention, naive, and clingy, because she’s also brave and passionate and smart. Her strengths mirror her weaknesses in a way that make it clear one wouldn’t exist without the other. Yes, she’s a bit desperate and clingy and wants to be loved, but she’s also incredibly loyal to the friends she has and won’t leave them no matter the danger to her. Not many stories do the strengths = weaknesses as well.

She grows up on the page, and I related to the persons he was and love the person she became. And she never became one of those untouchable, unflawed, perfect strong female characters ™ in the process.