On the 12th Day of Writing: Coming Home to Yourself

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December 12th

Hi friends!

For those of you interested in writing blogs, there is a submission opportunity with The Relationship Blogger. They are seeking blog posts about self-acceptance.

Coming Home to Yourself

Did you struggle against conformity, perfection standards from parents, or cultural conditioning? Did you ask the question am I good enough as I am?

Share your heart about being your true self and what it took to find that. Self-acceptance is so difficult.

It’s a journey.

Dive into your experiences with self-discovery and self-acceptance. What have you struggled with about yourself and what have you accepted? What was the turning point for you?

The Relationship Blogger seeks poems, essays, or fiction. January submissions are due by December 15th. Send your final piece to: submissions@therelationshipblogger.com

Check out their master submissions page for formatting details.

This is a different call of submissions but might be insightful and interesting to pen.

Big hug ❤

Loie

Interview with Author and Literary Agent Nicole Bezanson

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Back for another interview with a Canadian author and literary agent!

Here is Nicole’s bio, from her website:

“NICOLE BEA is a short story author, novelist, technical writer, and agent with Metamorphosis Literary who primarily focuses on writing contemporary teen fiction. An avid storyteller since childhood, she has honed her skills through a variety of educational programs including management, sociology, legal studies, and cultural diversity in the workplace,  most recently engaging in coursework about communication for technologists.

 

When she isn’t busy updating her manuscript portfolio or responding to queries, she can usually be found reading, avoiding domestic chores & pursuing her new hobby of learning to cook. She & her husband share their home in Eastern Canada with a collection of disabled cats and a lifetime’s worth of books.”

 

Loie: Hi Nicole! It’s so great to have you here on the blog today. I’m excited to chat with you 😊 I love meeting Canadian YA authors. Thank you for agreeing to be interviewed.

Can you share a little bit about your writing journey. When did you start writing, what do you write, and how did you get your agent?

Nicole: I started writing novels in January of 2017 after being diagnosed with clinical depression. I had always wanted to write a book growing up but never really knew how to go about it. Once I started to be treated, I decided to tackle my goal of writing a full-length novel. I’ve always loved young adult stories and thought that perhaps that would be a good place to start and I completed the first draft of my first book in about a month. It was such an exciting process and I found the ideas started flowing from that book very organically, and so I started my second book very shortly after, finishing that one in six weeks.  Over the course of the year I wrote five teen fiction books!

I ended up querying my fifth book, FORGET ME NOT, in January of 2018 and was picked up by my agent, Patty Carothers of Metamorphosis Literary Agency, in April of the same year. I was so happy to find someone who loved my story as much as I did and who was also willing to help me set some goals and teach me about the publishing industry, so it was immediately a great match.

Loie: Thank you for sharing ❤ That’s quite amazing that you wrote five novels in one year 🙂 ! Also, super encouraging that you found an agent after querying for a few months.

Can you tell readers a little bit about Wattpad and why you decided to post your stories there? What’s your favorite thing about Wattpad?

Nicole: Wattpad is such a great community to be part of, especially for a new writer. There are so many ways to grow your writing and share your stories with others that I think it’s a fantastic way to learn more about writing. There are people on the platform who like all different genres, so the nice thing about that is you’ll be able to find a group of people to connect with who have similar interests.

I joined Wattpad about a year before I started writing full-length fiction, mainly as a reader and poster of micro-fiction. I ended up turning some of my Wattpad pieces into novellas that were picked up by Zimbell House Publishing and it was then I realized that maybe I had the potential to turn writing into something more than a casual hobby. Wattpad definitely helped engage me with a network of wonderful people who were all very helpful in giving me direction and answering inquiries.

Loie: Wattpad is amazing. I’ve read some incredible works on that site. My friend and mentor from #WriteMentor, MB Dalto, posts stories there 🙂 That’s really neat that some of your novellas were picked up by Zimbell House Publishing!

As a literary agent at Metamorphosis Literacy Agency, have you noticed anything with incoming manuscripts? What are some things that turn you away from a manuscript? Have you noticed any trends? What do you love seeing in a submission?

Nicole: I absolutely love reading submissions. It’s one of my favourite parts of the job. I’ve received some really creative content and it always amazes me what people can come up with and the depth and breadth of creativity. I’ve received all genres and sub-genres and have become really engaged with some things I would normally not have thought I’d interested in. That’s kind of an interesting part of being an agent is the exposure to all these projects. 

Most submissions I receive are very well put together.  That being said, it is important to ensure you have the basics down in your query. Please double-check to ensure the agent’s name is spelled correctly, that you’ve included contact information, and you are following the submission protocol. I also personally like to know why the author thinks we would be a good fit, but if you’re including this, please make sure it is a personalized statement and not just something generic that may not actually apply (for example, don’t say that you’re sending it along because of the agent’s interest in romance if they’ve indicated they don’t wish to receive romance).

Loie: Wow, that’s super insightful. Thanks for sharing. What is your favorite genre to write and why?

Nicole: I generally only write teen fiction, but I have dabbled in adult romance. I like to use my own experiences as a teenager as the basis for my books and some of my stories directly reflect things that have happened to me growing up. I find when I write about things that are based on real life, it allows me to process them in a different way, plus I get to maintain some sense of nostalgia. In particular cases, like with my story SKIN, I get to re-write endings to stories that may not have had positive conclusions.

Loie: Can you share how you edit your novels? Do you have a checklist you go through after completing a draft? Do you send to beta or critique readers?

Nicole: I edit as I write, paragraph by paragraph. Because of this it takes me a little bit longer to get my writing done, but I find it less stressful than trying to get all my thoughts down without reviewing them. As I’m writing my first draft, I post the chapters on Wattpad for my dedicated readers and take their comments into consideration when putting together my manuscript for submission. Once my draft is complete and I’ve reviewed the comments on Wattpad, I employ a selection of beta readers.

Loie: That’s a neat method 🙂 Cool! What are you reading at the moment?

Nicole: Nicholas Sparks – The Last Song

Jay Coles – Tyler Johnson Was Here

and

Lauren Spieller – Your Destination is on the Left

Loie: Ooooo, I have Your Destination is on the Left on my TBR list 🙂 What are you hoping to find in your inbox as a literary agent? Do you have a specific #MSWL? Any fairytale retellings or fantasy, contemporary, or YA stories you’d love to see in your inbox?

Nicole: My #MSWL is as follows (at least for now!):

Contemporary fiction in ages 16+, and YA in all forms and genres, particularly with romance or mystery subplots. Manuscripts featuring animal appearances are always appreciated, cats and horses in particular, as are stories taking place in Canada.

Loie: Awesome! Yay, Canada ❤ Thanks so much for visiting, Nicole! So great chatting with you.

You can find Nicole on Wattpad and her website. For those interested in querying her, find out more information at Metamorphosis Literary Agency.

Until next time,

Loie xo

On the 2nd Day of Writing: Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide

December 2nd

Here is a fun place to submit! ❄️✨

Submission Tips

MC that is age 8-12.

-A diverse cast of characters.

-Fun to read and encourages love of science fiction.

-Adventures in space with robots, rockets, or alien encounters.

-Steampunk, weird west, and time travel are fine.

-Word Count should be between 3,000-6,000 words.

-Science fiction, not fantasy.

Particularly Looking For:

-Adventures!

-A MC from an underrepresented population.

-MC has agency and isn’t just along for the adventure.

Don’t Write:

-Stories about female characters who need rescuing or are a prize.

-Stories where the subplot or main plot is romantic in nature.

-Graphic violence or swearing.

Submission Deadline

-December 15, 2018, with a reading period of January and February 2019.

-Don’t put identifying information on your manuscript.

Have Fun

I hope you guys enjoy this submission opportunity 🙂

I think I’m going to write about a robotic dog named Mag, of course inspired by my 16-year-old Jack Russell Terrier 😉🐕

What will you write about? Find out more, here!

Until next time,

Loie xo

On the 1st Day of Writing: Weird Christmas Flash Fiction Contest

December 1st – Weird Christmas

Hello, my dear friends.

For those writing, check out this submission you could work on today.

Do you have a strange Christmas flash fiction story somewhere? Want to write one?! Well, I have the contest for you.

Weird Christmas is looking for 350 word flash fictions. Deadline is December 10th.

Things to Note

You want to write something that is odd, strange, or weird. It can be off-kilter and genres are fine (science fiction, fantasy, horror, etc).

If you write something sentimental, make sure it’s a little bizarre 😉

Secondly, it can be related to any winter holiday. Kwanza, winter solstice celebrations, “Yule”, Christmas, and Hanukkah, for example.

If you choose to include another holiday like Easter or Halloween, keep a strong connection to winter celebrations.

How to Submit

Email the story to: weirdxmas@gmail.com

Find out more details here!

Have Fun

Let’s have fun with this first story submission 🙂 I’m already thinking of some strange scenarios.

My First Line

The silver stag hated Christmas lights.

Until next time, friends 🙂 Tomorrow I’ll post a new submission! What are you working on today? Share a line below ❤

xoxo

Loie

24 Days of Writing

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Hi everyone! Here’s a fun way to maintain the writing spirit throughout December: participate in 24 Days of Writing.

Every day in December until the 25th, I’m going to post a new place to submit a flash fiction, poem, or novel excerpt.

I think this is a fab way to step back from our NaNoWriMo projects and let them sit for a while. We’ll be able to switch gears and work on something different for a change 🙂

It’s exciting to work on a new story idea, particularly when it’s shorter than an entire novel 😉 You’ll have that satisfying feeling of finishing something. If you want, you can submit your completed story or poem.

Sometimes, I’ve found story diamonds in my little flash fictions that I later expanded into longer pieces. You never know what you might discover!

Then, when January arrives, we’ll still have kept the writing muscle active. That way we can dive back into drafting or editing our current WIP.

Are you with me?!

I hope you join me! Tomorrow, I will post the first writing contest or submission opportunity and perhaps share a line from my own short story.

Let me know if you’d like to participate! I’d love to hear in the comments below ❤ Use the hashtag, #24DaysofWriting on Twitter or Instagram. I think it’s going to be a blast.

Until next time,

Loie xo

YA Author Interview: Kristen Ciccarelli

 

The Last Namsara Goodreads Summary

In the beginning, there was the Namsara: the child of sky and spirit, who carried love and laughter wherever he went. But where there is light, there must be darkness—and so there was also the Iskari. The child of blood and moonlight. The destroyer. The death-bringer.

These are the legends that Asha, daughter of the king of Firgaard, has grown up learning in hushed whispers, drawn to the forbidden figures of the past. But it isn’t until she becomes the fiercest, most feared dragon slayer in the land that she takes on the role of the next Iskari—a lonely destiny that leaves her feeling more like a weapon than a girl.

Asha conquers each dragon and brings its head to the king, but no kill can free her from the shackles that await at home: her betrothal to the cruel commandant, a man who holds the truth about her nature in his palm. When she’s offered the chance to gain her freedom in exchange for the life of the most powerful dragon in Firgaard, she finds that there may be more truth to the ancient stories than she ever could have expected. With the help of a secret friend—a slave boy from her betrothed’s household—Asha must shed the layers of her Iskari bondage and open her heart to love, light, and a truth that has been kept from her

*

Thank you so much, Kristen, for agreeing to come on the blog today and share about your writing, books, and other creative endeavors.

I loved The Last Namsara SO much! I particularly loved your worldbuilding, mythology, romance, and main character, Asha 🙂 Also, dragons! It’s great to have you here on the blog today. Woohoo to Canadian YA Fantasy authors! Love it.

When I first picked up The Last Namsara and flipped to the back to read your bio, I was so excited to see you were a fellow Canadian. It gave me hope that someday I might also be published.

Okay, let’s get to the interview 🙂

Loie: How did you come up with Firgaard? I love this world so much!

Kristen: This is actually a hard question to answer! My stories always begin with character, and everything in a story (in my opinion) needs to somehow serve that character—either helping her or hindering her on her journey to becoming who she’s meant to be. So I guess you could say that I came up with Firgaard because of Asha. The outlawed stories, the patriarchal monarch, the deadly dragons, the walls within walls … these were all things that came out of who Asha was, the secrets she was keeping, etc. It’s the world she needed.

Loie: When you are building and researching a story, what tips do you have for writers? Do you spend a certain amount of time preparing the story before drafting? Also, could you talk a little bit about rewrites and revisions?

Kristen: I think everyone researches and worldbuilds differently, so I’m not sure how helpful I can be here. One thing I will say is that research and worldbuilding can become procrastination tactics. They’re important, but getting the book written is more important. You can do all the research and worldbuilding in the world and still not have done enough. At some point, you have to start writing. I do some research and worldbuilding at the beginning, some as I write, and then some more in between drafts, going back and fixing things/layering in the new pieces. What’s more important for me is knowing my character. I spend a considerable amount of time figuring out who my character is before I start writing. I need to know who she is at the beginning of the story versus who she is at the end so I can figure out how she’s going to change and grow (which is essentially the plot of the book).

In terms of rewrites and revisions, it really depends on the author, as well as the book. Some things that are important before you sit down to revise a story: take space away from the draft so you can see it with fresher eyes, give it to trusted people who will give constructive feedback, compile that feedback into some kind of revision plan (I like to make a revision list starting from big things like character and plot changes, then end with small things like adding in more sensory details, etc), then go down the list as you revise. When you get to the end, repeat the same steps over again for as many drafts as a story needs, until it’s done.

Loie: What inspired the stories found in TLS and TCQ? I loved your book because of the snippets of legends we received before each chapter. It made the story and the world so much richer and I truly felt immersed.

Kristen: The stories are essentially cleverly disguised cheating. 😉 They’re there to give the reader a whole lot of backstory (on the characters, on the world, on the religion) without the reader realizing they’re reading a lot of backstory. But also, stories are so integral to the book—they’re dangerous and forbidden because they lure dragons and kill their tellers, but also because Asha is a storyteller. So it just seemed right to use them in this way.

Loie: Do you have any projects that you are dreaming to work on in the future after this series? Will you always write YA or will you write MG or Adult? Are there any other genres you are particularly drawn to?

Kristen: I have a few projects I’m working on now, just for fun. One of them is YA fantasy set in a very different world than The Last Namsara and it’s been the thing I work on when I don’t have any other looming deadlines. The other project is an adult fantasy. I’m definitely most drawn to fantasy (and always have been). I can’t really see myself writing in other genres, but never say never, I guess?

Loie: What do you do to get unstuck in a story?

Kristen: Usually it requires going back to the place in the story where I wasn’t stuck and deleting everything after that point. But sometimes getting stuck is a sign of stress or exhaustion. So sometimes it means I need to put the laptop away for the night and watch Netflix with my husband. Other times it means going for a walk. Or washing the dishes. Or doing something that requires me to get out of my head. The subconscious mind is a powerful thing that can often figure out your plot problems while you distract yourself with other things.

Loie: Who is your favorite character to write and why 🙂 ?

Kristen: Whichever character I’m writing at the moment. 😉 Seriously, though. I’m most interested in whoever is driving the story I’m currently writing, probably because I have to know them so well. (So with book one, it was Asha. With book two, it was Roa.) However, I think people are interesting in general. People are like icebergs. There’s a tiny little bit of them showing above the surface, but mostly who they are is all hidden underneath. The surface of a person can be extremely deceiving. I want to know what’s under the surface of every character/person, because it’s so often interesting and surprising.

Loie: I love your Instagram and seeing all the other creative things you are up to like baking and pottery and hiking around Newfoundland. How do other creative endeavors inform writers or how do they help?

Kristen: As anyone who spends a lot of time staring at a computer screen will know, it’s helpful to get out of your head and into the real world, to move your body, to have sensory experiences. Writing is stationary and solitary and happens inside your own mind. You can’t stay in that state. You need to move, have social interactions, be present in the world happening around you. For your writing, yes, but more importantly, for your well-being. Baking, making pottery, hiking … these are restorative acts for me. They remind me that writing is not the most important thing. Living is.

Loie: If you could sit down with one author and have a coffee with them, who would it be?

Kristen: Patricia McKillip! She was my favourite author growing up (and still is). She has virtually no internet presence. She doesn’t go on tour. She’s a total mystery, which I love. (In fact, now that I’m writing this, maybe I don’t want to have coffee with her, maybe I should keep her as a mystery…)

Loie: Finally, can you share a little bit about The Caged Queen?

Kristen: The Caged Queen is about a girl who must kill a king in order to save her sister. The protagonist of this book is Roa, who you meet in The Last Namsara when she makes Dax (a boy she has tumultuous history with) a deal: she’ll lend him the army he needs to win a war if he marries her and makes her queen.

While The Caged Queen opens almost immediately after The Last Namsara ends (with Roa as an outlander queen in a kingdom that’s been shaken by war), and while it continues on with the characters from TLN (Asha, Torwin, etc), it also stands alone. So you can read The Caged Queen first if you want, and then read The Last Namsara as a prequel.

Loie: Thank you so much, Kristen for coming here and taking the time to answer some questions. I love your writing and I cannot wait to read The Caged Queen!

Kristen: It was my pleasure! Thanks for your questions, Loie.

I hope you all enjoyed the interview. Keep an eye out on my Twitter account for a book giveaway 😍✨ Have you read The Last Namsara? What is your most anticipated sequel?

Until next time,

Loie xo

Saturday Check-In: Books I’m Reading, Upcoming Author Interview, and Heading to the Country

Hiya friends,

Short post for today.  The #WriteMentor Agent Showcase went fantastically and Stuart shared that every mentee received an agent request which is super rare and awesome! Woohoo 🙂 You can still read the lovely entries here!

What I’m Reading

I finished The Secret Deep by Lindsay Galvin and it’s definitely a 5 star book in my opinion! I loved the thrilling mystery and the close sisterly bond between Aster and Poppy.

I’m still working on Blinding Night and A Touch of Gold. But I also have a few more on my radar 😀 The life of a booklover! Haha.

Scion of the Fox is written by Canadian writer, editor, and artist, S.M. Beiko. The pitch is American Gods meets Princess Mononoke!

Saving Death was graciously sent to me by Oftomes Publishing to review. Very excited to dive in.

The Bone Roses is such a unique and fantastical story. It’s pitched as a Steampunk Western! I love it so far. Rags is such a spunky and brave main heroine.

This book was published by Parliament House Press. I think they are definitely a publishing house to watch. They have some great books lined up for the fall. My two mentors from #WriteMentor each have a book releasing from them in the next couple of months.

Upcoming Author Interview

I won’t say much about this because I want you to be excited and curious but I have a fantastic author interview going live on Tuesday! They are a bestselling fantasy writer and I cannot wait for you to read the interview ❤

Heading to the Country

I am excited because this weekend I am heading to the country to spend time with family. Hoping for rest and good conversation and inspiration. I also get to read my #cpsoulmate‘ latest draft of her science fiction adventure story, World Leaper! 

Do you have any plans for the weekend? What are you reading at the moment?

Keep your eyes peeled for Tuesday’s interview!

Until next time,

Loie xo

Launching Monthly Interviews with YA and MG Canadian Authors

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Hey everyone!

How are you all making out? Hard to believe the beginning of September has breezed on into our lives. I had my first pumpkin spice latte on August 31st 😉 Couldn’t wait, haha!

I wanted to write a short post and share about something new I am starting tomorrow here on my blog.

There is a ton of talent here in Canada. Seeing as I am an Atlantic Canadian writer, I love to meet fellow Canadian authors of children’s literature. I decided to begin a monthly blog series where I highlight a Canadian author or an up and coming writer. Of course, I love all writers, but I wanted to share some of the talent here in this country.

Tomorrow I have a special treat planned for you all!

I have a blog going live that will feature a fantastic debut YA Fantasy author who wrote a romantic and magical story. Can’t wait for you to find out who it is! There will be an interview with said author and a giveaway of their debut novel ❤

Please check back tomorrow!

Talk soon,

Loie xo