12/13 Ask an Agent/Editor #agentink & New Site to find CPs #CPSeek

Two exciting developments! First, today over at Ink in the Book, there’s an ask the agent/editor day going on. (It’s part of Agent Ink, which is still open by the way!).  Here’s a bit about it:

I hope you have lots of questions to ask because our agents are standing by to try their best and answer your inquiries! They will be popping in all day to check out your questions and to cheer you fabulous writers on to better writing!

Inquiring minds want to know, right? So now’s your chance.

During the day, I will be updating the blog with awesome AGENT and EDITOR INSIDER news.

But, even more exciting, a bunch of the wonderful mentors from Pitchwars have gotten together to create CPSeek, a forum for people looking to find critique partners, meet other writers and hang out. Fizzygrrl’s description:

This place is for whatever it needs to be for, :)

If you have a passage you need to have looked at, make a new post for it. But mostly it is for networking and finding any kind of help you might need, as well as making new friends.

So far, nothing is set in stone, so let’s just go with it and have fun!

Seriously cool idea! Hope to see you over there.


Beta Readers – Now with easy to use lists! #GUTGAA

Here, it is the list(s) of authors looking for BETA readers/reading partners.

Things I learned: One pretty much EVERYONE said they’d reciprocate, so I didn’t need to have that as a question. And pretty much everyone said they had something *right now* (or very soon), which makes sense, why would you be looking for a BETA reader if you didn’t have something? D’oh! On the other hand, I neglected ask people how they wanted to be contacted so there are several blanks in the lists where that information is missing. So, if you are one of the people who has a blank and are still looking for a beta reader, you can post below and I will add it. (although with the kids sports schedule tomorrow it might not be until late).

The other thing I learned is not everyone had a clear concept of the genre of their story (trust me, I too am confused! I wrote about it here and here). So, if you seem to be listed in a category which isn’t quite what you listed it’s either because a) I merged some genres for space issues (all ‘non-earth’ fantasy including ‘high’ ‘epic’ ‘heroic’ is under fantasy/other realms) or b) I added a genre which I thought was also a good fit for your story. I did this to appeal to as broad a group as possible, but if you’re truly ticked let me know and I’ll take you off that list.

Due to space limitation I have clustered some of the genres in each age range. With three age ranges (MG, YA and Adult), ~14 genres and serious overlap for several genres (paranormal and UF being the main one) making a separate listing for each didn’t make sense. I also didn’t make a lits of what people said they’d read, however it’s pretty safe to assume authors will read in the genres they write in (if you want to check you can to back to the original posts here). EVERYONE should be listed at least once, sometimes more depending if they write for several age groups or across genres (that is everyone who posted by 11 pm on Friday, Sept 7!). If I missed you I sincerely apologize!!  Let me know and I’ll add you in.

But first, before we get to the tables, we had FOUR FIVE ! people who are NOT authors sign up to BETA read. So very cool!

I’ve cut and pasted each of their posts so authors looking for readers can hear first hand what they are looking for. Quick hint: CLICK ON NAMES AT TOP OF QUOTE TO GET TO THEIR WEBSITES/TWITTER ACCOUNTS.


Hope Markowski

1) My name is Hope Markowski. I am an 8th grader in honors English and Reading classes. I am a book reviewer on Flamingnet.com. I volunteer at my local library at least twice a week, and I am a peer helper at my school (which you need to be teacher recommended based on academic performance, etc.) I LOVE to read. I read all kinds of books, from ones that are a bit below my reading level like “The Divide” (like for 6th or 7th grade), but I really like it anyway, up to “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “A Walk to Remember”, which I am reading both right now. I *loved* the Maximum Ride series, and Immortal. I also like Meg Cabot and Margaret Peterson Haddix. I like YA fiction with some romance, and some paranormal or magic thrown in. I really like female lead characters that are kind of feisty, or ones that are a little sarcastic and make me laugh.
2) YA/MG romance (I’m not allowed to read books that have TOO much “romance” in them if you know what I mean), paranormal romance, adventure/fantasy like Maximum Ride
3) I read every day. I can easily commit to a minimum of two chapters a week. And that is a low ball park number. If the chapters are shorter, or I don’t have a lot of homework, I can probably do more. I just don’t want to commit to something I can’t deliver. I always keep my commitments.

A.M. Supinger’s:

AMSupinger (@AMSupinger)

1) My name is A.M.Supinger. One of the items on my Bucket List is to buy a house with enough room for a formal library. Right now every nook and cranny in my apartment is overflowing with stacks of books that can’t be crammed onto my bookshelves :P I live in South Dakota with my husband, two dogs, and a very sneezy cat.
2) I prefer reading YA/MG fantasy and science fiction, but I will also read adult scifi/fantasy.
3) I am already a beta for two other writers, so I would only be able to commit to one book a month. If my reading list goes down, I’ll be able to zip through novels much more quickly.



Hello all! I am a photojournalist & studio photographer from West Tennessee. When I’m not behind the camera taking pictures, I can usually be found reading. It’s my second love and I am not limited to any specific genres either. My favorites to read are mysteries, thrillers and romances (especially romantic suspense) but I will pretty much read anything that catches my attention. I can juggle more than one author at a time. I can do a chapter a week or a book a month because I make my own hours.


and FolioRoad’s


Hello! Thanks for setting this up. So many of us want to connect, it’s just a matter of finding a platform to do it!

I’d like to offer my services as a beta reader in order to help out fellow authors. I am quite obsessed with YA lit., almost entirely speculative. I love deep characters and stories that delve into the darker parts of us or society.

You can visit my blog at http://www.folioroad.com or find me at Goodreads (FolioRoad) to learn a bit more about me and what I like to read. :)

It’s hard to pinpoint a time commitment because I don’t how many people will contact me, but I read quite quickly (especially when I’m interested) and an average YA book will take me at most a week or two.

I can take one story now, but from mid-Sept to Oct I’m super busy. At the end of October I’ll have much more time to devote.

Thanks again!

ETA: FolioRoad is also an author, but loves to Beta read!

One more reader/author looking to just read (a late sign up!). Oh, and I don’t think she means for ‘hire’ as in she expects compensation but that her services are available!

Sarah J Schmitt (@SJSchmitt)

BETA Reader for “hire”

HI, I’m Sarah. I write YA and currently have two books in final stages of revisions (Thriller and Paranormal) and a third in “pre-production” (a ghost story). I would love to be a BETA reader for YA writers. I am willing to work on one book every 4-6 weeks, depending on my own writing schedule.


I have a couple of feelers out in other places too, so this list may expand later.

Now, onto the authors. 🙂 I’ve done this by youngest age range to oldest. IF you write in more than one age range OR if you write in more than one genre, you *should* be listed for each one, but I’m sure I missed a few. Just let me know if you need me to add you to a different category and I’ll see what I can do. I did track New Adult, but ended up merging the category with YA although I do realize it’s not quite the same.

AGAIN: These are authors looking for beta readers and/or to ‘exchange’ beta reads with other authors. If you want to go back and see the original comments which generated these lists, please go here.


Authors who create Picture Books (no genres for this group):

Donna Martin
Kevin Christofora
Romelle Broas


Middle Grade Authors (with seven decided not to do genres, websites should have that information, although we are missing websites):

Donna Martin
Brandon Stenger
Jodie Andrefski
Jenn B.
Connie B. Dowell
Gail Nall

Okay, I have to make a side note here: Jenn B & Connie – you both only write MG and both listed yourselves as writing in the same genre (fantasy/other realms). Empgal and Gail did the same but with adventure/mystery.


YA Authors who write Paranormal or Urban Fantasy:

Anabel G.
Wendy Knight
Liz Hellebuyck
Heather Riffle
Rhiann Wynn-Nolet
Connie Michael
Felicia Wetzig
Priya Kanaparti
Jessica Becker
Meridith Johnson
Heather M. Bryant
Margaret Alexander
markedforpower has gmail
Rebecca Ethington


YA Authors who write Fantasy (Other Realms) or Speculative Fiction or Science Fiction or Dystopian:

Paula Sangare
Katie Teller
Donna Martin
Ellie Heller
Jessica (No last name)
Brandon Stenger
Blair B. Burke
Liz Hellebuyck
Anabel G.
Heather Riffle


YA Authors who write Horror/Gothic or Mystery or Historical or Contemporary (the catch all table):

Paula Sangare
Katie Teller
Donna Martin
Ellie Heller
Jessica (No last name)
Brandon Stenger
Blair B. Burke
Liz Hellebuyck
Anabel G.
Heather Riffle

(again, I merged New Adult with YA)


“Adult” Paranormal Romance or Urban Fantasy Authors:

Christie Palmer
T. J.
Ellie Heller


“Adult” Fantasy (Other Realms) or Speculative Fiction or Science Fiction or Dystopian Authors:

T. J.
Sue Ann Bowling
C. Stuart Hardwick
Brandon Stenger
Laura Stephenson
Marian M Librarian
Amy Cavenaugh


“Adult” Suspense or Thrillers or Mystery or Historical or Women’s Lit Authors:

David Kentner
Amy Cavenaugh
Hunter Emkay
Dean Pace-French
Blair B. Burke
Tasha Seegmiller


Authors who write Erotic or BDSM or GLBT:

Kathryn R. Blake
Dean Pace-French

One last category I didn’t do was non-fiction, I think there were just two authors. I’ll track them down another day. I hope everyone finds a Beta Reader here, or a crit group over at Deana’s! They are invaluable!!



I’m thrilled Deana Barnhart took me up on my offer to help host the BETA/Critique Group Connect. As you can tell by the title, I’ll be hosting the BETA reader connect here.

Of course the first question is: What is a Beta Reader? (often followed by why do I need one and/or what’s the difference between a Beta Reader  and Critique Partner?)

Rosslyn Elliot has a great in depth answers to all these questions on her blog. But basically the answer to what a BETA reader is boils down to two things:

  1. A BETA reader is there to give you a reader’s perspective on your story, which is entirely subjective. Did they like it? How did they feel about the characters? How about the pacing? At any point were they confused or thrown out of the story?
  2. A BETA reader is often NOT A WRITER, just someone who is widely read in the genre you write in and whose opinion you trust.

Conversely, a critique partner is typically a fellow writer who is giving you an objective opinion and generally focuses more on improving the craft of your writing as well as editing and clarity. However, as anyone who has been in a critique group knows or has a good BETA reader knows, sometimes the lines are blurred, but generally the guidelines subjective = BETA Reader and objective = Critique Partner work.

So, what’s the next step?

If you’re looking for both a critique partner/group and beta readers please sign up below for the beta connect and over at Deana’s Blog for the critique connect.

If you’re looking for just a critique partner or  to form a group sign up over at Deana’s Blog.

And, if you’re looking for just a BETA reader, sign up here.

If you’re a reader and looking to become a BETA reader, sign up below as well. 


Please post the following:

1) A brief introduction.
2) Is it only for a current WIP or are you looking for someone long term?
3) If current what is the project (a one sentence summary along with genre and age target)
4) If long term what do you like to write (age target and general genres)
5) Do you have something ready now? When do you anticipate having something ready/needing a BETA Reader?

I’d also suggest linking to your blog/website. 🙂


Please post the following:

1) Tell us a little about yourself.
2) Let us know the genres you feel you are well read in.
3) Time commitment you can offer (can you read a book a month?  a chapter a week?)

One last point for BETA readers:  NO book sharing without the author’s consent. Not typically a problem, but I do feel better for having said it specifically.

I’ll be online most of the day and working to hook up BETA’s and writers, but don’t hesitate to jump in if you think you see a good match!

***ETA: Since I am playing catch up (again!) today and Deana is keeping the critique thread open until Friday, I’ll wait until then. I’ll probably do some semi-geeky spread sheet thing too and post it, so check back! Not sure if I’ll append it to this post or make a new one, depends on how much data I end up with.

Meet & Greet Ellie Heller – GUTGAA Blogfest!

Deana Barnhart
Gearing Up To Get An Agent Blogfest is kicking off with a meet and greet. What is GUTGAA? Starts out with a pitch polish and moves on to pitch contests (AGENTS) and a twitter pitch event and… a month of activities centered around one thing: helping people polish and shine to get the attention of an agent. Deana Barnhart, the fabulous organizer, has a list of FAQ here along with links to the schedule and the agents/small presses/authors who will be helping out. It’s a GREAT opportunity to learn a LOT, even if you don’t make it into the any of the contests.
So here we go: Questions for the Meet and Greet
Where do you write? At home, typically on the recliner couch in the family room, but over the summer I found myself up in my room to avoid the distraction the TV provided. Kids 🙂
Quick. Go to your writing space, sit down and look to your left. What is the first thing you see?  The sun streaming through a stained glass piece which we bought to go in our first house. The perimeter is from an old church window and the artist did some free-form work in the interior making a interesting mix of geometry and curves
Favorite time to write? First thing in the morning when the kids are at school. Or late at night when they’ve gone to bed. And that’s late! I have teens.
Drink of choice while writing? Mostly iced tea, despite the ensuing breaks *that* causes.
When writing , do you listen to music or do you need complete silence? When I am writing to create a new piece/first draft, it’s typically silence. Editing/revising it’s a mix.
What was your inspiration for your latest manuscript and where did you find it? My current work (not what I’m pitching) is a new adult fantasy. Several years ago Julie Czerneda had a contest on her SFF Newsgroup for a flash fiction piece, under 1k. I had been dealing with a lot of death in the family at that point so I ended up writing what is a core chapter for my current piece.
What’s your most valuable writing tip? Make sure you have good beta readers and/or critique group. And generally this doesn’t mean simply handing your piece around to family and close friends. You need someone who is going to be upfront about what works and what doesn’t. On Wednesday Deana will be offering writers the chance to connect with other writers to be help each other out as critique partners. BETA/Critique Group Connect – Anyone interested in making some serious writer connections can come to my blog and post in the comments section what they’re looking for and I will try my best to make a writer connection for you. If you don’t do anything else for this blogfest I *strongly* urge you go to sign up and find someone you can work with. I think this is so, so very important I offered to host some here, although she didn’t take me up on it.
Wait, that’s it? Oh, right short bio. I’m a mother of three, two of whom are teens (one who just got his permit!!) and the other is ten going on seventeen (my little girl). We share our house with two large dogs, when I said I my only criteria was any dog we got had to be larger than our 18 lb cat, I hadn’t anticipated getting seventy pounders but I wouldn’t trade them for the world. I have one novella published and typically write fantasy stories – high fantasy, contemporary fantasy, paranormal romance.
Clicking HERE to go to the main page for the blog fest and find more wonderful authors who have signed up. Because LINKY doesn’t work for me (it’s a wordpress thing) I’m going to post the link to the blog of the person who signed up after me for the Meet and Greet as well: Mere Joyce  : A writer and a librarian, blogging about writing, librarianship, and whatever else catches my fancy!  Stop by and say hello!

On Fifty Shades of Grey & Romance Authors Reactions

Full disclosure: I have only read a little of 50 Shades of Grey – basically what you can download when you choose to ‘sample’ a book on Kindle. It didn’t work for me – for the same reason Twilight didn’t work for me (although I did manage to make my way all the way through that one). I don’t like needy, angst ridden, my-life-looks-good-but-I’m-miserable-and-not-doing-anything-about-it heroines. Not my cup of tea.

What put it on my radar right now was a discussion I had recently with someone on how literary circles seem to ‘look down’ on romance writing, despite the fact that romance sells a heck of a lot more books and is, therefor, much more widely read. When literary ‘purists’ talk about romance novels, particularly genre romance novels, they complain about the lack of theme and plot and the level of character development (or perceived lack of it) and the quality of the prose.

The *exact* same thing many romance writers are now doing to Fifty Shades of Grey.

I’d like to think we’d be more compassionate given we’ve walked (and still walk!) in those shoes. We’ve heard our stories aren’t ‘good literature’ (don’t believe me? Here’s a link to an article from March of 2012 calling romance novels ‘a low form of literature’ just above advertising copy), so why are we doing to this to 50 Shades?

I’d like to think romance authors would be more accepting that a story may not be up to their standards in terms of character development and plot but can still be a ‘good’ book.  I’ll admit the grammar thing does bug me and some of the point of view issues would drive me mad (the story is entirely in the first person, from her point of view so it should only include what she sees/experiences and there’s apparently at least one scene where she’s blindfolded and there’s a description of what Mr. Grey is doing, which she can’t possibly see).

I know, I know! that ‘romance authors’ aren’t a homogenous group and there are plenty of people who don’t have this (or any) opinion on the piece. But I’ve also seen many tweets and comments from writers on how ‘bad’ everything about the book is, some very strident and others less so. And it bugs me because we should know all to well what it’s like to be told your book isn’t ‘real’ writing. So why the heck would we do that to someone else?

Summer, Turns Me Inside Out or Ellie Writes Too (when she can)

And yes, that is a reference to a Cars song.

With kids home, then off to camp at vastly different schedules and home again and off again…well, you get the gist. I’m barely getting any work done on my fantasy novel, much less blogging.

On the other hand, I do like what I’m churning out, which is nice.

Here, a Tuesday Teaser of a bit. I was really happy with this bit. Yes, it’s still rough:

“I knew she would die. But hearing it–” He paused. Several deep breaths later he continued. “At least he’s not going to use her as he did the others.”

Faint images from the vision clung to the edges of Ilia’s memory. The mage did not kill quickly or cleanly. Arilla has been spared that at least.

“I’ll help you find her body.” The words were out before Ilia could stop them. They hung in the air of the room as if offering her the chance to unsay them, suspended while the others looked at her, shocked.

So, I’m off to try to write this next scene. At least until it’s time to walk the dogs or feed the cat or …

First Lines: My Favorites. What are yours?

As anyone who has read my favorite books posts knows, I’m a big fan of Jennifer Crusie.

She is one of *the best* at opening lines.

Here, from Faking It, which I recently re-read and was struck again by how awesome this line is:

Matilda Goodnight stepped back from her latest mural and realized that of all the crimes she’d committed in her thirty-four years, painting the floor-to-ceiling reproduction of van Gogh’s sunflowers on Clarissa Donnelly’s dining room wall was the one that was going to send her to hell.

Seriously, how much great character development is there in that bit? Okay, it is a tad long by current standards, but it works so very, very well.

Here’s her start to Welcome to Temptation:

Sophie Dempsey didn’t like Temptation even before the Garvey’s smashed into her ’86 civic, broke her sister’s sunglasses, and confirmed all her worst suspicions about people from small towns who drove beige Cadillacs.

And finally, Getting Rid of Bradley (’cause that all I could easily put my hands on). This last one I’m fudging a smidge. Since it’s dialog, I’m including the bits before and after the tag because it’s all one thought, even if it’s not one sentence.

“I’ve never known anyone who was stood up for her own divorce before,” Tina Savage told her sister. “What’s it feel like?”

Yeah, she’s a pro.

I did find several Regencies with excellent first lines (Julia Quinn rocks here too!), but decided to try to stick with a more contemporary setting. Think I’ll save those for another post.

So, what are your favorite first lines? And I do mean line, I looked at my SEP (Susan Elizabeth Phillips) and didn’t fare so well (okay, I only found one book unpacked and on my shelf and none on my kindle so it was a very small sample).

Would love to see some more examples. I’ll add them to this post and credit them back to you too.


From my pal Suzie Ivy :

I LOVE all the authors you’ve mentioned. Mine goes way back but it’s always been my favorite. Linda Howard’s Mackenzie’s Mountain “He needed a woman. Bad.”

Six Sentence Sunday, Warder, another Start

I hate the start of my stories for the first several drafts, it takes me forever to get them where I’m happy with them – once I figure out where in the story I want to start.

Here, I’m still not sure. I’ve tried to pitch this several times and it’s not flying so I’ve redone the start. I’m starting with backstory/action from the immediate past, which I don’t want to show, but which I’m hoping isn’t too long and sets up the mood for the story. Sigh, we’ll see. With only six sentence would you want to read more?

Mona stared blearily at the cell phone ringing on her coffee table. An hour and a half was not enough sleep, not after almost getting killed this morning. The memory of the ground heaving under her feet, the cheek-stinging cold as she scrambled away flooded back, jerking her awake. Training my ass. Warder Smythe, like her, could see and manipulate other’s spells, but could not create his own workings.


Certainly not the set spell she’d barely escaped from, despite his claim the body-crushing stone monoliths which had almost trapped her were a test.

So, yes? no? (suggestions?) Sigh, good news is this is just about complete!!

The end of an ERA (for me)

(this is attempt six at a start, let’s hope it takes).

First, as I’ve said many, *many* times I love my crit group, ERA. And I’m not the only one, KevaD also comments here on how great having a solid critique group is.

But I just left the group, after having been involved since shortly after the inception.

Not because of any thing any members did. But because my time is getting crazy and only looks to get more crowded as we head into summer and out-of-school madness with the kids.

Thing is, in my experience, a solid critique group  is more than just posting pieces and commenting on them. It’s the chit chat & camaraderie which the members engage in, in addition to the quality of the critiques, which make the group viable. I feel like I have barely time to write and could not commit to the time needed to be involved at a level I feel I would need to be involved to be part of the group.

Part of it too, is that the group is Erotic Romance Authors. So while I’m always up to critiquing a hot scene 😉 , that’s not really what I write. Sure, I have the occasional ‘hot’ scene if (when!) the hero and heroine have sex the first time in my paranormal romances, but after that initial one, not so much. When I write in other genres, such as fantasy or even YA fantasy, sex is off the pages in the former and non-existent in the latter.

While I’ve gotten some great feed back, this group was never a great fit. When faced with a time crunch, much as I hate to leave the group (some of these writers I’ve known for over ten years through previous critique group incarnations) it was time.

Being the wonderful group they are, I have an open invitation to re-apply (if they have room and if I veer off to write steamy romances). In the mean time I’ll be plodding along, working with beta readers (not nearly the same, but uber helpful), and trying to stay on top of life, much less my writing, over the summer.

On the other hand, if you are not a newbie (preferably with at least one publication under your belt – in this instance self pubbed does not qualify), write *hot* romances and are open to reading and critiquing all levels of heat and combinations of partners (very important as there are several m/m and menage writers), you might want to keep an eye on the ERA portal to see when/if they post they’re accepting membership applications. I highly recommend them!

Whew, now that’s done, it’s back to writing!

So, with the family event behind me (barely), it’s back to writing. With only four weeks until school is out here are my goals:

1). Finish the last bit of rewriting to change from first person to third. Yes, I am still working on that project.

2). Evaluate which story I will work on next.

Oh, wait, oops. That’s not right! I have to finish up my short for the ERAuthors anthology. Yikes.

Okay, new list:

1). Finish up erotic short for anthology

2). Finish the last bit of rewriting to change from first person to third. Yes, I am still working on that project.

3). Evaluate which story I will work on next.

Unfortunately the summer is not conducive to writing, with kids home, etc. but I’m going to make a stab at it.

I also need to catch up on Cupid’s Literary Connection The Writer’s Voice contest, check out twitter (haven’t been on in a week!) and facebook… lots of distractions before I settle down to write. Not to mention I still have family in town until tomorrow. Hmm, thinking the writing won’t start until mid-week, the good news being I can catch up with the other stuff before then.

I hope. There’s a lot of stuff in my triberr feed!!