Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Exciting News!!!

So it's been a while since I've posted, but I've been sitting on some very exciting news. My young adult dystopian novel, THE FOURTH GENERATION (at least that's its current name), has been acquired by the Indie publisher Clean Reads (formerly Astraea Press). The deal went down a little over a month ago, but now that I've submitted an "author package" to Clean Reads that consists of the back-cover blurb, ideas for cover art, author bio, among other things, I figured I would post the exciting news on my blog.


So, yeah, now I've been busy working with an editor on my book. So far it's been a blast! For those of you who are curious, I didn't even send this book out to many literary agents and publishers because I kept hearing around the writing blogosphere how saturated the young adult dystopian market is, and therefore how hardly any agents and editors are looking for books in that category. (Yep - I wrote a book in currently one of the most saturated markets out there, thanks to big hitters like THE HUNGER GAMES and DIVERGENT.) I only happened to be doing research on agents and publishers for my next book when I came across Clean Reads, which claimed it was currently looking for YA dystopian. So I sent THE FOURTH GENERATION to the press and they offered a contract. Go figure. Sometimes it really is all about hitting the right editor/agent/publisher at the right time.


Anyway, I'll keep you up-to-date on the progress of the book, and certainly when it's release date is. Until then, happy writing!

Friday, February 13, 2015

The Amazing Adventures of Heroic Man's Brother Query & First Page

Title: THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF HEROIC MAN'S BROTHER
Genre: Adult Superhero Fantasy
Word Count: 80,000

Query pitch:

Dear Lovely Agent/Editor,

Norm “Run-of-the-Mill” Stevens has always lived in the shadow of his older brother, Tom, publicly known as Heroic Man, The Intrepid Heroic Man, The Gallant Heroic Man, among other names. The crime-fighting superhero possesses the full spectrum of superhuman powers—super strength, speed, flight, and, of course, that truly sublime, superhumanly muscular ass of his, which has become an icon of an adoring city.

Norm, on the other hand, has been working his pathetically flaccid rear off on the money-saving blueprints he created to improve the city’s electricity grid. But, much to his utter aggravation, he fails to get them into the hands of Electrifirm’s C.E.O., C.E. Olsen. Heroic Man pities Norm and, behind his back, gives Olsen the model. Olsen grants Norm the massive career-boost and subsequent prestige of his dreams.

But the thing is, ever since Heroic Man took the city’s spotlight, Olsen’s been determined to regain it. Olsen slanders Heroic Man by claiming the superhero stole the new grid plans from Electrifirm. The C.E.O. asks Norm to publicly confirm his story, and Norm—sick of relying on his brother’s charity and still as resentful as ever of that all-powerful posterior of his—gladly obliges.

Norm thoroughly enjoys being the more successful brother for once. That is, until Norm lets slip Heroic Man’s innocence to his girlfriend, who dumps him for treating his brother so poorly. Devastated and awakened from his selfishness, Norm battles his conscience: continue to outshine his brother despite the injustice, or come clean to the whole city and replace him as its biggest disgrace.

THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF HEROIC MAN’S BROTHER is an 80,000-word humorous adult superhero fantasy. I have a degree in Creative Writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University, and won the individual award for Outstanding Achievement in Creative Writing. I have also recently obtained an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. I interned at Kensington Publishing Corp. in New York City in the Publicity and Marketing departments. Thank you for considering THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF HEROIC MAN’S BROTHER and I hope to hear from you soon.

First 250 words:


            I popped open a can of Fizz Beer and took a good, long swig. The stuff was cheap as hell, and non-creatively-named to boot, but there wasn’t much more a guy with a crummy mailroom job could afford. And I had to celebrate my impeccable achievement somehow.
            Raw energy—along with the insufficient buzz and flavorless taste of the beer—bolted through me as I stared at the electricity grid model on my bedroom desk. After four years of nonstop, though invigorating, work, my masterpiece was finally complete. And finally—oh thank God, finally—I could prove my genius to the C.E.O. of Electrifirm and get the hell out of the mailroom once and for all. All I’d have to do was walk up to my boss tomorrow, show him the model, and—
            “Norm, dinner!” Mom called from the bottom of the stairs.
            Already? Must’ve completely lost track of time. I took another swig of Fizz Beer and grimaced. Should’ve gotten Buzz Beer instead. Sure, it was a little more expensive, but it packed a bit more buzz and taste, and cut back a tad on the annoying fizz.
            I placed the can on my desk. I’d have to wait until after dinner to finish celebrating properly. Or poorly, given the brand’s quality.

            The scent of fresh, steamed vegetables never smelled so succulent—okay, it was intermixed with the heavy, foul odor of red meat—as I hopped down the stairs two at a time. The first time I’d done that since I was a kid.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Amazing Adventures of Heroic Man's Brother Logline

It's been quite a while since I've posted here (just plain typing that cleared some dust and cobwebs from this blog's long-neglected floor), but since I've recently entered the query trenches with my latest book, a humorous adult superhero fantasy called THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF HEROIC MAN'S BROTHER (which I've talked about a bit here), I figured I'd post some stuff concerning it. Namely, the logline, for now. Hope you enjoy! I really enjoyed writing this story. It was such a pleasure.

LOGLINE:

Wrought with jealousy and manipulated by Electri-City’s most influential man, Norm “Run-of-the-Mill” Stevens slanders his revered brother, Heroic Man, and must come clean to the city to repair the relationship.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Humorous Superhero Story & Upcoming Twitter Pitch Party

So I'm excited, as I'm getting ready to return to my humorous adult superhero story after having put it aside for two months. In light of some feedback I've heard, it's looking more like it's an adult story versus new adult. It'll be really interesting to see what my strange brain has concocted now that I'll have a much more fresher pair of eyes on it. After this read-through/revision, it'll be off to critique partners (well, more crit partners, as a couple have taken a look at parts of it already).

In other news, I have worked on a Twitter pitch (among other things - like a synopsis and query pitch) for this story, and I will be using the Twitter pitch in Authoress's blogpitch party this coming Monday. I'm super-excited for it, as I've been a long-time follower of her blog, and have entered in many of her contests and critique sessions. Of course, only 10 pitches will be chosen, so, as usual, it will be tough (or more accurately, incredibly tough) competition. So wish me luck!

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Fourth Generation Query Pitch

So here it is - it's ready (or at least as good as I can make it) - the query pitch for my 74,000-word YA dystopian novel, THE FOURTH GENERATION, to go along with the logline and first page in my last post. After countless revisions and hours of torment, anguish, and the occasional - OK, very rare - sudden microscopic burst of excitement that something has actually gone well or right, my query pitch is finally done. Queries went out to a few agents last night. Wish me luck, and enjoy the query pitch!
Gorin would rather drop a two-hundred-pound artifact on his bare foot than think about his fast-approaching seventeenth birthday, when a god-awful disease will finally claim his life. After it finishes turning his skin dark gray and making his spine all crooked, that is. Ever since the plague devastated the world a hundred years ago, the remaining people have spent their shortened lives serving the rulers in their off-limits mansion, and Gorin is no exception.
But unlike the herd-minded majority, Gorin wishes to spend his last days studying the heap of artifacts at the forbidden mansion. Not only to help the rulers find a cure to the plague and rediscover electricity, but because some of the unseen objects, collected over generations, must be incredibly extraordinary. But no—according to the rulers’ laws, heavily enforced by the militia, Gorin must stick to finding the few remaining, much more useless artifacts in town.
Unable to fight his growing curiosity, Gorin sneaks a peek at the incredible mansion one night with his friend Marf’s help. Amazingly, a bright light exudes from the windows. Electricity. The rulers lied—they’ve been selfishly hiding it for years. Even more incredible is a group of adults with tall, healthy bodies. But Gorin and Marf are discovered. With massive bounties on their heads, they must gather evidence of the rulers’ corruptness and find a way to share the cure with the rest of town—or everybody, including themselves, will continue to face untimely deaths.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Fourth Generation Logline & First Page

So I've completed my YA dystopian novel, THE FOURTH GENERATION, and figured I'd post the current logline and first page. I would post the query pitch, too, but that is still under construction (one might even say heavy construction), so perhaps at a later date. Anyway, I give you logline & first page!

LOGLINE:

On the verge of perishing from a plague that kills all seventeen-year-olds, Gorin must break into the rulers’ mansion and obtain the cure they’ve been keeping to themselves to save himself and future generations from an untimely demise.
FIRST PAGE:
 
            I raced up the stairwell pretty fast for someone in my god-awful condition.  My empty backpack bounced on my shoulders, my feet landing just in front of the steps’ worn, chipped edges.  Sunlight leaked through the dusty windows at the top of each landing, enough to light my way to the decaying apartment building’s eighth floor.
            The rest of the Valuable Objects had better still be there.  No way I was losing the Tournament of Prestige this year, and the VOs could be worth just enough prestige points to finally push my faction into the top spot.  But if somebody else found them while I was gone…
            At last I made it to the eighth floor.  My chest heaved as I sucked in breath, my burning legs threatening to crumple.
            You’ve gotta be kidding me.  The second door on the right lay wide open.  My heart banged against my ribs, making it tough to breathe, as I crept to the door as quietly as only I could.
            I peeked inside the room.  My gut clenched, even though I’d seen it coming.
            A boy about my size—taller than average, with good-size muscles—stood in front of the old wooden cabinets on the left side of the room.  He had blotchy, dark gray skin, so was about sixteen years old like me.  His back looked a little crooked, like his spine wasn’t quite aligned right.  Mine was probably in similar shape.
            Even from the doorway I could see through the cabinet doors’ inlaid glass. 
 
 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Writing Humor

Wow... It's been a LONG time since I last posted. I've been writing up a storm, so that's at least one reason why it's been a while.

Anyway, as I may have mentioned, well, ages ago, one of the projects I'm working on is a humorous superhero story. I'm currently almost finished with the rough draft, but the third-act villain showdown scene is really giving me a tough time (damn you, third-act villain showdown scene!).

In any case, as I've learned with writing, every project is its own unique challenge, and this one certainly isn't any different. This time around, it's been the humorous aspect that's been so difficult, and after thinking about it for a bit, here are what I think are a couple main reasons for that (at least as they apply to me personally):

1. When writing a comedy you need to, theoretically, have humor consistently throughout the story. This can be a challenge when nothing funny comes to mind for stretches of the story, and it can lead to trying to force humor, which, well, is never a good thing.

2. Getting into a "funny/zany" mood typically happens while writing a comedy (I'd say it's a pretty important aspect), but this sometimes leads to going overboard with the zaniness and humor. In fact, there are a couple stretches of my book I refuse to even look at for awhile, because I'm afraid I went too overboard in those spots and will need a much fresher pair of eyes to see exactly where, so I can tailor appropriately.

The bottom line: Humor is HARD. Like, what, did you expect it to be easy? Also, although putting your work aside for some time in order to come back to it with a fresher perspective is important - nay, essential- for ANY story/writing, it's equally, if not more so, important with humor. Then you'll be able to really see what's working and what's not (I've already done this a couple times while writing this draft, and it's really been eye-opening). I have to admit, when I'm finished with the draft, I'm tempted to stay away from it for several months, but that might be overkill, especially since we can't take FOREVER to write our books. So my goal is to let it sit for about two months before I come back to it. I just hope that's enough time. Wish me luck!