June 28, 2015

SUMMER BREAK For The Misfits!

Hello Misfiteers!
We hope you are all having a great summer so far! Since it is summer we are going to take a little break from posting and come back with new content in the fall! We hope you have an awesome rest of the summer reading, swimming and doing whatever else makes you happy! We will be doing the same ;o) We'll still be tweeting so feel free to tweet us! Sing it with us... "Schoooool's out for summer!"

Until then... here's some Supernatural GIFs for fun!


























We'll see you in the fall all you wonderful misfits!!

June 26, 2015

Casual Friday: Interview with Mandy Hubbard!


Today we have a Q and A with Mandy Hubbard of D4EO Literary! Mandy specializes in YA and MG fiction. She's also the author of 10 teen novels, written under her own name and the pen name Amanda Grace. Her titles include Prada & Prejudice, You Wish, Fool Me Twice, and But I Love Him, among others. She's currently living happily ever after in her hometown of Enumclaw, Washington, where she watches too much MTV and stays up too late. 

Welcome Mandy!!

Let's start with the basics. How did you become an agent?
I detailed how I became a literary agent over at Pub Crawl: http://www.publishingcrawl.com/2012/09/05/how-to-become-a-literary-agent-in-2-easy-steps/

Long story short, I was an author first with several books published, then got an internship, and eventually connected with Bob Diforio, who was willing to take a chance on me.

Do you find it hard to balance being both an author and an agent, especially as your client list grows?

At times, certainly. Those times usually being the last two weeks of a deadline! But I'll never NOT write, even if it's just for fun. I'm playing with an adult romance right now and finding it fun to switch gears a bit. The nice thing about agenting is that *I* control the size of my client list, so when it feels hard to balance, I'll take a pause on signing any new clients.

Top three things you’d like to see in the slush pile right now?

1) Literary with a hook. Basically, fantastic writing but with a concept that grabs you. THIRTEEN REASONS WHY, BEFORE I FALL, IF I STAY, that sort of combination. I work with Jessica Martinez and her KISS KILL VANISH nails it.

2) I love historicals that are built around actual tragedies--the Chicago Fires, or a revolution, or books like BEYOND SHADES OF GREY.

3) A SCREAM-esque, campy YA horror.

Ooh, those sound great. What about things you're done with?

The usual--I can't sell anything that smacks of dystopian, or vampires, or werewolves.

Query pet peeve?

People who either just don't understand queries at all and thus they have no rhyme or reason, or queries for genres I don't even represent. My sub guidelines are pretty narrow. (MG, YA, Romance.)

Is there anything in a book/manuscript that you absolutely can’t tolerate? (Dying kids, unhappy endings, torturing animals, etc)

Hmm, not really. In film I can't stand torture/cruelty but on the page it's not as brutal, for some reason.

How do you think being an author and an agent changes your perspective when it comes to agenting? 

I'm pretty editorial, I think. Many agents are, but with my background as an author, I think I can see things from a different POV. I also get the angst and fears and everything that goes along with this career, so I try to dole out the pep talks as often as I can!

What’s the most useful piece of advice you’ve come across for those in the query trenches?

Just that rejection is very much a part of querying. You have to go into it knowing and expecting you'll receive SOME rejections, so do your best not to stew on them.

Great advice! Do you have any upcoming client releases you want to flail about?

Oh, yes! I've got a few exciting books coming up, including two debuts in July-- Carolyn Adams' RUTHLESS (a girl is stalked through the wilderness by a serial killer), and Lee Bross' TANGLED WEBS (a historical about a girl who disguises herself as Lady A, a woman who trades in blackmail).

Favorite book you’ve read lately, and why?

I'm going to cheat a little bit here because it's a book from a client, but it was done with a packager before I signed her, so I read it as an ARC without a clue as to what I was getting in for. The book is SURVIVE THE NIGHT by Danielle Vega, and it's deliciously creepy and heart-pounding and very twisted.

And lastly, because we're the Misfits, we have to ask, what was your high school moniker, or if you didn't have one, what would it have been if you could choose?

I didn't get an official one or anything, but I was definitely a bookworm. . . at a time that I thought that was a bad thing!

Thanks for stopping by, Mandy!

Misfits, you can find Mandy on Twitter, see her books on Goodreads, and get more information on her website!

June 5, 2015

Guest Post: On Cover Art by Courtney Alameda

Happy Friday, Misfiteers! Courtney Alameda, awesome author of the spooky SHUTTER - about a girl who combats the paranormal with her SLR camera - is back to talk about the cover art for her latest digital short story TRIGGER!
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I admit, when I saw the cover art for TRIGGER, I gasped. The detail! The colors! The Golden Gate Bridge! The bats! All perfection for the story. I also loved Dominick Saponaro’s (artist’s) pulpy, science fiction take on the Helsing uniform.

Maybe it’s obvious, but good cover art—even for digital short stories like TRIGGER—are integral to the success of a work of fiction. While many toss around the adage of “not judging a book by its cover,” most readers make snap decisions on whether or not they’ll find a work of fiction interesting, basing their opinions on the cover alone. Cover art compels readers to pluck books from shelves or tables, rifle through their pages, read blurbs and cover copy, and maybe even take the book to the register on a whim. Powerful stuff, cover art.

So I wanted to write a few words in homage to the incredible art Saponaro created for TRIGGER, since I believe the artwork captures the feel of the story so exceptionally well.

First things first: You have to see the cover image in its full glory:


The image is so incredibly epic.

But the first thing I noticed? Micheline’s uniform. I often see women sexualized on the covers of genre fiction, even when they’re strong and/or supposed to possess a lot of martial ability. Seeing Micheline dressed in a functional, layered, and practical uniform came as a relief, mostly because she’s a very sensible character with a job to do. Everything she’s wearing, from holsters to ammo packs to fingerless gloves, serves a specific purpose.

Micheline looks powerful in the cover art, if not exactly confident. She’s moving forward, though her body language tells us it frightens her to do so. It’s amazing how much of Micheline’s fifteen-year-old personality Saponaro manages to capture in this one image.

Also, if you look closely at her handgun, you’ll see Micheline’s finger hovering closely to her trigger, but not resting on the trigger. It’s a fabulous little look into her mental state (and training, too).

Secondly, the piece of the image I noticed last: The Embarcadero Scissorclaw, the story’s antagonist, lurks behind Micheline’s right flank. In the full illustration, the scissorclaw’s easy to see, but less so on the actual cover image.

I actually noticed its pincer first, then worked my way up to its head. I love that the scissorclaw’s haunting Micheline in the background, since it spends more time in Micheline’s head than it does on the page; moreover, the viewer is unable to see the monster entire, which makes it all the more frightening and sinister. I also love the muck streaming off the creature’s head, claws, and flanks . . . it’s all very brilliant.

Finally, I love the level of detail in the cityscape of San Francisco, the soaring tower of the Golden Gate Bridge, all offset by a thick layer of fog (also present in the story and novel). The bats, the full moon . . . everything contributes to a truly amazing piece of art, one that I’m grateful to see attached to a story I love so well.

You can find TRIGGER on the Tor.com website here.

Thanks to Caitlin Greer and the YA Misfits for hosting this guest post! Please use the Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway for a signed copy of SHUTTER and a San Francisco skyline necklace (US only)!



May 21, 2015

Band Geek Thursday: T.A. Maclagan's THEY CALL ME ALEXANDRA GASTONE Soundtrack and GIVEAWAY


For today's Band Geek Thursday we're joined by the lovely T.A. Maclagan and her playlist for THEY CALL ME ALEXANDRA GASTONE. Don't forget to check out the Spotify playlist at the bottom along with her super cool giveaway!
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Thanks for having me stop by the blog, YA Misfits! I’m a big fan of Band Geek Thursdays!  
I don’t listen to music while I write because I find it too distracting, but I do listen before I start to write to help get me in the right mood for whatever I’m tackling that day. Also, if I get lost in a scene, turning to a piece of music with the right vibe will often help me get back on track! Below, are some of the songs I turned to while writing and editing They Call Me Alexandra Gastone.

1. Code Name Vivaldi by The Piano Guys  If Alexandra Gastone had one theme song this would be it! I looked to spy movies for some of my ‘spy’ music and found Code Name Vivaldi from the Bourne Soundtrack. It has a very driving, spy edge to it and I think it fits with a novel that has lots of intrigue!

2. Ho Hey by The Lumineers  When I needed to write the romantic elements between Lex and Grant, I often looked to The Lumineers.  

3. Stubborn Love by The Lumineers  Lex and Grant have a rocky relationship and this song embodies that for me. Love hurts!

4. Burn it Down by Linkin Park – This was another song I used to get in the mood for the ups and downs of the Lex/Grant relationship.

5. The Matrix Theme (Clubbed to Death)  I loved The Matrix for its slick, edginess and when I needed to write some of the more suspenseful elements in the book I often pulled up this song.

6. Untouched by The Veronicas  I used the franticness and desperation in this song to get me ready for some of the more emotional scenes between Lex and Grant. It helped me find a way to express Lex’s inner turmoil.

7. Radioactive by Imagine Dragons  Everything about this song screams spy to me!  This was a favorite before writing the fight scenes. I love how dark and raw it makes me feel.

8. Club Foot by Kasabian – Club Foot plays during the River Tam fight scene in the trailer for the Joss Whedon movie, Serenity. Because of that, it goes hand in hand with awesome fight choreography for me. Like Radioactive, I often listened to this one before writing the fight scenes.

9. Everybody Wants to Rule the World by Lorde – Lex is a player in a much larger, international game. This song served to remind me of that. Plus, it’s a song from the Hunger Games: Catching Fire, which I loved!

10. Madness by Muse  Lex’s world is a crazy one and this song embodies that for me.

11. Take Me to Church by Hozier  I listened to Take Me to Church during some of my late editing when I was going deeper into Lex’s identity issues and all the secrets and lies she was keeping.  This song is on my all time favorite songs list for sure!

12. A rock version of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake – The black and white swans from swan lake are important symbols in the book, so whenever I was writing about Alexandra’s past, I looked around the internet for techno and rock versions of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. I wanted versions with a little more edge than the original. This one by Bartmorganrocks, is one of my favorites. 



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T.A. Maclagan is a Kansas girl by birth but now lives in the bush-clad hills of Wellington, New Zealand with her Kiwi husband, son They Call Me Alexandra Gastone is her first novel.
and four pampered cats. With a bachelor’s degree in biology and a Ph.D. in anthropology, she’s studied poison dart frogs in the rainforests of Costa Rica, howler monkeys in Panama and the very exotic and always elusive American farmer. It was as she was writing her ‘just the facts’ dissertation that T.A. felt the call to pursue something more imaginative and discovered a passion for creative writing.

Website: www.tamaclagan.com 

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Don't forget to check out her awesome giveaway too, Misfiteers! Thanks for visiting with us, T.A!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

May 14, 2015

Band Geek Thursday: Trisha Leaver's Playlist for THE SECRETS WE KEEP

This fine Thursday, we have a special playlist for you from our Misfity friend Trisha Leaver! You may recall her deliciously eerie playlist for CREED last Halloween. Now, Trisha is back with THE SECRETS WE KEEP. The teaser?  "A girl takes over her twin sister's identity in this emotionally charged page-turner about the complicated bond between sisters." How amazing is that?! Here's more:

THE SECRETS WE KEEP

Twin sisters. A fatal accident. A devastating lie. Which girl survived?

Ella and Maddy Lawton are identical twins. Ella has spent her high school years living in popular Maddy's shadows, but she has never been envious of Maddy. In fact, she's chosen the quiet, safe confines of her sketchbook over the constant battle for attention that has defined Maddy's world.

When--after a heated argument--Maddy and Ella get into a tragic accident that leaves Maddy dead, Ella wakes up in the hospital surrounded by loved ones who believe she is Maddy. Feeling responsible for Maddy's death and everyone's grief, Ella makes a split-second decision to pre- tend to be Maddy. And everyone believes her. Caught in a web of lies, Ella is faced with two options--confess her deception and risk devastating those who loved Maddy, or give up her own dreams and live her sister's life.

Available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indie Bound, Books a Million, The Book Depository, and Powell ’s 

Now sadly, Trisha and the Misfits are having some tech issues with Spotify (curse you technology - and how much we love you!), so we don't have our usual neat playlist. But Trisha has gathered up all the links and we present them now for your listening pleasure.

SAY SOMETHING, A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera
https://play.spotify.com/track/6Vc5wAMmXdKIAM7WUoEb7N
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2U0Ivkn2Ds

REMIND ME WHO I AM, Jason Gray
https://play.spotify.com/track/5eqz8gTDU13s7x2DZKiQA9
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKyY8zfjBMQ

GONE, GONE, GONE, Phillips Phillips
https://play.spotify.com/track/5L79aNYCTKiZq7vaOElXYj
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oozQ4yV__Vw

FREE TO BE ME, Jessica Battistelli
https://play.spotify.com/track/7dIABjgt96YJQxiLHVCqfi
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKSQjSdU8VA

I WILL WAIT, Mumford and Sons
https://play.spotify.com/track/2JHBMVs8E7bJJBLkXpKgHn
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGKfrgqWcv0

IN THE END, Linkin Park
https://play.spotify.com/track/60a0Rd6pjrkxjPbaKzXjfq
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVTXPUF4Oz4

LET ME LOVE YOU, Ne-Yo
https://play.spotify.com/track/1Ejsu5JglwIgrFW7Bt2GuL
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=crrOl0egI00

HO, HEY, The Lumineers
https://play.spotify.com/track/0W4Kpfp1w2xkY3PrV714B7
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvCBSSwgtg4

I LIVED, One Republic
https://play.spotify.com/track/7D49Iig0avHre9RFSUMkd2
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrA3mm7bLxM

IT’S TIME, Imagine Dragons
https://play.spotify.com/track/6BtmXhTJMM9sBTHeYYASGz
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sENM2wA_FTg

GOOD STUFF, RIGHT?! Thanks for sharing, Trisha!

TRISHA LEAVER lives on Cape Cod with her husband, three chil- dren, and one rather irreverent black lab. She is a chronic daydreamer who prefers the cozy confines of her own imagination to the mundane routine of everyday life.

She writes Young Adult Contemporary fiction, Psychological Horror and Science Fiction and is published with FSG/ Macmillan, Flux/ Llewellyn and Merit Press. For more details, check out her website at www.trishaleaver. com

March 11, 2015

Guest Post: The One Piece Of Writing Advice I Wish I’d Known Sooner by Aisha Saeed



 Hey, Misfiteers! Today on the blog we have the fantastic Aisha Saeed, author of the upcoming (March 24! But available for preorder now, of course.) YA debut Written in the Stars. (More on the book below!) Today, Aisha's sharing the one piece of writing advice she wishes she'd known sooner, and since she's far more eloquent than I am, I'll let her take it away!
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The One Piece Of Writing Advice I Wish I’d Known Sooner
Aisha Saeed
Just as many times as people stare at me like I sprouted a kiwi fruit from my left ear when I inform them I'm a writer, I meet people who are impressed- who wistfully say, I always wanted to write a book. I have this great idea. . . and look at me as if I'd walked to the moon.

I understand this envy-tinged awe because I used to be this way. As a child I wrote before bedtime, when I came home from school, during math class, ideas came to me like raindrops in a storm- but as I got older I grew increasingly nervous about my abilities. I began reading books on 'how to write' and taking writing workshops, and attending book readings to ask the author for advice. I spent a good solid five years looking up advice on how to write, and now, I realize that those were five years wasted- because the only true advice that counts for anything when it comes to how to write is to:
Just write

It sounds so obvious- but the problem is that for someone who wants to write but doesn't- the biggest challenge is sitting down and getting started. You think: I can't just write? Whenever I sit try my words looks like gibberish a two year old penned. No one in their right mind would publish this! And then after protesting, click on yet another writing blog, or pick up another book and read about. . . writing.

The truth is, you can't read about painting and sketch like Van Gogh, you can't read about basketball and dunk like Kobe, you must do it again and again. You must practice. You think what you've written is jibberish? Write it down anyways. The idea of an 80,000 word novel making you want to hide under your bed? Write a chapter. A page. A sentence. Will your initial foray into writing be bad? Maybe. But I doubt Lebron James got each ball in the hoop when he first began, or that Picasso's first drawing was worthy of a million dollar purchase-price- it takes time.
According to Outliers, it takes 10,000 hours to achieve genius level in your particular field- the only way to get those hours is to put it the blood, sweat, and tears, and just write.

That's the part I failed to realize. I thought writing was sexy and elusive- that writers sat down at their desks, took a sip of red wine sighed and began penning away the next Booker Prize- but writing is four parts drudgery and two parts creative hypnotic bliss. Writing is hard- some days its boring- some days the words don't fit right, but you have to keep on going. This is what I did in writing my debut Written in the Stars, there were days I did give up on it entirely because it was difficult or confusing and well, twitter just seemed so interesting at the moment, but I kept going until I finished it and I can tell you with confidence that published or not, that moment you close your laptop and say I just finished my first novel is a very special feeling.

What I'm sharing may seem obvious, but it is advice I wish I had encountered before I spent my money, and worse still five years of my life reading up on how to be a writer. There is benefit in reading writing websites and reading books on writing and taking writing courses, but the actual writing- that's up to you to do. Write and rewrite and then write again- and you will succeed with your goal. There is simply no other way.  

Naila’s conservative immigrant parents have always said the same thing: She may choose what to study, how to wear her hair, and what to be when she grows up—but they will choose her husband. Following their cultural tradition, they will plan an arranged marriage for her. And until then, dating—even friendship with a boy—is forbidden. When Naila breaks their rule by falling in love with Saif, her parents are livid. Convinced she has forgotten who she truly is, they travel to Pakistan to visit relatives and explore their roots. But Naila’s vacation turns into a nightmare when she learns that plans have changed—her parents have found her a husband and they want her to marry him, now! Despite her greatest efforts, Naila is aghast to find herself cut off from everything and everyone she once knew. Her only hope of escape is Saif . . . if he can find her before it’s too late.


Aisha Saeed is a YA author, attorney, and educator and one of the founding members of the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign. Her upcoming debut Written in the Stars will be released in 2015 by Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin. She lives in Atlanta with her husband and two sons. Visit her online at www.aishasaeed.com or follow her on twitter and tumblr: @aishacs. 

 
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