Fun Friday: Most Anticipated Books for teens and children

Heartless by M MeyerPublisher’s Weekly has released its list of Most Anticipated Books for Fall 2016. These are their own editor picks and include new titles from Laurie Halse Anderson (ASHES), Richard Peck (THE BEST MAN), Sarah J. Maas (EMPIRE OF STORMS), Jay Asher (WHAT LIGHT), and the one I’m most anticipating– HEARTLESS by Marissa Meyer (“long before she was the terror of Wonderland — the infamous Queen of Hearts — she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love”).

See the whole list and drool, right HERE.

Which one are you waiting breathlessly for?

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TeenWriter Tuesday: 5 Ways to Make Career Connections

Go Teen Writers!

If you are not already familiar with the website Go Teen Writers,  I’d like to introduce you. GoTeenWriters offers honesty, encouragement and community to teens who want to be published.

If you want to meet other teens who love writing and stories just like you do, consider joining the Go Teen Writers Community Facebook group. It’s a private group where members talk about their stories, help critique writing, and encourage each other. If you’re interested in joining, email the admins at: goteenwriterscommunity(at)

You can also subscribe to their monthly(ish) newsletter here. I promise it’s worthwhile.

How to Make Connections

Rachelle Rea Cobb is a homeschool grad. She wrote the Steadfast Love series during her college years and, five months after she graduated, signed a three-book deal with her dream publisher, WhiteFire. In this July 25, 2016, post on GTW, Rachelle discusses How to Make Connections and Boost Your Career. It’s a business strategy–and you want to have a career in the business of writing, right?

Her five top recommendations:5 ways to make connections

  • Leave blog comments.
  • In fact, comment…everywhere!
  • Share others’ blog posts on social media.
  • Respond on Twitter.
  • Explore Goodreads. 

Check out GoTeenWriters for more… right now!

P.S. If you’re in the Houston-Bay Area on Thursday night, I’ll be presenting a workshop on The Short of It — Synopsis, High Concept, Query, BlurbFitting a 400-page manuscript into one page, one paragraph, one sentence. It can be done! The workshop is being hosted by Bay Area Writers League (B.A.W.L.), at the Clear Lake Park building on NASA Rd. One, at 7 pm.


Posted in Business of Writing, Publishing Industry, Social Media, Teen Authors, Teen Authors, Teen writers, Tips for Teen Writers, Writing | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Words on Wednesday: The Emotion Thesaurus

Every good writer tries to “show not tell” character emotions. But even experienced authors may be limited in their familiarity with certain feelings. Extreme emotions such as anguish, desperation, paranoia, rage, and full-out terror may–thankfully–exist only in our fictional worlds.

Enter the helpful duo of Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. The pair have written several volumes of a thesaurus series, including a 5-star guide to character emotions as expressed through body language cues, thoughts, and visceral responses.

The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression

Emotion ThesaurusThe Ackerman/Puglisi volume on Emotions is an incredibly useful tool for writers. With 75 named emotional states and all the external “indicators” for those states, it can be your go-to reference for creating believable characters under stress. It can also be a powerful brainstorming engine for plotting. For these reasons alone, it’s worth the price (currently ON SALE for $4.99/Kindle).

But the book’s authors also have an Introduction that includes sharp, intelligent discussions of show-don’t-tell (with examples); a section on clichéd emotions and melodrama; how to avoid overusing dialogue or thoughts; misuses of backstory; even ways to utilize setting.

In other words, it’s a powerhouse reference book that should be on every writer’s shelf.

“One of the challenges a fiction writer faces, especially when prolific, is coming up with fresh ways to describe emotions. This handy compendium fills that need. It is both a reference and a brainstorming tool, and one of the resources I’ll be turning to most often as I write my own books.”

~ James Scott Bell,bestselling author ofDeceived and Plot & Structure

Emotion Amplifiers: A Companion to The Emotion Thesaurus

Emotion AmplifiersCurrently being offered FREE, this short, 72-page companion book explores 15 common states that “naturally galvanize emotion. States like exhaustion, boredom, illness, pain, and extreme hunger can push characters to the limit, compromising their decision-making abilities and decreasing the likelihood of them reaching their goals.”

Emotion Amplifiers will help you brainstorm the situations that most effectively “tighten the screws… and amp up the tension” in your stories.

I heartily recommend both of these volumes.

P.S. The authors have a fabulous website, Writers Helping Writers, where they host contests, offer writing advice… and are currently posting chapters of their forthcoming book on Emotional Wounds (think things like finding out your father is a criminal, being abused as a child, etc.)– good stuff!

Have you signed up for my newsletter? Don’t forget to FOLLOW THIS BLOG, too! The link is in the upper right-hand column.

Posted in Character, Character arcs, Character-driven action, Characters, Conflict, Emotion Thesaurus, Interaction with Setting, Interior life; interiority, Motivation, Resources, Story Elements, Story ideas, Tips for Teen Writers, Writing | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

TeenWriter Tuesday: Teen Writing Groups at Libraries

Does your public library sponsor a teen writing group?

Below you’ll find a list of just a few of the hundreds of libraries that do. Some are only in the summer; some are year-long. Some of the programs include published authors as mentors or speakers.

If your library doesn’t offer a writing program for teens, why don’t you talk to them about starting one?

Ames, Iowa. Teen Writers’ Workshop, 2 p.m., Sunday, Dale H. Ross Board Room, Ames Public Library, 515 Douglas Ave.

Klamath Falls, Oregon. Two summer teen writer groups. The Youth Writers’ Group (ages 8 to 12) meets the first Monday of every month at 3 p.m. The Teen Writers’ Group, for writers ages 13 to 18, meets at 3 p.m. Thursdays.

Bedford, Indiana. Teen Writers Group meets on Thursdays at 4 p.m.

Petowsky, Michigan. Teen Writing Group formed this spring at the Petowsky District Library.

Brookfield, Connecticut. Teen Writers Group at Brookfield Library, Wednesdays, 5-6 p.m.

East Mountain Home, Idaho. Teen Writers and Illustrators Club at the Donald W. Reynolds Library on Saturdays from 10:30 AM to 12 PM.

Bozeman, Montana. Teen Writers’ Group (ages 13-18), Bozeman Public Library Teen Study Room, 626 E. Main St., Mondays, 4-5 p.m.

Bainbridge Island, Washington. Bainbridge Public Library offered a free, four-day writing camp that began on Monday, June 27.

Ottumwa, Iowa. Teen Writers group–for more information, contact Clark at the Ottumwa Public Library

Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. The Pickford Community Library’s Young Writers Workshop is mentored by JLB Creatives Publishing.

Concord, Massachusetts. Join the Billerica Public Library Young Writers Group: 7-8:45 p.m., Thursdays, monthly.

Moline, Illinois. River Valley District Library Teen Writers Group meets on Tuesdays at 5pm.

Posted in Craft of Writing, Library groups, Library groups for teen writers, Summer Writing Camps for Teens, Teen Authors, Teen writers, Workshops, Writing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Monday Advice from Editors and Agents: Hooking a YA Agent

Many romance writers, even some with long backlists, are looking at fresh opportunities in the Young Adult market–more creative freedom (less restriction in story lines), the ability to reach a new audience (one that will grow up to become an audience for that backlist), and a market niche that’s growing rapidly. Are you looking to make the move to Young Adult?

Helpful Blogs and Websites You Should Know About


WDBestWebIconsmall_zps9cscebaqOne of the best websites for authors of Young and Adult and Middle Grade fiction is It’s on the  2015 and 2016 lists of Writer’s Digest 100 Best Websites for Writers and the 2015 list of Positive Writer Top 50 Blogs.

Go to the HOME page for Kidlit411 and you’ll find links to features such as: Agent Spotlight, Marketing and Creating a Platform, Contests and Awards, Query Letters, Legal Resources, and Indie Publishing. Click the link for Young Adult and you’ll find a lengthy list of articles, blogs, books and more–all centered on this powerhouse market segment.

Sign up for their email updates, and get a weekly post with all the new links added over the past week (THE WEEKLY 411). Join their FACEBOOK GROUP for information and camaraderie. Join their FACEBOOK MANUSCRIPT SWAP to find critique partners.


The folks at KIDLIT411 include a recommended link to ADVENTURESINYAPUBLISHING.COM, which was also on the Writers’ Digest 100 Best Websites in 2013, 2014, and 2015. In addition to presenting frequent author interviews, pitchfests and craft articles, the people at AIYAP run contests judged by agents and offer opportunities to be mentored by agents.

Now, Finally, Hooking a YA Agent

fish-311720_1280Which brings me to the topic of today’s TangledWords blog, fishing for and hooking those agents. In 2013, AIYAP interviewed 16 literary agents who represent young adult authors. The question they asked those agents: What Gets You Reading?

Yes, this was a three-year-old interview, but these agents are not talking about their current wish lists or what genres they’re tired of seeing. This is the good stuff: first lines, introductions to characters, what you should never do at the very beginning, handling voice, etc.  I’m not going to reprint the whole article. Do a little work. Go on over to the AIYAP agent interviews and find out how to land your own big fish.

You’ll be glad you did.





Posted in #mswl, Agent/Editor Pitch, Agents, Finding agents, First lines, First page, Gatekeepers, Opening scene, Publishing Industry, Queries, Queries and Pitches, Rejection, Rejections, Writers Digest, Writing | Tagged , , | Leave a comment