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Writing That Dreaded 2nd MS After THE ONE

Hi Everyone!!

I hope you are all doing fabulously ;o)


I’ve recently completed my 2nd MS since THE ONE. You know, the one that got me my amazing agent, the one that made me feel like *maybe* I’m not a total hack (jury’s still out on that one). Yeah. That one.

The one that makes you feel like this.


BUT. I was SO paranoid that my 2nd MS would not be as good as THE ONE. In fact, I completely switched sub-genres so I wouldn’t have to compare them. So there was THAT. Did I mention I also had a few half-finished drafts looming in the background? I felt guilty about leaving them behind, but I had this idea. It was emotional and wretchedly beautiful. And I was obsessed, just like I was with THE ONE.

My journey to MS #2 was fast.

I literally started it at 1:30am on a Thursday (a work night) and the words just FLOWED. I mean it was like I opened a vein and the blood was the words and they were dripping onto the computer without my brain getting involved at all.

Ew. That sounds weird. Moving on.

As I bled words onto the page, I wondered… will my agent like it? Will anyone like it? How did I write THE ONE the first time? Oh, man. It took me 2 years to get THE ONE into shape, how am I going to do this again? Someone put me out of my misery. Okay, that’s dramatic. But in my defense I was writing a depressing story, listening to The Fray and Florence + The Machine on repeat.

I wrote the first draft in 1 week. YES. 1 week. My first drafts are short, so don’t think it was like 80k or anything, more like 40k. I received a new job and had a week between the old one and the new one and it just worked out. The stars aligned, Saturn was in my house–yeah, you get the picture.

This is what I looked like at the end of my 1 week sprint o’ blood.

Kidding. I just wanted an excuse to show Ryan Gosling. Actually, it was more like this.

Bua ha ha ha. Okay. Seriously.

Do I love this new MS as much as THE ONE? That’s the real question. YES, I do. I know how crazy that sounds. But I really do. THE ONE will always be THE ONE. But you can have more than one THE ONE. Uh, what?

Don’t let the fear get to you. Just keep doing what you love. WRITING. I have no pearls of wisdom to get you to love that dreaded second MS. But one of them has to be the second. It’s inevitable. I think my best advice would be not to compare your second MS to THE ONE. We have it in our heads that that first MS is our baby. At least I did. But once I left her in the capable hands of my agent, I was free to write. Did I have some failed 2nd MS’s Yes. All those half drafts I was talking about? They took a backseat to my new idea. Will I go back to the half drafts? Maybe. That’s yet to be determined.

I have no regrets. I knew when I started writing this MS that it was going to be #2 officially.

Okay, how many times did I type THE ONE? LOL!

Have you written MS #2? How did YOU feel?

Have a great week, everyone!!


Interview with author, Melanie Hooyenga!

Hey Everyone!!
I hope you’re all doing well and having a good week! We have a special guest today. My friend Melanie Hooyenga! Melanie and I met online years ago. In fact, her blog was one of the first I ever followed! And now we know we’re real life friends. She’s awesome as is her book, FLICKER.
So, instead of me rambling on about it and her, I’m going to let her tell you ;o)
Here we go!!!

Welcome to the mosh pit. Tell me about yourself in 140 characters ;o)

A variation of my Twitter bio is: YA-writing, graphic-designing, home-renovating, Schnauzer-owning, sarcastic liberal who designs book covers and is getting married in April. 

What is FLICKER about? Do you have plans for a series?

FLICKER is the first in a trilogy, and I’m currently working on Book 2, FRACTURE. The series follows Biz, a seventeen-year old who uses sunlight to flicker—or jump backwards—to yesterday. At first she uses her ability the way any teenager would: she cheats on tests, relives memorable dates, and fixes fights with her friends, but little girls start disappearing in her town and she realizes she can help people besides herself. And there’s a hot guy.

Me: Oh, well. A hot guy? I’m in. Ha. Trust me, there’s more than just a hot guy!

What was it that first appealed to you about writing?

I’ve written for as long as I can remember. I’ve always loved telling stories and there’s something about watching another person’s face while they read something from your head that’s addicting. Now if only I could figure out a way to SEE all my readers…

Where’s your favorite place to write?

Preferably someplace quiet with minimal distractions. Like a lot of writers I know, I suffer from the “ooh shiny” syndrome and a productive writing session can quickly turn into Facebook chats or good old people watching if I’m not careful. 

Me: What? Pssh. Come on, no writer does that? Ha. Okay. I’m guilty. 

What is our favorite part of the writing process? 


Ha! I’m kidding. Discovering the story that my characters want to tell. As you (Erica) know, I’m unable to write a story unless I have an idea where it will end, but while I may have an outline, I rarely know the details in the middle. That’s the fun for me.

Me: I know. I have no idea how you do that. But it’s kind of awesome.

What’s more important to you – a good voice or a good plot?


A good voice. I know everyone’s different but if I can get lost in a character, then I’m sold on pretty much any plot. My goal in writing is to make people believe my characters, and I think that comes with a strong voice.

Me: Word.

What do you wish you knew before publishing/querying that you know now? Any tips to our aspiring authors?


I queried FLICKER for a year and a half (with a few breaks during that time) before ultimately deciding to self-publish. Three years ago I swore up and down that I would never go this route, but I realized that my main goal is for people to read my stories, and now that’s happening.

 My advice to aspiring authors is to make sure you’re in this because you love writing. I know everyone says that, but publishing is an excruciatingly slow business and if you don’t enjoy all that time spent alone — I mean writing — this may not be the right thing for you.

What’s your favorite thing to do that no one knows you do. (Guilty Pleasure?) 

I spend way too much time playing Bejeweled Blitz on my phone. I have a lot of things going on (this year alone I bought a house, got engaged, and published a book, plus I design book covers on the side of my full-time job) and it’s a great way to block out all the thoughts buzzing around in my head. We recently got an alarm clock that has a dock for my phone so now I can bring the little jewels to bed with me. Which may not be a good thing.

Favorite book and movie and why.

I have a really hard time picking a favorite book because I never reread them and I read a lot of different genres. I recently read DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth and admire the way she created a dystopian world that’s different from all the other books out there. It’s a full market and I think Roth really set herself apart from the others. Stephanie Perkins’ ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS and LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR are other favorites of mine. 

Moulin Rouge is one of my favorite movies. I love the story, the actors, the directing, and especially the singing. I’m incapable of watching it without singing along at the top of my lungs. (That might be another guilty pleasure.)

AND Ewan McGregor is in it ;o)

FLICKER is available ebook only at Barnes & Noble, or both print and ebook on Amazon! I’ve read it and it’s awesome!!

Anything to add?

I’m really excited to hear from readers and hear what they think of FLICKER. People can email me at, find me on Twitter (@MelanieHoo), my website (, and of course on Facebook ( 

Thanks for stopping by Mel! This was fun ;o)

Have a great weekend, everyone!!


Heck, Why Not? So. What Happened in 2012?

Hi Everyone!!

So. I don’t normally do a lot of gifs, but I’m going to for this post. YAY. 2012 was pretty memorable for me –and a lot of people I’m close with. It was riddled with huge wins and horrible losses.

2012 was the year I got an internship with the lovely agent, Louise Fury of L. Perkins Agency. It’s also the year I got an agent for my writing, the equally lovely, Judith Engracia of Liza Dawson Associates. It’s also the year I joined the awesome team at Entangled Publishing, as an Associate Editor. Some of my friends got agents and did excellent in various contests. Also, I met some AMAZING people. Too many to list. AND it’s the year that TWO of my CP’s got three-book deals. Brenda Drake with Month9Books for her amazing series LIBRARY JUMPERS, and Maggie Hall with Putnam/Penguin for her awesome series, THE ELITE! Trust me you want your hands on both of their books. I suspect more will come in 2013…

This *may* be an interpretation of how I looked when I found out.

I read a TON of great books. 
And went to my first writer’s conference–RT in Chicago. Where I got to meet my friends, Brenda Drake and Louise Fury in person, and had insta-love with Cecily White (have you added her ANGEL ACADEMY series to your TBR list? You should!) among other awesome activities. I’m going again next year. So get ready, Kansas City!
I joined two amazing blogs in 2012: YA Misfits and The Kindness Project
We had the Olympics and a guy named Felix jumped from space!
Oh, and President Obama won the election – in what had to be the most annoying election in history on both sides. I mean, those commercials were UN-REAL. I feel ya, kid.

But it’s also a year of losses and tragedies. I lost my beloved kitties, George the Creeper, and only 4 months later, Zeus, my heart. We watched as the east coast got pummeled by Hurricane Sandy. The world also lost some beautiful souls in a small town called Newtown, Connecticut.

It was a tough year with too many tears and a ton of WHYs?

It’s also the year the world was supposed to end, according to the Mayans.

Luckily, that didn’t happen.

But with every loss and tragedy comes new beginnings. And that’s what I’m going to make 2013. A New Beginning!

So here’s to AWESOME things that will happen in 2013.

Also, I’m just going to post some more Ryan Gosling gifs, because… why not.

I hope you all have a very Happy New Year!!! I’m excited about 2013 and you should be too, ’cause it’s going to be EPIC!

See you next year!!


#PitchWars – The Agents!

Hi Everyone!!!

Are you ready for this? We have 16 incredible agents vying for our Pitch Wars team manuscripts. We’re so excited to see what pitches they fall in love with, and what teams will win the coveted Pitch Wars Most Requested Manuscript title. 

And, in no particular order, here are the agents…

Louise Fury
L. Perkins Agency
Twitter: @louisefury 

Louise is seeking teen Sci-Fi and Young Adult horror.  She‘s also on the hunt for deep, dark contemporary YA and select Middle Grade fiction with a literary feel–it must be realistic and thought provoking and the characters must be authentic and original. Louise loves horror and romance, especially Regency and Victorian.

Jessica Sinsheimer
Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency

Twitter: @jsinsheim 

Jessica is seeking Literary, Women’s, Middle Grade, and Young Adult Fiction.

Natalie Fischer Lakosil
Bradford Literary Agency
Twitter: @Natalie_Lakosil 

Natalie is looking for commercial fiction, with an emphasis in children’s literature (from picture book-teen), romance (contemporary, paranormal and historical), and upmarket women’s fiction. Specific likes include historical, multi-cultural, paranormal, sci-fi/fantasy, gritty, thrilling and darker contemporary novels, and middle grade with heart. 

Pam van Hylckama Vlieg 
Larsen Pomada Literary Agents
Twitter: @BookaliciousPam

Pam represents young adult and middle grade children’s book authors, and adult romance authors. 

Jordy Albert
The Booker Albert Agency
Twitter: @bluedragonfly81 

Jordy is on the look out for Romance (contemporary, historical/Regency, and paranormal). YA contemporary/historical or dystopian, sci-fi/fantasy with romance elements. Shes also open to YA GLBT within those genres. She’d love to see unique, well-developed plots featuring time travel, competitions, or travel.

Andrea Somberg 

Harvey Klinger Inc.
Twitter: @andreasomberg 

Andreas looking for the following categories: Fiction; literary, commercial, womens fiction, romance, thrillers, mystery, paranormal, fantasy, science fiction, young adult, middle grade.

Jennifer Mishler

Literary Counsel
Twitter: @literarycounsel 

Jennifer is seeking Young Adult Fantasy, Young Adult Contemporary, Young Adult Literary, and Young Adult Historical. 

Suzie Townsend
New Leaf Literary & Media, Inc.
Twitter: @sztownsend81 
Suzie represents adult and children’s fiction. In adult, she’s specifically looking for romance (historical and paranormal), and fantasy (urban fantasy, science fiction, steampunk, epic fantasy). In Childrens’ she loves YA (all subgenres) and is dying to find great Middle Grade projects (especially something akin to the recent movie SUPER 8).
Victoria Marini
Gelfman Schneider Literary Agents, Inc. 
Twitter: @LitAgentMarini
Victoria is looking for literary fiction, commercial fiction, pop-culture non-fiction, and young adult. She is very interested in acquiring engaging Literary fiction and mysteries / suspense, commercial women’s fiction (romantic suspense, sci-fi, fantasy), and Young Adult (contemporary, sci-fi/fantasy, thriller and horror ).
Kerry Sparks
Levine Greenberg Literary Agency, Inc. 
Twitter: @Kerry_Sparks
Kerry is looking for Young Adult and Middle-Grade fiction, both commercial and literary. She tends to shy away from werewolves, zombies, faeries, and the like, but she’ll read anything with a fresh voice and compelling characters. She is particularly keen on contemporary YA, quirky MG, books with a strong cinematic element.  

Drea Cohane 
The Rights Factory Literary Agents
Drea is currently seeking: fiction, memoir, crime, non-fiction and YA. Her roster consists of British, American, and Canadian clients. International talent is welcome. 
Katie Shea
Donald Maass Literary Agency 
Twitter: @AgentShea
Katie specializes in fiction and memoir, especially women’s fiction and commercial-scale literary fiction, and realistic YA.  She is most interested in coming-of-age stories and stories of unique relationships.
 Elise Capron
Dijkstra Literary Agency
Twitter: @EliseCapron 
Elise is interested in serious character-driven literary fiction, well-written narrative nonfiction, and short story collections. (Note: She is not interested in Fantasy, young-adult/middle-grade, picture books, romance, and sci-fi.) She aims to work with writers who have a realistic sense of the market and their audience.
Jodell Sadler
Sadler-Caravette Children’s Literary 
Twitter: @picturebklunch
Jodell is interested in YA, MG (especially funny) , fiction and nonfiction, book proposals, and picture books. She will also coach writers wanting to self publish.  She simply loves a well-paced story that moves her between joy and tears.
Corvisiero Literary Agency 
Brittany and Michelle are teaming up to look for Adult, YA, and MG manuscripts. 
 Michelle Johnson
Twitter: @MJsRetweet 
Michelle’s published one novel, The Footloose Killer, and edited several others for publishing houses and private clients. She also is a Script/Story consultant on an independent film in Halifax, NS, Canada, and enjoys working closely with writers to help them develop their voice and craft.
Brittany Howard
Twitter: @brittanydhoward
When reading, Brittany  loves to be introduced to new and interesting people and places. She looks for strong voice, good storytelling, and fascinating relationships between characters—romantic or otherwise. More than anything, she loves when a book surprises her.
There’s just one more day to get your applications in for Pitch Wars. Make sure to check out this post here to get all the details.

#PitchWars – BIO

Hi Everyone!!!

Well, the day is here. It’s Bio Posting day!! Make sure to check out all my fellow mentors’ posts. They are ALL excellent, and honestly, you can’t go wrong with any of them ;o) I’m SO excited for the chance to be a mentor!!
So. Why should you submit to me?
I love anything that has to do with words. If I’m not watching The Vampire Diaries, you can usually find me writing young adult novels or editing, or saying I’m writing or editing, on twitter. My publishing career began with an internship with lovely, fantabulously awesome agent, Louise Fury, from L. Perkins Agency, who taught me how to communicate more clearly, how to have a critical eye toward a manuscript, and a ton of other things I use in my own writing. I have recently received a position as an Associate Editor for the stupendiously awesome Entangled Publishing. I’m also represented by the awesome Judith Engracia of Liza Dawson Associates. Jude knows her stuff, and I get better at writing and editing every time I look at her notes ;o) I have a B.S. in Journalism and have professional experience writing and editing for non-profit organizations.  I have also had some excellent critique partners who have helped shape my editing career.
I will be tough. But you’ll thank me for it. I’ll let you know if something feels unauthentic and your voice is off. I’ll find those pesky plot holes you think aren’t there. I’ll help you get your MS where you want it to be ;o) We will do all this together as a team!
What I’m looking for…
YA/NA are my categories for this contest!
I love to read anything dark, gritty, abnormal, and quirky–the more emotion, the better.
I’m a huge fan of YA/NA contemporary romance.

I’m a fast reader, but need to be pulled into the story quickly or you could lose me. I’m not one for high fantasy, or anything with a lot of world building, but I do like books with fantasy/paranormal elements. I also have a fondness for light sci-fi, thrillers, mysteries, cyberpunk, hate/hate relationships that turn into love/love. I LOVE tension. I love to laugh. If you can pair comedy with something dark and keep it authentic to the characters; you’ve hooked me.


Submissions start today (11/26) ! The cut off time to get your applications (query & first five pages of manuscript) in is 8AM EST on December 5.

Send your applications to Writers can apply for up to 3 coaches. The coaches’ categories are set. Coaches can only consider the categories they’ve signed up for. Writers cannot apply for a coach that is not in their category.
For additional information about this contest go HERE (link to your post announcing the contest)
·        This is open to finished manuscripts only.
·         You may only enter one manuscript.
·         Only the genres requested by each coach will be considered for the contest.
Subject line: Pitch Wars Application: Coach Name you want to apply for: Title (Example: Pitch Wars Application: Brenda Drake: GONE WITH THE WIND)
Name: Your Name
Genre: The genre of your manuscript
Word Count: The word count of your manuscript
Query letter here  (embedded in email). Single spaced. No indentions. A space between each paragraph.
First five pages of the manuscript here (embedded in email). Single spaced. No indentions. A space between each paragraph.
REMINDER: You can send an application for up to 3 coaches.
Check back soon for a complete list of the amazing agents participating in the contest. There’s over a dozen!

Today all the coaches are posting bios/wish lists on their blogs. So before choosing your top 3 picks, check all the coaches’ posts in your category before deciding which coach to submit. To jump from blog to blog, just click on our pictures below. 

Our mentors …
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