YA

Jaden and Gabriel by Kat Gavin

Jaden and Gabriel by Kat Gavin

Greetings readers, authors, and aspiring writers. I wanted to share with you some more fabulous art from the amazing Kat Gavin, and to list a  few of the many reasons I love writing (and reading) young adult fiction. Also, scroll down for an awesome Transcender Trilogy countdown sale!

  1. YA IS NOT JUST FOR TEENS! Okay, we didn’t need studies to tell us that adults, young and old alike, read YA, but I was surprised to find that over half of YA readers are over the age of 18. It makes sense, though—some of the most courageous, edgy, and freshest stories today are being written under the YA mantle. I just read an article entitled Against YA that made me want to scream. It suggests adults should eschew the “satisfying endings” delivered by most YA novels in favor of the “complexity of great adult literature.” http://goo.gl/dl8fIW. Seriously? I write (and read) YA precisely to escape the complexities of life. I want to be entertained—to laugh and cry and fall in love with fictional characters, and to have a break from the stresses of everyday life. Bring on the satisfying ending—it’s why I persevere to the last page!
  2. YA CAN BE WHATEVER YOU WANT IT TO BE. Do you love sci-fi, fantasy, dystopia, adventure, and romance? So do I. That’s why I toss them all into my books. In YA, it’s no-holds-barred—from light comedy to dark techno-punk and more. There’s no set formula. Typically, the protagonist is a young adult. That’s it. No steadfast rules. I spent a lot of years practicing law and always thought I’d eventually write a legal thriller. In fact I have several half-written, cheesy legal thrillers tucked inside my desk, but I lost interest because they were boring. Good YA is rarely boring. It takes its own course, and if you give it free rein, you may be surprised where it will lead you.
  3. YA DOESN’T PRETEND TO BE SOMETHING IT’S NOT. Have you ever read a book and felt the author was more worried about impressing the audience (or the critics) with how erudite (read: pretentious and snobby) she is rather than telling a good story? Ugh! A big DNF. YA doesn’t pretend to be high literature. It’s designed to engage the emotions, introduce relatable characters, and speak in a distinctive, youthful voice. We’re all familiar with what it’s like to be young and struggling with first love, difficult friends, parental love/hate relationships, and all the other messy challenges of entering adulthood. These incredibly powerful, unadulterated emotions are what inspire me most. YA gives us a vehicle for understanding how others deal with these universal issues, and after all, isn’t that what story is all about? Seeing how other people clean up the everyday messes of life.
  4. THE YA STYLE IS FUN TO READ AND WRITE. Despite the fact that there are no hard and fast rules for writing YA, I admit that most YA novels seem to have a style of writing that is unique to the category. In general, YA is character driven and plot-heavy (as opposed to stream-of-consciousness or descriptive narration), and it’s faster-paced with large chunks of dialog. The crotchety old curmudgeons out there will say that’s the problem with literature today—it caters to the fast food, instant gratification junkies in our society. Actually, I believe it’s a more modern, engaging way of writing. If the author constructs scenes and shapes characters in an easy-to-visualize manner, snappy dialog can propel the story along like a well-made movie, sweeping up the reader as it goes.
  5. YA CREATES READERS OUT OF OTHERWISE DISINTERESTED YOUNG ADULTS. Have you seen high school summer reading lists lately? Okay, they’re still overloaded with dry, fossilized, dreary tomes from another era, but they seem to be getting a little better. The more enlightened librarians and teachers of today are sprinkling some YA selections in with the timeworn classics of yesteryear, and the results are not surprising—students are discovering the joy of reading! Kudos to those farsighted souls who realize that present day teens do not relate to Lord of the Flies (believe me, I had to listen to my son’s daily complaints).

What do you like most about YA literature?

TRANSCENDER TRILOGY BOX SET: BOOKS 1 AND 2 ONLY $0.99 for a limited time!

BUY HERE

Transcender 2 Box Set

So thrilled to unveil the cover for my latest book, ILLUMINOSITY, the exciting third and final installment in the Transcender Trilogy. Once again the talented Carrie Drazek has outdone herself with this gorgeous design.

rsz_illuminosity_amazon_cover

Enter the Giveaway for $50Amazon Gift Card and signed copies of the first two book in the trilogy at ENSCONCED IN LIT http://goo.gl/SdJxfq 

Announcing the Upcoming Release of

ILLUMINOSITY

by Vicky Savage

May 15, 2014

Mystery, romance, and high adventure in parallel dimensions.

In this highly anticipated conclusion to the Transcender Trilogy, Jaden Beckett faces her greatest challenges to date. Her choice is clear: leave the love of her life or face certain death.

With Warrington Palace under siege, Jaden and Ryder are wrenched away from each other, as the powerful Inter-Universal Guidance Agency seeks Jaden’s ultimate demise.

 Heartsick and alone, she begins a new chapter of life as a Transcender, only to discover that her fiercest battle has yet to come.

 Is Jaden safe anywhere in the galaxy? Or should IUGA ask itself that question, having underestimated her before?

With her usual wit and tenacity, Jaden fights to discover her place in the multiverse, the true meaning of destiny, and the keys to the mystery of eternal love.

 

 

Re-Blogged from my Orangeberry Book Tour

Vicky's StudyI’d like to share some pointers I’ve picked up since embarking on my journey as a writer:

1.      BEING AN AUTHOR IS AS MUCH ABOUT MARKETING AS IT IS ABOUT WRITING.

“That can’t be!” you cry. But alas, it’s true. Writing the book is the easy part. Whether you’re and indie or traditionally published author, expect to spend a large chunk of time marketing your books. You’ll find many aspects of it can be fun. Accept it as part of the process and enjoy!

 2.      YOU NEED AN AUTHOR PLATFORM.

An “Author Platform” is simply your internet presence, your visible “brand.” It’s what readers will find if they Google you, and it’s an efficient way to develop a loyal fan base. Generally, a platform consists at a minimum of a website, Facebook Fan Page, Twitter account, blog, and, optionally, accounts on LinkedIn, Pintrest, Google+, and/or Instagram. Don’t panic. It’s not as daunting as it sounds and it can be built over time.

3.      YOU MUST SHOW UP FOR WORK.

The good news: being a writer is great fun and there’s no dress code! The bad news: you actually have to do the work. Make a schedule and try to write at the same time and for several hours each day. Don’t answer the phone, check your email, or raid the refrigerator. You’ll be amazed at how much you get done.

4.      YOU WILL VISIT THE PIT OF DESPAIR.

It’s unavoidable. Every writer experiences bouts of self-doubt every now and again and for no apparent reason. It’s an occupational hazard like black lung disease (only worse). The best way to handle it is to recognize it’s temporary. Focus on your accomplishments, read a piece of amazing writing, polish the chapters you’ve already written, call a friend who can be trusted to talk you off the ledge. Just relax until it passes.

5.      READING IS AS IMPORTANT AS WRITING.

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.” – Stephen King. I find reading invaluable for three reasons: it keeps me current in my genre; it keeps my writing sharp; and it’s a relaxing break from writing. Actually, I feel like I’m still working whenever I’m reading a good book, because I’m observing another author’s style, plot development, character growth, etc.

6.      NO MATTER HOW GREAT YOUR WRITING, EXPECT TO GET DISSED.

They say you’re not a real writer until your first bad review. Regardless, it stings like hell. Learning to shrug off a bad review is essential to surviving in this industry. Maybe the reviewer just didn’t understand your book, or didn’t really read it. Sometimes, though, the reviewer has a valid point, in which case we need to take our medicine, no matter how foul tasting, and try to benefit from it. My recommendation: grow some Rhino skin.

7.      IT’S OKAY TO SHOVEL CRAP AS LONG AS YOU CLEAN IT UP LATER.

The best advice I ever received as a writer is: “Do whatever it takes to get that first draft completed.” Don’t worry about how inane or ugly it is. You can fix it later. It goes against our perfectionist tendencies, but it really works.

8.      WRITING IS A LIFE-LONG HONING OF THE CRAFT.

I’m constantly amazed at how much I learn every day just by reading other writers’ blogs, participating in author forums, or listening to readers. Remember, even after you fearlessly claim the title “Writer,” there’s always room for improvement.

9.      AN EXTENSIVE VOCABULARY IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN KNOWLEDGE OF GRAMMAR.

Vocabulary and grammar are both important to writing, but rules of grammar are broken more often than they’re observed in novel writing, especially where dialogue is concerned. I do little things every day to expand my vocabulary. Grammar I leave to the editors.

10.  EVEN ON ITS WORST DAY, WRITING IS MUCH MORE FUN THAN PRACTICING LAW.

Enough said!

Choosing your book cover is not simple, but it can make all the difference in whether your book gets more than just a passing glance. It’s not as complicated as some would have you believe. Articles abound claiming to have the “Five Critical Elements” or the “Ten Keys” for making your book fly off the shelf. But after synthesizing a number of articles on the subject, it appears to boil down to three closely interrelated and overlaping qualities: (1) The Pop Factor; (2) Genre Identity; and (2) Instant Connection.

 The Pop Factor: It’s not rocket science. Visualize a crowded book shelf. Does your cover stand out? Is it distinctive and eye-catching? If not, it’s likely to get overlooked. Period. This doesn’t mean you make your cover as provocative as possible. Rather, the goal is for it to be captivating and clear. There is also a more subtle piece to this distinctiveness factor–your cover must speak to your target audience. Which brings us to …

 Genre Identity: Does your cover follow the current trends in your genre or category? It’s great if you want to step out a little and forge some new ground while still appealing to your target audience. But genre confusion in a cover is a killer. If your category is YA and your cover looks like space opera sci-fi, forget it. It needs to appeal to teens (or adults who like to read YA). If it’s a mystery and it looks like a romance, people browsing the mystery shelves are not likely to pick it up. Do your research. What do the current best sellers in your genre look like? Which brings us to …

 Instant Connection: Call this the Three Second Rule. Experts say the average person browsing in a book store gives your book approximately three seconds before deciding whether to pick it up or move on to the next. Does your cover engage the emotions, or at least intrigue the reader enough to want to read the back cover blurb? Your cover may be distinctive and eye-catching, but if it doesn’t instantly pique the emotions of your target reader, you’ve probably missed the boat, and a potential sale!

 Covers that Score a Home Run: Two of my favorite YA covers (which also happen to be two of my favorite books this year) have nailed all three of these key factors: Splintered, by A.G. Howard and Cinder by Marissa Meyer:

SplinteredCinder

 Exception to the Rules: Of course there are always exceptions to the rules. If it hadn’t been for all the pre-release hype for the wonderful  The Fault in our Stars by John Green, I never would have picked up this bestselling book. The cover doesn’t speak to me at all:

Fault in Our Stars

What do you think is the most important element of a good book cover? What’s your favorite book cover?

 

About


I’m the author of the Transcender Trilogy, TRANSCENDER: First-Timer, STREAMING STARS, and the upcoming ILLLUMINOSITY, which blends science-fiction, fantasy, and romance in an exciting cross-dimensional adventure.

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