Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Operation Awesome #20Questions in #2020 of #NewBook Debut Author Kelsey Freeman

Operation Awesome #20Questions in #2020 of #NewBook Debut Author posted by @JLenniDorner of @OpAwesome6


No Option But North: The Migrant World and the Perilous Path Across the Border by Kelsey Freeman


1- What one question would you ask Trump and Biden at a 2020 presidential debate?

With Trump and Biden having drastically different positions on immigration, one question for both is difficult. Nevertheless, I would ask the candidates to make it personal: What they would do (in this current climate) if they were in the position of needing to migrate to the U.S.?

2- Would you please, in 160 characters or less, give a #WriteTip ?

When I get stuck, it always helps to move! The perfect word or connection in ideas reveals itself when I’m running and can get lost in the rhythm of my feet hitting the ground.

3- What is the best piece of writing advice you've received?

In your first draft, write for yourself. In your second or third draft, you can start to consider the audience.

4- Would you please tell us more about your involvement as an advocate for Native education?

When I’m not writing, I run a college-readiness program for Native American high school students through Central Oregon Community College. My goal is to help my Native students come into college with the confidence that they belong, that they should be proud of who they are, and that should advocate for themselves and use their resources. We also do a lot of work around scholarships and the nuts and bolts of college. Additionally, I facilitate equity trainings at the college so the institution better serves its Native students.

5- Would you share a picture with us of your book with an intriguing background?

Operation Awesome #20Questions in #2020 of #NewBook Debut Author Kelsey Freeman #immigration


6- What do you say to angry people who imply that supporting immigration means job shortages, government resources depleted, increased crime or terrorism, and other such remarks?

These arguments come from false fears, so when I hear them, I like to focus on facts. For instance, I point out that undocumented immigrants pay 8% of all state and local tax revenue, while the richest 1% of Americans pays just 5.4%. At the same time, the majority of undocumented immigrants can't access social services and even documented immigrants routinely underuse programs they're eligible for. There’s so much more to say, but when I talk to people with these ideas, I try to unpack where these fears come from. Sometimes they hear me, and sometimes they don’t, but I try to get through.

7- What's your Twitter handle, and do you have two or three writer friends on there to shout-out to for #WriterWednesday ?

You can find me at @kelseyjofreeman and I’d love to give a shout out to writers Jean Troustine @justicewithjean and Esther Nunoo @boomchackalacka (on Instagram).

8- Do you have a favorite #bookstagram image or account/ profile?

I follow and love Lupita.reads on Instagram!

9- What most motivates you to read a new book?

Overall, I look for books that teach me something about the world around me or myself, whether they are fiction or nonfiction.

10- It's our tenth anniversary! How far has your writing come in the past ten years and where do you see your writing career ten years from now?

Ten years ago I was 16, so my writing has come a long way! I have always loved writing and hoped to publish a book, so I am excited to have brought this goal to fruition. Over the next ten years, I plan to continue writing books that expose how key policy issues affect people’s lived experiences. One of my strengths as a writer is my ability to connect the personal with the political, so I intend to continue this focus over the next ten years.

11- What is your favorite book by someone else, what's the author's Twitter handle, and what do you love most about that book? #FridayReads book recommendation time!

A favorite book is too hard to choose! Favorite book of the moment is
Author name: Terese Marie Malhoit @TereseMarieM
Title: Heart Berries
Love because: it is so moving that I would often read a sentence, stop, and marvel at how a particular emotion could be so truthfully described. Searing and real, Heart Berries cuts to the heart of trauma, pain and resiliency.


12- What emotions do you hope your book will evoke for the reader?

Above all, I hope my book evokes empathy. I hope readers consider what they would do if in put in the shoes of those who migrate.

13- What kind of impact do you hope your book will have?

The purpose of No Option but North is to cultivate respect and highlight the dignity of migrants as human beings. It highlights that migration is a game of options, or lack thereof. Those that lack certain privileges are more likely to leave their countries but are less likely to have legal avenues for migrating. They then undertake a brutal, violent journey through Mexico and across the border because their alternative choices for survival and decency have run out. I hope that readers see how the structural injustices and inadequacies render these harrowing stories possible and put migrants in impossible situations where truly, their only option is to head north.

14- What is the best writing tool, program, or reference book you've ever bought?

I was entirely new to the publishing process, so Thinking Like Your Editor: How to Write Great Serious Nonfiction and Get It Published by Alfred Fortunato and Susan Rabiner was really helpful in terms of understanding how to query and pitch for publication.

15- In what ways are the main characters in your book diverse? diversebooks.org #WeNeedDiverseBooks

As a Jewish author, my grandmother’s story certainly played a role in my interest in this topic. She and her family escaped the Holocaust, fleeing Germany to Italy and eventually the U.S. No Option but North delves into what it means to migrate by necessity today. By centering the stories of working-class Central Americans and Mexicans, the book also explores how race, class and nationality play a role in who can come to the U.S. legally, and who has to undergo the perilous journey north.

16- Who is your favorite book review blogger?

I am a fan of The Rumpus, so I would certainly recommend it to those looking for new reads!

17- What was the deciding factor in your publication route?

Because No Option but North is my debut book, I wanted to traditionally publish it. However, as writer in my early twenties, I knew finding a publisher would be an uphill battle. As I swallowed rejections, I continued to pitch because I was confident that the themes in No Option but North were crucial and that the book would find a home. In 2019, I found IG Publishing, a small press in New York, and in 2020, I became a published author.

18- Which author, past or present, do you feel most resembles your work?

In terms of interweaving stories with contextual/policy analysis to better understand the world of immigration, I was most inspired by the writing of Óscar Martínez, Lauren Markham, and Jason De León.

19- Would you please ask our audience a question to answer in the comments?

What most motivates you to read a new book?

20- Anything else you would care to share about your book and yourself?


About the book:


In the thick of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016, and through the travel bans his administration issued in 2017, journalist Kelsey Freeman spent nine months interviewing Central American and Mexican migrants in a shelter in central Mexico, along the migrant path. No Option But North interweaves their stories with research and anecdotes from Freeman’s experiences to reveal the fundamental moral quandaries involved in contemporary migration—from the expanding gang violence that drives migrants out of their home countries, to their dearth of legal options on both sides of the border, and more. In the process, Freeman takes us on a harrowing journey that strikes at the heart of the human ability to endure. A timely chronicle of contemporary migration from Central America and Mexico that peels back the layers of privilege underlying American and Mexican migration policies, No Option But North adds powerful color and force to the immigration narrative.

About me:


As a writer and educator, Kelsey Freeman focuses on immigration policy, Indigenous rights, social justice, and public policy. After graduating from Bowdoin College, she received a Fulbright Fellowship to teach English and study migration in central Mexico. She currently runs a college-readiness program for Native American high school students through Central Oregon Community College.
You can find out more at my website, kelseyfreemanauthor.com Or follow me on nooptionbutnorth (Instagram) or @kelseyjofreeman on Twitter.


No Option But North: The Migrant World and the Perilous Path Across the Border by Kelsey Freeman

October 2020 Pass Or Pages Agent Panel Reveal!

 

 

Meet the agents who will critique your Young Adult! Of any genre! entries!

 

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Dr. Uwe Stender

Triada US Literary Agency

Dr. Uwe Stender is a Full Member of the AAR (Association of Authors' Representatives). He is interested in all kinds of non-fiction and fiction. In non-fiction, he is completely open to any project, from Memoir, Pop Culture, and Health to How-to, Gardening, History and everything in between, including non-fiction for children. In Children's fiction, he is looking for YA, Graphic Novels, and MG. In adult fiction, his tastes trend towards Women's Fiction, Psychological Suspense, and Mysteries.  As an immigrant to the USA himself, he is always eager to bring projects from underrepresented voices into the world. So surprise him, his tastes are eclectic, and he may just love what you wrote!

*We are extra thrilled to welcome Dr. Stender as a Special Returning Agent who was with us for the first OA query contest. Welcome back!


 

Kelly Peterson

Rees Literary

Kelly Peterson is a West Chester University graduate with a B.S.Ed in English and Literature. She worked as a Junior Literary Agent for two years before moving to Rees Literary Agency, continuing to champion her authors and the manuscripts she loves. Kelly seeks manuscripts in various genres within Middle Grade, Young Adult, and Adult age ranges. In Middle Grade, she loves fantasy, sci-fi, and contemporary that touches on tough issues for young readers. Her Young Adult preferences vary from contemporary to high fantasy, sci-fi (not the space kind) to paranormal (all the ghost stories, please!), and historical all the way back to rom-coms. Kelly is proud to continue to represent Adult manuscripts in romance, fantasy, and sci-fi. She is very interested in representing authors with marginalized own voices stories, witty and unique characters, pirates, witches, and dark fantasies.

 *We are extra thrilled to welcome Kelly Peterson as our Popular Returning Agent who has agreed to do Pass Or Pages more than anyone else, and this will be her FIFTH time taking part of OA Pass or Pages. A special thank you for donating her time to help querying writers!

 

 

Shannon Snow

Creative Media Agency, Inc.

Shannon Snow has a very eclectic reading taste. Snow is looking for books that have a unique angle, and authors that have a wonderful, engaging voice. Characterization is a top draw for Snow because if she can't connect to a character, she can't fully engage with a story. So, Snow is looking for vivid, well-developed characters. Snow absolutely loves when an author can make her laugh, make make her pull out my tissue box, or just make her feel emotion in general.

 

 

Jennifer Herrington

The Harvey Klinger Literary Agency

Jennifer Herrington is an associate agent with the Harvey Klinger Literary Agency, and she is actively building her list in the middle grade, YA, and adult categories. She is looking for character and voice-driven books that she connects with on an emotional level. Herrington wants a book that makes her laugh or cry and extra points for both! Herrington is especially open to BIPOC and LGBTQ+ stories and voices in the mentioned categories.

 

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Torie Doherty Munro

Writers House

Torie Doherty Munro started at Writers House as an intern in 2010 and began building her own list in 2015 representing middle grade, young adult, and adult authors. She especially loves adult fiction that features younger protagonists, as well as magical realism, historical fiction, and mysteries/thrillers that tend towards the literary and psychological. For YA, she’s a huge fan of unreliable narrators and plot twists that take her so completely by surprise that she gasps out loud, or any book that gets at the uniquely tumultuous, confusing, and exciting experience of being a teenager, really – anything that makes her heart hurt at least once before the final page. And when it comes to middle grade, she gravitates to anything with heart at the center. To break it down a little further: quirky adventures, laugh-out-loud hilarity, and contemporary or historical stories that fully engage the reader in a world that is simultaneously familiar and new to them. She’s also a sucker for retold fairytales, or any stories that captures the kind of classic fantasy feeling of the books she adored at that age.

 


Details for October 2020 Pass or Pages: 

Entry starts: Monday, October 5 at 6 a.m. Eastern

Entry ends: Friday, October 9 at 6 p.m. Eastern
Category/Genre: Young Adult of any Genre!
How To Enter: Fill out the entry form on the contest post when it goes live on October 5.
What Is Required: Your query (NO BIO or personalization for agents), your first 250 words, a complete and polished MS

You can also read more about the rules 
here.

The winning entries with agent commentary will be posted on Operation Awesome the week of October 29th, one entry each day. If you aren't comfortable with having your entry (which will be anonymous) shared on the blog, please don't enter Pass or Pages!


If you have any questions, please ask in the comments or tweet 
@OpAwesome6. Also, feel free to chat about the contest with fellow participants with the hashtag #PassOrPages.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Stranded on a desert island

Here's a Goodreads list of 100 books to read before you die.  Below are the top 10:

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank
1984 by George Orwell
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
The Lord of the Rings (1-3) by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Here's a Bustle article on the 10 books readers said they'd want most if stranded on a desert island. Interesting that only one book is on both lists.

Ulysses by James Joyce
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri
The Holy Bible [and other religious texts]
Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling

I've read 5 from the first list and 2 from the second list.  What about you?  Which have you read?  Is there one you enjoyed the most?  Which book would YOU want if YOU were stranded on a desert island?


Thursday, September 24, 2020

#QueryFriday


It's time for #QueryFriday! Enter for a chance to win a query critique by yours truly! Here's how to participate:

1. Comment on this post and at least one other post from this week by SUNDAY 09/27 at 12 pm EST.

2. Leave your email address in the comment or have it available on your Blogger profile. (If I can't find you, I can't get in touch with you!)

The winner will be chosen via random draw and will be announced in the comment section of this post on Sunday.

See this post for additional rules. Good luck!

-Amren

Dear O'Abby: I offered to read for another author and this happened...

 Dear O'Abby,

I was looking for new critique partners/beta readers and reached out in a Facebook group I'm part of.  A couple of people offered to read for me in exchange for me reading for them.  I jumped at the chance especially since both these writers are published authors and I thought they would be able to give me valuable feedback.  I also thought I could learn a lot from reading their works in progress.

One of these authors has been a delight to work with.  Her feedback was incredibly useful, and she was very gracious and grateful for the feedback I gave her on her book.

The second was a completely different story.

I spent over a week of my writing time working through her MS, writing comments through the text as I found things that I felt were unclear, lacking in motivation or just questions I had. There were also a lot of spelling and grammar errors through the MS, and places where the POV switched for a few pages then switched back.  Character names kept changing, which confused me. Then I spent another day writing an edit letter, outlining everything I liked about the story, disliked about the story, the characters, the setting, the style of the prose and more.  

It took her over six weeks to get my MS back to me, and when I received it, I eagerly opened the email, waiting to find out where this writer thought I could improve.  The email was short.  Just a couple of lines saying she didn't think the book was ready for publication yet.  Which I already knew.  That's why I had asked for feedback.  So I opened the MS, expecting comments through it.  There were three in the whole MS.  And one of them was on the fourth page, saying she didn't understand the character motivation.  The fourth page, where the character has barely been introduced, let alone given enough backstory to be able to understand why she might do something that could be considered peculiar. I'm not even sure she read past the whole book because there were no comments after page 98.

To say I was disappointed would be an understatement.  I'd been waiting for this feedback for six weeks.  I'd spent hours of my time working through her book.  And I got three comments and a note saying it wasn't ready to be published.  

Am I overreacting here?  Was I wrong to expect more from this writer?  I'm furious, but even more, I'm now wary about doing this kind of thing again. I can't afford to hire an editor or pay for a professional beta read, but I also can't afford to be giving so much of my time to someone who doesn't give back.

Best,

Disappointed.

Dear Disappointed,

I don't think you are overreacting.  This is disappointing and you have a right to be angry about it.  You are also right to be wary about doing this again.

Everyone has their own way of offering critiques, and it's worth finding out if your critiquing style matches with a potential crit partner.  Whenever I begin a relationship with a new writing partner, I offer to critique a single chapter first, so they can get an idea of the way I approach critiquing other writers' work.  If I'm swapping with them, I ask they do the same for me.  Especially if they are people I don't know well.

Some writers just aren't ready for real critique.  They want to be reassured that their work is wonderful and   don't want to listen to anyone who says otherwise.  If I send back a first chapter with a note about what is working and what isn't, and a whole lot of comments, I learn a lot about the writer by how they respond to that.  

I also learn a lot about their writing in that first chapter and will know whether I can actually spare the time to do the critique.  If there are masses of things to comment on, POV slips, spelling mistakes, grammar errors and character inconsistencies, I know the book probably isn't really ready for me to critique yet.  And I will tell the writer that.  I won't spend the time necessary on a book that clearly hasn't had care taken on it by the author.

It probably doesn't make me the most popular person in publishing, but I believe in being honest.  And I also believe my time is valuable and I need to ensure I'm make the best possible use of it.  And critiquing a book that clearly isn't ready for that isn't the best use of my time.

My advice to you is not to give up because you had one disappointing experience.  There are people who will help and if you keep looking, you may be lucky enough to gather a group of like-minded authors around yourself that you can rely on for good, constructive feedback.  Just start small.  Offer a few pages of critique first so you can see if your styles gel, if the other writer's work is ready to be critiqued.  And don't be afraid to say no.

Good luck!

X O'Abby

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Operation Awesome #20Questions in #2020 of #NewBook Debut Author Dr. Tinita Kearney #lolakoala

Operation Awesome #20Questions in #2020 of #NewBook Debut Author posted by @JLenniDorner of @OpAwesome6

Operation Awesome #20Questions in #2020 of #NewBook Debut Author Dr. Tinita Kearney #lolakoala
Lola Koala's Travel Adventures: Who, What, Where & Yes/No Questions
by Dr. Tinita Kearney


1- Do you have any #selfcare tips for traveling, especially with young children?

My #1 tip to reduce stress while traveling with small kids is to prepare little ones for the trip by discussing what they can expect, as well as what you expect of them and reviewing these often in the days leading up to the trip.

2- Would you please, in 160 characters or less, give a #WriteTip ?

Get real feedback from children in your target age range prior to sending to print, if possible!

3- What is the best piece of writing advice you've received?

Carve out dedicated writing time daily

4- What is your favorite trip destination and what is on your wishlist?

My favorite trip was to Costa Rica - I spent a month and a half volunteering as well as exploring the beautiful sites of Costa Rica.

5- Would you share a picture with us of your book in a fun setting?

Operation Awesome #20Questions in #2020 of #NewBook Debut Author Dr. Tinita Kearney #lolakoala


6- Would you tell us a little about your Ph. D. and how you became interested in the field?

My Ph.D. is in Speech-Language Pathology and I first became interested in the field after attending an Orientation class during my freshman year at the illustrious Howard University, DC. The Chairs of the various departments in the School of Communications presented briefly and the Chair of the Department of Communications Sciences and Disorders convinced me with her presentation that I needed to switch majors (I was a Journalism major) - and I did! It was the best decision ever.

7- What's your Twitter handle, and do you have two or three writer friends on there to shout-out to for #WriterWednesday ?



8- Do you have a favorite #bookstagram image or account/ profile?

Mine! dr.t_slp. I also like @bookofcinz

9- What most motivates you to read a new book?

If I'm unfamiliar with the author or backstory, then it's the cover that reels me in!

10- It's our tenth anniversary! How far has your writing come in the past ten years and where do you see your writing career ten years from now?

I've been writing short stories and poems since 3rd grade, but this is my 1st children's book and I hope to have a thriving series as well as a few books for young adults in the future.

11- What is your favorite book by someone else, what's the author's Twitter handle, and what do you love most about that book? #FridayReads book recommendation time!

Author name: Matthew Cherry @MatthewACherry
Title: Hair Love
Love because: It beautifully highlights the unique awesomeness of Black hair while simultaneously celebrating the nuances that make the Black family and Black love one-of-a-kind!


12- What emotions do you hope your book will evoke for the reader?

Excitement and curiosity

13- What kind of impact do you hope your book will have?

My hope is that my books empower families to increase their children's language skills while growing children's appreciation for the things that make the people of our planet diverse and unique!

14- What is the best writing tool, program, or reference book you've ever bought?
Operation Awesome #20Questions in #2020 of #NewBook Debut Author Dr. Tinita Kearney #lolakoala

Scrivener

15- In what ways are the main characters in your book diverse? diversebooks.org #WeNeedDiverseBooks

My book features diverse characters and diverse countries.

16- Who is your favorite book review blogger?

I am very new to the book review blogger world and currently don't have one!

17- What was the deciding factor in your publication route?

Cost

18- Which author, past or present, do you feel most resembles your work?

I cannot provide an author who I feel resembles my work, but I do love Anna Dewdney's works and hope that my rhyming skills are on par!
Operation Awesome #20Questions in #2020 of #NewBook Debut Author Dr. Tinita Kearney #lolakoala


19- Would you please ask our audience a question to answer in the comments?

What country would you like to see Lola Koala explore?

20- Anything else you would care to share about your book and yourself?

Dr. Tinita O. Kearney is a speech-language pathologist who hails from New York and currently lives in Maryland. She owns a speech therapy private practice and lives to empower families to be their child’s very best advocate and resource. Check out her newest children’s book series at http://lolakoala.com and follow her on Instagram dr.t_slp.
Operation Awesome #20Questions in #2020 of #NewBook Debut Author Dr. Tinita Kearney #lolakoala


Operation Awesome #20Questions in #2020 of #NewBook Debut Author Dr. Tinita Kearney #lolakoala
Lola Koala's Travel Adventures: Who, What, Where & Yes/No Questions
by Dr. Tinita Kearney
https://www.lolakoala.com/product-page/lola-koala-s-travel-adventures-book-1-simple-wh-and-yes-no-questions

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

October Pass or Pages Genre Reveal!

 

 
The genre for the October 2020 Pass or Pages is...

Young Adult! Of any genre!

Here are the important dates for this round:
September 29th: Agent panel announcement
October 5th to 9th: Entry window (via a form here on our blog)
October 29th to 23rdth: Feedback reveals!

For a recap of the rules and links to previous rounds, click here. Stay tuned for our agent panel reveal next week!


Monday, September 21, 2020

First Page Critique - YA FANTASY

Tomorrow is the first day of autumn!
We received another First Page Critique entry.  In other words, another brave soul needs our help! It's up to all of us [including YOU] to provide that help.  Please offer your thoughts in the comments section.

Reminder: Be nice, but be honest. [Comments that are not polite/respectful will be deleted.] What would YOU like to know if this was YOUR first page? Do you think it has a good opening line? Does it have a hook? Does it pull you into the story? Do you want to read more? Why or why not? Be specific, so your critique helps the person who wrote the entry.

Category/Genre – YA Fantasy

There was something off about that woman.

Ace couldn’t quite put his finger on it, but something about her felt different. It wasn’t just the way she was dressed, though that was a large part of it. She was wearing a cashmere sweater dress and carrying what appeared to be a genuine leather purse, ostensibly flaunting her wealth with no care for the pickpockets who were eyeing her bag.

She didn’t dress like anyone else around here. Even if she wasn’t from this side of town, she should have known better than to show off her status in such a way. But she walked on, confident and unconcerned despite the attention she was gathering. 

Normally, she would be the type that Ace would try to pickpocket himself, but this time, he stayed his hand.

“What are you looking at?” Mikky asked gruffly. His usual frown deepened when he saw the woman. “What an idiot. Does she not have any common sense whatsoever?”

Ace slid a teasing grin over at him. “Not everyone can be as smart as you.”

Mikky squinted suspiciously at him, trying to work out if he was being sincere or not, before shaking his head. “Whatever. Stop getting distracted. Don’t forget, we’re here for-”

Friday, September 18, 2020

Past Winner Check In 3 from the Query Contest Pass or Pages #PassOrPages

#PassOrPages

Tuesday's stats showed that agents have requested pages 34 times!

Here's one more progress report from one of the "pages" winners:

Worst Villain Ever - https://operationawesome6.blogspot.com/2016/05/may-pass-or-pages-entry-5.html


Hi! I'm Amy Bearce, the author of The Worst Villain Ever, which was featured in Pass or Pages in May of 2016. Unfortunately, that book did not find representation, but it did get picked up for publication by a small press in 2018 (yay!) which sadly went out of business before they published it (boo!), so it remains unpublished. But while I was sad for George, my too-sweet villain-wanna-be, I kept writing. At the time of my Pass or Pages post, I had two books out with a small press. I now have a total of five books published, with one more on the way. I signed with an agent in January 2019 for my upper-middle grade time loop tale, Paris on Repeat. The book found a home with Jolly Fish Press and released July 14th, 2020 as the first book in the Wish & Wander series. Book two, Rome Reframed, is scheduled to release in February 2021. This summer, my agent and I amicably parted ways as she moved on from her agency, and I am querying agents again with a new manuscript. Whatever happens next, I’m ready for the adventure.

I’ve learned a lot over the past few years. My journey has involved ups and downs, so I encourage people in the query trenches to keep writing, keep querying, and most important, keep learning. Reading each Pass or Pages entry was one great way I was able to study what worked (and what didn't) and try to apply it to my own writing. So thank you, Operation Awesome, for all the time and effort you've invested into the writing community! Congratulations on ten years!



#PassOrPages 2020

Your chance to enter Pass or Pages is coming soon!
One day, Amy's success story could be similar to yours.
Please tell others in your writing community about this query contest.
We're here to help all writers at every stage of the journey.
Please support us by spreading the word.
Share this post. Retweet. Please take a moment to help us help more writers.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Past Winner Check In 2 from the Query Contest Pass or Pages #PassOrPages

#PassOrPages

Tuesday's stats showed that agents have requested pages 34 times!

Here's another progress report from one of the "pages" winners:

DINOSAUR YARD - https://operationawesome6.blogspot.com/2019/09/september-2019-pass-or-pages-entry-5.html

After Pass or Pages, I started querying through the more conventional ways. I have received several partial and full requests. The feedback has been positive, and one agent told me to keep going, that my project has potential. I am still hopeful for my one "Yes". Cross your fingers and toes for me!

#PassOrPages 2020

Your chance to enter Pass or Pages is coming soon!
Please tell others in your writing community!

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Past Winner Check In 1 from the Query Contest Pass or Pages #PassOrPages

#PassOrPages

Yesterday's stats showed that agents have requested pages 34 times!

Here's a progress report from one of the "pages" winners:

The Untouchable - https://operationawesome6.blogspot.com/2018/09/september-pass-or-pages-entry-5.html

I’m the author of the Untouchable which was sadly untouchable by agents. I received many full requests but it never quite worked out. Nevertheless I persisted and my next novel landed an agent this last January 2020. I am currently deep into revisions prior to going on submission

Thanks

#PassOrPages 2020

Your chance to enter Pass or Pages is coming soon!
Please tell others in your writing community!

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Historical Stats of the Query Contest Pass or Pages #PassOrPages

#PassOrPages


Agents who have taken part in the past:

Caitie Flum
Mark Gottlieb
Lisa Abellera ⭐⭐
Dr. Uwe Stender

Whitley Abell ⭐⭐⭐
Peter Knapp
Carrie Pestritto

Moe Ferrara ⭐⭐
Emily S. Keyes ⭐⭐
Roseanne Wells

Andrea Somberg ⭐⭐
Melissa Jeglinski
Danielle Burby
Patricia Nelson

Kurestin Armada ⭐⭐
Sarah Negovetich
Renee Nyen

Clelia Gore
Rebecca Podos ⭐⭐

Lisa Abellera ⭐⭐
Hannah Fergesen
Kirsten Carleton

Whitley Abell ⭐⭐⭐
Laura Crockett
Lorin Oberweger

Tricia Skinner
Rachel Brooks
Kelly Peterson ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Emily Keyes ⭐⭐
Ben Grange
Meg LaTorre-Snyder

Kurestin Armada ⭐⭐
Moe Ferrara ⭐⭐
Lindsay Mealing

Whitley Abell ⭐⭐⭐
Jess Dallow
Andrea Somberg ⭐⭐

Kelly Peterson ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Saritza Hernandez
Weronika Janczuk

Katelyn Uplinger
Ann Leslie Tuttle

Kelly Peterson ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Cortney Radocaj

Kelly Peterson ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Stephanie Winter
Amy Bishop
Samantha Fabien

Rebecca Podos ⭐⭐
Tia Rose Mele

Wow! That's 50.
🤔 Wait a second, some of these amazing agents have served more than once!
⭐⭐ Stars will indicate an agent liked the contest enough to come back for more.
Whitley Abell has taken part THREE TIMES. ⭐⭐⭐
Kelly Peterson has been a PoP agent FOUR TIMES! ⭐⭐⭐⭐
👏 Round of applause for all of these agents for donating their time.


Pass vs Pages:

Pass = 201
Pages = 34



#PassOrPages 2020

Your chance to enter Pass or Pages is coming soon!
Please tell others in your writing community!

Monday, September 14, 2020

Origin Story of the Query Contest Pass or Pages #PassOrPages

#PassOrPages

Friday, August 27, 2010 - Operation Awesome's First Post

The Mystery Agent Contest
On September 1, 2010, Operation Awesome announced a one-sentence agent pitch contest.
Out of 50 one-line pitches, one winner was selected to submit a FULL MANUSCRIPT. Another non-contest-winner ended up landing an agent!

The 100 Followers Contest that same month offered a query critique.

The second Mystery Agent Contest was in November 2010. And a third in December.

February 2011 had the Agent Query Critique Contest.

Pass Or Pages came into existence because of the success of these, and many more OA contests, that came before it. The name Pass or Pages was announced in December 2015.

Pass or Pages Official Contest Rules and Agent Panel
January 2016 was the first time this query contest ran under this name.

Agents included:
Caitie Flum @caitief
Mark Gottlieb @Mark_Gottlieb
Lisa Abellera @lisaabellera
Dr. Uwe Stender @UweStenderPhD

The genre of the first Pass or Pages contest was Adult Mysteries/Thrillers.

Lisa Abellera: PAGES! 
One entry was good enough to get a request from one agent.

#PassOrPages 2020

Your chance to enter Pass or Pages is coming soon!
Please tell others in your writing community!

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Flash Fiction Friday Contest 51 #flashfiction

It's Flash Fiction Friday! 

Today is also National Day of Service and Remembrance. To commemorate this day, please write a piece of flash fiction with the theme Remembrance. It can be as long or short as you want. 

Prompt: Remembrance
Length: As long as you want
Deadline: Sunday, September 13, 2020, 2am Central Standard Time

Leave your entry in the comments, please. As always, the winner will get a badge and bragging rights!

Dear O'Abby: Help! I've lost my creativity!


Dear O’Abby,

This year seems to be taking a toll on my creativity.  I’ve always managed to juggle a full-time job, kids and enough of a social life to keep connected with my friends and family and writing a minimum of two books a year.  This year all that has gone out the window, and I don’t quite understand how.  I actually have more hours in the day to work with because I’ve been working from home and don’t have to negotiate the hour or so commute each day, plus all my kids’ after-school activities have been on hold, so I don’t have to rush from ballet to soccer practice to karate.

Yet I still can’t seem to find time to write, and it’s beginning to really stress me out.
Do you have any tips for me?

Yours,

Slumped

Dear Slumped,

I don’t think you are alone in feeling this way. In fact, I feel like I may have covered this topic already this year, but no matter. It's important enough we can cover it again. 

COVID-19 has disrupted our lives in a massive way, and the constant uncertainty over the situation is affecting people in numerous different ways.  Even if you are lucky enough to be able to work from home and are not feeling the economic pinch of having lost a job, there is still a level of anxiety about just living in this current world.

And while working at home is saving you commuting time, it’s not giving you the separation between your workplace and your home life that you are probably used to.  Where I live, we were only in lockdown for a couple of months, but I really struggled to write during this period because all of a sudden, my creative space also became my workplace.  And after spending all day working in that space, the last thing I wanted to do after that was to go back there to write in the evening.

If you can, separate the place you do your day job from the place you do your creative writing.  Maybe you usually write in your office, but this office has now been taken over by your day job.  When you want to do creative writing, move your laptop out of the office and work somewhere else in the house.  Or if you don’t have a laptop, maybe try writing longhand in a notebook instead.  The physical act of handwriting is often a great creative exercise.

Another option is to try writing at a different time of day.  In my day job, I do a lot of writing and often find that by the end of the day, I’m out of words and struggle to get anything down when I sit down and open up my manuscript.  To counter that, I started getting up an hour or so earlier in the morning and using that time to write, before the rest of the day took over and sapped my creative energy.  It took a little time to get used to because I’ve always been a night owl and wrote into the night, but I’ve discovered I actually write better in the mornings.

Another thing you could try is taking short breaks throughout the day to write.  Set a timer and take a 20-minute break from whatever else you are doing and just write.  Don’t edit or read over what you have written, just write until the timer stops.  Do this three or four times during the day, and you may find you’ve done as much, if not more, than you would have if you’d given yourself 90 consecutive minutes at the end of the day.

But if none of these things work for you, don’t stress out.  Maybe your body is telling you to take a break.  Even if you’re not feeling particularly anxious or stressed about everything going on, it will be affecting you.  Perhaps this lack of creative energy is how it is manifesting in you.  If you can’t write, don’t try and force it.  Use that time to exercise, get outside in your garden, soak in a bubble bath, or read a book.  When you’re ready to write again, you’ll write.  The story you want to tell will still be there, and it may even be better and easier to get onto the page because you’ve given yourself time to relax and breathe.  And maybe think through things in the story you may not have considered had you not given yourself that time.

Remember, you can still be a writer even if you are not actively sitting down and pounding the keyboard each day.  A lot of writing happens in our heads, and it’s not going be any good if our heads are fogged with stress and anxiety.

Hope this is helpful!

X O’Abby

Monday, September 7, 2020

First Page Critique - ADULT FANTASY

It's hot here in SoCal

We received a First Page Critique entry.  In other words, a brave soul needs our help! It's up to all of us [including YOU] to provide that help.  Please offer your thoughts in the comments section.

Reminder: Be nice, but be honest. [Comments that are not polite/respectful will be deleted.] What would YOU like to know if this was YOUR first page? Do you think it has a good opening line? Does it have a hook? Does it pull you into the story? Do you want to read more? Why or why not? Be specific, so your critique helps the person who wrote the entry.

Category/Genre – Adult Fantasy

Lend me your ear, dear reader, so I may tell you a story about revenge. 

Saphrina Loresmeth, blissfully unaware of her impending demise, pulled her car over to take a phone call. Though the country road was deserted, she always turned on her flashers and her protective charms. With a flick of a button, a shimmering blue shield formed around her car. Since someone had mixed salt into the thaumaturgical tank, it wouldn’t block so much as a leaf falling off the scraggly trees.

I told her so, but she couldn’t hear a mere ghost.

“Olivia?” Bone-deep exhaustion filled Saphrina’s question. She’d cried so many times over the last few days she had no tears left. Only fear that the last person returning her calls would abandon her. “Should I…come over another time?”

“Nonsense,” Olivia Cathor said. “I told Percy either he lets you sleep in our guest bedroom, or he’s banished there himself.”

“Thank you.” Saphrina had lost many friends since her husband, presidential nominee Oscar Loresmeth, had filed for a divorce.

“You know how much I owe you. During my son’s illness…” Olivia stumbled over the topic they’d never spoken of aloud. “Now it’s my turn to repay you.”

“What’s happened?” The muzzy heat from her vinyl car seats made Saphrina’s head pound. Her greasy hair clung to her forehead, as she hadn’t showered since being thrown out of her home. The sunrise gave the grass lining the road a sickly yellow color matching her desire to throw up.


Thursday, September 3, 2020

Dear O'Abby: Should I enter Pass or Pages?

Dear O'Abby,

I see you guys at Operation Awesome are running a Pass or Pages competition later this month.  I've always been reticent about entering contests because I've never really understood their value.  Can you tell me why I should enter?  Or not enter?

Yours,

Contestable.

Dear Contestable,

Entering contests is a purely personal choice.  You don't have to, by any means.  Traditional querying of your manuscript or sending it directly to small presses or self-publishing is equally valid.

Contests are supposed to be fun.  If you don't find them fun, then don't enter.

Pass or Pages is a little different from some other contests in that Operation Awesome asks a panel agents who represent the genre the contest is focusing on to judge the entries and provide feedback.  If your query isn't working out there in the trenches, it might be a good opportunity to get professional feedback on why it isn't working.  Ditto your opening page.

It is also a good chance to get a peek into the personal tastes of the judging agents.  Maybe you think another entry in the pool is remarkable and you'd pick it up in a second if it was on the shelf in your local bookstore, yet one of the agents tears both the query and the opening pages to shreds.  This might be something that indicates you and this agent might not be a great fit, so you might decide to cross her off your querying list.

Alternatively, this might be something that gives you a fresh perspective on your own work, a kind of lightning moment that makes you realize something you thought worked well, really doesn't.

At the end of the day, I'm not going to tell you whether you should or shouldn't enter Pass or Pages or any other contest.  All I can say is that I've received a lot of really great feedback through competitions, met a lot of other writers, some of whom have become valued readers/critique partners, and felt much more connected to the writing community as a result.  I've even received full requests, offers of representation and for publication through contests, so for me, they seem to work.

If you do decide to enter Pass and Pages, we'll look forward to reading your entry!

And good luck!

X O'Abby


Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Operation Awesome #20Questions in #2020 of #NewBook Debut Author Kit Rosewater

Operation Awesome #20Questions in #2020 of #NewBook Debut Author posted by @JLenniDorner of @OpAwesome6


The Derby Daredevils: Kenzie Kickstarts a Team by Kit Rosewater


1- Have you ever done roll roller derby?

A bit! After I encountered the derby scene in Austin, TX I started training to be a roller derby referee. I still have the official handbook with all the different rules and types of penalties. When I moved to Albuquerque I teamed up with Abq Roller Derby during off season practice. But I got sick just as bout season was starting, so I never got to ref an official bout! Hopefully I’ll get back in skates soon!

2- Would you please, in 160 characters or less, give a #WriteTip ?

Break your writing process into steps. Draft. Revise. Line edit. In that order. Critically examine your manuscript before you get attached to specific scenes. #WriteTip

3- What is the best piece of writing advice you've received?

Cheryl Klein did a talk at my MA program in Children’s Literature. She said that those who find success in publishing are the ones who learn from their mistakes and keep going. The ones who don’t find success are the ones who quit. Ultimately writing is a craft built on a foundation of progress and endurance.

4- The next book in your series comes out Sept 15! How many books are you planning for this series?

Right now I have three Daredevils books contracted with Abrams, and the third book will be out on June 1st 2021. Because the series rotates protagonists, of course I’d love to write from all the team members’ perspectives and complete the series at five books. But we’ll have to see how the first three do. Series are hard!

5- Would you share a picture with us of your book in a fun setting?

Certainly! Here's a recent one of my baby and me reading Book 1 in the series!
Operation Awesome #20Questions in #2020 of #NewBook Debut Author Kit Rosewater The Derby Daredevils #rollerderby


6- If you could ask one question at a 2020 US Presidential Debate, what would it be and why?

"How have our values as a country played a role in the US’s current situation within the pandemic, and what can we learn going forward in order to prioritize our community's health and wellbeing?”

7- What's your Twitter handle, and do you have two or three writer friends on there to shout-out to for #WriterWednesday ?

I sure do! My handle is @kitrosewater . Two friends I want to shout out are @lorielryon and @bdkennedy . They are both witty writers and lovely people.

8- Do you have a favorite #bookstagram image or account/ profile?

That’s a tough one! I think @read.with.val is a great account that needs a lot more attention. She does such a brilliant job with her thoughtful reviews of middle grade books and creative graphics adding herself to the covers!

9- What most motivates you to read a new book?

These days I’m often pinned in place by a tiny sleeping baby, so I’m reading all the time! I’m motivated to read new books because it’s important for me to know the current market of children’s books. And because I love the new stuff coming out! I hope teachers are continually updating their curriculum, because so many of the latest middle grades releases on shelves are STUNNING.

10- It's our tenth anniversary! How far has your writing come in the past ten years and where do you see your writing career ten years from now?

Happy anniversary!! Congratulations! Ten years ago I was just starting my writing journey in earnest. I was a junior in college and had just finished the rough draft of my first full length manuscript. A billion revisions, five new manuscripts, two agents, and one publishing team later, and here we are! In ten years from now I’d love to be getting better and better with each book I write. I hope to be someone’s favorite author someday.

11- What is your favorite book by someone else, what's the author's Twitter handle, and what do you love most about that book? #FridayReads book recommendation time!

Author name: Brandy Colbert @brandycolbert
Title: The Only Black Girls In Town
Love because: This is a perfectly balanced middle grade story about friendship, family, and finding connection.


12- What emotions do you hope your book will evoke for the reader?

Some books guide readers along as they explore deep emotions, while other books offer a fun escape from the deep emotions already present in the real world. I think my book does the latter. I hope my book will make readers feel like they’re flying around a track on wheels. I hope it motivates readers to try new things. I hope it shows readers mirrors and windows into different and yet totally normal first crushes and family units.

13- What kind of impact do you hope your book will have?

I hope my book will serve as an introduction for many young readers about what it means to be transgender and/or queer. Positive and respectful representation of the LGBTQIA+ spectrum is top priority in everything I write. Being trans or queer is totally normal and lovely and doesn't necessarily entail conflict, and I wanted this series to reflect a diverse cast of characters who feel accepted as they are.

14- What is the best writing tool, program, or reference book you've ever bought?

Save the Cat Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody (based on Save the Cat by Blake Snyder) is the best craft book on writing in the universe, hands down. I run into problems with a lot of writing craft references because they ask the reader to follow their advice like scripture. But Save the Cat is less like a book of advice and more like a formatting tool for structuring ideas into a solid outline.


15- In what ways are the main characters in your book diverse? diversebooks.org #WeNeedDiverseBooks

The Derby Daredevils: Kenzie Kickstarts a Team features a protagonist (Kenzie) who begins to explore her first crush, which happens to be a crush on another girl. I got crushes on both boys and girls a lot as a kid. Kenzie also has a trans dad, and she connects to his own childhood experiences of self-discovery as she navigates her crush. The main roller derby team is made up of white, Japanese American, Black, and Latinx members. In addition, the illustrations throughout the book, rendered by the incredible Sophie Escabasse, feature a diverse array of bodies and heritages.

16- Who is your favorite book review blogger?

I’m going to keep boosting the young voices out there. Check out Bridget’s blog http://bridgetandthebooks.com for an excellent book review blog with frequent posts on the latest middle grade books!

17- What was the deciding factor in your publication route?

I have always always always wanted to be a traditionally published author. When I was eight years old my mother, who had just completed a manuscript, sent our queries to literary agents for representation. She let me send out a few queries too, and I was hooked. I knew I wanted representation and then to take my work on submission to traditional publishing houses. Of course, I didn’t actually get representation until almost twenty years later...

18- Which author, past or present, do you feel most resembles your work?

I think with the Daredevils I was trying to take the relatable characters and dynamics from the Ramona series by Beverly Cleary and update them for a modern and progressive setting. I also turned to Sara Pennypacker’s Clementine series as inspiration for humor, and Craig Bartlett’s television series Hey Arnold! as inspiration for the ensemble cast.

19- Would you please ask our audience a question to answer in the comments?

My question is about one of Kenzie's main conundrums as she navigates changing friendship dynamics within the roller derby scene. Is it better to have one best friend or a group of friends? What are the pros and cons of having one special person in your life versus being part of a circle of people?

20- Anything else you would care to share about your book and yourself?

Sure! Here's my author bio and a short summary of my debut!

Author bio:


Kit Rosewater writes books for children. She lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico with her spouse, an adorable baby, and a border collie who takes up most of the bed. Before she was an author, Kit taught middle school theatre and high school English, then worked as a children's bookseller. She has a master's degree in Children's Literature and a knack for getting into shenanigans. Book 1 of her series The Derby Daredevils is out now. Book 2 rolls out September 2020, and Book 3 in June 2021. Catch her online at http://kitrosewater.com or @kitrosewater.

The Derby Daredevils: Kenzie Kickstarts a Team blurb:


Kenzie and Shelly have been best friends for as long as they can remember. They hang out at the park, practice their super-secret handshake, and (most important) count down the days to their roller derby debut. It looks like their dream is coming true when Austin’s city league announces a junior league. But there’s a catch. To try out together, the Dynamic Duo will have to form a team of five players... in just one week! As they start convincing other girls that roller derby is the coolest thing on wheels, Kenzie has second thoughts. Why is Shelly acting like everyone’s best friend? Isn’t she supposed to be Kenzie’s best friend? And things get really awkward when Shelly recruits Kenzie’s neighbor (and secret crush!) for the team.


The Derby Daredevils: Kenzie Kickstarts a Team by Kit Rosewater