Friday, July 29, 2022

July 2022 Pass or Pages Entry #5


It's time for the Pass or Pages feedback reveal!  We're so thankful for our awesome agent Ann Leslie Tuttle for taking the time to critique these entries.  And a shout out to the brave authors whose work will be on the blog this week.  You are awesome!

Entry 5: The Hollow

Genre:  Adult Historical


In 1882 a man who soon calls himself Urato settles in rustic Tuckaway Hollow. First stop, the orphanage, where he swaps the infant he carried into town for a little blond-haired girl and a business arrangement.[ALT1]

He hopes his little blond can fill the void that drove him from the Five Points, where stolen love had turned him into a murderer. As for the business arrangement, the matron is too desperate for funding to ask questions, but Urato sells the other children for profit.

Beginning with a ripple, Urato soon shatters the Hollow’s tranquility by unleashing corruption and vice throughout several sectors of the town.

Over two generations Urato’s actions unsettle Tuckaway Hollow institutions. Besides the orphanage he extends his grip to the town’s newspaper, railroad, and local government. He blindsides the unsuspecting first generation of locals with his devious methods, but Dennis Cade finds himself uniquely positioned to right Urato’s wrongs and heal Tuckaway Hollow’s soul.

Dennis Cade was six years old when Urato came to the Hollow.

Dennis was the only child at the orphanage raised by his own mother, the matron who didn’t realize she’d made a deal with the devil before Urato had even secured an address. Dennis never knew his father, but Herald publisher Big Jim Hanna was close enough. Big Jim gave Dennis his time and love, plus a good job and a sense of right and wrong. Urato takes Big Jim’s newspaper—and then his life.

Urato keeps on taking, seeming unstoppable until Dennis comes into possession of his mother’s ledger. These records shock Dennis, but he overcomes his shame and leverages them to rob Urato of some of his power. Not all of it by any means though.

THE HOLLOW is a 118,000 word[ALT2] adult historical novel/family saga set between 1882-1905.


Ann's comments:
[ALT1] I’d stop here.  Voice and set up aren’t sparking my interest.
[ALT2] Word count too high.

First 250 Words

Irato clutched the infant tight to his chest while battling to plant his rear to his seat as the train fought its way off the track. It was a minor derailment, an accident moving as slow as this sun-scorched day, at a sharp bend in the track not two hundred yards north of Tuckaway Hollow station. Irato was relieved to feel his seat submit wholly to his weight once the horrible screech of metal on metal was overcome by the more familiar farts and hisses of steam and smoke. It was over and he was safe. So was the baby.

He wondered at his instinct to protect the child. He supposed that if he had meant to have killed the little bitch, he would have done so with the others. She was blameless, granted. Too young for guilt, but that left her all the more years ahead for vengeance. Ignorance was the answer for that though, not murder. Even if the inconvenience of protecting her had forced his testicles into his throat for a few harrowing moments.

Irato noticed the few other passengers beginning to rise from their seats to exit the train. He preferred to wait for more official word from a conductor, even a porter, but supposed they were all busy tending to the now lopsided train. He was the last one in his car to exit. Irato now wished he had packed a case rather than having opted for a long coat ...


Results:  [If you receive a "Pages!", click on the agent's name at the top of this post for submission instructions.]

Thursday, July 28, 2022

July 2022 Pass or Pages Entry #4

It's time for the Pass or Pages feedback reveal!  We're so thankful for our awesome agent Ann Leslie Tuttle for taking the time to critique these entries.  And a shout out to the brave authors whose work will be on the blog this week.  You are awesome!

Entry 4: Guardian of the Blaze

Genre:  MG Fantasy


Dear agent, 

Sage Juniper Tucker never knew the real story behind her grandmother’s unexplained death. That is, until she turned twelve.

When Sage finds a key and a mysterious note meant for her on her birthday from her grandmother, she realizes that there's more to the story. Turns out, the key opens a door to Fenmire, a realm of fairies, and that Sage is a princess of that kingdom. Not only that, her grandmother is also still alive, but she is captured by the Imposters, a mysterious organization who are vying to overthrow the kingdom. As challenging obstacles come in her way, Sage learns that she has a unique ability to manipulate fire that is so powerful that the Imposters are willing to do whatever it takes to find a way to obtain them.

Sage is determined to find her grandmother, but managing to fit into a new world and embark on a dangerous mission is harder than it seems. Worst of all, amidst the chaos of solving mysteries and trying to figure out her own identity, she finds out that her own parents aren’t even her real parents; instead, they are humans. As a result, Sage is put in a perplexing dilemma of whether to leave her family behind, or to go back to where she doesn’t belong: the human world.

Complete at 65,000 words[ALT1], GUARDIAN OF THE BLAZE is a middle grade fantasy novel that will appeal to fans of Keeper of the Lost Cities and The Princess Diaries. Thank you for your time and consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you.


Ann's comments:
[ALT1] Word count is on the high side for MG and comps seem dated.

First 250 Words

The night was completely pitch black, dimmer than the other nights. It was mystifying.[ALT2]

Nevertheless, the moon in the sky was illuminating, and its light poured through the window, which was enough for Sage to see what Grandma had hidden deep in the closet in her bedroom.

She fished out a wooden box from the depths of the closet and ran her hand over the tiny, latched box, a wave of calmness rushing over her. The box felt smooth and cold, just like the wet pebbles at the bank of a river.

I can’t believe this, she thought, Grandma meant to give this box to me. If only she were here with me today...

But Grandma couldn’t be with Sage anymore. She was gone. Dead. Everything had felt like it happened yesterday, even though it happened one year ago. Sage could recall the heartbreaking moment when she found out that Grandma had passed away in a car accident. But to this day, Sage didn’t believe that. The car had been perfectly fine, except for a few dents and scratches, and Grandma’s body hadn’t even been found.

Tears welled in Sage's eyes. It was surprising how joyful moments can break and shatter easily, like a beautiful glass sculpture. If you drop the sculpture, it breaks to pieces of glass until all that’s left is a few sharp shards that poke and sting.


Ann's comments:
[ALT2] Prose could be more engaging.  Too much telling and set up.


Results:  [If you receive a "Pages!", click on the agent's name at the top of this post for submission instructions.]

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

July 2022 Pass or Pages Entry #3

It's time for the Pass or Pages feedback reveal!  We're so thankful for our awesome agent Ann Leslie Tuttle for taking the time to critique these entries.  And a shout out to the brave authors whose work will be on the blog this week.  You are awesome!

Entry 3: Pain and Passion: In the Golden Land

Genre:  Adult Contemporary


Dear Agent, 

For Raven Dupré, spending a year in Peru is an experience of a lifetime. She can start her career after graduating, complete her church mission, and redeem herself as the black sheep of the family. But when her graduate program proves more difficult than she thought, Raven realizes she needs to get a tutor. With limited funds, Raven can only afford one tutor, the hot free one who pesters her in class.

Amelio Velasques Canessa thought moving back to Peru was going to be simple. He’d take a few graduate classes, work in the family business, and enjoy time with his former friends. But Amelio's true heart lies in the art of making delicious food. With Amelio’s grades failing, his father gives him an ultimatum: improve or be cut off. With no other choice, Amelio decides to listen to his father and hire a tutor who wants to stick to business rather than lusting after him. 

As Raven and Amelio help each other reach their educational goals, the walls begin to fall, and they can no longer keep their meetings strictly business[ALT1]. But when Amelio’s father finds out, he has no qualms about shattering the new couple's memories. Heartbroken and pregnant, Raven moves back to the United States, now a disgrace to her religiously-devout Creole family. Blindsided and depressed, Amelio steps into his undesired role as the heir to his family’s prospering company. But Raven and Amelio still dream of the moments they once shared. 

During a chance discovery that Raven is pregnant, Amelio drops everything to try to be with her. But can this forbidden love truly overcome the mountains and oceans between them? 

PAIN AND PASSION: IN THE GOLDEN LAND is a 104,000-word[ALT2] adult contemporary family saga romance. It blends the relationship aspects of A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow by Laura Taylor Namey, with the trials, socio-economic gap, and forbiddenness of Sonali Dev’s, Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors. 

Thank you for your consideration. 


Ann's comments:
[ALT1] I’d probably stop reading here as plotting is feeling somewhat predictable and no bigger, unfamiliar twists.
[ALT2] Too long.

First 250 Words

Walking along the edge of the running track, Raven shielded her eyes from the forbidden temptations of the golden summer sun. Reaching the starting spot, she recited her prayer of supplication. After forgiveness flowed through her, she briefly placed the tip of her shoe on the edge of the metal bleacher to tighten the laces.[ALT3]

A loud mechanical roar swept over the field, and Raven lifted her head, her hazel eyes seeking out the source of the sound. Even on the other side of the field, she caught sight of the lawn mower and the man sitting in its seat. She wanted to ignore Nandin’s enthusiastic wave and his ever-so-familiar playboy grin.

Raven ripped her eyes away from the glistening muscles that lined his carob-brown arms.

Where are they?

She glanced at her watch, then bit her nail, hoping he would stay far away. With him being this near, the past was too close to her.

“Hey, Rave!” She turned towards the boisterous cry of Kristina.

Raven rushed over to her friends, still avoiding his gaze. “Finally! What took you two so long? Well, at least you’re dressed.”

“Sorry girl, Zara here—” Kristina started.

“Me?!” Zara pointed to herself, and her ivory-olive cheeks turned pink.

“It’s okay—” Raven said, wanting to finish this run as fast as she could.

Kristina clipped her bedazzled inhaler to her designer waistband, then tossed her bag onto the bleachers. “Yes, you. Like I said, Zara was preoccupied with Víctor.”


Ann's comments:
[ALT3] Prose feels somewhat overblown.


Results:  [If you receive a "Pages!", click on the agent's name at the top of this post for submission instructions.]

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

July 2022 Pass or Pages Entry #2

It's time for the Pass or Pages feedback reveal!  We're so thankful for our awesome agent Ann Leslie Tuttle for taking the time to critique these entries.  And a shout out to the brave authors whose work will be on the blog this week.  You are awesome!

Entry 2: The Demon from Jerusalem

Genre:  MG Fantasy


Dear [agent], 

Eleven-year-old Gal doesn't hate her perfect twin sister Sheera—she despises her. After all, her sister is the reason their parents think Gal is a total loser. Who wouldn’t think that while comparing her sister's straight A's and crispy-clean clothes to Gal's F's and mud-coated sneakers? 

One day, during a school trip to the Western Wall, Gal scribbles a note wishing her sister were gone and slips it between the Wall's cracks. But the note transforms into an ancient scroll. It offers to grant Gal's wish if she enters the Western Wall tunnels.[ALT1]

Curious, Gal follows the scroll's orders and sneaks into a wrecked and empty room—a big no no for anyone who doesn't want to release evil spirits. By entering the room, she frees the demon of destruction, Asmodeus, who summons his army of demons to turn Jerusalem into a demon hive. 

The only way to stop him is to kill a bunch of nasty other demons and journey through Sheol, the subterranean underworld. But can the sisters set their differences aside and work together toward a common goal? 

THE DEMON FROM JERUSALEM is a MG fantasy, complete at 40,000 words. It will appeal to fans of Percy Jackson and Aru Shah.[ALT2]

Thank you for your time and consideration.[ALT3]


Ann's comments:
[ALT1] This seems the meat of the pitch but it’s buried.
[ALT2] Aru Shah is not the author.  Both claims are also pretty grand by citing two such bestselling authors.
[ALT3] Pitch reads more like back cover copy and is somewhat generic.  I’d also advise that the full manuscript is available upon request.

First 250 Words

The best thing about having an exorcist for a father is that demons no longer scare me—people do.[ALT4]

Take a look at my dad’s clients, for example. A man with eyes staring in different directions came over and told us that a chocolate demon forced him to buy all the chocolate bars in the local grocery store. Dad patted his back, offered him a bowl of Matzah balls (Dad thought there was nothing more calming than those soup dumplings), and opened his blue spell book. There weren’t real spells in his book, but I called it that because of the Biblical Hebrew and all the weird symbols and scribbles that filled the pages. Dad used it all the time to cast demons away. Sorry, not all the time. Once came a woman who wore fishbones as a necklace and insisted that evil spirits made her cats bark. Dad told me to keep an eye on his spell book while he performed a complex ritual in his office. 

So when he volunteered to chaperone my sixth grade field trip to the Western Wall, I knew I'd see Incantation bowls and palm-shaped amulets stuffed into my backpack instead of candy and chips. I barely had enough room for my beloved drone, and this toy could provide defense against the evil eye better than any other talisman.


Ann's comments:
[ALT4] Good opening line.  And there is a nice sense of voice in the opening pages.


Results:  [If you receive a "Pages!", click on the agent's name at the top of this post for submission instructions.]

Monday, July 25, 2022

July 2022 Pass or Pages Entry #1

It's time for the Pass or Pages feedback reveal!  We're so thankful for our awesome agent Ann Leslie Tuttle for taking the time to critique these entries.  And a shout out to the brave authors whose work will be on the blog this week.  You are awesome!

Entry 1: Blink and You're Gone

Genre:  Women's Fiction


I am writing to share with you my 77,000-word novel, BLINK AND YOU'RE GONE, which is upmarket women's fiction with a speculative twist.
Nothing to See Here meets Sorrow and Bliss in a raw, emotional novel about a woman's struggle to find love and acceptance when her daughter is born with a unique ability—she can shift locations in a single blink.[ALT1]

Laila Allen was an awkward only child who grew up desperate to meet her Jewish mother's high expectations, fearful of failing to fit in. Now, in the wake of childbirth, Laila struggles to distinguish between the onset of postpartum depression and her conviction that there is something abnormal about her daughter Jade. Under pressure from her husband, she is ready to accept responsibility when they are confronted with the reality—Jade can shift locations in a single blink.[ALT2]

As Jade grows, they must adapt fast to keep her safe and help her to master her bizarre condition. Yet, nobody, not even Laila's own mother, will believe that Jade is capable of "shifting." Laila craves external acceptance, while her husband is keen to ensure they appear normal, but this comes crashing down when another child, Devan Shah, proves his abilities live on television. Suddenly, the world believes. 

Laila now has the opportunity to gain the public recognition she desires by positioning herself as the UK's leading expert on shifting. But this new career and fame risk coming at the expense of her marriage, shattering the stable family life she had so carefully constructed. What's more, Jade and Devan are getting older and closer, and they have very different ideas about how to leverage the spotlight their abilities give them…
BLINK AND YOU'RE GONE explores a unique childhood ability in the vein of Kevin Wilson's Nothing to See Here, combined with plot twists akin to Elizabeth Day's Magpie. Themes of maternal love, loss, obsession, mental health, and the complexities of the mother-daughter relationship are all examined through a close POV and non-linear writing style that should appeal to the readers of Meg Mason's Sorrow and Bliss and Donna Freitas's The Nine Lives of Rose Napolitano.[ALT3]


Ann's comments:
[ALT1] You repeat this below and might be more compelling if you could frame the ability in a larger context, e.g. one of themes explored below to show how it brings what she wanted but at a high price.
[ALT2] Minor point but repetitive here.
[ALT3] You’ve cited 4 comps here.  I’d suggest 2.  And isn’t it Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason?

First 250 Words

Remember, you'll go crazy on day three. 

The crumpled sheets scratch my shoulder blades as I shift, shaking off the errant thought. My sweaty limbs are resting loosely, my joints sticky, my legs akimbo.  Even this simple movement takes effort as if I am sinking in sludge. I am entirely spent yet happy. Blissfully happy.

Literally insane. It happens to everyone.

It is the jarring voice of my friend Jackie, who recently took the opportunity of a casual coffee to pass on words of unasked-for wisdom. That's not to say I wasn't appreciative. On the contrary, I drank up every piece of advice she had readily, terrified, praying that within her unsolicited musings were the tiny nuggets that would get me through the upcoming ordeal.

I don't know why I've snagged onto that particular comment now. When I should be experiencing nothing but pure unadulterated joy. I guess when you haven't slept for thirty-six hours, your brain can do funny things.

A plump nurse smiles as she walks over, her arms full. Seth stands shyly behind her. His thick, dark hair is unkempt, without any wax or paste to control it. He is wearing his old, square glasses, smudged and wonky on the bridge of his nose. For my normally commanding husband, the effect is unusually boyish.

I smile back at the nurse reflexively, mirroring her expression in a daze. 

"You're doing well, Laila," she says as if I have asked for reassurance.


Results:  [If you receive a "Pages!", click on the agent's name at the top of this post for submission instructions.]

Friday, July 22, 2022

Query Friday-Query tools:The One Sentence Pitch

You are a writer. You write. You wrote a novel, possibly several novels. Hundreds of thousands of words have flowed from your fingertips and yet when someone asks you what your story is about

Cute Gif Images: Who Cares Gif Spongebob 

you're left speechless....

It happens my friends. What you need here is the One Sentence Pitch. I know, it sounds super intimidating. And it can be scary to try to summarize your entire novel into one sentence. One measly sentence... But it is possible and can even be helpful.

To start keep in mind that your One Sentence Pitch should revolve around the plot of your story. You don't need to name every character, or talk about the romantic subplot, just the main plot. In my one sentence pitch I like to include

1) The main character- a description that will be of interest to the reader, no names necessary or ages unless that is important to the plot. 

2) The Stakes- what is the character up against i.e. why should the reader care?

3) The flavor/genre of the story- I should know if I'm walking into a romance, a screwball comedy, or a tear jerking family saga all from that one sentence. 

That Sounds Hard Futurama GIF - That Sounds Hard Futurama That - Discover &  Share GIFs

I know. I know. But luckily there is a template for hundreds of these one sentence pitches that you can filter by genre and find something you might tailor for your specific story. Where is this magical resource you ask?

 File:Netflix logo.svg - Wikimedia Commons

That's right...Netflix and Query!

Below are three examples from Netflix on one sentence pitches. (Full transparency- I have not seen any of these movies so my inferences are strictly based on the pitch- much like your audiences will be based on your pitch).

The Interceptor

The last standing officer on a remote missile defense base wages the battle of her life against terrorists aiming 16 stolen nuclear weapons at the US. 

Okay- The character here is a military female- I'm betting she's tough if she is the last one standing.  The stakes are likely the lives of everyone in the US. And the flavor seems like an action thriller. 

A Perfect Pairing

To win over a major client, a go-getter LA wine exec signs on to work at an Australian sheep farm, where she sparks with a rugged and mysterious local. 

This one is trickier... Let's start with the genre- it isn't implicitly stated here but based on some tropes that show in the pitch I am guessing we are looking at a romance.  The character is a go-getter LA wine exec. I imagine they are purposely painting her as a city girl so that in contract when she "signs on to work at an Australian sheep farm" when can know to anticipate a fish out of water/big city girl in a small town story. These a tropes that romance fans are very familiar with. Finally, the stakes are listed as the need to win over a major client- but again if this is a romance I guess the stakes are her heart.

Winking Heart | Heart emoticon, Smiley, Emoticon 

The Water Man

Desperate to save his ailing mother, 11 year old Gunner runs away from home on a quest to find a mythic figure rumored to have the power to cheat death.  

This one is my favorite. The character an 11 y/o boy named Gunner. The stakes, his mothers life. And genre MG quest fantasy. You get a lot of info in very few words here. Well done.


A bit of advice- some of these pitches are better then others. So if you are looking for  one to base your pitch on make sure it makes you want to watch the movie yourself.

Next time will talk about expanding this pitch into the basis of your query.

Happy Friday! 



Thursday, July 21, 2022

Dear O'Abby: How can I stop people returning my books after they've read them?

 Dear O'Abby,

I'm not sure if this is a new thing or not, but recently I've noticed an exponential rise in the number of my books being returned on Amazon after they have been read in their entirety.  I have been an author for a number of years and have been making a reasonable income from my writing with several series and a few stand-alone novels out there.  Suddenly my income is dropping and I can only put it down to the increase in the number of returns.

Now, I don't mind the odd return if a reader gets a chapter or two in and realises the book isn't their cup of tea, but it seems a bit rich to return something if you've read it all the way through.  Even if you didn't like it that much.

Is there anything I can do about this?



Dear Miffed,

Yes, unfortunately this is a thing at the moment.  It seems some influencers on Tik Tok have been telling readers they can return books after they have been read and that has led to a whole lot of writers feeling the same way you do.  It is a flaw in Amazon's policy and they seem unwilling to do anything about it.  And why would they?  The download fee has already been paid and that is not refundable even if the price of the book is returned to the purchaser.  And who pays the download fee?  The author or publisher.

So it's a bad situation for authors who are essentially paying for people to "borrow" their books.  Apparently it's even worse for people who have their audio-books available through Audible because people can return audio-books for up to a year!

In terms of what you can do, short of pulling your books from Amazon and selling only on other platforms, which is probably both rash and foolhardy given Amazon's market share, you're short on options.  There is a petition going around to try and get Amazon to change its policy, but whether this will have much effect is yet to be known.  But my advice would be to sign it even if you are doubtful it will make a difference.  If enough authors sign, Amazon might be forced to take notice.  

And talk about it.  Loudly.  Wherever you can.  Readers don't necessarily know that doing this is costing authors.  Readers don't think about the months or years it took to write that book and how little per hour the return is for the work.  So make them aware.  I'm pretty sure most readers would be horrified to know they are essentially stealing from their favourite authors when they return a book they've read.

X O'Abby

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Rebecca Stirling answers #13Questions in OA's Debut Author Spotlight

Operation Awesome Spotlight #13Questions of #NewBook Debut Author posted by @JLenniDorner of @OpAwesome6 2022

13 Questions shine Operation Awesome's Spotlight
on this
2022 Debut Author

The Shell and the Octopus by Rebecca Stirling

1- What is your favorite world culture or time in history?

The end of the Edo period(1750 to 1886) into the Meiji period (1186 to 1912) of modern day Tokyo. The culture, artisan precision and beauty, language, architecture,

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

Write about what is behind or invokes the burning feeling in your chest... When you jump from a rock outcropping into a pool of water, when you fall in love, when you hear the news from the other end of the phone connection, when you....
Rebecca Stirling #NewBook #DebutAuthor #2022Books #13Questions

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

Compassion, intrigue, anguish, inspiration

4- Previous debut author, Liesbet Collaert, has a book that's largely about life at sea (Plunge - Do you two share a target audience, and have you read that book and what are your thoughts?

Yes I have read this book! It is one of the first books I found when I began to prepare for getting my book out into the world, precisely because I do believe we share a target audience. I empathise with her drive for adventure, and her deep passion for love, life and beauty. I admire that she embarked on her journey in her early 20's, which is just when I tore myself away from sailing to regain a sense of connection with what I thought to be the 'real world,' and also when my father passed and I took over his business. I find myself inspired and yearning to sail and travel as I am pulled into this beautiful world by her words.

5- Would you share a picture with us of your book by the water?

Rebecca Stirling #NewBook #DebutAuthor #2022Books #13Questions

6- How do you support your fellow debut authors and have any of them supported you?

Leslie Johansen Nack wrote the book, Fourteen, about living with her father and two younger sisters on a sailboat while preparing to travel and voyaging to The South Pacific. We connected online due to the similarity of our stories, began to talk on the phone, and recently met in person for the launch of her second book, The Blue Butterfly. She has become a dear friend and huge support and guide for me not only in writing and publishing, but also in life. I hope that my support for her is similar. My continued involvement in several writing groups, volunteer positions in writers conferences, and reaching out to other authors who I am inspired by and relate to has been foundational in creating a support network akin to family. I love to help support and share others works in any way I can, and have been blessed with support by so many.

7- Do you have two or three writer friends on there to shout-out to for #WriterWednesday ?

Leslie Johansen Nack @leslie_nack, Cheryl Strayed @CherylStrayed, Paulo Coehlo @paulocoelho

8- What is your favorite creative non-writing activity to do?
Rebecca Stirling #ocean #NewBook #DebutAuthor #2022Books #13Questions

To be somehow with the ocean.

9- In what ways are the main characters in your book diverse? #WeNeedDiverseBooks

My book is diverse in that it speaks about a young woman at sea. Though white and ultimately privileged in the larger scheme of things, this woman is able to interact with, be with, and live, within many private bubbles that may not conventionally be experienced, or penetrated. She is able to live on the open ocean for weeks at a time, she is raised by her father and no mother, she does not have a consistent home base other than the boat, she immerses herself in, and is sometimes taken in by, other cultures and religions out of necessity and curiosity. For example she interacts with many pacific island native village people, she becomes very close friends with a young Indonesian 'working girl,' she works and lives among many Muslim, Hindu, and Christian cultures. She lives in utter poverty, as well as luxury. The diversity highlighted is one of transcending and living within myriad traditional norms, while changing between them on a daily or weekly basis.

Rebecca Stirling #NewBook #DebutAuthor #2022Books #13Questions

10- What's the biggest writing goal you hope to accomplish in your lifetime? #WriteGoal #BucketList #WriterBucketList

To continue to write and publish novels that inspire and uplift. To offer a lense to a broader perspective of oneself, family, community, cultures and our earth that encourages celebration of diversity, compassion for difficulty, and encouragement of the wholistic way of living on this planet as humans.

11- What was the query process like for you?

The query process was a challenge for me. It switched my creative mindset to more of a business, promotional tone, which is challenging for me and also a great exercise. I reminded myself to be genuine, find those who I felt drawn to to see if I would be a good fit for them so that moving forward together would be enjoyable and encouraging within all of the hard work. In the end, personal conversations got me closer to where I am today.
Rebecca Stirling #NewBook #DebutAuthor #2022Books #13Questions

12- Would you please ask our audience an intriguing question to answer in the comments?

What is the most simple, uplifting adventure that is within your reach each day? It could be taking a shower, walking beside a river, smiling at someone on the street, or hugging a loved one.

13- Anything else you would care to share about your book and yourself?
Rebecca Stirling #NewBook #DebutAuthor #2022Books #13Questions

Rebecca Stirling lives between Colorado and Kauai with her two children. She teaches creative art and writing classes to help spread the knowledge and ingenuity of world cultures. She continues to sail and travel, read and write, and has a love for the stories individuals, cultures, and our earth, have to tell. She has published in 'Outdoor Magazine,' and 'Mountain Outlaw Magazine,' among others.

The Shell and the Octopus by Rebecca Stirling

Monday, July 18, 2022

July 30 is Paperback Book Day!

July 30 is Paperback Book Day because on July 30, 1935, Penguin Books in England published its first paperbacks.  Prior to this, most books were published in hardcover, which made the average book too expensive, heavy, and cumbersome for most consumers.  “Paper” books were either magazines, or low quality.  Penguin Books saw an opportunity to emerge from the worldwide recession by providing books by high-quality authors like Agatha Christie and Ernest Hemingway at lower prices that common people could afford.

In the first 12 months, 3 million paperback books were sold, each at a price roughly equal to the price for a pack of cigarettes.  How much did things cost in 1935?

Minimum wage $0.25 per hour
Average wage $0.45 per hour
Average salary $1500 per year
House $6300
Car $580
Gas $0.11 per gallon
Hardcover book $2.50
Paperback book $0.25

I usually read audio books.  What about you?  Do you usually read hardcover books, paperback books, ebooks, or audio books? Tell us in the comments!

Friday, July 15, 2022

Flash Fiction Friday

It's Flash Fiction Friday! For this week's contest, go to HuffPost's Weird News page and write a short piece based on a headline! 

Catching my eye this week is

Are we really sure they're snails???

Read all about it here.

Or feel free to choose any of the many lovely offerings.

Length: 2000 words
Deadline: Sunday, July 17th , 2022, 2am Central Standard Time

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