Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Where's The Line Between YA and NA?

The New Adult genre has been in play for a while. It's not until I joined Indie Inked that I really started to find out more about it. Some of the authors within the group have had great success with their NA novels. It got me thinking... Should I write one of those? And then I started thinking... Well what is the NA genre really? How is it different to YA?

From what I can tell so far, NA books deal with characters who are slightly older - 18+ years. They are dealing with some of those issues you face out of high school...the really big coming of age type moments. A character's first proper job, first serious relationship... possibly an engagement, a heart shattering break-up, having to take care of family. You know, the really big stuff that makes or breaks a person.

I guess YA novels deal with some of those issues too, but in NA the author can go into more depth, make it more gritty and intense. I think another big difference is that NA can be more violent and also more detailed with sex. 

I'm still deciding how I feel about this. These books are aimed at a 16 - 18+yrs . I know people are basically adults by then and I don't want to by an old-fashioned stuff, but I am still going to think very carefully about how I present the sex and violence in any of my books. 

Okay - so now that I have laid my foundations, I want to put forward a question. 

Where is the line between YA and NA books?

I am asking this because I am currently writing a novella - Before. It's a prequel to Betwixt and describes Dale's journey when he was going through his bad boy phase. He got up to a lot of mischief and I need to include this in the story to make his journey more impacting. I feel like it is an NA style story, yet it's about a teenage boy. Do I market this book as a YA or an NA?

I know some authors who have faced the problem of starting a YA series and as the characters grow older the books need to become grittier... more NA like. So does the marketing change halfway through a series?

I'm really interested to know what people think on this.

As a reader, I am open to both YA and NA books. I love both genres, although some NA's go too far for me. On the opposite side of the spectrum, I have heard one author comment that someone complained because her NA novel wasn't raunchy enough?

I feel like the YA/NA genres are very closely linked and I think people need to be open to the fact that some YA novels will be racier and some NA novels will not have as much punch. 

How do you define the difference between the two genres?
How important is it to differentiate between the two?

Friday, July 19, 2013

Indie Author Spotlight - Toni Lombardo

The YA Author Club is expanding is author presence and bringing on new talent every single week. This week, we are introducing the newest member of our team, Toni Lombardo. She is not an indie author, and she does not plan to become one. She's working hard at establishing herself within the traditionally published world. We wish her the best of luck in her efforts and thought it might be kind of cool to offer our fans/friends/followers a new voice within the club. 
Instead of posting information about indie publishing, Toni will take a few minutes every few weeks to fill us in on her trials and tribulations as she journeys toward the Big Six.

Also... leave us a comment and let know which Big Six pic you like best #1 (first one) or #2 (second one). The one getting the most votes/comments will be the one we use to introduce Toni's posts from this point forward.

Social Media Sites for Toni:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/write_to_live
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IamLifewriter

Without further ado, we are pleased to introduce Toni Lombardo:

Hello there blog readers! Toni here, I am going to talk about myself now.  Hope you don’t mind.
Okay, so first off I am a twenty something (21)  and striving to be a writer!  I am currently(ish)  a student at a community college (although at the moment I am taking a break from school)  and my plan is to major in meteorology.  Of course I’ll have to transfer to a four year.  In some moments I want to major in English, because I am in love with words (a good thing for a writer, right?) .  I would like to teach an elective class in a preppy school to do with the appreciation of old timey writers (Stoker, Melville, Shelley, etc.) and introduce the kids to modern day writers who I think are fantastic such as John Green (The Fault in Our Stars) , Jay Asher (Thirteen Reasons Why) , *clears throat* T.R. Graves (not kissing up, she is actually really great, like go read her books now!) .
I have been writing since I can remember.  I wrote short stories or was forced to by teachers, but I always enjoyed it and nine times out of ten exceeded the length required or well wanted (sometimes they weren’t happy) .  My dad also made up stories for me when I was little, I hope to one day publish and anthology of them (I do attribute that to my love of the plot) .  I actually sat down to write a book when by hand when I was fourteen? Maybe? But I gave up on that book (I will one day reapproach that book, but for now the characters and I are not mixing…it’s not my fault blame them)  to write what I wanted to publish as my first.  I started that book when I was fifteen and finished it when I was sixteen and went onto the next.  I am on the third in the series and am currently rewriting the first book.  I was young when I wrote it and afraid of words like sex, so I would dance around the word.  Plus other things I wrote in it are just cringe worthy and embarrassing.  Trust and believe if a writer says their work is cringe worthy it is…we are our biggest critic yes, but if we can make ourselves cringe it is pretty correct to believe that the reader would wonder what the heck the writer was thinking.
I spend my days working at a clothing store.  I love it.  I work with kids ranging from size 6-20.  I love working with the girls who aren’t societies standard of ‘beauty’.  It’s great because you can see the kid coming in so self-conscious (because they are a size 16 not 12 like their friends)  and leave smiling because you told them they are beautiful and helped them pick out clothes and raved over how amazing the kid looked and sometimes the kid even hugs you.  I know this sounds like I am saying ‘oh look at me.  I’m so great.  Blah, blah, blah.’  That is not my intention.  Today’s society is so messed up, these kids are so self-conscious at such a young age, and they are getting bullied.  Their parents telling them they are beautiful is one thing, when a someone else makes a big deal about it the kid feels good.  I think it’s a thing everyone should do.  Encourage people, because one day you will need it.   Okay enough about my job.
I also spend my days plotting up stories and plot twists.  I like listening to music and sometimes it even inspires or curbs scenes. I like going to the gym and reading, it is where I get most of my reading in.  In one day at work…working on stock in the back room, five new book ideas came flooding in.
I have one dog, a Beta named Platelet in one tank with a snail, eight goldfish all named after characters in my books and a Plecko and a snail in another tank that is huge.  I have the plecko and snails to help keep the tanks clean.
I’d like to write more often and I need to.  It is the best and worst thing in the world, if you are a writer you will understand that sentence; if you are not a writer ask one that you know.
I use Twitter and Instagram and Facebook to interact with writers and friends and share stuff about my books and from time to time excerpts! 
I hope to change the publishing world by introducing them to new styles of writing!  And once you get to know me you know I don’t just dabble in things, I jump in whole heartedly with both feet, and most of the time without a safety net.   I am beginning to blog under the supervision and guidance of Graves (I just love her) .  Please come back bi-weekly to join me on my journey of publishing and writing on my blog series called Toni’s Big Six Journey. 
It can be found here: http://yaauthorclub.blogspot.com
Listening to: Wishing Well by Ben Moody: All for This
Quote: “Just know, when you truly want success, you’ll never give up on it. No matter how bad the situation may get.” - Unknown

Spotlight Interview Questions:

1) What is your all-time favorite book and why?
“The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green (TFIOS) .  It is just perfect.  I cried on every page and went hysterical at Chapter 21.  I re-read the book within two months and re-experienced all that beautiful pain (readers of this book will get it #nerdfighter) .  Also, I bonded with my IBBF (internet best friend forever)  over this book.  We’ve known each other for a little over two months as of 7.12.2013, but it is one of the greatest friendships I have had.  So, beyond being a great book it brought me a great friend.

2) Is there an author you could be compared to or popular fictional characters your book's characters could relate to and why?
Oh gosh, this is a biggie.  I don’t really know.  I have my own style, but some of my darker pieces, like “The Tale-Tale Heart” which is a re-doing of “The Tell-Tale Heart” by E.A. Poe for a final English paper, have been associated to Poe.  I’m actually about to start a second mirroring piece of his, that T.R. Graves is up-to-date about.
As far as characters…People are going to think TFIOS for some of my characters, because I talk about the book ALL the time and it is a book about kids with cancer.  But my book is about a kid or two with cancer but there is more of a story to it than that, just like Green’s.

As far as my characters relating to other characters…oh I don’t know, never thought about that.  I’ve read books with characters that reminded me of mine, but never really thought about it that way.  I think Devon would like Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher.

3) Can you give us your favorite quote from one of your books and explain it?
“If you don’t know, you do not deserve to know!” –Devon
Oh my, how can I explain, Devon?  Okay so in this scene Devon just found out something in his family. Sorry for being vague, don’t want to give away plot points. He is really struggling in his life at the moment and this news was just devastating.  Like a lot of teens Devon struggles with the idea of self-harm and when his brother is talking to him he (Devon)  hints to wanting to hurt himself, and when his brother doesn’t get the hint he says the above quote possibly angrily. 

4) What types of things/people/music inspires you and makes you want to keep writing?
Things that inspire me to write…I don’t know.  Sometimes I just see something, okay I was in a store the other day and saw a beautiful all glass frame, free standing.  I saw it and instantly knew it belonged to a character in one of my W.I.P.s, and when I got home it was already done the character would have it in their house.  So it is just kind of random, if I see something and it attaches to a character, I say it inspired me.

People- My best friend Anne is who I write for along with a few other people.  Anne is my muse and my ‘first reader’.  She keeps me going when I don’t want to write and pushes me to finish projects. So she inspires me as well as Graves, Green, Asher, and others.

Music!!! Ahh, such an inspiration!  Don’t want to say too much here because this topic is going to be a whole blog post for me!

What makes me want to keep writing—my characters.  I get a points where I miss them and I physically feel missing them, I feel pain of sorts.  Sometimes just thinking and plotting and writing notes just does not suffice, so I write to subdue the longing for interacting with them.  And I love writing, so that helps.

5) Describe your typical writing day or week.
They are random.  I write whenever and wherever.  At one point I was writing (more than this at home)  every Friday night at the bar in Red Robin, where one of my friends works.  I would buy an unsweetened peach tea with EXTRA regular syrup and she kept me in well supply.   It was a great writing environment and the support was great!

6) Is there a food or drink do you have to have when you're writing?
I love, love, love peach tea, but I can’t have too much caffeine otherwise I can’t sleep.  So at one point it was that, but now….yeah, it is still that, I just can’t have it all the time.

7) Can you tell us what you're working on right now (& possibly provide an excerpt & cover) ?
Sooooo many things! The book I am working on to get published first is Life’s Not a Fantasy I have a cover idea, but no cover yet!  An excerpt? Sure!  Here is the introduction.  It is written by Devon:

It wasn’t ever supposed to be like this.  Our family was always so torn apart, even before what I’m, about to write.  Dad was out fighting for ‘our safety’ but was never home...he was a ‘lifer’.  Mom chose her favorites and clung tightly to them, and I fell to the bottom of that spectrum.  I was okay with it though.
I was always the ‘untypical typical’ teenager, meaning I was or still am the loner.  I’ve done my fair share of stupid things, but more on that later.
He, Cameron always held us together.  He was our rock.  He could make or break our family and now his name resonates with pain.
How can one name ruin everything?  How can one name bring so much pain?
It’s been days, moments, but his name already feels like a curse. 
Thanks for reading!  Hope this was entertaining.
Keep writing,

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Good Stuff To Know - July Edition

I haven't done one of these posts in a really long time. Sorry about my inconsistency with posting lately. I am planning on getting back into after our vacation. It's hard to keep things up when you're away from home...plus I've had all these releases in quick session. It's been a crazy couple of months... yet so much fun!

Anyway - I thought it was about time I got back into this post as I know many of you find it really helpful.

Here are a few links I've been storing away that may come in handy.

Jonathan Gunson is a total legend when it comes to sharing great marketing tips. I thought this post had some excellent points. 7 Best Seller Strategies for Writers.

I am a "do it yourself" book trailer maker. I came across this blog post the other day with a bunch of links for finding awesome background music for trailers. Not all of these are free, but they are royalty free, which is really helpful. 21 Sites of Free Music for your Book Trailer.

I actually hunted for these two articles. With the new adult genre rising in popularity quickly it's been hard to find the line between YA and NA fiction. I think even readers are confused sometimes. I think authors need a really clear idea in their minds about what New Adult fiction is.
This post was brilliant: New Adult Fiction: The Next Big Thing in Publishing?
And this post was really helpful when dealing with YA writing: 5 Tips for Writing and Marketing YA/Teen Books.

I've actually decided to do a full post on this topic, so keep an eye out for that next week.

Hopefully these articles are helpful to you.
If you have anything else you've come across that you'd like to share, please feel free to add it in the comments section.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Indie Life - It's All About the Sequel

I'm very excited to be part of The Indelibles Indie Life series. These posts run on the second Wednesday of every month and include ideas and articles from a wide variety of indie authors. Check out the links below to learn more about INDIE LIFE.

I have been published since 2011 and it has not taken me long to figure out that in this game, writing series and sequels is the way to go. I have seven books published now with another one due for release in August and looking back over my stats, my trilogy is the strongest seller by far.

It makes sense though, doesn't it? Readers invest their time in these characters, get to know them, fall in love with them. Of course they are more likely to buy another book involving these people. It's a great way to develop a lasting readership or build a fan base. Speaking as a reader, I don't like saying goodbye to characters I fall in love with and it's fun watching them grow throughout a series.

From a writers viewpoint, it's great business. You can put the first book on sale, or free, and this leads to subsequent sales for the rest of the series. I have found this to be hugely successful for me, which is why I decided to go for rapid fire releases with my second trilogy. The first two books are already out - Unknown in June and Unseen in July. The 3rd book - Unleashed - is due out in August. I am then going to spend my marketing budget in September. That's when I'll run some sales, pay for some advertising, do a blog tour, etc. Once the readers can access all three books quickly. I have never done this before and am really interested to analyze it all at the end and see how it's paid off.

If you're anything like me, you have a million stories in your database and new ideas constantly popping into your head. Writing series takes staying power. I am always tempted to keep releasing new stuff, stand alone stories, but I am curbing that desire for now. Sure, I'll still do the odd stand alone, but from the results I've seen in my own writing, they will never take off as well as my series.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Unseen Pre-Release Giveaway!

What's a book release without a little giveaway, huh?

As I did with Unknown, I am offering up one paperback copy of Unseen. All you have to do to enter this giveaway is answer the question below in the comments section. Entries close, Wednesday, July 10th at 6PM EST.

I will use Random.org to select the winner and will announce who won on July 11th. The day Unseen is officially released.

Now - for the question...

This week I have introduced you to seven new characters that you will encounter in Unseen. One of them owns a pet dragon...who do you think it might be?

Thanks for playing and good luck to you all!

NEW RELEASE: Thundering Luv! by LM Preston

 LM Preston's Summer Romance THUNDERING LUV!

Release Date: June 1st, 2013
Format: Ebook Only Release, but will be part of a print book in 2014 that includes 3 short YA Summer Romances by LM Preston to include (Flutter Of Luv, Thundering Luv, and Double Trouble Luv)

Publisher: Phenomenal One Press

Jewel has always been able to get the guy she wanted. The starting jock on the football team, the team captain on the basketball team, and the lead swimmer on the swim team. Problem is, she didn't find them the least bit exciting. Was she cold or a she-wolf for guys? Colin thought so, and he'd do anything to bring her down a peg or two. When these two collide on the sandy beach during their mixed up summer vacation, sparks fly, making this a summer neither will forget.

LM Preston,YA SciFi Author
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Thursday, July 4, 2013

Unseen Character Intros - Levi, Raquel and Toban

I always wanted Jethro to have siblings. When I was coming up with who Jethro was and the type of family he came from, I knew it would be a solid family, filled with members that loved each other. Jethro's younger brother quickly appeared. He originally had a different name, but the more he appeared in scenes, the more I knew I could name after only person - my nephew, Levi.

Levi is twelve, although desperately wants to keep up with his older brother. He yearns for adventure and constantly wants to prove himself. He is an able fighter, thanks to his father's training, and dreams of being a brave knight. But underneath it all, he is actually a tenderhearted kid. I really grew to love him.

Once again, with this series, two characters I never planned on came to life...and became really important characters in these books.

Raquel and Toban are siblings, the only children to Ezekiel, whose wife died when the children were young.

Raquel is seventeen. She is a sweet, compassionate person who has taken care of the family since her mother died. She was only eleven years old at the time, but being a mature, sensible soul, she took the role on without much trouble. Everyone who knows her talks about her kind heart. She is quiet and can easily be passed by, but there is an incredible strength within this girl that I came to love and admire.

Toban is eleven. He is a fiery child who has always dreamed of adventure, much like his friend, Levi. The two boys scurry around the city together, wanting to be part of what the men are up to. Although Toban is six years younger than his sister, he is very protective of her. I love his tenacity and courage.

So now that you've met some more characters in this series, keep an eye out for my pre-release giveaway starting on Saturday. Much like the Unknown giveaway, all you'll have to do to enter is answer a simple question :)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Unseen Character Intros - Bordor and Nafeez

I don't know what it is about writing bad characters, but it's so much fun. Most of my favourite scenes involve the villains in a story. The Elements Trilogy is no exception.

Two characters that came to life in Unseen are Bordor and Nafeez. When I initially put this trilogy together, I had not planned on either of these men, but when Safeer went to meet with the Elite, these two stepped into my story and became important characters.

Let me introduce you.

Bordor is the commander of the Elite, a powerful group of assassins that work for King Ashan. They dabble in magic and are a formidable enemy. Their task is to find and eliminate the seekers so that the prophecy will not come true. They also have some much grander plans, but I don't want to give too much away. Bordor is a very strong, confident character that enjoys intimidating people and although he comes across as callous, he'd do anything for his men.

Nafeez is the sorcerer for the Elite. He loves to brew potions and create weapons with greater power. He has designed black bladed swords that can burn and weaken an average blade. He also supplies King Ashan with a special elixir that makes him bigger, stronger and more powerful. It is made from the dust of a powerful obsidian rock, which makes King Ashan's veins run with black blood. He is a wicked man who revels in people's suffering. A nasty character indeed.

Tomorrow I will make my final pre-release introductions for Unseen. Then keep your eye out for a giveaway :D

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Unseen Character Intros - Cori and Eshron

Continuing on from my Unknown Character Intro series, I wanted you guys to meet a few more people that are introduced in the second book of the Elements Trilogy.

Cori and Eshron are two very special characters... much like Adamar and Mya. I have come to love these children so much. I can't wait for you to get to know them better.

Cori is a dainty girl. In spite of her age, she behaves like a lady. She holds herself with grace and elegance. But the thing I love most about her, is her compassionate heart. She is so caring, always mindful of how people are feeling and what they need. She has a strong intuition and is very aware of the darkness. I think of her as a young mother hen who wants to protect those around her.

Eshron is a strong character. He's passionate about his beliefs and doesn't like things to stand in his way. He has had a tough life and this has made him resilient. I love his fiery directness and his confidence. Although he can come across as a little rude at times, everything he does comes from a love of the God of Light.

Unseen is going to be released next week! I still have a few more characters I want you to meet before then.

Tomorrow I'll introduce you to a couple of brilliant baddies that have been so much fun to write!