Monday, November 23, 2015

Dear Authors: Do Your Research!

Dear Authors:

Yes, I was a literary agent at Corvisiero Literary Agency for a very brief period of time. Note the "was" -- as in past tense. Due to personal reasons, I made the difficult decision to leave. (To learn more about why, please read this post.) When I made the announcement, I received an outpouring of support and encouraging messages. Heck,I'm still getting messages. I was humbled by the sheer amount of concern and well-wishes heaped upon me, and I cannot begin to tell you how much that has meant to me. So to everyone who reached out and to those who kept me and my family in your prayers, THANK YOU!

Just last week, the wonderful Chuck Sambuchino tweeted that I was a new agent looking for certain genres. (On a side note - I had the chance to meet Chuck earlier this year, and he's just as personable and friendly and knowledgeable in person as he is online. Seriously, if you have the chance to attend one of his workshops, do it!) That single tweet received dozens of retweets and favorites, and resulted in me gaining a lot of new followers. Chuck was simply doing what he does and trying to help. Unfortunately, in the midst of dealing with family issues, I never emailed Chuck to alert him to the fact I was no longer an agent. The blame for this is on me, and I fully own that. Let me be very clear: I do not blame Chuck in the least. He's a great guy and I fully support his efforts within the writing community.

However, since that tweet, I have gotten an influx of emails from authors seeking representation. At first, I answered all of them, explaining that I was no longer an agent and wishing them well. But the emails continue to come. I just got two more this morning. And you know what I realized? They are being sent to my Anaiah Press and / or my personal email address! And you know what this tells me?

Authors aren't doing their research! And that, dear authors, is on you. Yes, I should've made sure Chuck knew I was no longer an agent. Yes, I should've shared my announcement more frequently on social media. But it's your responsibility, as an author, to do your homework, to know who you're submitting to and what their role is withing the publishing industry.

I mean, that is the number one thing authors are told when they start querying -- DO YOUR RESEARCH! It's clear that none of these authors have, because if they did, they would've learned two very important things:

1. I am no longer an agent. I'm no longer listed on the Corvisiero Literary agency website. There is a post on my blog about it. I've tweeted about it. Posted on Facebook about it.

2. Anaiah Press is a publisher who is in the business of publishing Christian fiction. They are not a literary agency and they do not represent authors. They publish books.

I cannot stress this enough, authors, DO. YOUR. RESEARCH! Know who you're submitting to, know what they're looking for, and most importantly, know the difference between agent and publisher. Don't send a publisher an email asking them to represent you and your books. And conversely, don't send an agent an email and ask them to publish your book.

Anyone who knows me or has ever had any interactions with me will tell you that I am always more than willing to teach and help authors in anyway I can. And that hasn't changed. But please, I beg you, do your research. From this point forward, I won't continue to answer emails asking for representation; and honestly, I really shouldn't have to because if you're doing your research, you'll know I'm not a literary agent and that I don't represent authors or their careers.

All my best,


Friday, November 20, 2015

Author Interview with Molly Zenk

The lovely Molly Zenk stopped by today to talk about her new book, OUT OF CHARACTER! Check out what she had to say, and be sure to stay until the end for a chance to win a paperback copy of her book!

Before we get started, here is a bit about Molly's book....

After the loss of her brother, actress Harmony Jones struggles with daily life. Landing the lead role on the hit faith based living history show, 1700s Life, might be the perfect way to reconnect with her faith and be her big acting break.

Tired of hiding his strong faith and convictions to get secular roles, David Hawkins jumps at the chance to play the curate on 1700s Life. It's the perfect vehicle to spread God’s word.

Elliot Banes’ career needs an image makeover, so he accepts the naval hero role on 1700s Life. Getting away from his overbearing mother is an added bonus. His true hope is to learn to speak his mind instead of always fading into the background.

When a scripted love triangle between Harmony, David, and Elliot becomes a real life love triangle, Harmony must make a difficult decision. She hoped to find her wavering faith, she didn't count on finding love as well. If that was her only obstacle, the role would be a breeze. Unfortunately, there’s an on-set spy intent on causing drama. Can Harmony see through all the lies and secrets to the truth in her heart, or will she end up falling for the wrong man?

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Without further ado, let's have a chat with Molly...

1. What was your favorite scene in OUT OF CHARACTER and why?
I'm not sure I have a specific favorite scene.  I like how all the main characters stories weave together.  I do like Katie's journey because she changes the most out of everyone.

2. What was the hardest part about writing OUT OF CHARACTER?
Having 4 very different, distinct narrators.  Some were more 'talkative' than others.

3. Can you tell us what you've got in the works next?
I have a series of picture books featuring special needs characters and I'm also writing the sequel to OUT OF CHARACTER.  It picks up immediately where OUT OF CHARACTER ends and follows the characters through filming season two of 1700s Life.

4. Where did you get the idea for OUT OF CHARACTER?
It started as a straight historical fiction novel but one too many people told me historical fiction was a 'hard sell' so I came up with the idea of the characters being actors on a living history TV shows to give it a unique twist and modern sensibility.  It's evolved a lot since then.  I'm really happy with the final published book.

5. Any words of wisdom for other authors out there?
Stick with it and be true to yourself.  Write what you love, not what you think will make you rich quick.

Thanks so much for stopping by today, Molly! If you haven't already picked up a copy of OUT OF CHARACTER, be sure to do so! It's a fantastic read :-) Or, if you're feeling lucky, try your hand at winning a paperback copy!

Monday, November 16, 2015

{COVER REVEAL}: Perfekt Control by ST Bende



Genre: Upper YA Paranormal/Fantasy (Norse Mythology)

Release Date: February 9, 2016

Back Cover Copy

Rule the realms.

Brynn Aksel is a valkyrie—a battle goddess tasked with protecting both the God of War and the future of Asgard. She fends off giants and dark elves with an iron fist, a glossy smile, and no less than perfekt control. She’s focused one-hundred-percent on rising through the valkyrie ranks, and not at all on her lifelong crush on Henrik Andersson—the one guy in all the realms who could be her undoing.

Henrik serves as War’s other bodyguard, and he’s too focused on protecting their shared charge to realize that Brynn’s a girl. When an unprecedented surge of darkness abducts the Goddess of Love, Brynn’s already-steely focus is singularly directed on her new assignment—accompany Henrik to recover the realms’ source of light before the cosmos descends into chaos.

While battling demons, dragons, and the not-quite-dead, it becomes clear that immortality does not equal invincibility. And when Hel herself puts a hit on Brynn, the valkyrie has to decide if staying in control is worth losing everything . . . or if it’s time to rule the realms.

Pre-Order Links

Add PERFEKT CONTROL to your Goodreads TBR

Before finding domestic bliss in suburbia, S.T. Bende lived in Manhattan Beach (became overly fond of Peet’s Coffee) and Europe… where she became overly fond of McVities cookies. Her love of Scandinavian culture and a very patient Norwegian teacher inspired the books of The Elsker Saga and The Ære Saga. She hopes her characters make you smile and that one day, waffles will be considered a health food.

Find S.T. on Twitter @stbende, her website (, or send her an e-mail. While you're at it, introduce yourself to @UllMyhr and @TyrFredriksen -- when they’re not saving the cosmos from dark elves, they love meeting new friends . . . especially the human kind.

Want to connect with fellow Norse god fans? S.T.'s readers have created a Facebook group! Head over to the RagnaRockstars page to chat with other readers, talk with S.T., and get access to exclusive content... including Ull POVs and sneak peeks at upcoming Ære Saga books!

Connect with ST Bende at:

TUR is currently available for FREE to newsletter subscribers!

Skål, y’all!

MONDAY MUSINGS: Book Auctions and Fast Deals

Let me start with a massive disclaimer: I have never had a book go to "auction" with agents or publishers. But that's okay, because I'm not here to talk about what it's like behind the scenes. I'm here to talk about what it looks like on the outside, as someone peering in, gazing longingly from the sidelines.

Recently, I've seen a few Facebook posts, blogs, and tweets about books that have gone to auction, where agents and/or editors have fought to a bloody death to get their hands on said book. Or a situation where a book is snatched up within days of querying. And it's exciting, right? Of course it is. For those who are directly involved in it. But for everyone else? Not so much. In fact, these success stories are harmful, and in my opinion do more harm than good. Personally, I really dislike reading stories like this.

Now, before you go lighting your pitchforks and calling me "jealous" or "bitter" or whatever else you want to call me, allow me to explain...

I'm always one of the first people in line to shout cheers of congratulations when someone lands an agent or gets a book deal. I know how hard it is to get there, and so it absolutely deserves a celebration when an author achieves their dreams. I'm not denying anyone their successes. But here's the thing....

When an author -- whether brand new or seasoned -- reads these awesome stories about a book that was offered representation by 19 different agents, or was offered representation within hours of querying and then the book is snatched up by an editor within a few more days, it sends the wrong message. It makes authors think it's the norm. Why? Because these types of success stories are the ones that go viral. Which is sad, because these types of stories are the exception NOT the norm. And so authors sit back and think, "My book isn't going to auction or selling that fast. Something must be wrong! I suck. I give up!"

Well, I'm here to tell you, YOU'RE WRONG!!

It's absolutely normal for a book not to sell fast, to wrack up rejection after rejection after rejection. And you know what?

That's right. IT IS OKAY! You're not a lessor author or your book isn't bad just because it doesn't sell fast or get into an auction. So many authors wrote numerous books, wracked up dozens if not hundreds of rejections before finally landing an agent or getting a book deal. Unfortunately, those stories, the ones of numerous setbacks and rejections and perseverance... THOSE stories don't get shared often enough. And they should! I mean, why not? Why not celebrate all the times people told us "no" only to then come out on top where we want to be?

So, this post is dedicated to all of you! Share your stories in the comments. Don't be afraid to tell us how many rejections you got or how many years it took to get where you are now! Wear your success (and your "failures") like a badge of honor. Own it. Flaunt it. Be proud of it!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Jennifer Novotney on.... Writing Series

I'm happy to welcome Jennifer Novotney to the blog today. The second book in her Winter in the Souls Series, INFINITE SPRING, is now out in the world and she agreed to talk about her process for writing a series.

When I first started writing Winter in the Soul, I never intended to begin a series. I simply had an idea for a book and began writing. But after the first book was complete, I realized that this story would continue. That’s when the idea for the series came about. At first, I wasn’t sure how many books would be in the series or how far it would go. Yet, as the second book was well underway, I planned to have four books, one for each season.

The titles of the books are acronyms. Winter in the Soul is WITS and Infinite Spring has the abbreviation IS. The acronyms for the books will eventually spell out a sentence. This sentence will reveal something very important about the series, which will be exciting for readers when the fourth book comes out.

Typically, I plan one book at a time. With a series, I do have to alter my plans a little bit. I have to think about where the characters are going and where I want them to end up in the fourth book, so there is a bit of planning out ahead of time. Now that the second book is complete and the third book is well underway, this is where the real planning happens. I think the end of the series needs to be quite satisfying and so that does take some forethought and outlining.

I was once asked if I am a pantser or a plotter. In other words, do I fly by the seat of my pants and just write or do I plot things out carefully beforehand? While I once was a pantser, writing a series really demand that I become a plotter.

As the Black Kingdom spreads, Lilika attempts to save the land from destruction. But is it too late?

With the golden forsythia in hand, Lilika and Talon must work together to plant it before powerful Cyperus and his mallow close in on Summer Harvest and Spring Bloom. Transformed by her recent discoveries, Lilika puts her own safety at risk in hopes of taking down the Black Kingdom. She is their only hope at redemption and the only one with the knowledge to defeat them.

In this breathtaking fantasy sequel to Winter in the Soul, Lilika finds herself trapped in the grip of the Black Kingdom where one mistake could cost her everything, but the right move just might save everyone she loves.

BUY NOW: Amazon / B&N / Smashwords

Jennifer Novotney is the author of the Winter in the Soul series. She was a 2014 recipient of the Moonbeam Children’s Book Award. Jennifer grew up in Los Angeles, California and attended Northern Arizona University, graduating with highest honors in English. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and daughter.

Follow Jennifer on her website, Facebook, and Twitter