Tag Archives: middle grade

Guest Post: Clemency Crow (Author of Taking Wing) about the Editing Process

 

Please welcome Clemency Crow to my blog today, the author of Middle Grade adventure “Taking Wing”. Welcome, Clemency, and thank you for taking the time to write a post about your editing process!

Guest Post – My Editing Process

I visited 5 schools last week during my Book Tour, and the most common question that was asked was “how long did it take you to write the book?”

My answer was always the same.

It took me two months to write the first draft and over a year to get the book to publishable standard.

 

Scrivener

I have found this programme to be an invaluable asset. After completing my first draft, I would fill in the character sheet using the information I had written in the book. If there was not enough detail or juicy bits, I knew I’d have to go back in and develop that character more. I didn’t do this for everybody, just my main 5 – Freya, Winnie, Elialdor, Elamra and Rald.

 

Sentence Crafting

When I am satisfied that the characters are in tip-top condition, I go back through each chapter at a time and read it with the eyes of a book reviewer. I have a conversation in my head, as you do!

“If I was reviewing this for Crowvus, how many stars would I give it?”

“Well, probably about 3 stars at the moment.”

“Hmmm, would I be happy with 3 stars?”

“3 stars is a respectable score, but I think you could do better.”

“What would take it up to 4 stars?”

You see, it helps to be a little bit bonkers when you’re writing!

 

Proofread, proofread and then, guess what…proofread again!

When I am satisfied that the book is well written, I start the slog of painstakingly glaring at every sentence to find mistakes in the actual spelling and grammar. The computer will pick up some of this, but not all. I make myself promise that I will never say editing is my least favourite thing. Proofreading is now the bain of my life.

 

It’s time to pass the baton

Finally, the manuscript is ready to pass onto the editor. For me, that’s my sister. Some people would frown at using their sister as the editor but I’m lucky in two ways. Firstly, she is the professional editor for Crowvus so she knows her stuff. Secondly, I can give her full licence to be as mean as she possibly can…

“But do you really want the editor to be mean?”

Absolutely! The meaner the better! You can trust a mean editor, as you know they will not give you false praise. I wanted Judith to rip apart my novel looking for flaws. I would much rather that than have ‘proper’ (sorry, Jude!) readers do that when the book is for sale.

When a book is published, it’s very hard to change it. You have to get a new ISBN, and make a big hoo-ha about it being the 2nd edition. It’s really not worth it for a fiction book.

No, you want the mean comments out of the way before the book gets published. My advice would be to get an editor (or a group of beta readers first if you prefer) to look at your manuscript with the meanest, wickedest eye possible. Then, brace yourself.

There is some passing back and forth between the editor and you and the occasional argument can ensue…

“Elialdor is too disrespectful.”

“That’s part of his character.”

“Well, it doesn’t work.”

“But he develops through the book.”

“Not enough.”

“Well…I don’t like you.”

…but there’s occasionally some compromise…

(Judith’s favourite meme)

 

Finally…after much work and exhaustion…you’re done and you can be sure you’re putting a polished, quality book out there.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Taking-Wing-Feather-Down-Book-ebook/dp/B07S63XNQS

www.clemencycrow.co.uk

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46847925-taking-wing

 

About the Book

Title: Taking Wings

Author: Clemency Crow

Genre: Middle Grade Adventure

12-year-old Freya enjoys karate and is the only one in her class who’s trusted with a part-time job. But everything changes when she meets a boy with yellow eyes. She learns about the guardians, and how an age-old fight has stopped them from fulfilling their purpose. Freya finds new friends in the crow tribe but not everything in the castle is blissful. A destructive shadow lies within her and all she needs to do to summon it is close her eyes. But as the guardian’s war rages on, Freya realises that, although the shadow’s power can be useful, it can’t create peace. Freya and her friends must solve the crime that began the war, but can they bring the guardians together before they destroy each other?

 

 

Author Bio

I can’t remember when I wrote my first story. We had a word processor when I was very little. It was an archaic piece of technology with no mouse, which meant you had to know the codes for it to work. My sister, Judith, and I wrote several stories using this. I think one of my stories was about a mammoth, probably during my I-want-to-be-a-mammoth-when-I-grow-up stage.

When I was a bit older, during Year 3 at Primary School, another sister brought home several A5 grey jotters and gave one to Ginny and Judith to plan and write their stories in. Naturally, I wanted a notebook too, so I said I was writing a story called “The Rule of the Unicorns”. I never finished that rather peculiar tale, but it meant I got one of those A5 grey jotters!

A good few years down the line and I’m a Primary Teacher in the tip-top north of Scotland. To encourage a love of reading in my pupils, I write a story with them in for their Christmas present. The first thing they do is flick through and try and find their name – but I hope they enjoy the story too!

When I’m not teaching, I love writing, working on my allotment and I’m crazy enough to be doing a Science degree at the same time.

 

Links

Goodreads

Author Website

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Guest Posts

Book Review: The Sacred Artifact

Title: The Sacred Artifacts

Author: Caldric Blackwell

Genre: Middle Grade

Determined to uncover the secrets of a mysterious artifact, fourteen-year-old alchemy student Craig Pike and his teacher, Cornelius, journey to the birthplace of alchemy to seek the advice of a wise, ancient alchemist named Quintus. With the help of a witty archer, Audrey Clife, they trek across dangerous lands, compete in a cutthroat tournament, and reunite with old friends. They soon find out the artifact is more powerful than anticipated, and they aren’t the only ones seeking to discover its secrets….

 

Review: This book reminded me of my childhood, and the countless fantasy novels I devoured day and night! It has an old-charm feel, reminiscent of the Percy Jackson series, and the classics of C.S. Lewis. Readers are transported through time and space to a world filled with alchemy, fantasy, numerous dangers, and characters you can root for and feel a real connection with.

1 Comment

Filed under Book Reviews, book tours

Author Interview The Sacred Artifact

Author Interview

1)     What inspired you to start a writing career?

Growing up, I was always an avid reader. I was the kid reading books under the covers by flashlight instead of going to bed. When I studied English in college, I was intrigued by the authors’ different approaches to writing and grew interested in the actual writing process in addition to the final product.

 During a summer class, I was daydreaming and had this mental image of a guy watching his house burn down. The mental image prompted many questions. I started jotting down ideas in a notebook throughout the class. Eventually, I had enough ideas to have an outline. I felt at that point I might as well try to write a full novel, which I finished in two years. I fell in love with the writing process, and although the novel was never published, it instilled a love of writing in me.

2)     Is your book a stand-alone, or is it part of a series?

My new middle grade fantasy, “The Sacred Artifact,” is the second and final book in the Young Alchemist series. The first book in the series is “The Missing Alchemist.” In the first book, I introduced readers to student alchemist Craig Pike, his archer friend, Audrey Clife, and the world of the Young Alchemist series. In “The Sacred Artifact,” I get to really develop the world and dive deeper into the story. Readers also learn a lot more about the history of alchemy. The even get to see where Cornelius, Craig’s teacher, trained!

3)     How does your book stand out from others?

“The Sacred Artifact” is a middle grade fantasy novel aimed at ages 10 to 14. The genre is quite eclectic, ranging from A Series of Unfortunate Events to the Percy Jackson series. I love the genre, and I think each book offers something different. My series, the Young Alchemist series, is geared toward young readers who enjoy fantasy with lots of action and adventure.

The Young Alchemist series is fast-paced and doesn’t waste time kicking into gear. That said, there is plenty of world building and character development, and I spend a fair amount of time ironing out my flavor of alchemy in the series. At the end of the day, I want the fantasy elements to augment the core of the story – the plot – rather than be the most central part. The characters are quite diverse, coming from a variety of backgrounds and motivations, so I think all readers will find someone they can root for and relate to.

4)     Are any of your characters based on real-life people?

I certainly draw inspiration from people I know in real life, and there are characters that have a lot in common with people I know. But there aren’t any exact replicas of people from my life in the Young Alchemist series. It’s not that I’m against basing characters on real-life people; it just didn’t pan out that way.

 5) Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

 If your goal is to improve as writer, then read a lot and write a lot. If each book you write is better than the previous one, you’re succeeding. Don’t get bogged down with whether your book sold 100 copies or 10,000 copies. Just focus on continuously growing as a writer.

About the Book

Title: The Sacred Artifacts

Author: Caldric Blackwell

Genre: Middle Grade

Determined to uncover the secrets of a mysterious artifact, fourteen-year-old alchemy student Craig Pike and his teacher, Cornelius, journey to the birthplace of alchemy to seek the advice of a wise, ancient alchemist named Quintus. With the help of a witty archer, Audrey Clife, they trek across dangerous lands, compete in a cutthroat tournament, and reunite with old friends. They soon find out the artifact is more powerful than anticipated, and they aren’t the only ones seeking to discover its secrets….

 

Author Bio

Children’s book author Caldric Blackwell first realized he loved reading when he read about a bunch of people (with single-syllable names) and their pets (also with single-syllable names) in kindergarten. From that point on, he was nearly inseparable from books.

His interest in reading culminated in him studying English at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Exposure to a host of great authors inspired him to begin writing fiction and started his journey to becoming a children’s book author. Although he began writing short stories for adults, he was drawn to the whimsical, imaginative nature of children’s literature and began working on his first book for children.

Blackwell’s debut work is an adventure-filled early chapter book, titled “The Enchanted River Race,” which follows a team of children as they compete in a river race. His next release is the beautifully illustrated picture book “The Boy Who Couldn’t Cry Wolf,” which revolves around a young werewolf who is self-conscious about his inability to howl.

His most recent work is the two-part Young Alchemist series, which is targeted at a middle grade audience. The first book in the series, “The Missing Alchemist,” follows alchemy student Craig Pike and clever archer Audrey Clife as they travel across mysterious lands and battle other-worldly creatures in a quest to rescue a famous alchemist. The second book in the series, “The Sacred Artifact,” centers on Craig’s attempt to uncover the secrets of a mysterious artifact, which entails journeying to the birthplace of alchemy to seek the advice of a mysterious, ancient alchemist.

Outside of reading and writing, children’s book author Caldric Blackwell enjoys jiu jitsu, gardening, and playing bass and guitar. He currently resides in Southern California.

 

 

 

Links

Author Website

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Goodreads

Amazon

1 Comment

Filed under Author Interviews

Promo Post From Frights to Flaws

About the Book

Title: From Frights to Flaws

Author: Sunayna Prasad

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy

Originally published in 2013, the book has been updated to its full potential with edits, while keeping the storyline the same.

Twelve-year-old Alyssa McCarthy longs for a better life. She lost her parents at age seven and her aunt at nine. Her uncle also enforces unfair rules. But Alyssa discovers something she has never thought existed before… magic. A wicked sorcerer hunts her down. He kidnaps her from her ordinary New Jersey town to Yanowic, an enchanted island in Fiji.
Alyssa is trapped in the country due to a giant shield covering it. She must defeat dangerous creatures and the evil wizard in order to leave. But with sorcerers and enchanted technology getting in her way, can Alyssa succeed?

 

Author Bio

Sunayna Prasad has published a few books between her late teens and her mid-twenties. She has won a Pacific Book Review Award for her novel, Wizardry Goes Wild, which will return as a new edition, like From Frights to Flaws. Sunayna also has a blog on different creative and entertaining topics, including writing and fiction. It is called “Sunayna Prasad’s Blog”.

Aside from writing, Sunayna also likes to cook, do art, and watch videos online. She has graduated from college in May 2017 and is looking to continue more writing as well as hold a graphic design job soon. Sunayna lives on Long Island, NY.

 

Links

Amazon

Website

Goodreads

Leave a comment

Filed under Promo Posts

Guest Post The Peacock Door

Guest Post

My editing process took several different and rather haphazard forms.  Some sections came out almost exactly as they are now in the book, but, I struggled over many sections and ideas for days or even weeks.

For example, one day, I was sitting in front of an old bookstore in a small coastal town. The sun was creating sparkles on the water and it was simply beautiful.  I happened to have my mini-laptop setting on the back seat.  I pulled it out, wrote a brief description about the place, and saved it with the idea that someday I might be able to use the description in some piece of writing or, worst case scenario, have the description as a reminder of that precious scene. That ended up being the first couple chapters in the book without any changes at all.

There were other times as I was driving or taking a shower or going on a walk that a few words, plot ideas or character motivations suddenly came to me and I quickly wrote them down and put them away in a folder without really knowing if I would ever use them.

By the time I decided to get real about writing my book, there were bunches of little pieces of paper and jotted down notes in a binder or saved in a folder on the laptop.  I bought a binder, and some really smooth writing pens, compiled my notes and pieces of paper and began to put ideas together—those pieces or descriptions ended up all over the place within the book.

For most of the book; however, I had to set goals for myself and just keep on keeping on. I found it best to write one small section or a few pages per week. On the first day of the writing week, I typed out the general idea for the section without worrying about grammar or punctuation.  The next day, I took that section or chapter and began cutting unnecessary ideas and/or rearranging/replacing words. Finally, by the third day, I was generally ready to tidy everything up—put that small section or chapter through spell and grammar check, print it off and add it to the binder.  Even then, however, most of it was not really written in chronological order.

In the end, I took all those sections, rearranged some more, made loose ends go away, filled in holes and put it the entire book through spell and grammar check over and over and over.  I think it might possible to spend a lifetime fixing and changing and putting your work through spell and grammar check; but, at a certain point, I simply decided that I was done.  There is a story of a poet who kept working on the same poem for 20 years and was never totally satisfied.  I can see how that is very possible because there is always feels like something could be better and it always feels like there are more mistakes to be fixed. But, for me, in the end, I also came to a point of accepting some imperfections and just being happy that I had accomplished my goal.

 

About the Book

Title: The Peacock Door

Author: Wanda Kay Knight

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy

In a magical tale of adventure, eight cousins sneak through forbidden treehouse doors, only to find themselves separated from each other and lost in strange worlds. In their quests to return home, they must unravel mysteries, escape snares and villains, find one another, and search for the elusive Oracle. The Peacock Door is a rich story of camaraderie, loyalty, love, and determination with a bit whimsy sprinkled throughout.

 

Author Bio

Wanda Kay Knight lives in the Pacific Northwest, teaches literature, strives really hard to keep up with her adventurous/competitive family, makes things out of yarn (mainly unique hats), enjoys collecting pretty rocks, and writes a lot.

 

Links

Website: www.thepeacockdoor.com

Youtube video

Youtube video

Email address:    wandakayknight@thepeacockdoor.com

My personal email:  wkayknight@gmail.com

Leave a comment

Filed under Guest Posts

Book Excerpt Raising Sleeping Stones

raisingstonesbanner

Book Excerpt

Kiva looked down from her position on a tree branch high above the forest floor and frowned. She took a slow, deep breath while calculating the distance between the maple she was in and the branch she’d need on the elm tree, then started putting together all the training steps she’d been taking.

Bending her knees and rolling forward on her feet, she curled her left hand behind her and went into a crouch. She instinctively twitched her hand away just before it touched her back, a move that would trigger another of Sakral’s withering criticisms that had been making Kiva’s errors painfully memorable.

While letting her breath out slowly, she whipped her left arm forward, snapping her wrist up to release the coiled swingvine Sakral had lent her. Pointing at her swing branch, she waited as the end of the vine landed and curled around it, then jerked back with her fist to set its hooks into the branch.

Feeling the connection was solid, Kiva took a quick, deep breath and jumped.

Though she’d done it dozens of times in the past four nights of training and traveling upriver with Sakral, the moment of jumping off a branch was still terrifying. The feeling of falling always threatened to make her panic and lose focus. Before it could, though, the tightening of the swingvine around her glove snapped her body into the series of practiced moves Sakral had taught her to turn falling into flying, fear into freedom. Extending both arms over her head, Kiva swung her legs back and put her head down until she passed under her swing branch midway into the arc of her flight, then smoothly lifted her head and brought her legs down.

As she passed the first level of branches on the other side, she pulled down on the vine, tilted her head back, and swung her legs forward in one fluid movement. The rush of swinging up—even more intense now than it had been that first time with Raymonde—made the past few days of dropping through the air, crashing into trunks, and getting tangled up in her swingvine all worth it because, at these moments, she felt more powerful, energized, and alive than she ever had. She was so thrilled by the sensation that she almost didn’t see the small branch in her way before it was too late.

In a flash, she tightened her left arm’s hold on the vine as she brought her right arm angled up in front to deflect the branch away from her face and swung her legs to the left to keep from being spun to the side. Even though the branch was thin, it slashed like a whip, but the bark shields Sakral had tied on her forearms took most of the impact. In less than a second, Kiva had swung her legs back to the middle and up to complete her arc. She was delighted to find she was still heading straight for a good landing branch on her target tree.

Then came the most difficult move of all. Just before reaching the top of her arc, she pulled the vine forward, swung her legs down, bent her knees, and landed softly on the near side of her landing branch, letting the momentum roll her forward exactly to the middle. She felt her feet naturally flex to fit the curve of the branch and stabilize her as Sakral had been repeatedly telling her to do. A perfect landing!

And now, for the finishing touch, she said to herself. Without turning around or even looking back, she brought her left arm down, waited until she felt the vine go slack, then twitched the vine, and waited again. She counted to six—the amount of time she had learned the living vine needed to detach its hooks from the pivot branch and coil itself back up—then curled her wrist forward, opened her fingers, and caught it neatly in the palm of her gloved hand.

 

About the Book

raisingcoverTitle: Raising Sleeping Stones

Author: P.H.T. Bennett

Genre: MG Fantasy

Like every kid in Solasenda, 11-year-old Kiva Stone has been far too busy training for one of the five town guilds to think about something as useless as dreaming. But when she and her sister DeeDee uncover a mysterious plot to get rid of them, their only hope lies with a shadowy group of people who get unimaginable powers from their dreams. As the girls escape with them up the river, they start learning secret dreaming techniques that have been forbidden for centuries. But how can they learn enough to stand against the enemies chasing them? The answer lies in the shattered history of Orora Crona, the lost Valley of Dreams, and whoever can piece it together first will rule for centuries to come.

Author Bio

raisingauthorP.H.T. Bennet began exploring his dreams when he was a child and has never bothered to stop. He had the good luck to have two daughters, Juliette and Paola, who not only served as the inspirations for DeeDee and Kiva, the main characters of Raising Sleeping Stones, but also helped him turn their family dreamwork sessions into this book. His lucky streak grew when he married his lovely wife, Mim,who tolerates his turning on a light in the middle of the night to write down ever-crazier dreams and talking about them in the morning as long as he lets her sleep in, first. His favorite dreams involve flying, visiting the dead, and replaying nightmares until they reveal their secrets.

Pratt’s latest projects are editing Book Two of the Orora Crona Chronicles and planning a virtual summer dreaming camp with other dream authors.

Links

Buy on Amazon

Website: http://www.raisingstones.com/

Facebook: http://bit.ly/RSSfacebook

Twitter: @phtbennet

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Excerpt Posts

Book Review Alyssa McCarthy’s Magical Missions: Wizardry Goes Wild

9781490770215_COVER_V3.inddTitle: Alyssa McCarthy’s Magical Missions Book 2: Wizardry Goes Wild

Author: Sunayna Prasad

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy

After months of living a normal life, thirteen-year-old Alyssa McCarthy faces magic again. Only this time, though, she is cursed with it, thanks to an old depressed skeleton named Errol. Alyssa’s time with her godfather, Alex, will never be the same again, as she can perform sorcery, but never control it.

            From letting out enchantments at school to creating outdoor disasters, Alyssa is bound to face consequences. She can only get rid of her powers if she can boost her confidence levels and improve her bravery. But it’s not as easy as it sounds. She must measure those abilities with a special device called a skillometer. Will she be able to get rid of her unwanted wizardry?

The second book in a series, Wizardry Goes Wild tells the story of 13-year-old Alyssa McCarthy, who faces magic again – this time, she’sz cursed with it. She can perform sorcery ut has no way to control it, and chaos ensues. Alyssa can only get rid of her powers if she improves her confidence. The book offers a nice clash between science and magic, and Alyssa is a likeable main character. She’s clumsy, which I’m sure many young teens will relate to (God knows I was the clumsiest teen ever), has a good sense of humor, and she is quite brave, when she admits it to herself.

A magical read for middle graders.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews