Chasing my crazy dream in the writing world…

The Reality of Writing and Twitter Fatigue September 30, 2013

Alright I’ll admit it, I’m OVERWHELMED.


When I started writing full-time three years ago, I was very naïve about the process. I wrote for the pure and simple joy of writing.  As I learned more about publishing, I discovered that simply putting words on paper was not enough to make a great story. There were so many other things to consider (or so I was told).


In the last year alone, I’ve had these pieces of advice imparted to me – each one almost a contradiction to the other:


– Only use “said” for dialogue tags

– Don’t use dialogue tags at all – put character in front of action and tag is inferred

– Don’t’ use filter words (felt, saw, heard)

– Only use filter words sparingly

– Absolutely, positively don’t use adverbs

– Adverbs are okay if used sparingly


See a pattern here?


It’s easy to get lost in the sea of advice – and honestly I have.  After reading so many articles, and listening to so many people talk about writing, I’ve begun to question my own craft.  Part of this is my fault.  These people are all experts, right? I should be listening.


In truth, this is only partially correct.  I should be listening to what makes sense for ME. If the only way to express what my character is feeling is by saying, “she felt his hand on the small of her back,” then that’s what I should write.  If the character walks slowly, then I should say that without being afraid to use the much maligned adverb.


I blame a lot of my writing inertia of late on taking in too much information and not listening to what my own heart is saying.  Much of this I blame on gorging on social media, especially Twitter.  When an agent posts advice about writing, I devour each word, and wonder how I should incorporate into my own work.  When a well-known author tweets about how to write, “the perfect synopsis,” I quickly check the link.  While all of this is important info, it also all becomes “advice overload.” Again, paralyzing in a way because it makes you question your own work and instincts.


My own writing “block” these past weeks has made me step back and analyze what I want to do with my work.  I want to get back to feeling the rush of putting together a great scene without worrying about whether or not I’ve got too many dialogue tags, or if I’m going to get dinged for using an adverb or filter word.


With that thought in mind, I’m going to step back from social media. Don’t get me wrong, I think Twitter, and other forms of social connection, are important in building writing connections, and creating an author brand, but I also think it can become so overwhelming it takes away from the joy of writing.


With spending less time online, I’m hoping to find that joy again.  It will be interesting to see if I can put all the advice out of my head and simply plunge forward with whatever feels right for my characters.  When my beta readers and CPs get this new manuscript I guess I’ll find out if this was the right step.  The one good thing is I’ll know I wrote it all purely from instinct, and not from some self-imposed structure I find myself constrained by right now.


I’ll let you know how it all goes.


And no, this doesn’t mean I am swearing off Twitter entirely – I’d miss everyone too much.  It just means I’m going to pull way back and focus on what is important right now – me and the writing.


FIRST FIVE FRENZY with Pete Knapp of The Park Literary Group September 27, 2013

Filed under: Blog,Literary Agent,Publishing,writing craft — chasingthecrazies @ 2:47 pm
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If you’re like me, you toil for hours editing and fine-tuning the first pages of your manuscript.  You look at the first lines to make sure they are compelling and tight.  You examine the next few paragraphs, hoping your MC’s voice is already taking hold of the reader.


The First Five Frenzy is all about getting an agent’s perspective on what works, and what fails, in those first pages of a manuscript.  By reading each agent’s comments, I hope you’ll learn how to make your manuscript a shining gem that will be requested time and time again.


Today, I am proud to share Literary Agent, Pete Knapp’s perspective on what’s important in those critical first pages.



Amy: Many writers have the impression that a great first line is imperative to drawing in the reader. How important is a first line to you as an agent?


Pete: They’re important. I can get past a mediocre first line, but in truth a poorly written first line often leads into a poorly written first page. Conversely, I’ve read first lines where right away I think: This is going to be good! And often times, it is. Submissions with great first lines—ones that immediately draw me in and elicit questions—are the ones I read first.



Amy: Many times a writer is told to stay away from common openings like dreams, eating breakfast, riding in a car, etc. What are some common openings you recommend writers stay away from?


Pete: Alarm clocks, weather reports, the first and last day of school, running through the woods from an unknown assailant. Many more. It’s not that these common openings can’t work, but often times they’re either dull (just because our days begin with alarm clocks doesn’t mean your story has to) or overdone or have nothing to say about the character’s world viewpoint, and so it’s clear the writer hasn’t pushed him or herself hard enough to find a fresh way into the story.



Amy: When you’ve responded to a writer to request a partial or full manuscript, what was it about their first pages that piqued your interest?


Pete: A lot of my favorite openings pull me both forward and backward. I want to know, Where is this going? But I also want to know, How did we get here? I love when there’s a strong sense of mystery in the beginning of a book, and when there’s a strong psychological component. Many of my favorite books, especially in YA, begin with characters who are a little locked up inside of their own heads and need letting out. (Isn’t that one of the principal joys of fiction? To unlock the vault and step into another person’s mind?) And, of course, the voice needs to draw me in.



Amy: What are some common mistakes writers make in their first five pages?


Pete: So many submissions I read begin before the beginning—where the first few scenes could be cut entirely. Oftentimes, I think this happens because the writer is trying to establish the character and then start the story. In truth, the character development and story need to begin in tandem. Otherwise, it often feels like the reader is using those first pages to deliver a lot of background information in a way that might feel contrived. It goes both ways, though: Starting in medias res is not an excuse to neglect character development.



Amy: What resonates with you most in those first pages? Voice? Pacing? Unique concept?


Pete: It’s always some magical and unknowable combination of these things. Voice is perhaps the most important thing, because if I don’t connect with the voice, no amount of editing will make it a good fit for my taste. But I’ve also read submissions with fantastic voices where I think, Good grief, will the story start already? So, really, it’s craft. Is the opening well-crafted? If so, I keep reading.



Pete Knapp joined the Park Literary Group in July 2011, and has worked with many of the agency’s bestselling authors—including Nicholas Sparks, Emily Giffin, and Debbie Macomber—through all stages of the publication process. While at Park Literary, he has also assisted with the marketing and publicity efforts tied to several major motion pictures, including The Lucky One (Warner Bros.) and Safe Haven (Relativity). Prior to joining Park Literary, Peter was a story editor and book scout at Floren Shieh Productions, consulting on book-to-film adaptations for Los Angeles-based film companies. He has interned in the literary affairs and development offices of New Line Cinema, Overture Films, and Maximum Films & Management.


Peter represents and is an avid reader of young adult and middle grade fiction, frequently trading book recommendations with his nine-year-old sister. Having graduated from NYU summa cum laude with a B.A. in Art History, he maintains a (mostly) healthy interest in the visual arts, particularly with animation. He is an advisor for Builders Beyond Borders, a nonprofit that organizes international humanitarian trips for teenagers, and though he loves to travel, he happily calls Brooklyn home.


You can read more about the Park Literary Group at, and you can visit Pete’s blog at


If you’re interested in submitting to Pete, please make sure to check the Park Literary website for their guidelines.


HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY: NOT A DROP TO DRINK by Mindy McGinnis September 24, 2013

Filed under: Blog,Publishing — chasingthecrazies @ 3:34 pm
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Congratulations to Mindy McGinnis whose debut novel, NOT A DROP TO DRINK, hits book stores today! So excited to share this thrilling story of survival, and celebrate Mindy who is a tremendous writer and a fantastic person!








Regret was for people with nothing to defend, people who had no water.


Lynn knows every threat to her pond: drought, a snowless winter, coyotes, and, most importantly, people looking for a drink. She makes sure anyone who comes near the pond leaves thirsty, or doesn’t leave at all.


Confident in her own abilities, Lynn has no use for the world beyond the nearby fields and forest. Having a life means dedicating it to survival, and the constant work of gathering wood and water. Having a pond requires the fortitude to protect it, something Mother taught her well during their quiet hours on the rooftop, rifles in hand.


But wisps of smoke on the horizon mean one thing: strangers. The mysterious footprints by the pond, nighttime threats, and gunshots make it all too clear Lynn has exactly what they want, and they won’t stop until they get it….


With evocative, spare language and incredible drama, danger, and romance, debut author Mindy McGinnis depicts one girl’s journey in a barren world not so different than our own.


Writer Odyssey Wednesday with Vivi Barnes September 18, 2013

Vivi author photo




After we finish a manuscript, I think we all get impatient. We want to edit and revise it fast so it can get in the hands of our bets readers and critique partners. Then when they are done, we want to quickly edit/revise again to get it in the query trenches. But as today’s featured author, Vivi Barnes, points out you must “trust the process.” If you want your manuscript to be a success, you must go through the necessary steps to make sure it is the best  work it can be. If that means taking extra time to send to a new beta reader, or going over plot one more time, it should be done. The publishing process is long and hard, but if done right, the end product can be like Vivi’s: an agent, a book deal, and an amazing novel that will be on shelves soon!


Many thanks to Vivi for sharing her writing journey today…



Amy: When did you first know you wanted to write a young adult novel?


Vivi: I always enjoyed writing. In fact, my day job is in internal communications, so I knew that writing where I was happiest. I wrote a middle grade novel with a friend, but it took 11 years (I know, right?). I was kind of discouraged until I started meeting with my fellow Chicks and followed Julia Cameron’s The Artist Way, and I realized I hadn’t really found my calling yet. After I read The Hunger Games, I realized where I belonged was in YA. I sat down and started writing a young adult novel and completely fell in love with it!



Amy: What inspired you to write OLIVIA TWISTED?


Vivi: I used to watch the movie OLIVER! over and over at my aunt’s house when I was going through a tough time in middle school (I had scoliosis and was so self-conscious). I think I liked the movie so much because seeing poor Oliver go through such hell took my mind off my own problems. Then I read the book, and thought it might be interesting to write a contemporary version but call it OLIVIA TWISTED. So really, it all started with a title.



Amy: Was OLIVIA TWISTED your first completed manuscript or do you have others you’ve shelved?


Vivi: I started with a coming-of-age middle grade, then moved to a dystopian young adult that everyone seemed to love but interest in that genre was waning. So I started Olivia Twisted. One of my critique partners teases me that it took me two days to write it. It really took almost two months, but the first draft was only 58K words. It is now about 88K.



Amy: Do you use beta readers or critique partners? If so, how instrumental are they to your writing process?


Vivi: Oh, yes! I have an online group of critique partners who are all amazing writers. I have a wonderful group of SCBWI writers I meet with almost every Thursday night. And I have beta readers ranging from teen to adult, including a couple of fantastic teachers.


My readers/CPs are instrumental in helping me identify continuity issues, gaps in plot, and other concerns I might not be aware of otherwise. I can’t imagine not having these wonderful writers/readers behind me!



Amy: How many agents did you query for OLIVIA TWISTED? Did you receive immediate responses or did you have to wait a while for replies?


Vivi: I queried sixty-four agents and got about twenty requests for partials/fulls. Reply times varied, of course, but most were relatively fast (within a week for requests). I ended up with three offers and a couple revise/resubmits, and I chose the one who seemed like the right fit for me.


I have to add that I am grateful for those first agents who rejected me, especially the ones who gave feedback. My manuscript that I “thought” was ready was nowhere near, so I made it stronger and stronger with every one of these rejections. I sometimes cringe when I think how rough it was in the beginning. I was too impatient to get it out there and didn’t go through the complete critique process like I should have. I’ll bet many writers have this same story.



Amy: What can you tell me about your “call” with your agent, Pam van Hylckama? How did you know she was the right choice for you?


Vivi: Pam was the first to offer. She actually pulled it from her senior agent’s slush pile, read it and loved it. She sent an email asking if we could chat and I was SO nervous. She was so nice, though (and has a very sweet southern accent). She’s also hilarious! We hit it off right away, and I knew she was the one for me. She was a newer agent at the time, but had a lot of publishing world experience. I also loved that she was a blogger—bloggers are awesome! Pam had great plans for the book and really “got” the story. She has been fantastic—going above and beyond the call of an agent (I mean, she offered to create lip balm from scratch for me if I wanted that for giveaways—now that’s love!).



Amy: Was there ever a time you thought about giving up on your writing dream? If so, what motivated you to keep writing?


Vivi: Probably during the eleven years that it took me to write that middle grade novel, yes. But when I started writing for young adults, no way. I have to write, like I have to breathe. It’s very freeing to me, screwing up someone else’s life, I guess. I’m kidding (kind of). 😉



Amy: What was one piece of writing advice you got early on that you still use today?


Vivi: This is a tough one because I’ve gotten so much fantastic advice over the years. But I’d say one that stands out in my mind is to trust the process. Trust your agent, your editor, your critique partners, etc. It’s hard to send your “baby” out there, knowing you’re probably going to get rejections and bad reviews and sometimes feedback that might be hard to hear. But trust that it’s going to make you a stronger, better writer, and move along. “Move along” has been the toughest thing for a paranoid person like myself, but I’m learning to do it! And don’t take anything personally! Rejections aren’t personal—not at all. Your book might not be the right fit for a particular agent or editor (they spend so much time with it that they have to have almost obsessive love for it), but that doesn’t mean someone else won’t love it. Just as one person loves a book and the next one doesn’t.





(Expected release date, November 5, 2013)






He tilts my chin up so my eyes meet his, his thumb brushing lightly across my lips. I close my eyes. I know Z is trouble. I know that being with him is going to get me into trouble. I don’t care.


At least at this moment, I don’t care.


Tossed from foster home to foster home, Olivia’s seen a lot in her sixteen years. She’s hardened, sure, though mostly just wants to fly under the radar until graduation. But her natural ability with computers catches the eye of Z, a mysterious guy at her new school. Soon, Z has brought Liv into his team of hacker elite—break into a few bank accounts, and voila, he drives a motorcycle. Follow his lead, and Olivia might even be able to escape from her oppressive foster parents. As Olivia and Z grow closer, though, so does the watchful eye of Bill Sykes, Z’s boss. And he’s got bigger plans for Liv…




I can picture Liv’s face: wide-eyed, trusting. Her smooth lips that taste like strawberry Fanta.


It was just a kiss. That’s all. She’s just like any other girl.


Except that she’s not.


Thanks to Z, Olivia’s about to get twisted.



Vivi Barnes was raised on a farm in East Texas where her theater-loving mom and cowboy dad gave her a unique perspective on life. Now living in the magic and sunshine of Orlando, Florida, she divides her time writing, working, goofing off with her husband and three kids, and avoiding dirty dishes. OLIVIA TWISTED, a contemporary reimagining of the Dickens classic, is her debut novel. For more on Vivi, check out her website or follow her on Twitter.


CHASING A GOOD READ: PUSHING THE LIMITS by Katie McGarry September 16, 2013

Filed under: Blog,Writer,YA Book Reviews,YA Fiction — chasingthecrazies @ 3:01 pm
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No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped about outsider with freaky scars on her arms. Even Echo can’t remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal.


But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo’s world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.


Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she’ll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.



In the last month I’ve finished seven books. Each novel was interesting in its own right, but nothing really knocked my socks off until I read Katie McGarry’s PUSHING THE LIMITS.


This book was an emotional journey, taking the reader into the private worlds of Echo Emerson and Noah Hutchins. Both characters tortured in their own way, and each hiding a terrible secret.  Now a lot of time with YA contemporary there is a hurried feel to the romance as if the reader can’t really wait for the build up. In PUSHING THE LIMITS, this is NOT the case. McGarry takes her time in sketching both Echo’s and Noah’s storylines and deftly handles the dual POV.


One of the trickiest things about doing dual POV is making sure each character has their own distinct voice, and McGarry handles this perfectly. We as the reader instantly feel the shift in mood and attitude when we move from Echo to Noah. Yet as their voices change, the story still manages to move forward at a quick clip.


I’m not big on giving story summaries, because I hate spoilers, but I will say McGarry gives us a full arc of emotion from both characters as she takes us into their worlds: one privileged, yet full of secrets. The other sad and almost hopeless in its darkness. But as she weaves Noah’s and Echo’s lives together, and they learn about each other’s scars, both internal and external, she allows the reader to understand what makes each character tick.


What I found refreshing about this book was the end.  While each character’s story had a satisfying resolution – it was not a manufactured happy ending.  The final words on the page fit the tone and mood of the story, and as a reader, I was pleasantly surprised with the realistic conclusion to each storyline.





FIRST FIVE FRENZY with Jennifer Skutelsky of Veritas Literary Agency September 13, 2013

Filed under: Blog,Literary Agent,Publishing,writing craft — chasingthecrazies @ 2:50 pm
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FFF SideWords




If you’re like me, you toil for hours editing and fine-tuning the first pages of your manuscript.  You look at the first lines to make sure they are compelling and tight.  You examine the next few paragraphs, hoping your MC’s voice is already taking hold of the reader.


The First Five Frenzy is all about getting an agent’s perspective on what works, and what fails, in those first pages of a manuscript.  By reading each agent’s comments, I hope you’ll learn how to make your manuscript a shining gem that will be requested time and time again.


Today, I am proud to share Literary AgentJennifer Skutelsky’s perspective on what’s important in those critical first pages.



Amy: Many writers have the impression that a great first line is imperative to drawing in the reader. How important is a first line to you as an agent?


Jennifer: Picture Agent X (okay, me) slumped over her desk, scrolling through pages and pages of prose. Meh prose. Baaaad prose. Hundreds of titles. Thousands of sentences. Her eyes glaze. Suddenly, one sentence jumps out and hits her between the eyes. It’s strong. It’s fresh and edgy, and just happens to be the opening of a random novel that popped up from the slush. A first line can have the same effect as smelling salts on a swoon. In essence, it’s an invitation to a reader, an incentive to continue reading. But it’s just a start. It’s not a deal breaker for me, because I tend to read swiftly and see it in broader context. However, I’ll definitely notice if it’s weak or there are glaring faults.



Amy: Many times a writer is told to stay away from common openings like dreams, eating breakfast, riding in a car, etc. What are some common openings you recommend writers stay away from?


Jennifer: I look for high concept material, something that surprises and excites me. First pages need to grab hold and pull the reader in, and just about anything can do that if it’s done well. Even clichés can be interesting–dangerous perhaps, but interesting–if treated in innovative ways. So if something cataclysmic happens over scrambled eggs and morning buns, I have no problem with breakfast. It’s only a no no if it comes across as lazy, overused or dull. An author gives a lot away in the opening of a book, and if there are signs of humdrum writing that early on, a reader will fail to connect with the narrative. A confused or bored reader stops reading.



Amy: When you’ve responded to a writer to request a partial or full manuscript, what was it about their first pages that piqued your interest?


Jennifer: Once I’m sold on premise, use of language and voice. High quality prose stands out, and it does so quickly.



Amy: What are some common mistakes writers make in their first five pages?


Jennifer: The first five pages are like all first things. A date, an interview, a kiss. Get it wrong, and there may not be a second one. Some writers send their work out too soon, and it’s obvious that it needs to be workshopped or edited. While editing does form a substantial part of what I do, if I see that I’d need to spend months doing substantive editing, it’s just not feasible for me to take something on. Let’s see…too much showing, not enough context, or telling. Conversely, too much exposition, not enough immersion in scene. The first few pages are especially vulnerable to rejection, so they need to be polished, to convey a sense of the author’s confidence as a writer. This has to do with voice and set up and something I always go back to: use of language.



Amy: What resonates with you most in those first pages? Voice? Pacing? Unique concept?


Jennifer: If I get an early impression that a writer is able to combine great storytelling with good writing, then I know I’ve struck gold. It’s rare for these qualities to coexist, but when they do, the narrative assumes a life and personality that’s impossible to ignore. And of course, then all things come together: pace, evidence of plot, characterization, setting, conflict begins to show up. There’s a sense of craftsmanship, and I become emotionally invested in some way, whatever the genre.



Jennifer Skutelsky studied English, Anthropology and Politics in South Africa and went on to do an MFA in Creative Writing in San Francisco. Her experience as a ballet coach and visual artist informs her devotion to creative expression, which she now channels into writing and editing. She worked with Manus & Associates Literary Agency in Palo Alto before moving to Veritas, and has settled in the Bay Area. Jennifer is a fan of dark, conflict ridden fiction and brave narratives that test boundaries, especially when it’s apparent that a writer knows his or her craft. She enjoys good storytelling and edgy, confident prose that reflects a distinctive and compelling voice.


If you’re interested in submitting to Jennifer, please make sure to check the Veritas Literary Agency website for their guidelines.


A Publishing Choice: Guest Post By Michelle Hauck September 9, 2013


What do you do when your beloved manuscript is all queried out? Do you set it on a shelf? Do you self-publish? Do you have ANY choices?


In today’s guest post, author, Michelle Hauck, shares her journey in working with a small publisher. Michelle did her due diligence and looked at ALL the options available when it came to getting her novel, Kindar’s Cure, published. Her perseverance, and hard work in finding the right option for her novel, prove if you believe in your manuscript you can find an audience for your story.


I share this post as a way to illustrate that there are many options in the publishing world. As a writer, you have to do the work and discover which path is the right choice for you.



A Publishing Choice

A Guest Post by Michelle Hauck




There is always a lot of talk among writers about what sort of path to publication is the best, whether a person should go with traditional—agent/large publisher—a small press, or self-publishing. Lately, the talk has taken to denigrating the choices of others. I think all paths to publications are legitimate as long as it works for the author doing the choosing. They are the ones who have to weigh which route is best for them.


For myself, I’d always hoped to go the traditional way: get an agent and then have the agent find a publisher for my stories. It didn’t work out that way. My first two manuscripts were epic fantasy of the adult variety. Now epic fantasy is many things, but it has never been on the hot list of genres. There are only so many agents interested in adult fantasy, and I’ll bet if you polled them, the numbers seeking epic would diminish drastically.


I researched agents and sought input on my query for that second manuscript. I polished with the help of numerous critique partners who knew the rules and necessities for a great story, but none of that got Kindar’s Cure an agent. There were requests, but no offers.


Therein came the dilemma, what to do next? For people seeking the traditional route, the next move is to shelve their baby and polish up a new and finished work in progress. I did have a work in progress to polish, but I also had a belief in the value of Kindar’s Cure.


Epic fantasy is my love. It’s what I read, it’s what I wanted to write and get published. I wasn’t ready to quit on my story, no matter that the market in big publishing didn’t support me. But I wasn’t very technically savvy either to put it mildly. I didn’t know how to do all the things to make a manuscript beautiful for self-publishing. I couldn’t create cover art or do my own editing. Self-publishing seemed daunting to me, especially as I didn’t have much of a platform. I wasn’t yet on twitter, and my blog got a few page views a day, most of them probably being spammers.


Working with a small publisher would give me an editor and also time to build a platform. There’s another factor I learned that agents look favorable on authors who have publishing credits to put in their bios. It shows that the writer isn’t a flash in the pan; that a writer is going to stick around and write more stories. A small press can give that kind of credibility to a bio. And I was prepared to trade smaller portions of the final sales for having someone do the publishing and editing for me.


So I looked into small presses, using Duotrope to help create lists of legitimate places that accepted epic fantasy, and I sent off my query and sample pages again. I began to get requests, drawing more interest than I got from agents. I researched those small presses further using sites like Preditors and Editors and Writer’s Beware.


An offer came from Divertir, and I did more research by talking to their other clients. An experience friend checked the contract for me and pointed out areas I might want changed. The publisher had no problems making those changes, proving they were willing to compromise. I accepted the offer, knowing both the shortcomings and pluses of a small publisher. The marketing would be largely my own responsibility, but the tradeoff was Divertir took my needs and desires into account when a large press would not. I was able to give input on the cover art and interior art. My baby got to stay my baby, without strangers tearing it apart and putting their stamp on it.


So how does it end? I’m not exactly sure—yet. Kindar’s Cure has been published for less than a month, the ebook versions just came online this week. I’m just beginning the marketing and promotion side of things, seeking blog tours and reviewers. But as many of you have heard the big publishing houses are doing less and less marketing for their writers also. Writers are more on their own than ever. That just means we, as writers, have to grow and stretch ourselves.


I continued to write, finishing a YA dystopian and a humorous middle grade adventure. And with these books I once again took the traditional route. I shelved the dystopian when the market proved too crowded. But just a few days ago, my MG hamster story got two offers from agents, and I’m now signed with Sarah Negovetich. Go here for that story.


You could say I’m having my cake and eating it too. Instead of taking one path to publishing, I’ve got two.








Princess Kindar of Anost dreams of playing the hero and succeeding to her mother’s throne. But dreams are for fools. Reality involves two healthy sisters and a wasting disease of suffocating cough that’s killing her by inches. When her elder sister is murdered, the blame falls on Kindar, putting her head on the chopping block.

No one who survives eighteen years of choke lung lacks determination.  A novice wizard, Maladonis Bin, approaches with a vision—a cure in a barren land of volcanic fumes. As choices go, a charming bootlicker that trips over his own feet isn’t the best option, but beggars can’t be choosers. Kindar escapes with Mal and several longtime attendants only to have her eyes opened that her country faces dark times.


Her mother’s decision to close the prosperous mines spurs poverty and joblessness, inciting rebellion and opening Anost to foreign invasion. As Mal urges her toward a cure that will prove his visions, suddenly, an ally turns traitor, delivering Kindar to a rebel army, who have their own plans for a sickly princess.


With the killer poised to strike again, the rebels bearing down, and the country falling apart, she must weigh her personal hunt for a cure against saving her people.



Kindar’s Cure is available via Amazon Paperback, Book Depository (free shipping), Barnes and Noble Paperback, Kindle and Nook.





MichelleHMichelle Hauck lives in the bustling metropolis of northern Indiana with her hubby and two teenagers. Two papillons help balance out the teenage drama. Besides working with special needs children by day, she writes all sorts of fantasy, giving her imagination free range. A book worm, she passes up the darker vices in favor of chocolate and looks for any excuse to reward herself. Bio finished? Time for a sweet snack.


She is a co-host of the yearly contest Query Kombat. Her epic fantasy, Kindar’s Cure, is published by Divertir Publishing. Her short story, Frost and Fog, is published by The Elephant’s Bookshelf Press in their anthology, Summer’s Double Edge. She’s repped by Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Literary. To learn more about Michelle check out her blog, It’s in the Details, or follower her on Twitter or Facebook.


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