Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Book Sale!!





Woohoo! It's that time of year again. Time for Audrey Press's annual Holiday Kidlit Book Love sale! What does this mean, you may ask? Well, it means that all books published under Audrey Press (which includes the Aletha imprint) are currently on sale on Amazon until December 5th!

So if you haven't gotten your copy of Ascension now is the time! But there are several other wonderful kid lit books that make great holiday presents!







Here's a list of Audrey Press books:

1. The Fox Diaries by Valarie Budayr
2. The Waldorf Homeschool Handbook by Donna Ashton
3. A Year in the Secret Garden by Valarie Budayr
4. Dragons are Real by Valarie Budayr
5. Ascension by Hannah Rials

All of these books are award winning books that will add a lot to any home! So get them now so that you can win at gift-giving.

Happy Book Buying,
    HER

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Election Day

      I know that everyone is probably sick and tired of seeing election junk on social media and literally everywhere on the entire planet. I'm sick of it.
      However, I can't stress it enough, please go vote. This is my first presidential election, and it's extremely disappointing--all the talk of violence and hatred of others with opposing opinions.
I thought about not voting several times throughout this election, but fiction actually convinced me to do other wise.
      As bad as our world might seem right now, as horrible and depressing as the world is portrayed in the media, we still have a voice. We have a choice. Our opinion matters, as much as we might believe differently. And here's the kicker--we have a say. We have freedom of speech. We have a hand in shaping our country, though it is becoming increasingly harder, so it seems.
     Now imagine the worlds in the books that we love so much--the controlling totalitarian regime in The Hunger Games, the corrupt kings and merchants in The Grisha trilogy and Six of Crows. The twisted government system in The Giver. 
      At least we have a choice. At least we can speak freely without being thrown into a deadly game. I know it may seem fruitless to vote. The lines are long, all you get is a sticker, blah blah blah. But this is your right, and if you just sit on your couch, then it's a waste.

      If you can't get behind the two main candidates, there are options. There are several independents (though I can honestly say that I never saw anything about any of them), and you can always write in.

     As bad as you think our country is, go read a fiction book, and you'll be kissing the ground of the world we live in. Voice your choice. Exercise your right. Please--go vote.

Voted,
    HER 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Having a Writing Schedule

      When I started writing Ascension almost nine years ago, I literally wrote whenever I had a free moment. Sometimes even when I didn't have a free moment. I wrote after homework, in boring classes, occasionally during church (sorry, pastors, you and Jesus were just inspiring). I wrote in the car, on planes, literally all the time. Sometimes, I'd go awhile without writing because I was editing or giving myself Christmas break.
       College life has kind of changed me just a tad. It seems like there is always something to do, even if that is giving myself a mental break (because, y'all, college kids need mental breaks). This has become extremely obvious to me this past semester. At the beginning of the semester, as I was trying to settle into my routine while trying to find time to write, it was basically impossible.
       So I've been making myself wake up an hour earlier than I would normally wake up for class. I make coffee (essential) and breakfast then sit down to write. It's not nearly enough time. I hate getting up and going to class when I'm smack-dab in the middle of a good scene. But I have to do it. Now, as a young adult, I need this set time to sit down, close my door, listen to music, and write.
       That's not to say I don't write any other time of day. Last week, I was super pumped up about getting to the end of Ascension 2.0 (though I didn't), so I wrote for maybe 3 hours one evening because I had an odd lack of homework.
       I'm also not saying that you have to write every single day. Sometimes that's not possible. If Tuesday and Thursdays are the best days for you, make those your writing days. Or just write a heck of a lot during the weekend.
      For all of you young writers and older writers and middle writers, just carve out a little bit of time, consider it like going to the gym for your mind. You need to exercise your skill, practice, hone it. This is just one of many ways to do that.
      Conveniently, a good way to do that started today! NaNoWriMo is an annual event that challenges writers to get the skeleton of a novel onto the page. In 30 days time, you will have written a 50,000 word novel. If you're interested, click here. I wish you all the best of luck in your NaNoWriMo goals!

Get Writing,
     HER 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Writer's GuideBook to Chattanooga

Welcome to Chattanooga, aka Gig City, aka The Scenic City. This cute, upcoming city at the bottom of Tennessee has really developed in terms of art and tourism over the past ten years thanks to the Aquarium. But Chattanooga is a wonderful city for writers. I mean, I can write anywhere. I write on planes, in class, in doctor waiting rooms, occasionally in church (what can I say, God inspires me?). But sometimes, you just need to be somewhere inspiring and calming and conducive to creative thought. Chattanooga has some wonderful locals for this need:

1. Rembrandts Coffee House: This is a charming coffee house/cafe in the Art District of Chattanooga. It's surrounded by the art museum, a bed and breakfast, and a great Italian Restaurant. It's just a short walk to the glass bridge and the walking bridge, so consequently the river. But they have wonderful coffee (the vanilla is my favorite) as well as tasty lunch and a variety of pastries. Their patio (in the right weather) is so peaceful and calming, so I really prefer writing outside there. But inside, during calm hours, can be another great place to just sit. If you think about it, you could be there for hours--get lunch, then a dessert, then coffee. You're good for most of the day.

2. Starline Books: Need a book inspiration or writing break? Stop into Starline Books in the Southside on Market street where you will be greeted by the warm, energetic owner. On the top level, You'll find adult fiction, signed copies, and some nonfiction. Head downstairs, and you'll find children's, young adult, and even more variety. For a small store, they have an excellent selection of books. And the rustic atmosphere is my fave.

3. The Camp House: placed right on MLK Boulevard, come visit The Camp House for an easy atmosphere, comfortable couches, yummy pastries, and counterculture coffee. They also have a patio for nice weather day. I can sit there for hours and write, eat a snack, even have brunch/lunch, and just enjoy the day.

4. Coolidge Park: If you're an outdoor writer, Coolidge Park is the place for you. You have a nice view of the Walking Bridge, which could be good inspiration if you're a people watcher (which, let's be honest, all writers watch people). Again, if you need sustenance, there's a plethora of restaurants and coffee shops in walking distance.

5. Mean Mug: Another great coffee shop, this one just around the corner from Starline, is tiny but quaint. So if you write during odd hours of the day, this is the place to go. They have yummy coffee, a nice selection of food and pastries, and play awesome, quiet, inspiring music. They also have a patio, because it seems that patios are essential for Chatt coffee shops.

So if you're a writer in Chatt or traveling to Chatt, be sure to check these places out, along with the cool outdoor adventures and mouthwatering restaurants that are around every corner!

From the Scenic City,
      HER

Monday, October 17, 2016

Southern Festival of Books 2016

Happy book festival season! I started off mine in the good ole city of Nashville with the Southern Festival of Books. SFOB was the first book festival I ever went to four years ago, and I swear, it was like God had sent me a weekend made just for me. It was filled with a HUGE book tent and authors, my role models, galore! Normally, I try to pack in a full schedule, but this year, I was a little bit more relaxed.

Saturday, we heard Ann Patchett, author and owner of Parnassus books, interview the successful novelist Beverly Lowry about her new book exploring the Yogurt Shop Murders in Austin, Texas. I haven't read this book, but if Ann Patchett is singing its praises, I feel like its worth a read.

Jolina Petersheim, author of The Outcast, and Libby Ware, author of Lum, served on a panel together talking about Mennonite and Melungeons in literature. All of Jolina's books take place in the Mennonite community, and Lum intersects with the Melungeon community. Jolene's newest book The Alliance questions what will happen to the Mennonite community people when modern society collapses and they go back to old ways. Will they survive because of their simple way of life or will they die because of their passivity?

We finished Saturday in a Fantasy panel with Victoria (V.E.) Schwa, Maria Dahvana Headley, and Martina Boone, who are, respectively, the authors of This Savage Song among more, Magonia among more, and The Heirs of Watson Island series. Apparently, they didn't have a plan going into the panel, but they ended up with one of the best discussions I've ever had the pleasure of sitting in on. They discussed the very idea of fantasy, female heroines in YA fantasy and their tendency to be very Joan of Arkish, which, let's be honest, how many 16 year olds are self sacrificing? It was a fabulous discussion that broke down walls and barriers and stereotypes, and I felt like I was in a room of genius. A great way to end the day! Also, Maria Dahvana Headley had the best book-dress I've ever seen.

Sunday, I'm not embarrassed to say, was all about Maggie Stiefvater. We got to the library early to get good seats for her talk, and let me tell you, she's one of the best speakers I've ever heard, not just in the author world. She uses the stage, is dramatic yet real, and truly pulls you into her world. It was absolutely fantastic and hilarious and perfect. I had my complete stack of the Raven Cycle for her to sign, and I told her about how I threw the last book of Shiver across the room because I was so pissed about the ending. She was not sorry, but I loved her reaction. I wouldn't be sorry either. That's how I felt when a reader told me that about Ascension. 
We finished the day in the best way possible--vandalizing her car Theif. Now don't worry, she was present for this vandalization. She even provided the spray paint and told us that we were doing this for the sake of individuality. And...she's gonna drive her kids to school in this car through the Election. Mwahaha.

If you haven't yet traveled to a book festival in your life, I HIGHLY encourage you to go. I can't recommend it enough. I'm serious. Just go.

Here's some great quotes and advice I picked up in the panels this weekend from our fabulous authors:
"Everyone should have a journal--just write your life story." - Jolina Petersheim
"I write about the lines between things." - V.E. Schwab
"Within the impossible parts of life, there is glitter." - Maria Dahvana Headley
"Science is magic we've learned how to explain." - Martina Boone
"Fantasy is an armor we can wear while facing difficult topics." - V.E. Schwab
"Moral gray is such a pretty color." - Maria Dahvana Headley
"I use language as spice not as substance. Language makes the world." - V.E. Schwab
"I think show-don't-tell is the most incorrect rule ever." - Martina Boone
"I have a serious objection to write-what-you-know." - Maria Dahvana Headley
"Write what you want to read. You will always be your greatest champion." - V.E. Schwab
"I'm a writing thief. I steal people and places." - Maggie Stiefvater

Monday, October 3, 2016

YA Scavenger Hunt Is ON! (Plus a fun Giveaway of Ascension and some New Orleans-themed SWAG!)

Welcome to YA Scavenger Hunt 2016!



This bi-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck so that readers could have a chance to gain exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors as well as a chance to win fun prizes! During this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize—a book from each author on the hunt in my team! But move quickly: this contest and all the bonus material will only be online for 72 hours.

Go to YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are eight contest going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the PURPLE TEAM—but there is also a red, orange, gold, green, teal, blue, and pink team for a chance to win a whole different set of books.


If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.

LET’S PUZZLE!

DIRECTIONS: Below, you’ll notice that I’ve hidden a special number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the purple team, and then add them up (it’s okay, you can use a calculator).

ENTRY FORM: Once you’ve added up all the number, go fill out the form linked below to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.

RULES: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by October 7, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.

THE HUNT IS ON!



Today, I am hosting Amy Plum on my website for the YA Scavenger Hunt. Amy Plum is the author of Die for Me, an international best-selling YA series set in Paris, which has been translated into thirteen languages. Amy's newest series is a duology, After the End and Until the Beginning. The first book of her YA horror duology Dreamfall will be released by HarperTeen in 2017. Amy grew up in Birmingham, Alabama before venturing further afield to Chicago, Paris, London, and New York. An Art Historian by training, she can be found on most days either daydreaming or writing (or both) in a Parisian cafĂ©. 


Find out more by checking out her website here
And if you like her content, you can purchase An Alphabet of Paris Zombies if you click here


EXCLUSIVE CONTENT

From the internationally best-selling author Amy Plum comes this illustrated series of rhyming couplets memorializing the mysterious deaths of twenty-six residents of the City of Light. For every letter, there's another gruesome end linked to a famous spot, leading the reader on a deliciously ghoulish tour through Paris. The photos were taken by the author as she scurried around the city preparing the ghastly alphabet for her contribution as a Featured Author of the 2014 Twitter Fiction Festival. 

Today, Amy will be sharing a video with you hunters about her book. So be sure to click the link to get some exclusive content! 




And don’t forget to entire the contest for a chance to win a ton of books by me, Amy Plum, and more! To enter, you need to know that Amy Plum caught the writing bug when she was very young; I started Ascension in middle school, and I finally published it now that I’m 20.


ONWARD WITH THE HUNT
To keep going on your quest for all the free books, you need to check out the next author! C.M. McCoy

Please leave me some comments, tell me how you’re doing in the hunt, or anything you want to talk about! I love hearing from you all!



Be sure and connect with me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and my author Website!


On top of the winner receiving a free copy of Ascension, as well as many others, click our Rafflecopter link below for a chance to win this box of awesome Ascension Swag!

** a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, September 30, 2016

Made it down to Chatt

Ascension officially made it down to Chattanooga this afternoon at Star Line Books!!

Every experience with this book brings something new to my life, and it's just so amazing and humbling. During the Maryville Launch, so many people came that night to support me. I honestly could not believe my eyes, and I was so incredibly humbled. I will never be able to forget that night, even though it was such a blur.

All of the kind reviews I'm getting on Amazon and Goodreads touch my heart. I know the bad reviews are going to come. Even the most spectacularly flawless authors like Maggie Stiefvater, Leigh Bardugo, and J.K. Rowling have their critics. But for now, I'll take all of your reviews to heart, treasuring each one, and be so so thankful.

Ni touched my heart with her kindness
Tonight, apart from the new faces and old friends that came out to support me, I met my first, real, non-friend or family related fan. Ni was waiting for me when I got to Starline this afternoon. An English professor at my university mentors her and bought Ascension for her when it launched a month ago. This afternoon, she presented me a rolled, crumpled, folded, bent, well-read, extremely loved copy of Ascension. "How could you do that?" She said to me. My natural reaction, knowing the twists and turns of my book, was to ask her to clarify. "The ending! I threw it across the room several times!!" she said. Guys, I can't tell you exactly how much this means to me. I've been there. I've thrown a Maggie Stiefvater book across the room. And MY book made someone do that...
Ni named her favorite character, her favorite part, and told me that she's shared her copy around her classroom. But the best part? She wrote fan fiction about Rove and Jillian!!! Fan fiction...about MY BOOK! I have to be honest, I kind of fell when she told me that. I was so stunned and touched and humbled and...only big time authors get fan fiction right? This can't possibly be real life, right? Ni just made my entire month.

My friends, my creative writing group, english professors, some city goers, some classmates, and of course my mom, publisher, and book seller made this afternoon absolutely amazing. Tonight is going to be so memorable to me, will always stand out in my mind. Thanks to everybody who was able to come out tonight. You all mean the world to me!

The Best Book Seller on the Block
If you live in Chattanooga and haven't gotten the chance to visit Star at Starline Books on Market Street, please head over there. It's a wonderful bookstore with an amazing collection of books and the best bookseller on the block.





Monday, September 26, 2016

Banned Books Week!

Happy Banned Books Week! Practice your right to Freadom and read a banned book this week!
There are a variety of reasons for why books are banned--racial issues, damaging lifestyles, sacrilegious dialogue, sexual situations, violence, witchcraft, etc. You get the point.

Literature is art. Art is freedom, freedom of expression, freedom of life, freedom of religion. As artists, authors cannot please everybody. Someone will almost always be offended by something written, so we should not attempt to please everyone. It's a ridiculous goal. If something offends you as a reader, you can put the book down and walk away. You don't have to challenge it and ruin reading society for everyone. So just...be considerate. Come on!

Interested in reading a Banned Book (as you rightly should be? Bannedbooksweek.org has this cool list of the most challenged books of 2015:
http://www.bannedbooksweek.org/about

What about classics that have been banned?

1. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
3. The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
4. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
5. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
6. Ulysses, by James Joyce
7. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
8. The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
9. 1984, by George Orwell
11. Lolita, by Vladmir Nabokov
12. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
15. Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
16. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
17. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
18. The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway
19. As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner
20. A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway

Challenge yourself this week and read a banned book. Practice your freedom to read 'em. Sorry, that was a bad joke. :D Let me know what banned books you're reading this week! 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Expanding Your Reading

    For a long, long time, I read children's books, then middle grade books, and then YA books in segments. I have blocks of my life where I only read that specific genre. In high school (until senior year), I thought it was ridiculous for me to read a middle grade book while I was 16. I was obviously much too mature to read something for a ten year old, and I didn't think I was mature enough to read to Adult books (apart from the classics that were assigned to me in school).
    Over the past three years, my view on this has changed. My senior year of high school when I interned for Audrey Press/ Jump Into a Book, my job was to read children's books and Middle grade fiction. I had to read these books with a critical eye, looking at the different aspects of the books and coming up with crafts. And I love them. Children's books are absolutely beautiful. I don't know when the last time was that you read a picture book, but man! Some of those pictures are just fabulous, and the stories are heart warming.
     Some of my favorite books are Middle Grade books: Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan, Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan, Holes by Louis Sachar, The Bridge to Terebithia by Katherine Paterson, Inkheart by Cornelia Funke, Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo, and the list goes on. Yes, the language is younger, but the themes and issues discussed in Middle grade fiction are universal, something we've all been through or can relate to. And the language can also be very beautiful.
      I've heard recently, since publishing a YA book, that adults think they shouldn't read YA books, that the topics are young, the writing's young, the ideas are below their mental level. But this isn't true: there are some absolutely amazing writers in YA world right now. Adults were once young adults; they can relate to the issues being discussed and maybe can find a character and say "man, I wish I'd been like this as a kid." Even though we mature, every aspect of our lives carry with us to define who we are. We just don't let go of our adolescent mindset. It's still there, just not at the forefront.
       In the past year, I've ventured into the adult genre. My first novel was Life after Life by Kate Atkinson, which I listened to driving back and forth between Maryville and Chattanooga. And it was fabulous. The narrative style is so interesting, and the characters are incredibly compelling. This summer, I experienced Station 11 by Emily St. John Mandel. I don't normally go for the post-apocolyptic novels, but Station 11 was spectacular. There are so many strings that all connect at the end, and it's just mind-blowing. When I got the end, I just sat there thinking "Woah!"
     So I guess the point of this book ramble is to not lock yourself into a reading box. It's very easy for me to just stay in my little YA world, especially because there are so many amazing YA books coming out right now to try and fail to keep up with. But try and make an effort to expand your reading circle. If you need any recommendations, I'm HAPPY to give some out. Just let me know.

And if you want to start in YA, Ascension is a great jumping in book :D

Happy Reading,
     HER

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Ascension Book Launch!

Woah, baby!! I just launched my first book, after eight years of hard, fun work! I still can't believe this--my book is out there in the world for everyone to read. CRAZY!! But this party wasn't your average book launch. I kind of considered this party a combination of my birthday (book birthday) and my wedding because if you think about it, this was my wedding to the publishing world! If you weren't able to be there, I'll paint you the wonderful picture!
Part of the Aletha Press Team
     Ascension's book launch was hosted by Vienna Coffeehouse in Maryville, TN. Ascension and all it's many drafts were basically written there. All of our publishing meetings took place there. Vienna is Ascension's second home as much as it is mine. They were so gracious to host us, providing us "Blood punch" aka Italian soda and Hibiscus tea. They made sure everything ran smoothly, helped our jazz band settle in, and let us deck out the joint! I cannot thank the guys working that night enough. 
Let the Good Times Roll!
      Our decorator did an absolutely magical job! Our tables were decorated with mason jars filled with Hydrangeas and other purple flowers (my favorite color) as well as adorable yard lights serving as New Orleans street signs. They were so cute!! This lady is obsessed with chalkboard signs right now, so every sign was chalked, which just fit the theme wonderfully! But the coolest part was the big doors on which she blew up antique postcards from New Orleans. She found these from her grandmother, and they just tied everything together and set the scene! 
       A huge thank you goes out to our caterer Peggy Beck of Joyful Palate! She created an array of New Orleans cuisine--Ferdi Special po'boys, chicken and sausage jambalaya, & king cakes that were divine! The food couldn't have been better! 
      However, the music is what really transported us! From 7-9 pm, the UT Jazz symphony played a variety of wonderful jazz music that had my foot tapping the whole night, and of course, they ended with "The Saints Go Marching in." 
      My mother and publisher Valarie Budayr are really the two women who made this all possible! I'm beyond blessed to have them both looking out for me and guiding me through this process and this amazing night! I couldn't have done it without them. 
       But the biggest thank yous go out to everybody who came out to support me on Saturday night! I was extremely humbled and honored by the turnout that we had, especially in light of the week's events in Maryville and the crazy surprise storm that popped up just before the party! You all are the real MVPs--you're making my dream a reality! So thank you!! 
       I just have to say, Saturday night felt so natural. I was nervous to the point of throwing up in the hours leading up to the night. But when I sat down in that chair, with a sharpie in my hand, and a line out the door, I felt calm. I loved seeing each and every one of you there! I could not have asked for a better evening! So thank you so so much to everyone involved! 

     If you weren't able to make it out on Saturday, I'll be selling and signing books at Schriver's on Broadway THIS Sunday from 1-4 pm. Come out to see me, visit this lovely boutique, and check out Lula Roe designs! It's going to be a super fun day celebrating creative women! 

Love you all, 
                                   HER



Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Tea with Jane: Plum Cake

That's right. I did it! I ACTUALLY made Plum Cakes, and not to toot my own horn, but I think they were awesome! They turned out beautifully and were delicious! Though it's kind of funny to me that Plum cakes don't actually have any plums in them. But whatever! They did have currants and raisins soaked in Brandy and Sweet Red Wine (I got the cheap Barefoot kind) as well as almonds.
     The recipe called for one big spring pan with a removable base, but I didn't have one of those. So a family friend lent me four miniature spring pans, and I loved using it this way because it's much easier to give them away! You didn't think I was going to keep all four, did you?
      The baking prep was a little different. I had to butter the inside of the pans then cover the insides with parchment paper (that's key), and once the batter is in, you wrap the outside in two layers of tin foil. It said to tie it with a string, but I just scrunched it together and it worked just fine.
      Little bit of a note: for your cakes to be pretty and not have crusty edges, don't fill up the tin all the way. It bakes over and isn't as pretty. But that's just for aesthetic purposes.
      You can ice these, but I didn't. They were just as good without. With the spices used, I feel like this would be a great fall treat! Sooooo yummy! (And yes, I splurged and ate it)

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Tea with Jane: Rout Cakes

This week was by far the easiest week yet! I didn't have to use yeast--thank you, Self-rising flour! I don't really know how to explain Rout Cakes... They are kind of like last week's pastry in that they use currants. But they are much smaller and have much more flavor. I think they called them drop cookies.

However, the unique part of this dish is that it's flavored with Brandy, Rosewater, and Orange flower water. Now, I looked for Orange and rose water, but I'm not quite sure if they exist anymore. If they do, I was not able to find them, so if anyone knows of these antiquated ingredients, please let me know! But let me tell you, the brandy made quite the difference in flavor! It was super yummy. I added a little bit more than the instructed 1 tbls of brandy just because I didn't have the rosewater or Orange flower water. But I don't think it degraded it in anyway.

Apparently, the alcohol and the flower waters are very commonly used in British baking. This week, I'm going to try tackling Plum Cake, which I'm super stoked about, but also super nervous. So try your Rout Cakes! They're delicious!

Keep Baking,
     HER

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Book Festivals

    Over the past few years, I have become a book festival junkie! If I were not in school and could travel all the time without money being an obstacle, I would be going to ALL the book festivals. Unfortunately, I'm only able to make it to two in the fall season, but they're a couple of great festivals--The Southern Festival of Books in Nashville, TN and YALLFEST in Charleston, SC.
     If you're unfamiliar with these festivals, they are a little bit different. SFOB is a broad-reaching festival that covers everything from Kidlit to biographies. This three day festival is filled with panels and activities for kids. The street leading up to the capitol building is lined with book vendors and independent authors that culminates to Parnassus Book's HUGE book tent selling all the authors' books. I love this festival. It's well organized, has great street vendors for food (because a lunch break is necessary), and the authors are always wonderful.
    YALLFEST is a purely young adult/middle grade book festival. And I swear, it's like a rockstar convention. The first day, Friday, has what they call Yallcrawl, where they have different authors positioned in stores and restaurants around King Street, and they just sign books. The lines can become equivalent to amusement park lines. So if you really like that author, get there early! Saturday is a FULL day! You have jam packed panels, signings, giveaways, and so much more! The keynote and closing speakers are always awesome. But be sure to check their website because a few of the panels are ticketed or limited to the number of people they let in. This is something you plan in advance. Okay...this is something that I plan in advance. But I highly suggest it, or else you'll be all stressed out, and that's no fun.
    Book festivals aren't just fun events for readers (because believe me I fan girl. I was basically speechless when I met Richelle Mead--pretty sure I said something embarrassing, but I don't know...I might've blacked out a little bit). They're important networking events for aspiring/self/indie published authors. You can meet readers who may be interested in your work. Go up and talk to authors and make connections. If their agents are there, snag them for quick chat. This is your chance to advertise yourself freely. You don't need to pay hundreds of dollars for a booth that not that many people will visit. Just go up and talk to people. That's the important part.
     Plus, I can't tell you how cool it is to meet your favorite authors and have them sign your books. You get your pictures taken...it's literally so cool! But keep it together. Remember, authors are people too. We love meeting readers, but we also like personal space!

Here is a link to a definitive list of book festivals around the world. Check it out to find one near you!
https://www.everfest.com/book-festivals

Time for some more writing,
     HER 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Book Review Time: The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

I don't do book reviews very often, mainly because there are so many book reviewers out there who all do a wonderful job and cover an amazing scope of books that my reviews aren't really necessary. But I just have to talk about this one trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.
Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.
Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha…and the secrets of her heart.
I am two books into the trilogy (devoured the almost 500 page book in a few days), and I absolutely cannot wait until I can get to the bookstore and pick up the final installment. This trilogy just blows my mind! It's pre-modern, russian-inspired, high fantasy with monsters and magic and love and adventure and mythology. Just...wow! The characters are so clear, but trust in this book is faulty. Who are friends, and who are enemies? In a war torn world, who can tell? I just cannot recommend this trilogy highly enough. If you need an escape, dive head first into Leigh Bardugo's world. 
The first time I saw Leigh Bardugo was at the 2015 Yallfest in Charleston, and she was so impressive--very charismatic and funny. I honestly think her banter with Brandon Reichs made the whole night. And just meeting her made me want to pick up her book. Because someone that awesome is going to write good books, correct? 
So I read the first one over my spring break (in Charleston again haha), and I read it in two days. TWO DAYS. The night that I finished, I was on twitter and saw that some internet troll was attacking her jewish heritage, which is just infuriating. But she handled it like a queen, and when I tweeted at her about her book, she was so kind and tweeted back. I'm always going to remember that. Taking the time to acknowledge fans and readers--that's something worth spending time on. After I finish the Grisha Trilogy, I'm heading straight for her next series Six of Crows. 

Saturday, July 9, 2016

My Magical Reading List

Need to add a little bit of magic into your life, whether that be light or dark? Check out this enchanting book list!!


The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong

The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo


A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray


Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare 


Beautiful Creatures Series by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stool


The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis 


Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern


Evermore by Alyson Noel 


Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs


Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling


The Night World Trilogy by L.J. Smith


The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater


Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink


Yes, I do have some favorites in here. You can probably assume a couple of them. But I also haven't read all the magical books out there! What are your favorites??? 

Let me know, 
      HER

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Tea with Jane: Butter Buns

'Ello lovelies! This week's delicious treat from the wonderful mind of Jane Austen is Butter Buns, a rather plain roll mixed with currants and can be seasoned with either nutmeg and allspice, caraway seeds, or natural rosewater.
Again, this was a hefty process. I've officially learned what rubbing butter into flour means. You chop up the butter into pieces and literally rub the pieces into the flour until you've reached the texture of breadcrumbs. I'm kind of proud of myself for adding to my baking vocabulary. 
So anyways, you need to leave the dough moist, add just a little bit of flour so that you're able to knead it. I think I added too much. Oh well. Learning from mistakes. Then you make a well and pour in warmed milk mixed with egg yolks and fold it together. 
You let it rise for an hour (so I went to the gym haha), then form the dough into twelve buns and flatten them. They rise for another 45 minutes before they bake for 15 minutes. So seriously, it's the prep, not the actual baking. 

But CURRANTS! Let's talk about that...I honestly had no idea what these little fruits were. Neither did anyone at the grocery store haha. Thank you kroger for actually having them. Currants are like a form of raisin. They are dried, black, seedless grapes originally from Greece. They look just like raisins. And they're just mixed into the dough. 

So this result was this bun. Not my favorite recipe thus far. I think that falls to the Sally Lunns still. But they still turned out well, and have a pretty good flavor! Definitely worth a try! 


Ready for next time? 
    HER

Sunday, July 3, 2016

The Definitive Emotions of Publishing a Book

Over the past couple weeks, I have been going through basically every emotion possible. And I'm not kidding. I'm kind of already an emotional person, and this whole publishing a book business is just making it worse :). So I'm here to prepare you/ enlighten you on how this whole emotional book roller coaster works!

1. STRESS - that is literally the number one emotion that stays constantly in your heart and mind throughout this entire process. You have stress of getting a publisher to accept it, stress of editing, stress of re-editing, stress of it not getting done as fast as you want it, stress of something going wrong, stress of final copy edits, stress of waiting for it to be printed, stress of marketing, stress of fearing people won't like your work. Stress. Stress, stress, stress

2. JOY - You're finally getting a book published! Exult! Be merry! Do a little jig. Now it's over, time to get to work.

3. Determination - You are determined to get those edits in, and by golly they are going to be perfect, even if it means staying up all night for a week. You're going to get it done.

4. RELIEF - Those edits are in! You can relax, chill, take a step away. Read a book, watch a movie. Just don't even think about it.

5. DISTRESS - Yeah, those edits weren't perfect. You've got some more work to do. So hop like a bunny and get moving.

7. HAPPINESS - You're done! It's going to the copy editor, so now you can relax again. Take a BIG breath, drink a cup of coffee, pet your dogs/cats.

8. UTTER MISERY - Guess what. They found a GIANT plot hole during copy edits. Ha. Hahaha. Time to get back to work. But always remember--this is fun work. We love what we do. So is it really misery at all?

9. DISBELIEF - You're copy edits are done. You have a beautiful cover. You're looking at your final typeset, reading it through for errors. This is real. It's not just an idea in your head anymore. It's a book, and it's about to be a real, solid thing in just a few months

10. OVERWHELMING HAPPINESS - Tears. Crying. Lots of crying. You're holding your book proof in your hand. This overwhelming happiness is mixed with disbelief. Because this is your book. This paper is not from your printer. You're holding a 3-D version of your full cover. As in. This is what it'll look like, only with your book in it. And this is the face you make:
So that's where I am right now. OVERWHELMING HAPPINESS. Now I get to stress about the release and reviews and what people will think about it and if it will sell! 
but for right now, I'm just going to focus on the happy tears and the joy and the excitement and all the good stuff! 

Ascension. 8*27*16

With tears in my eyes, 
      HER

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Tea with Jane: Sally Lunns

     Sally Lunns...I'm sorry what? What kind of name is that for a pastry? What kind of name is that in general? I keep wanting to say "buns" instead of "lunns"...I'm working on it!
     So yes, this week's historical pastry is called "Sally Lunns" which is basically a bread roll that you would either eat with butter, or, if you want to go real old fashioned/british here, clotted cream. I thankfully had all the ingredients from the past two recipes (thank goodness), so no shopping was involved. And the recipe was so basic! Strong bread flour, eggs, sugar, yeast, heavy cream, and salt. Literally, that's it. Although, there was one oddity in this recipe. Instead of mixing the yeast immediately with the flour, I mixed it first with the sugar. Then you add eggs and cream, and THEN the flour and salt. I wonder what the difference is, or if there is a difference at all? Do you guys know?
      Anyways, there was some more waiting this time. I'm kind of getting excited to do a recipe that doesn't involve waiting. After kneading the dough for a good ten minutes, I had to let it rise for 1.5 hours, form 6 buns (although I think I should've made more), and let them rise again for 30 minutes to an hour. Then you brush them with egg whites and pop 'em in the oven at 400 for 13 minutes.
As I said before, I think I should've made more buns because the 6 buns were HUGE!! Like, basically that's all you need for breakfast.
     
But guys...these things are the bomb.com! They came out golden, warm, light, fluffy, and are just all around wonderful goodness. I think this is my favorite recipe so far. Next time, I'm definitely making smaller buns. But overall, I'd call this recipe a 100% success. Maybe it's because of the weird name :)

Can't wait for next week,
    HER

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Creative Writers Surviving High School English

      I'm jumping back in time a few years here and thinking back to my years of secondary education english classes. As a reader and very non-technical thinker, English was always my favorite subject. There's no question about that. If I could just get to English class, I could make it through the day. I know I'm not the only one who thinks this way. You guys are out there.
      But it was also extremely frustrating to me that my only options for English classes were the general 1, 2, 3, and 4--which was language and literary criticism. I enjoyed most of it, but what about creative writing? What about modern literature?
      Schools today are so highly focused in math and science that the humanities are really suffering. They teach to the test. Sometimes, we didn't even discuss what we read. We would just take a quiz over it and move on. I mean, don't get me wrong, I can whip out an academic paper like nobody's business. My English teachers did a wonderful job of preparing me for the frequency of papers necessary at college. And my grammar skills are stellar. (Blog posts are more casual, so don't judge me off of this haha. I know not to start a sentence with a conjunction).
       My only other options for english electives were Newspaper, which only came out maybe once a semester in a good year and Yearbook, which I didn't really consider my type of English. Thinking back, I definitely should've started a creative writing club in high school. But oh well, I've started one at UTC, and that's what counts. We're called Chattanooga Writer's Society, and we're awesome!
       I guess that's what I'm here to tell you. Yes, you have to focus on your main curriculum, and while it may not be your cup of tea, there are other ways to get your creative writing fill. If you think  a teacher might be interested, ask him/her to read some of your more creative work on the side. Start a creative writing club in your high school. Have any questions? Want some help? I'm available to give some advice. Find a writing community in your town, or even an online writing community. There's plenty of them, I promise.
       What's most important, just write. I know school's hectic, and you have a billion and one papers to write, but even if it's just a journal entry at the end of the day, or a silly blog post like this, just get your words out of your head. It's a really good feeling, I promise!
      And here's a little bit of hope for you--there are SO MANY awesome english classes in college. And I'm just starting to scratch the surface. So there's some incentive for you!

Keep writing,
     HER

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Tea with Jane: English Muffins

Today was my second week into my Tea with Jane Austen cook book, and I'm still going strong! I'm getting pretty good at multitasking while letting the dough rise. I mean, there's enough going on with all the book stuff that's happening right now :D
Anyway, we're here today for English Muffins--a classic breakfast dish that is delicious with butter and jam! This process was a tiny bit shorter. Instead of rising for 3 hours, the dough only had to rise for an hour the first time. Then I formed the muffins by cutting them out with a cup then let them rise again for another 30 minutes.
My dough was still a little bit sticky and gooey. I probably should've added a little bit more flour to make it easier to work with, so note to all you other bakers out there. Adding more flour is an okay thing.
Cool thing about English muffins that I never knew (or I guess thought to ask about) is that they aren't baked, they are made on a griddle like pancakes. You let each side cook about 8 minutes, and pull them off, ready to go! I served mine with butter and my favorite blackberry jam from the farmer's market. Maybe one of these days I'll try making fresh jam...hahaha
Anyway, I hope you enjoy trying your own English muffins--I definitely suggest trying them. Serve with tea in the morning and have yourself a great breakfast--yum yum!
I have no idea how next weeks treat is supposed to turn out. Never heard of it in my life. So this'll be a surprise both for you and me!

Keep on baking,
     HER

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Happy Father's Day!

     Today is the day on which we celebrate our fathers, uncles, grandfathers, and any other father-figures!  Because these men sacrifice so much for us, and we don't even realize it. Yes, we know that they pay for the roof over our heads, the food in our mouths, the clothes on our backs. But what are they giving up for us that we don't even think about? Time, hobbies, friends, adventurous lives? But I guess all that doesn't really matter, because it's in the past.
      I'm a very lucky girl with an awesome Dad. He works super hard (it's actually kind of exhausting to watch). But he's also hilarious and kind. He's taught me how to be a "dog whisperer;" that I love baseball even though I can't play; that no matter what music I'm into at the moment, I'll always have rock; that life can't always be taken too seriously; that family matters, even when we get too busy for each other; that it's a good thing to embrace your roots but you can always rise above; that determination is everything; and that sometimes, I'm way too much like him. At least I haven't started twisting my eyebrows when I'm stressed out.
      And I realized how present the lack of parents are in YA fiction, which really doesn't make sense to me. If parents aren't necessarily a huge part of young adults' lives, they are still active, still there, still have a voice. Yet a lot of books make it seem like 16 and seventeen year olds are just completely independent of their parents. And I just don't get it. So I've tried to find a few books, and I have compiled the Father's Day Book List:

1. The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks 
2. Twilight by Stephanie Meyer (she does have a sweet relationship with her dad) 
3. The Fault in Our Stars by John Greene
4. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak 
5. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
6. Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan (Poseidon slowly becomes more prominent, right?)

Pretty small list, right? I mean, I haven't read all the books in the world, so I'm sure this list is not complete in the least. If you know of any other's please let me know! 
Some books do a great job of representing a strained relationship with parents, or no parents at all. But we have to understand that parents are a part of young adult life. It's not just completely shaped by romance or action. 

So give your Dad a big hug! Pick up one of these books and remember how much your dad means to you! 

Until the next holiday (just kidding),
    HER

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Tea with Jane Austen: Bath Buns

During her travels to London and Paris, my wonderful, dear friend brought me back the cutest souvenir. A little recipe book called Tea with Jane Austen: Recipes inspired by her novels and letters by Pen Vogler. Even though I am unable to eat the recipes myself, I thought I'd try to bake my way through the book, like in the movie Julie & Julia, although hopefully these will not be quite as complicated.
      I've already attempted the first recipe in the book: Bath Buns! This semi-sweet pastry is wonderful for breakfast or afternoon tea! I'm not quite sure what size they are supposed to be...the recipe says it makes 12, but I think I ended up with 11. Oh well.
      You'd think the time consuming part would be in the baking. No. Nope. This is old fashioned bread making. After mixing all the ingredients, you let the dough rise for 2-3 hours, and, the fun part, you get to punch the air out of the dough! I felt like a real baker for the first time in my life. Also, once you have your buns formed, you let the dough rise for another hour. So all in all, just the prep took about 4.5 hours. But it only bakes for about 15 minutes. No time at all.
This is definitely not a slapdash pastry. You need to take time, read the instructions fully, measure things out. As my friend Kylee likes to tell me, baking is a precise art. And I am not a precise person. But I tried to do pretty good with these.


Well, mom said they're pretty good! I might get myself a few other opinions. She's biased!
Tune in to see what recipe is on the next page!

From the mouth of the chef,
     HER

Saturday, June 11, 2016

My Vampire Reading List

Obviously, my vampire novel was inspired by all the vampire and magic-related books that I've read over the years. Some might be pretty old, but if you're interested in this genre, these books are great!!



  1. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
  2. Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
  3. Marked by Kristin and P.C. Cast
  4. Blue Bloods by Melissa De La Cruz
  5. Night world Trilogy by L.J. Smith
  6. Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice
  7. Evernight by Claudia Gray
  8. The Coldest Girl in Cold Town by Holly Black



So if you haven't read these, put them on your list now! Along with Ascension, of course!! Let me know what you think. I have to say Vampire Academy and Blue Bloods are my absolute favorites. I'm obsessed with them! I reread Vampire Academy in one day. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

What's a Pen Pal?

Dear Readers,      
     Six years ago, I met one of my dearest friends, Isidora! We don't live in the same state, and we only see each other once a year. So how do we keep in contact, you might ask? Emailing? Nope? Texting? Occasionally, more recently. Why, letters of course!!! Yes, I, Hannah Rials, have a pen pal, and I absolutely love it! We're not exactly the most dependable, sometimes it takes us awhile, but we never forget. 
     I know this is not a common practice nowadays because we have phones and computers--such easy, simple ways to keep in contact with each other. No one needs to bother with snail mail. To quote Urban Dictionary, a Pen Pal is: 

A species of human made nearly extinct by the advent of electronic mail, penpals communicate via the ancient art of Penmanship – the inscription of meaningful symbols on filaments of pulped wood. After their creation, these Letters would be entrusted to government officials for transportation and delivery to their intended recipient – often over great distances.

    Ha. Ha ha ha ha. Funny, Urban Dictionary. But note that they said "nearly extinct." Isidora and I are two of the few Pen Pals left. I can't recommend this type of relationship enough, especially to tweens and teens. We met when we were 14, and even though we're separated by 9 hours of distance, it's like we've grown up together. Yeah, it takes dedication. But when you get a letter in the mail, it's honestly so exciting that you might just run to your room and write him/her back immediately and have your letter in the mail before dinner time the same day! 
    It takes dedication and focus, but it's very worthwhile. We connected over books (of course), and our friendship has grown from there. By having a Pen pal and forcing yourself to write an actual letter on paper with a pen, there's just so much more of a connection! And you get to learn about your differences and your similarities in a much cooler way (in my personal opinion). 
    I'm writing this post to celebrate my wonderful Pen Pal/friend who is getting married in 3 days!!!! I'm so honored that I get to be a part of their special day. This just shows you what a wonderful relationship you can have through paper. I'm in Isidora's wedding. We are more than people who write the occasional letter to one another. We're dear friends. And it has been so amazing to see her grow into a beautiful, still awkward, loving, brilliant young woman. And you can see her growth in her letters (that I've saved haha). I'm so super beyond excited for her and her fiancĂ©! 
     So I encourage you all to go out and find your pen pal. Form new relationships through pen. And make a new friend! Besides, you get mail, which is one of the most exciting things on the entire planet. If you disagree with me, you're wrong. Accept it and move on! 

Sincerely, 
     HER 

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Busting Those Writing Myths

There's hundreds of thousands of pieces of writing advice circulating the web-o-sphere. There's no possible way that you can follow all of them. Believe me, I've tried. But here's a few that I've proven are not necessary. 

All Day, Every Day: 
You don't have to write all the time. You don't have to write everyday. Writing is a talent, something that's a part of you. It's not something that's going to go away if you don't do it for a day or two. However, just like any talent, it needs to be cultivated. You will always improve. I can say that most certainly. But don't panic if you don't find the time to write for a week or you just don't have the inspiration. It'll be okay! 

Write What You Know: 
This is probably the biggest piece of baloney ever. If I only wrote what I knew, my stories and books would be SO boring. I wouldn't be writing about vampires or magic or some of the other topics my short stories are about. Stories can be based on something you're familiar with, like a friend, a place, or a concept. However, it's not restricted to that. So imagine what you don't know and write about that. 

Outlining: 
Outlining is not necessary at the start. It works for some people, but I am not one of those people. I didn't outline a single thing in my first draft of Ascension. During my time listening at book panels, I've learned that there are two types of writers: Pantsers and Planners. Pantsers write by the seat of their pants. They write first, think later. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with this. Sure, there might be holes and questions, but that's what editing's for.

One Project at a Time: 
It's taken me eight years to get Ascension published, which means that I have been writing, rewriting, editing, and tweaking for Eight. Years. If I had only spent my time on Ascension, my writing skills would be sorely lacking. I would have no short stories, articles, papers, or other drafts of books sitting in my desk drawer. It's a good thing to step away from your work. It's easy to get so wrapped up in the world you are creating, and sometimes, you need to step away and work on something else in order to fix a problem or look at your work with new eyes. 

Not all writing advice is a piece of gold. Find what works for you and go with it. And if you ever have a question, I'd love to help! Just leave me a comment or message me through my Facebook page. I'll do my very best!

Bye for Now, 
   HER

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Challenge Yourself

     It's always a good thing to challenge yourself in your reading! You have to keep your brain fresh and alert, and sometimes, we get so wrapped up in the beautifully crafted stories of YA fiction that we just blitz through book after book without taking a breath.
     So I've decided to challenge myself this summer. Don't worry, I'm still reading current books. I have a TBR pile that's taller than me. But amongst my fun reads, I'm mixing in some old English classics to keep my brain sharp and improve my reading skills. I know, you think we get enough of that during school, but really, our challenging school reads are pretty guided, even in college. I definitely have the opportunity to have my own thoughts about what I'm reading, but I also get the professor's thoughts and my classmates' as well. Now, it's all on me.
     Thus far, I've completed Little Women, which I know isn't a British classic but I wanted to read it nonetheless. Now, I'm about halfway through Wuthering Heights, and can I just rant for a moment? Jane Eyre is one of my favorite books, so I assumed that, naturally, I would like its sister book. But no! I mean, I'm kind of into the story now even though all the characters are driving me up a wall! Even Nelly, who's supposed to be the sane and normal character, is getting pretty annoying. And I'm just thinking--how can there be this many awful people under one roof? It's impossible! But I'm determined to finish this book, even if I want to strangle all the characters. It's fine. I'll be fine.
      Rant over.
      I'm also taking notes in my books, underlining significant or nicely written lines. And because my vocabulary is not as vast as I would like it to be, I've been circling words that I don't know or vaguely remember, and writing them down in my notebook to look up the definitions. It might be a pointless waste of time, but oh well! I'm enjoying it.
      Written in the Stars by Aisah Saeed. I started it during finals, and just didn't pick it up again because life got crazy hectic. So that's next, and I'm pretty pumped about it. I just have to get through Wuthering Heights before I strangle Heathcliff or Catherine.

Next on my list is

See you at the end,
     HER

Saturday, May 28, 2016

8 Ways to Get Published as a Teen

Every author will tell you that there is no set guidelines on how to get published. It's a matter of timing, luck, and finding the right people to represent you and your work. However, here's my experience that I've learned over this eight year process during my teen years!

No. 1: Write a Story That Needs to Be Told
      This does not just mean a tragic, real life story. Fantasy needs to be told. Dystopia needs to be told. Science Fiction needs to be told. The point is, you have to believe in your story. You are it's number one advocate. If you don't believe in it, why should an agent?

No. 2: One Draft Isn't Enough 
      Believe me, I know how tempting it is to just want to put the beast to rest and send it off. But I promise that you'll regret it. At minimum, push out two drafts. Just two. The professionals that you will be sending your work to appreciate the effort that you've put into your work. Have other people read it. Multiple pairs of eyes and ideas are better than just yours.

No. 3: Know Your Buyers
     I don't mean readers (you should've already figured that out haha), but I mean the agents and editors that you will send your manuscript to. They are very busy people who receive a lot of submissions and emails and have a lot of meetings and phone calls. Don't waste their time by sending them a manuscript they have no interest in reading. Most agents publicly announce their interests, and they won't even look at a manuscript that is not in their field of interest. Do your research. Read magazines and find books. There are tons of resources for you to find agents that would be interested in representing you. And don't rule out Independent publishers. I speak from experience, they're wonderful!

No. 4: Know Your Genre
        Read books in your genre, look at who's publishing them and representing them. That will help you in knowing who's interested in your topics.

No. 5: Join Communities
        Be apart of online communities and groups that discuss your genre and similar topics. Be active in these groups. Share your writing. Agents and editors are starting to look at these online writing communities, so it may just be your shot! Goodreads, Figment, blogging, Wattpad, Writerscafe, scribophile are all great places to start.

No. 6: Kick-butt Query Letter 
        Your query letter is your golden ticket into the publishing industry.  Every word has to be perfectly planned out. I don't know how many times I rewrote my query. If you need an idea on where to start, check out these websites:
http://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/how-to-write-the-perfect-query-letter
http://www.adweek.com/galleycat/23-literary-agent-query-letters-that-worked/77310

No. 7: It's Okay to Fail 
      Rejection is part of this business. When you finally get the courage to send out your masterpiece, you have to build up a thick skin. You have to detach yourself from the work and not allow rejections to hurt you. Because if you're like me, you're going to get a lot of them. Just think about all the other inspiring authors who were rejected multiple times: J.R.R. Tolkien, John Steinbeck, Dr. Seuss, Stephanie Meyers, Meg Cabot, and, of course, J.K. Rowling! 

No. 8: Keep Going 
        No matter how many rejections you get, keep going. Keep revising. Keep sending out letters. And if you feel like it's necessary to move on, do it. But move on to another manuscript. Write something else. Get back in the saddle. Do not let the rejections discourage you. Just because the first manuscript wasn't the winner, doesn't mean the second one won't be a bestseller. 

Remember, just because you're a teenager that doesn't mean that you can't do this. Teens have done this before, and we will do it again. You don't have to be an adult to succeed in this industry. Look at Kody Kiplinger (DUFF), Christopher Paolini (Eragon), Maya Van Wagenen (Popular) to name a few. If they can do it, so can you. If I can do it, you definitely can. Don't give up on yourself, your dreams, and your work. I believe in you. Now it's time to believe in yourself! 

Wishing You the Best, 
     HER