Journey to the Stars: Discoveries Shaping Sci-fi

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One of the joys of writing Science Fiction is how quickly tomorrow’s technology can surpass a writer’s imagination. Computers the size of your palm? Done. Glasses that help you see 3-D worlds? Done. Real Pokémon lurking in your backyard? Well, sort of. And 30 years ago, no one really expected those inventions to become reality in their lifetime.

So what does that mean for a science fiction writer? Should we all retreat to fantasy? No!

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Between the Covers: A Look at Librarians, Part 1

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As writers, our thoughts are usually consumed with fantasy worlds, complex story lines and large casts of characters – and occasional daydreams about when we’ve made the New York Time’s Best-Seller List so we can quit our day jobs and write full time. Ahem. Back to reality.

But what happens when creation and editing and revising (and more revising) and publishing and printing are done? When THE BOOK is on shelves in bookstores across the world?

Obviously, you want to appeal to your readers so that they will A) buy your book, and B) want to read more! But what about those people who *gasp* help make your book accessible to an even wider crowd for free ? That’s right – we’re talking about LIBRARIANS!

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Fantastic Perspectives: How to Choose the Right POV

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Point of View

Everyone sees the world from a unique perspective, or point of view (POV). If you’re vertically challenged as I am, you’ll likely experience life a bit differently than, say, an NBA player would.

In writing this is also true. Now, a reader’s height doesn’t matter so much when stepping into a book, but how a reader views a story does matter. Continue reading

Meet Dana, Our New Staff Contributor

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Pen Friends,

Meet Dana Black! She’s our newest Staff Contributor and will be our Book Review Guru! If you’ve got a YA book you want to share with the world, send your review to Dana through our contact page!

WE give you….

Hey! I’m Dana, and I’m in love with Story.
Why does that sound like a confession? It’s not—it’s a proud declaration.
This love story began as a child of around four, when I first set foot in Narnia alongside my dad and older brother. I haven’t looked back since.

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Author Interview: Brenda Drake

Pen Friends, we are very excited to introduce Young Adult Author and Writing-Contest Guru, Brenda Drake! If you don’t know her yet, quick, get reading below!! 

*PS: There’s a giveaway. Check below for details.

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SP: Welcome Brenda!

Thank you for having me!

SP: Can you tell us a bit about yourself and when you started writing?

I grew up the youngest of three children and an Air Force brat, so I was always the new kid at school until my dad retired in Albuquerque when I was in middle school. I host contests such as Pitch Wars and Pitch Madness on my blog, and hold Twitter pitch parties on the hashtag, #PitMad. Unfortunately, I’m addicted to coffee and Goldfish crackers, but not together. Well, unless I’m eating the graham cracker or s’more’s ones. Continue reading

How to Craft a Marketing Strategy for Your Book

Building a following is hard work. Anyone who says else wise is either lying or Taylor Swift. Having studied marketing in graduate school and worked several years in the Dell marketing department, I’ll be the first to tell you marketing is no easy feat.

There are, however, more effective ways to build a following. In this post, I’ll teach you how to craft a marketing strategy for your book.

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Book Review: An Ember in the Ashes

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Title: An Amber in the Ashes

Author(s): Sabaa Tahir

Publisher: Razorbill

Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

The Young Adult book world if full of dystopian tales, which suits me just fine as I usually enjoy them immensely. It does take quite a bit to stand out from the crowd, though, and I will say that Tahir’s Ember shot leaps and bounds in front of many of the YA dystopian books I’ve read recently.

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Book Review: Storm Siren

images-11Title: Storm Siren

Author: Mary Weber

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Genre: Fantasy, Dystopian

Rating: 5 out of 5

Mary Weber knows how to break a heart. For anyone who has yet to experience her debut novel, Storm Siren, you’ll understand what I mean once you dive into her incredible story world. From the lush settings to the descriptive and cleverly immersive vocabulary, the reader is immediately deposited in the middle of Elemental slave-girl Nym’s world, and will soon find yourself attending ridiculously lavish parties, running from bolcranes, dodging flesh-eating horses, preparing to enter the long-waged war against Bron, and hoping you don’t come in contact with the dreaded and infamous Draewulf—because if you do, you’re as good as dead.

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Book Review: Salt to the Sea

salt-to-seaTitle: Salt to the Sea

Author(s): Ruta Sepetys

Publisher: Philomel Books

Genre: Historical

Rating: 5 out of 5

Wow, did this book make me CRY! I don’t often cry because of a book, but Salt to the Sea pierced my heart deeply! Ruta Sepetys did not disappoint with her third novel. She continues to reign as the queen of young adult crossover historical fiction.

Salt to the Sea is the fictionalized version of the true but little-known tragedy of the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship that was meant to carry Germans fleeing the Soviets across the Baltic Sea to safety. Over 9,000 people are thought to have perished when the Gustloff was sunk by Soviet submarine torpedoes. That is more than the Titanic and the Lusitania combined.

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