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Author Archives: Chuck Sambuchino

Originality Isn’t Everything: Write What You Know

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My Tips: 1. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad about what you enjoy writing. 2. If what you love is genre, learn more. Study the origins, read criticism, read books about it. 3. Take the pressure off, and just practice. You don’t always have to be original.

I don’t say that I write what I know, but I do say that I write what I feel, I write what I think is beautiful, and I write what I enjoy. And so should you. Read more

Debut Author Interview: Laurie Boyle Crompton, Author of BLAZE


I love introducing my blog readers to the debut author of today. I believe that showing them the paths of those writers who have found success recently is an excellent way to provide roadmaps to those looking to follow in their footsteps. Examine what people did right — and learn from them! Today’s debut author interview is with Laurie Boyle Crompton about her young adult novel, BLAZE (OR LOVE IN THE TIME OF SUPERVILLAINS), out Feb. 2013 from Sourcebooks Fire. Read more

How I Got My Agent: Joanne Bischoff


Well I suppose it’s worth a shot. As a new author with a series in hand, I knew I was going to need an agent. I queried about 15 agencies for my Appalachian romance and one of those agencies was MacGregor Literary. They were definitely at the top of my wish list, but they mainly worked with established authors. I really didn’t qualify there, but hey, it was worth a shot. Read more

New Literary Agent Alert: Steve Kasdin of Curtis Brown Ltd.


He is seeking: “The most important thing I’ve learned in over twenty years in publishing is also the simplest: plot sells. And the definition of what makes a great plot is also very simple: interesting, well-drawn characters thrown into unpredictable situations. I’m looking for: commercial fiction, including Mysteries/Thrillers, Romantic Suspense (emphasis on the suspense), and Historical Fiction); Narrative Nonfiction, including Biography, History and Current Affairs; and Young Adult Fiction, particularly if it has adult crossover appeal. I am NOT interested in SF/Fantasy, Memoirs, Vampires and writers trying to capitalize on trends.” Read more

Interview: Lisa Tenzin-Dolma, Author of THE HEARTBEAT AT YOUR FEET


Meet Lisa Tenzin-Dolma, a canine psychologist and the author of The Heartbeat at Your Feet: A Practical, Compassionate New Way to Train Your Dog. Lisa is the director and principal of The International School of Canine Psychology, training dog owners and prospective dog psychologists in science-based compassionate methods. She is the founder of The Dog Helpline, which offers distance advice to dog owners and rescue shelters around the world.

GIVEAWAY: Lisa is excited to give away a free copy of her book to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (Update: vrundell won.) Read more

Harnessing Mythic Power in Your Writing: The Storytelling Masters and Their Lessons


The word adventure a student once told me after she’d studied the word’s etymology, means something that is about to happen to someone. I’ve never forgotten that definition because it means that anyone of us anywhere can experience extraordinary things. Our oldest storytellers understood this, a truth as ancient as Anglo Saxon scops singing for an audience in the meal hall, but your own call to adventure happens when you pick up the pen and hazard the blank page. Read more

“Perfect Your Query Pitch” — Feb. 14, 2013 Webinar All About Constructing a Dynamite Pitch


When you want to sell your book, you’ll need to send agents and editors a great query letter to pique their interest in your work. And the most important part of the query letter is the pitch — where you describe your novel or memoir’s story. To explain more about how to craft a dynamite pitch and get agents & editors to say YES, we’ve listed “The Book Doctors” Arielle Eckstut & David Henry Sterry to teach “The Art of The Pitch: Perfect Your Number One Tool to Attracting Agents, Publishers, and Readers.” The webinar lasts 90 minutes and happens at 1 p.m. EST on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013. Read more

Writing Effective Grief In Fiction: 5 Ideas For Writers


Grief alone is not enough to make a novel. It can be the backdrop, sometimes the obstacle, but novels must be flavored with other focuses, obstacles, and emotions in order to draw in their readers. Here are 5 ways to use grief more effectively in fiction: 1. Make Them Care. When starting to write your book about a character’s loss, you may be tempted to dive right into their grief on page one, thinking that this is your inciting incident…

GIVEAWAY: Denise is giving away the e-book for free on the 3 days of Feb. 8-10. Read more

7 Things I’ve Learned So Far, by Dana Bate


1. The book chooses the writer. Write the book you are meant to write – not the book you think you should write or the one you think your friends expect you to write, but the one buried inside you, begging to come out. Don’t worry that your best friend or parents don’t read racy thrillers or chick lit or whatever it is that comes out when you start pouring words onto the page. Once you embrace the concept that the book chooses the writer, and not the other way around, the writing comes a lot more easily. Read more

Literary Agent Interview: Michelle Johnson of Inklings Literary Agency


This interview features Michelle L. Johnson of Inklings Literary Agency. She is a literary agent, the founder of Inklings Literary Agency (formerly of the Corvisiero Literary Agency), and she has a business administration background in addition to a lifetime of working with books (sales, editing, and writing) and authors (marketing, promoting, event planning). She is also a script/story consultant for an independent film under production in Halifax, NS.

She is seeking: contemporary, steamy romance, suspense, thriller, mystery, horror, fantasy, paranormal and supernatural elements in adult, new adult and young adult fiction. Her nonfiction interests include memoir and true crime. Read more

Marathon Training to Finish Your Book


Let’s Start Training. The bulk of marathon training consists of longer runs interspersed with rest and recovery days. Your writing schedule should follow the same premise: A few short writing stints, followed with a longer write on Saturday or Sunday (your Long Writing Day, or LWD). A good beginning might be 30 minutes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and two hours on your LWD. Use this time to refine your voice and familiarize yourself with characters and motives. You may feel “sore” after these sessions, but no matter: You’re building up your writing muscles. Read more

The Top 10 Worst Types of Critique Partners

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4. The Distractor. She wants to talk about anything and everything but writing. Her children started swim lessons last week, her mother-in-law is visiting Paris next month, it’s windy (cold, hot, rainy, etc.) outside, her favorite hairstylist is moving salons… you get the idea. She often has to leave the group session to take phone calls or return text messages. While I love the fact I’m more than just writing to my wonderful writing group, when we get down to business it’s ALL about the writing and that time is precious.

GIVEAWAY: Donna is excited to give away a free copy of her novel to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (Update: Sprunty won.) Read more

“How to Make a Career of E-Books” — New Webinar by James Scott Bell, Feb. 7, 2013


It’s no secret that one of the biggest stories of the past few years is the rise of e-books and the potential money to be made selling them. It seems like each week we hear about some author — either an established one or a new scribe — who recently made a mint selling e-books. With all this in mind, we wanted to design/offer a brand new webinar all about how to make money off e-books and navigate today’s complicated digital waters. We’ve enlisted storytelling master James Scott Bell to teach the 90-minute webinar, “How to Make a Career Out of eBooks,” at 1 p.m. on Feb. 7, 2013. Read more

Writing Historical Fiction Based On A Family Story

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1. Research Comes First. Because I new little about tuberculosis or life on a farm in the 1920’s, I began reading novels set in that time period, North Carolina history books, memoirs written from sanatoriums, and doctors’ accounts of the disease. I consulted experts at the North Carolina Museum of History and the Swannanoa Valley Museum. It took about six months of dedicated research before I was ready to write.

GIVEAWAY: Shannon is excited to give away a free copy of her novel to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (Update: madeline40 won.) Read more

An Interview With Writer Madeline Wahl, Winner of “Tunesday: Volume 2″


I’d like to take a minute to introduce blog readers to writer Madeline Wahl. Madeline is the recent awesome winner of the name-that-tune “Tunesday” contest I hosted several weeks back. She, like many readers of this blog, is a cool writer looking for an agent and for her writing to find a home. Learn more about her and connect with her on Twitter. Read more

New Literary Agent: Ethan Vaughan of Kimberley Cameron & Associates


He is seeking: “Fantasy/sci-fi (particularly of the young adult variety) has long been my default, but I also appreciate and am actively looking for women’s fiction, literary fiction, historical fiction, and historical nonfiction. While I love escaping into an incredible new world, I’m a big sucker for really well-done literary fiction (something like A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, which sheds light on who we are as humans).

“As regards my first love, fantasy, I am very selective. I strongly prefer fantasy that is somehow grounded in the real world, be that through the integration of mythology (as in the Percy Jackson series) or through a fantasy universe being hidden inside our own (as in the Harry Potter and Chronicles of Narnia series). Read more

WD’s February 2013 Bundled Collection is “Writing for Children & Young Adults” (at 83% Off!)


Writer’s Digest’s new Premium Collections are a pretty cool deal. What happens is that a bunch of our products and/or services are bundled together and sold at a ridiculous discount. For February 2013, the “Writing for Children & Young Adult” collection is 10 awesome products bundled together and sold at 83% off. Each collection has a limited number — and is sold for a limited time — so check out this amazing premium collection (and get your book for kids published!) before it sells out. Read more

Storyboarding For Success: Plotters vs. Pantsers


Where writers are concerned, there are plotters and there are pantsers. Pantsers fly by the seat of their pants when they write a story. They start off with no more than a kernel of an idea or a first sentence or a character, and away they go. They have no idea where they are going, but somehow the story takes over, and they make it—I would say, miraculously—to the end with a complete book.

Writing a book this way gives plotters hives. I’m a plotter and thinking about writing a book pantser-style puts me into a panic and gives me an irresistible craving for a pitcher of margaritas or a package of Oreos. Read more

My Daughter, Geneva Rose, Turns 3 Months Old (Cute Picture Warning!)

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Cute baby photo warning! My first baby — daughter Geneva Rose Sambuchino — turns 3 months old today. She was our precious Halloween arrival, and each day she continues to wow us with her absolute cuteness. Here are some pictures of this little angel growing bigger by the day. I figured I would share them for any readers who love baby pics. (I also posted pictures of her a few days after she was born.) Enjoy! Read more

7 Things I’ve Learned So Far, by Chris Howard


1. Write the book you want to read but can’t seem to find. Of course, by doing this, you run the risk of writing a book that no one but you wants to read! But what the hell, right?!? There’s no guarantee that anyone else will want to read your story anyway! And seeing as you’ll be re-reading it and revising it for months, maybe years, you probably ought to like it to begin with, if only for your mental health! I also like to think that this technique will help make your novel as unique and strange, and hopefully as interesting, as you are.

GIVEAWAY: Chris is excited to give away a free copy of his novel to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (Update: ABLyttle won.) Read more

5 Reasons to Set Your Novel in a Famous Place


3. A Receptive Audience Will Await. Since Islandport Press released Strangers in October 2012, I’ve realized the extent to which people who love Old Orchard Beach (Maine) love the idea of a book set there. The town has only about 8,000 year-round residents, but the population swells to more than 100,000 in the summer. Since Strangers was released, I’ve been getting emails and Facebook messages from people who were previously … umm … strangers to me … saying they feel as though reading the book has allowed them to vicariously visit a place they love. Read more

Author Interview: Seth Casteel, Author of the NY Times Bestseller UNDERWATER DOGS


This author interview is with Seth Casteel, award-winning photographer and New York Times Best Selling Author. His series of Underwater Dogs photographs have been seen by hundreds of millions of people around the world. Seth’s work has been published in National Geographic, The New York Times and in hundreds of other magazines, newspapers and calendars. You may have also seen him on Good Morning America, EXTRA, The Insider and Inside Edition. He has traveled the world in pursuit of his passion, working with animals on five continents. His non-profit organization, SecondChancePhotos.org, helps to increase adoption rates at animal shelters through better photography. He is based in Los Angeles and Chicago and is the proud “dad” to two dogs, Nala the mini-labradoodle and Fritz, the Norwich Terrier. Read more

How I Got My Agent: Lynne Raimondo


“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the Guide to Literary Agents Blog, with this installment featuring Lynne Raimondo, author of DANTE’S WOOD. These columns are great ways for you to learn how to find a literary agent. Some tales are of long roads and many setbacks, while others are of good luck and quick signings. If you have a literary agent and would be interested in writing a short guest column for this GLA blog, e-mail me at literaryagent@fwmedia.com and we’ll talk specifics.

GIVEAWAY: Lynne is excited to give away a free copy of her novel to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (Update: lanieww won.) Read more

New Literary Agent: Rachel Hecht of Foundry Literary + Media


She is seeking: As a domestic agent, Rachel seeks children’s projects of all stripes, from picture books through to young adult fiction, as well as select fiction and nonfiction projects for adults that are wonderfully written and completely absorbing. “In terms of adult fiction, the strength of the voice and quality of the writing is what is most important to me. I am seeking literary as well as upmarket/commercial projects, and would love to see projects with crossover potential as well as those that blur the boundaries between genres – especially in the thriller, fantasy, and historical categories (but a polite no thank you to straight genre writing)…” Read more

6 Reasons Being a Pirate is Like Being a Writer


Here are 6 things I learned from a pirate about writing. It turns out pirates and writers need the same things in their arsenal. Every pirate (and writer) needs:

1. A hook: Hooks grab the reader in the first few sentences or can be found at the end of a chapter to keep the pages turning. EXAMPLE: “Captain Hook stood on the edge of the plank. Below swam a wide-mouthed crocodile chomp-chomp-chomping at the air between Captain Hook and the sloshing sea…” Read more

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