Thursday, May 31, 2012

Wilde's Fire Editor Judged Contest WINNERS

The pink armadillo went skydiving with the pineapple gummy bear. Yeah, that's right, I can say anything I want here because you just scanned down to read the names. That's okay, I don't blame you. If you're still paying attention, I wanted to thank you all again for your participation. I was impressed with the quality of the entries overall, and if you weren't chosen, I hope you keep at it and submit to Curiosity Quills Press again in the future.

Krystal says, "First, I'd like to congratulate all the participants in this contest. If your story was not requested for further review, you should not be upset. Seriously, your manuscripts were so close to submission ready that I hated not asking everyone to send on more. We here at Curiosity Quills want to encourage everyone who participated to submit future works to us."


Victoria Smith

Ryan Hancock

Larissa Hardesty

AK Fotinos-Hoyer

Jade Hart

Juliana Haygart


PK Hrezo

Kelly Gerschke

Jamie Ayers

Tuere Morton

Jessa Russo

Hope Roberson

Gwen Gardner

Deana Barnhart

If you were selected as a winner or runner-up, please email your requested submission to krystal(at) Please make sure to format it according to the following:
  • RTF, DOC, or TXT files only
  • 12 pt Times New Roman font
  • double-spaced 
  • .5″ indents 
If you have any questions I am happy to help. Congratulations!!!!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Great New Adult Post

Check out my guest post, "New Adult Author: Sharon Bayliss."
Most of you know that my New Adult novel, The Charge, will be published by Curiosity Quills Press this year! This excites me for a lot of obvious reasons, but it's also exciting to be an official author in the emerging fiction category, New Adult. For any of you who are new to the term, or who want to know more, I have prepared a post to answer all of your questions. Have more questions? Post them in comments, and also check out the AMAZING New Adult resource, NA Alley.

What is New Adult literature? I'll tell you.

New Adult is a category of fiction designed for audiences in the 17-23 age range. This age-range is an a general estimation. Most importantly, New Adult is for people of the age to be living life on their own for the first time. In addition to having a main character in this age range, New Adult novels will also have themes relevant to this life stage and are written with a voice and style that falls somewhere in between Young Adult and Adult.

Why does New Adult exist?

Although the term Young Adult implies that actual "young adults" would be included, the Young Adult genre is for teenagers, generally from 13-17. Although some publishers and agents will branch out and include older protagonists in YA, this is rare. Recent graduates of the Young Adult genre are looking for books that appeal to them and have many of the characteristics of YA that they enjoyed, but are for their age group.

And to get my social worker hat on....Erik Erikson describes eight distinct stages of psychosocial development. It is already recognized that people in psychosocial stages 1-5 (infancy through adolescence) need literature developed specifically for them. However, I believe that people in psychosocial stage 6, young adulthood (and maybe even 7 & 8...but that's a different post), especially those new to the stage, can also benefit from literature designed specifically for them.

The young adulthood stage of development has it's own unique attributes. Erikson defines the main conflict as "Intimacy vs. Isolation", where one of the big questions in life is "Will I be loved or will I be alone?". This is the stage in our lives when we are supposed to become who we are. We are supposed to find our mates, find our careers, create families, buy homes. Basically, do everything necessary to set up a life. And that is a lot, especially when you're fresh out of your parent's house.

Another upside to New Adult is it's crossover appeal. "New Adult" may appeal to adult readers better than YA because it doesn't have the stigma of being "for kids". Teen readers may also gravitate to New Adult, for the same reason. ;)

Possible themes for New Adult

Just like Young Adult, New Adult literature should have some underlying themes that would be applicable to the age group, but they certainly do not have to be the main focus of the story. A NA novel can be science fiction, fantasy, romance, contemporary, thriller, and so on and so forth, and have primary plot lines to match their genre. Here are some possible New Adult themes and life events that would be a good fit for NA:
  • College life
  • Moving out of your parents house and living alone for the first time
  • First jobs
  • Deciding who you want to be, career-wise, and in general. Identity issues. Existential issues.
  • First serious relationships, finding love
  • Sex - It's less important that it be a "first time" as it is in YA. But the character should still be figuring stuff out. Since our readers can watch R rated movies, we can also be a little more explicit here without as much controversy.
  • Experimentation - Sex, drugs, alcohol. Of course, not all new adults engage in experimentation, but the phrase, "I experimented with "x" in college," is a phrase for a reason. :)
  • Isolation - Living alone for the first time can be difficult
  • Single life - New adults often do not have life partners and families yet, so their main relationships may be with friends and boyfriends/girlfriends.
  • A struggle to "find yourself"
  • Change - Moving out, going to college, finding a's a lot of transition.
  • Money challenges
As you would in YA and all literature, the most important thing is to create a multidimensional character first and then make sure their behaviors and voice match their age. You do not want to try and create a generic twenty year old character, you just want to make sure your character is acting and thinking like they would when they are twenty.

What are some examples of New Adult literature?

There are more titles coming out all the time. To not re-invent the wheel, I have linked to a great list on NA Alley: Recommended NA Reads.

How do I get my New Adult published?

It can still be tough, because not everyone is looking for this yet. But here are some who have specifically said they want New Adult:

(Yeah, that's right, I don't have too many. Let me know if you have more.)


St. Martin's Press - Credited with "inventing" New Adult, but you need an agent to submit.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Wilde's Fire Editor Judged Contest - Call for Submissions!

Wilde's Fire, by Krystal Wade - Cover

“There is no pain in this death, only peace, knowing I am going to die with the one I love the most.”—Katriona Wilde.

Thank you all so much for participating in the contest! It's been a lot of fun for me and I hope you've gotten some useful feedback and new connections. I was able to talk to Krystal about her thoughts on the submissions and overall she's quite impressed and will probably make more than one request. I was impressed with the submissions too. I felt like most of the submissions were at least CLOSE to being winners, so I encourage you to keep at it.

To complete your participation, you must now email me the final draft of your query and first 500 words to sharonebayliss(at) or use the Contact Me form. Please email me by midnight CST on 5/29.  Make sure and include your full name, blog link, and email address. (FYI - I'll probably just compile the entries on the morning on 5/30, so as long as you send it sometime before the morning of 5/30, it's okay.) This final step is to give you the opportunity to make changes based on feedback you got in the bloghop, if you so choose.

Winners will be announced whenever ever Krystal decides. :) But I have a feeling it won't be too long.

Good luck!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Wilde's Fire Editor-Judged Contest Begins....NOW!

Wilde's Fire, by Krystal Wade - Cover

“There is no pain in this death, only peace, knowing I am going to die with the one I love the most.”—Katriona Wilde.

Pencils down! It's time to post your query and first 500 words on your blog for the Wilde's Fire Editor Judged Contest. I would appreciate it if you would also include some kind of link, image, or blurb about Wilde's Fire (what I have at the top of this page would be fine). You are also welcome to add the sign up linky to your post by clicking "Get The Code Here" at the bottom, but that's totally optional.

Between now and 5/28, please visit as many of the other blogs as you can and leave comments with constructive feedback about the entries. The goal is to help each other get our submissions as awesome as possible before officially submitting them to our esteemed judge, Curiosity Quills Acquisitions Editor for Young Adult, Krystal Wade.

On 5/28, I'll post a call for entries. At that time, you will email me your final draft for judging. And just in case you need reminding, the winner (or winners) will get a full request for Curiosity Quills Press!

Is it too late to enter? No, of course not. You can sign up on the linky below anytime between now and 5/28.

Oh, and by the's time to announce the winner of an autographed copy of Wilde's Fire!

Gwen Gardner

Congratulations Gwen! Thank you for spreading the word about the contest. Email me your address so we can send you your autographed copy!

And while I'm at it, the winner of the free copy of Suffocate by S.R. Johannes is....

Peggy Eddleman

Peggy, please send me your email via the "Contact Me" form or in comments so I can send you your free digital copy!

If you're just finding out about this contest, and need to know what genres are accepted and all those fun details, check out the original post hereGood luck to all! I look forward to reading your entries. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

May/June 2012 Contests & Critique Opportunities

I know, May is almost over and I've yet to do a good old fashioned contests post. Shame on me. Happily, my May has been full of pleasant distractions.

Before I go on to the contests, I would like to thank Jade Hart for the lovely "The Query Quill" award. It's my first award that someone made up just for me, and I'm quite touched. If anyone else wants to try out my now award-winning query critique skills, you have until tomorrow to send it to me so I can have it ready for the contest this weekend! :) See this post for details.

I would also like to thank Fel Wetzig, for The Versatile Blogger Award. I know this is sort of cheating, but for my 7 things you didn't know about me, check out this post for some hopefully interesting facts about me. I think you're supposed to give the award to 15 people, but I am going to be uber-selective and pick 5 blogs to pass along this award to. Check them out!

1) Rebels of the 512
2) Bailey Is Writing
3) Andy Sherrod's Big Boy Book Blog
4) Tuere's Not-So Random Thoughts
5) Story Multiverse

Now on to the contests....

Wilde's Fire Editor Judged Contest - Okay, so I put mine first...and in bold. But I am sooo excited! On 5/25 post your query and first 500 words on your blog to get feedback from other participants. Then on 5/28 I'll ask you to email me your final version to be considered by Curiosity Quills YA and NA Acquisitions Editor Krystal Wade. The winner (or winners) will get a full request from Curiosity Quills!! YA & NA, various genres.

The Writer's Voice Twitter Pitch Party - This one sounds like fun! On 5/24, tweet your Twitter pitch (a pitch for your book that fits in a tweet) with the hashtag, #WVTP. Multiple agents who represent many genres will be making requests!

YALitChat Pitch Slam - 5/28. Agents Tamar Rydzinksi of The Laura Dail Literary Agency, Elana Roth of Red Tree Literary, Michelle Witte of Mansion Street Literary Management, and Pamela van Hylckama Vlieg will be judging YA pitches for a chance to win requests! All YA genres. You must be a member of YALitChat, but basic membership is free, so why wouldn't you want to be!

Operation Awesome Mystery Agent - 6/1. Like clockwork, OA will be having a mystery agent pitch contest on 6/1. Details haven't been posted yet, so follow them if for some weird reason you don't already.

Marisa Cleveland's Agent Critique Contest - Email your first page to possibly win a critique from agent Nicole Resciniti. Due 6/1. Genre restrictions aren't listed, but they should probably be genres that Nicole accepts!

Jamie Ayers is having a contest next week. No details have been posted yet, so follow her blog.

Critique opportunities....

NA Alley May Giveaway - The NA Alley sisters are giving away free critiques and custom blog headers, just for following their awesome blog. Ends 5/31.

Carrie Butler First Blogiversary Giveaway - Happy Blogiversary Carrie! She's giving away critiques and custom blog headers. Ends 5/31.

Social marketing guru Kristen Lamb gives away five page critiques every week.

Krista Helvig gives away query critiques every week.

Seekerville is giving away critiques to people who share their "publishing road trip."

Crits for Water continues to auction off critiques.

Did I miss anything? Please let me know. Good luck!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Suffocate Release + Giveaway!

It is May 21st and guess what that means?

S.R. Johannes’ Suffocate is out today!

Suffocate is the first novelette in THE BREATHLESS series. It is a 15,000 word young adult thriller that combines the dystopic and science fiction genres.

Here’s a little about the novelette…

“For centuries, the world outside the Biome has been unlivable. Today, marks the first time anyone will attempt to leave the suffocating ecosphere. Eria is not worried because her scientist father has successfully tested the new Bio-Suit many times. It's a celebratory day until something goes horribly wrong. In the midst of tragedy, Eria uncovers a deep conspiracy that affects the very air she breathes.

If those responsible find out what she knows, they won't stop hunting her until she takes her last breath.”

The 2nd novella in the series, CHOKE, is scheduled for Fall 2012. The 3rd, EXHALE, is scheduled for Winter 2013.

You can purchase Suffocate for only 99 cents at Amazon.

Also you can add it on Goodreads! -

And in case you were wondering here is a bit about the author –

S.R. Johannes is author of the Amazon Bestseller Untraceable and a current nominee of the Georgia Author of the Year in the Young Adult category. After earning an MBA and working in corporate america, S.R. Johannes traded in her expensive suits, high heels, and corporate lingo for a family, flip-flops, and her love of writing. She lives in Atlanta Georgia with her goldendoodle Charley (notice he is listed first :), her British-accented husband, and the huge imaginations of their little prince and princess, which she hopes- someday- will change the world. You can find her hanging out online and visit her at





Shelli, thank you for stopping by to share your good news with us. It sounds like a great read. Comment below for a chance to win a free digital copy of Suffocate! Winner will be selected by

The winner has been selected. Congratulations Peggy Eddleman!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

My successful query + offer to help!

Are you dealing with query fear? Well, I don't blame you. Queries are just about the worst thing ever. Okay...maybe there are a few worse things in this world. But when it comes to the process of getting published, querying is no fun. If you're busy crafting your query for the Wilde's Fire Editor Judged Contest and feeling frustrated, or if you're hesitant to enter because of the query, I want to help.

Below I posted the query that got me a full request and ultimately got me a publishing deal with Curiosity Quills. I'm not saying that I'm a query genius, but it worked! :)

If you're new to querying, I suggest you check out this link - The Parts of a Good Query Letter. Susan Dennard is a query genius.

Finally, if your name is listed on the linky here, I'll be happy to look at your query and first 500 words before you post. Of course, you'll also get feedback from other entrants before you submit your final copy, but if you want another pair of eyes before you even post, email me at sharonebayliss (at) yahoo (dot) com. Please send your query by 5/22.

Good luck!

Dear Curiosity Quills Editor,

Eighteen-year-old Warren King has been protecting his brother, Isaac, from bullies ever since Isaac decided to wear a top hat to the third grade.  So when Isaac is kidnapped, Warren heads out to bust some faces.  But Warren didn’t expect the bully to be the King of the Texas Empire.  Warren’s mother confesses that Warren and his brother are some of the last members of the Texas royal family.  The new King is hunting down his relatives before the true heir decides to say, “Hey man, you’re in my seat.”

Warren must save his brother and avoid capture himself armed with nothing more than a fifteen year old Camry and MapQuest directions to Texas.  He gets help from a spirited Texan named Lena who is first girl that ever made him want to do things like iron creases in his pants.  She’s ready to help him take on the King, but since she’s an anti-monarchy activist dating the son of the President of the United States, he’s not sure if she’s going to kiss him or shoot him.  Gone are the days when choosing a major was a big deal.  Now he must embark into a West that stayed wild and choose to be King, follow a King, or die before he can retire his fake ID.

THE CHARGE is an 80,000 word New Adult science fiction adventure set on an alternate timeline where a dictator took over the Republic of Texas in 1836 and built his own empire in the West.  It can stand alone, but I have outlined it to be the first book in a five part series.


Sharon Bayliss

Monday, May 14, 2012

Interview with Krystal Wade + Giveaway

Krystal Wade: Acquisitions Editor for YA Lit
Krystal Wade
It's here! Wilde's Fire by Krystal Wade is now available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I've started reading mine and it's hard to stop! I sat down yesterday to just get a taste and ended up reading for much longer than I intended. Wilde's Fire is already getting some great reviews. Here are a few:

"An unforgettable experience in magic, adventure, and love. I was immediately captivated by the story and couldn't stop turning pages." - Vicki Keire, Best-Selling YA Author

“Krystal Wade's world of war, prophecy, and darkness takes readers on a twisting journey where the fate of a people is at stake and, through courage and faith, love and peace are the ultimate reward. If you're a fan of YA fantasy, look no further than Krystal Wade's debut novel WILDE'S FIRE.” – Sarah Balance,

Wilde's Fire, by Krystal Wade - Cover

Krystal honored me with an interview about Wilde's Fire and her journey to become a writer AND a special giveaway. Thank you for being here!

Tell me a little bit about Wilde Fire’s journey from idea to publication.

A few years ago, I sat down and tried to write Kate's story, but I couldn't. So I did what any good author should do . . . I researched. This meant keeping my nose in book after book after book. My family claims I disappear when I read. They may be right! Once the mechanics sunk in, I tried writing Wilde's Fire again. Six weeks later I had a rough draft. Eight months later I submitted for publication. The rest is history.

It sounds like you have a busy life. You’re a mom with a 50 mile commute. How do you find time to write?

HA! "Find" time? I make time. I'm a professional dark-circle-under-the-eyes-wearer. I stay up late, wake up early, don't take breaks or lunch. This is my dream. Sometimes we have to give up a few things. Every now and then I crash.

What do you like best about your main character, Katriona Wilde? In what ways is she like you?

I like Kate because she starts out thinking her life is perfect, but little does she know it's far from it. Once she plummets into the Darkness, she doesn't freak out. Deep down inside, she's really stronger than she ever imagined, and even though nothing is as she knew it, she accepts this because she finds love. And really, there is no greater human emotion than love. Without realizing it, I wrote a bit of myself into her. Though I never thought my life to be perfect, I found love in the darkness and realized I was a lot stronger than I ever gave myself credit for. So I guess you can say we're a lot alike.

Katriona is a freshman at Virginia Tech, so this falls on the upper end of the YA spectrum. Do you consider it to be “New Adult”?

Hmm. This is a great question, and one I realize I don't have a clear answer to (hint: I wrote this sentence AFTER I wrote the following answer). Wilde's Fire teeters the genres. Kate deals with a lot of "feelings" for the first time in her life, which keeps the story more YA, but she is older, and Arland (the hero) is 25. Definitely older than most YA. A couple of my fans suggested the story may be considered purely Fantasy (without the YA in front of it). They may be right, but I've found my biggest fans are on the younger side. So . . . umm . . . who knows? :-)

In Wilde’s Fire, Katriona finds a portal to a magical world. Can you give us a preview as to what this world is like?

Dark. Very, very dark. For seven months the sun hasn't slid across the sky throughout the day. The temperature dropped, and the plants died. Life itself is ceasing. The worst part: Darkness brought creatures, and they are not friendly!

What’s your favorite scene in Wilde’s Fire?

Without giving too much away . . . when Kate discovers what fuels her power, things get a little crazy. The Darkness overhead parts, the daemons back off their attack, and magical beings seem to appear from everywhere and everything. There are so many colors and things going on when this happens, and I feel the story really begins to unfold for the reader and for Kate and Arland.

Anything you can tell us about what’s coming next for Katriona in Book 2?

The pace is non-stop, as is the action. Kate is on a mission, and the fear she used to carry is all but gone. :-) I can't say too much more.

Thank you Krystal! If you have any more questions for Krystal, post them in comments and she'll get back to you.

To celebrate her release, Krystal is giving away an autographed copy of Wilde's Fire!! To be entered to win, use the Rafflecopter form below. You can win extra entries by spreading the word about the Wilde's Fire Editor Judged Contest. Krystal will be returning to judge this contest and the winner(s) will get a chance to be published by Curiosity Quills Press!!

You can enter as often as you like. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Wilde's Fire Editor-Judged Contest

Krystal Wade: Acquisitions Editor for YA Lit
Krystal Wade

Wilde's Fire, by Krystal Wade - Cover

To celebrate the 5/13 release of the YA fantasy, Wilde's Fire by Krystal Wade, we're having an awesome editor judged contest with Curiosity Quills Press! Our honorable judge will be none other than the Curiosity Quills Acquisitions Editor for Young Adult, Krystal Wade.

What can you win? Only the best possible prize. A chance at a publishing contract with Curiosity Quills. Before I move on to the contest details, check out the trailer for Wilde's Fire.

Okay, now on to the details. This contest is open only to unpublished manuscripts in the categories of New Adult / Upper YA (protags in late teens, early 20′s) and Young Adult (protags in mid-to-late teens). If you have an adult manuscript you'd like Curiosity Quills to consider, just follow their standard submission guidelines.

Under the YA and NA umbrella, Curiosity Quills is most interested in the following genres:

Speculative Fiction / Dark Sci-Fi / Traditional Sci-Fi
Paranormal and Urban Fantasy
Steampunk / NeoVictorian
Mystery / Crime Thrillers
Quirky/Humorous Fiction (in any of the above genres)

Here's how it will go down....

1) Sign up with the linky below
2) By 5/25, post your query and first 500 words on your blog. I recommend that you refer to Curiosity Quill's submission guidelines when crafting your query. They don't need the bio section, they like to judge a work by its merits only. You can go slightly more or less than 500 words so you're not stopping in the middle of a sentence.
3) From 5/25-5/28, pop over to the other blogs and comment on entries. Contests like this are a great way to get useful feedback from a lot of people. So let's make it useful! Please post meaningful and helpful feedback that we can use to improve our work. Constructive criticism is encouraged but of course, unhelpful meanness will not be tolerated. If you're lucky, you may even find comments from Curiosity Quills editors themselves.
4) On 5/28 I will post again asking you to email me your revised, final entries for consideration by Krystal. From these entries, she will choose winners (assuming entries are strong enough, she will choose more than one winner!). These winners will get a full request from Curiosity Quills.

Good luck! Please comment with any questions.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Upcoming giveaway and editor-judged contest!

Wilde's Fire, by Krystal Wade - Cover

You know how much I love talking about other people's contests. Well, guess what? I'm finally having my own! This month, I'll be hosting a giveaway and an editor-judged contest to promote the upcoming novel Wilde's Fire by Krystal Wade. You'll have the opportunity to win all sorts of prizes such as a signed copy of Wilde's Fire and even a chance at a publishing contract from Curiosity Quills!

Coming on on May 13th from Curiosity Quills Press, here is Wilde's Fire...

“There is no pain in this death, only peace, knowing I am going to die with the one I love the most.” -- Katriona Wilde

Katriona Wilde has never wondered what it would feel like to have everything she’s ever known and loved ripped away, but she is about to find out. When she inadvertently leads her sister and best friend through a portal into a world she’s dreamed of for six years, she finds herself faced with more than just the frightening creatures in front of her. She’s forced to accept a new truth: her entire life has been a lie, and those closest to her have betrayed her. What’s worse, she has no control over her new future, and it’s full of magic and horrors from which nightmares are made. Will she discover and learn to control who she really is in time to save the ones she loves, or will all be lost?

Krystal Wade Author Picture
Krystal Wade
The awesome Krystal Wade will be visiting on 5/14 for an interview and will be giving away a signed copy of Wilde's Fire. She'll also be back later this month wearing a different hat...her YA and NA Acquisitions Editor hat...and she'll be looking for new talent to sign at Curiosity Quills! More details about this contest to be announced soon!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Like me and hear my tweets

Days after I signed my publishing contract with Curiosity Quills Press, YA acquisitions editor, Krystal Wade, emailed me and said, "I can't find your author Facebook page and Twitter account." Well, my friend, that's because they don't exist yet. So, it's true, you really do need that stuff before you're published.

Product DetailsBecause I wanted to do it right, I finally cracked open Kristen Lamb's We Are Not Alone, which I won in a giveaway on Laura Barnes' blog months ago. I looked at a few other social marketing resources, but Lamb's book quickly became my social marking bible. Whether you're an old pro at social networks or never heard of Twitter before, this is a great book. It talks about what accounts to open and how to optimize them. She talks about how to gear your blog posts towards your readers (not just your friends) and how to show up in more searches by putting the right tags in your bio.

So, if you are in fact fond of me, please like my Facebook page and follow me on Twitter. I will be happy to do the same for you.

I also have a question. In Lamb's book, she feels strongly that authors should also create a My Space page. What do you think? Is this advice outdated? Do you use My Space?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I just signed a publishing contract!

Exciting news! I just signed a publishing contract with Curiosity Quills Press for my New Adult novel The Charge!

I'll share more details soon, but I wanted to share the news and thank all of my followers and friends who have been so supportive and helpful. I never imagined that getting what you've always wanted could be so stressful! But I feel better now that it's all decided and the ink is on the paper.

The editors I've worked with at Curiosity Quills have been approachable and supportive and I am looking forward to seeing what they can do for me and my baby (novel).

And now....

Although unfortunately it's still sparkling cider for me and my unborn child. I celebrated by going out for cheeseburgers with my 2 year old son. And we shall now clink our tater tots...