Thank you YA Wonderlust Blog for the super sweet Swoon Reads book review! Reposting!
What is Swoon Reads?
Swoon Reads, an imprint of Macmillan Publishing under Feiwel & Friends, has created a website and app where serious writers can submit their completed and unpublished young adult and new adult manuscripts and readers (like you and me!) can read for free and then rank and comment on our favorite stories! You can even leave feedback for authors that will be extremely helpful for when they go back to make edits.
How is this site different than other reading/writing websites?
When readers rank and comment on their favorite Swoon Reads stories, it can attract the attention of the editors who will then look at those manuscripts more closely and choose which titles they’re interested in publishing! In fact, right now is Read Month, and your reads, ranks, and comments are so very important to help decide what gets published next!
Is it true that titles published by Swoon Reads are turning into TV shows and movies?
Yes! Swoon Reads has recently partnered with A+E Studios to develop their titles for TV and film! You can read more about their partnership HERE!
Is there a deadline?
You can submit to Swoon Reads anytime, but each year is divided into three seasons that end in approximately January, April, and August (times are subject to change). That means, there’s no rush! Submit whenever you and your manuscript are ready!
Is there a cost?
Swoon Reads is absolutely free for both readers and writers! All you have to do is create an account and you’re ready to go!
Will my work be protected?
Swoon Reads takes theft and plagiarism very seriously and they do their best to make sure each work is protected. Cutting, copying, and pasting are not permitted, neither is printing or downloading. And all members of the Swoon Reads community must agree to the terms and conditions provided by the site.
Where can I learn more?
Just click HERE for more information!
Darly, do you have a manuscript posted on Swoon Reads?
LOL, I’m so glad you asked, and I do! It’s called My First Kiss (and Other Summer Disasters) and it’s available to read for free! And if you’ve read it, don’t forget to rank and comment—I’d love to know what you think! The deadline for this season’s voting ends 11:59 p.m. EST on February 28th, 2019. Happy reading!
Fifteen-year-old dyslexic Gwen Lincoln has three goals before sophomore year begins: experience her first kiss; find a way to get rid of her chipmunk cheeks once and for all; and her most important mission, escape the separation of her parents, something she has yet to mention to her free-spirited, yet slightly unstable, best friend Hartley MacKenna, whose house she’s visiting in New Orleans over summer break.
With Hartley taking charge of her ambitious to-do list, Gwen’s summer of change begins, but nothing prepares her for meeting Sullivan “Sully” Reed, the impossibly cute soccer player next door, who to her utter disbelief, asks her on a date.
Caught between living her life and trying to run away from it, Gwen tentatively conforms to Hartley’s adventure-seeking world. From lip-syncing on stage at a transvestite club, having their tarot cards read by a blind Haitian psychic, ghost-hunting at an abandoned plantation or spending the day volunteering at a shelter for homeless teens, Gwen’s longing to embrace the sun-kissed wetlands of Louisiana and broaden her previously limited horizons is coming true. But when she discovers the devastating secret her friends have been hiding-a secret that could mean the difference between life and death-she must learn to face her own demons (with a little guidance from the big-hearted Creole drag queen down the street) or surrender herself to a tragic reality.
*All information obtained for this post was found on the Swoon Reads website and in blogs. 🙂
There’s still time to enter the Hopelessly Imperfect giveaway! Keep reading to find out how!
This week I’m excited to introduce a Watty Award-winning author who has found a massive following on Wattpad, an online writing and reading community. She’s an extremely talented writer and is also one of the nicest people I’ve had the privilege to meet! Her first story The Cell Phone Swap took the writing platform by storm and is all set to be published next year under the new title Textrovert!
Lindsey Summers, otherwise known as DoNotMicrowave on Wattpad, currently has more than 187,000 followers and The Cell Phone Swap has nearly 77 million reads! Her current work in progress is a romance called Bottled Promises and is already well on its way to be her next big hit.
Bottled Promises story blurb:
His future is shackled by the past.
Her past is driving her future.
Growing up, Cameron Scott longed to break free from her controlling childhood. Now a freshman at Alden University, she’s finally able to live life on her terms…or so she thinks. Forced to take the only room left on campus, one in the substance free program, Cameron signs a contract promising not to drink, party or do anything illegal.
The only positive is Alaric St. James, a boy whose disdain for the program rivals her own. But unlike Cameron, Alaric isn’t there by chance. A judge has ruled Alaric must participate and stay out of trouble. As the two develop feelings, they grow conflicted. Both have made promises, but as Cameron soon discovers, sometimes you break promises, and sometimes they break you.
About the author:
Lindsey Summers (@DoNotMicrowave) joined Wattpad in 2012. Her story, The Cell Phone Swap, is one of most-read stories on Wattpad. Inspired by a chance encounter, Lindsey’s story has gone viral. Through Wattpad, she has also written commissioned stories for major brands like Mondelez and 20th Century Fox.
Lindsey credits the positivity and support of her fan base as her motivation. Her fans insistence on updates for her serialized story kept her on track and fueled her creative streak.
When not on Wattpad, Lindsey can usually be found on the beach, reading on the sand, and always in open-toed shoes.
You can connect with Lindsey on:
This week’s Wattpad Wednesday post (although technically it’s almost Thursday—sorry!) is the very talented Farah Oomberbhoy! Farah’s journey on Wattpad began in March of 2014, when she first began uploading her Watty Award-winning Young Adult Fantasy, The Last of the Firedrakes. I had the pleasure of reading Farah’s story as she posted it in real time and I was completely captivated by her storytelling abilities! This lovely author went on to publish The Last of the Firedrakes in hardback, paperback and eBook formats. I’m proud to say I own a copy of my very own, which I hope to one day have Farah sign in person. Not only is she a future bestseller, but she is an amazing person I am honored to call a friend!
About the Book:
The Last of the Firedrakes, book one of The Avalonia Chronicles.
A fantastic adventure story that will transport you to a dazzling world of myth and magic.
16-year-old Aurora Darlington is an orphan. Mistreated by her adopted family and bullied at school, she dreams of running away and being free. But when she is kidnapped and dragged through a portal into a magical world, suddenly her old life doesn’t seem so bad.
Avalonia is a dangerous land ruled by powerful mages and a cruel, selfish queen who will do anything to control all seven kingdoms—including killing anyone who stands in her way. Thrust headlong into this new, magical world, Aurora’s arrival sets plans in motion that threaten to destroy all she holds dear.
With the help of a young fae, a magical pegasus, and a handsome mage, Aurora journeys across Avalonia to learn the truth about her past and unleash the power within herself. Kingdoms collide as a complicated web of political intrigue and ancient magic lead Aurora to unravel a shocking secret that will change her life forever.
Please enjoy an excerpt of The Last of the Firedrakes by Farah Oomerbhoy:
The Midnight Market
Later that night, after I had eaten well and rested, we set out for the midnight market. I followed Kalen along the small path, from Pixie Bush into the very heart of Goldleaf Forest.
It seemed to me that we had been walking for quite a while when I could suddenly hear voices and noises quite clearly in the quiet forest. We came to a large clearing, and the delightful sight left me spellbound. The forest was alive, radiant and subtly lit by pretty, different-colored lanterns hanging from the towering trees. Beautifully decorated stalls and multicolored tents had sprung up all over the place. Some were nestled between the tall trees, and some were haphazardly placed around the edge of the clearing, forming a slightly wonky circle. Fae of all sizes, shapes and colors wandered around, having a marvelous time. There were dryads, naiads, brownies, and little pixies with wings who flitted about the place in groups, laughing and eating at the food stalls.
We came to a stall, which was manned by a small, funny-looking fae with a pointy nose and long ears. Kalen identified him as a gnome. He was selling some strangely colored liquid in glass bottles and was haggling unashamedly about prices with two old ladies, whom I thought were very sweet.
As we walked through the market, Kalen chattered on.
“Although some of the larger towns have shops that sell magical ingredients for potions,” Kalen was saying, “this is the only place you can find some of the really rare items.”
I followed Kalen, who was entering a green tent, where the sign outside read: “Buy a plant for your home and garden.” That sounded quite interesting. Maybe I could buy a plant for Kalen’s mom—she had really helped me, after all—but I remembered I didn’t have any money.
The tent was not what I expected at all. The inside was bewitched to look like a large green house; like the forest, it was much larger inside than it appeared from the outside. The moonlight shone through the glass ceiling, and rows of plants and flowers lined the sides of the tent. We decided to explore.
I walked through the rows of plants, looking at the labels that were written next to them. There were strawberry plants in a small tray, growing wonderful, juicy strawberries, each one of which had a dollop of cream on the top. The sign near it said: “Grow your own strawberries and cream.”
“Try one,” said Kalen. “No one is watching.”
I couldn’t resist; I loved strawberries and cream. I popped the whole strawberry into my mouth. It was delicious and the cream was thick, fresh, and sweet. It was wonderful.
“Lovely, yes?” said Kalen.
“I nodded, since my mouth was full.
“Ms. Herbchild is wonderful at growing things. These strawberry plants with cream are one of her new inventions, but you can only grow them on trays inside the house, or the gnomes lick off all the cream.”
I made a face at the thought of eating a strawberry that had been licked by a gnome.”
About the Author:
Farah Oomerbhoy is a young adult writer with a master’s degree in English literature from the University of Mumbai. Farah loves the fantastical and magical and often dreams of living in Narnia, Neverland, or the Enchanted Forest. Her debut novel, The Last of the Firedrakes, Book 1 of The Avalonia Chronicles started on Wattpad where it received a Watty Award in 2015 and over 1.5 million reads. Since publication, The Last of the Firedrakes has gone on to become a finalist in the USA Best Book Awards and an international bestseller. Farah lives with her family in Mumbai, India where she can be found checking for magical portals in every closet.
Connect with Farah:
Finalist in the Teen: Fiction (13-18 Years) category of the 2016 Benjamin Franklin Awards
Finalist in the Best Cover Design: Fiction category of the 2015 USA Best Book Awards
Winner in the Collector’s Dream category of the Wattpad’s 2015 The Wattys Awards
Awesome Indies Approved
What People Are Saying:
“…the narrative components echo the classics; the Academy of Magic at Evolon could be Hogwarts, while the Shadow Guards are reminiscent of Tolkien’s Ring Wraiths or Rowling’s Dementors…a beautifully drawn fantasy world.” – Kirkus Reviews
“THE LAST OF THE FIREDRAKES is a magic-filled romp that carries you back to the fantasy stories of childhood…Lovers of classic fantasy will likewise gobble down Oomerbhoy’s scrumptious story.” – Dr Vic James, author of the Gilded Cage trilogy
“The world building is beautiful…That really made the book more complex for me…it is the journey of discovery for Aurora and the reader that makes this an interesting story.” – Readers’ Favorite
“The Last of the Firedrakes has all the elements of popular fantasy – an orphaned princess, Magical powers, an alternate sphere with seven kingdoms, a young girl with a destiny to fulfil. They are all elements of the Narnia Chronicles, The Faraway tree, The Harry Potter series, Lord of the Rings and a bit of Enid Blyton fun.” – Mid-Day newspaper
In my humble opinion, if there is one thing that matters most to your success as a YA writer, or any type of writer for that matter, it would be story structure. Story structure is what authors use to create stories that entertain readers.
Whether you realize it or not, no story goes from start to finish without structure. It is either something the writer purposely designs before writing their manuscript or something that just happens along the way.
I consider myself a novice writer, so I spend a great deal of time trying to learn more about the craft. Not too long ago a friend of mine, who happens to be an experienced published author, introduced me to something called The Seven Sentence Story.
But, Darly, how can I tell an engaging story in only seven sentences? Don’t worry…I asked the same question! And the more I researched the method the more it made sense.
The Seven Sentence Story is an exercise to help a writer design a framework for their story. There are four basic parts to every story: the setting, the problem, solving the problem and the conclusion. These four parts can be told in seven different sentences. I have found this method to be a golden nugget in the world of writing and I’m going to share it with you.
The Seven Sentence Story
- The first goal is to introduce the who, what, where and when. Introduce the main character and let the reader know what he/she wants and the first action he/she takes to accomplish their goal.
- Something has to happen to upset the balance of the character’s life, and the result of the action the character takes to fix the problem only makes the situation worse. Now the character should be farther away from meeting the goal.
- Based on this new situation, the character makes a second attempt to fix the problem.
- The result of the second action the character takes once again makes the situation worse.
- Based on the new situation, the character makes a third and final attempt to accomplish the goal.
- The third action either accomplishes the character’s goal, fails to accomplish the goal, or there is an unusual but oddly satisfying different result of the last action.
- The conclusion. This sentence wraps up the story. It can tell the reader how the character felt about the results, provide a moral, or tell how the character’s life continued on afterward.
If you do your own research into The Seven Sentence Story you’ll most likely find different variations. Make sure to use the one that makes the most sense to you, and as you write your story continue to ask yourself these questions:
- Did you force your protagonist out of his/her comfort zone?
- Has each obstacle pushed the plot of your story and its characters forward?
- Are the consequences of failure critical enough at each stage of the plot?
- Does each scene in each chapter contribute to the chapter’s overall goal, and does every chapter contribute to the character’s achievement of his/her story goal?
- If you take your protagonist as he/she is in the final scene and drop him/her back into the first scene of the story, has he/she matured enough to handle the initial conflict so well this time around that your novel wouldn’t even be necessary?
I am by no means an expert, all of the information I have shared with you can be found online, but I have discovered that many new writers do not utilize the many resources available to them. If you have a question about writing or want to learn different methods for accomplishing what you hope to, never be afraid to look it up. Your story—and your readers—will thank you!