Tag Archives: YA Fantasy

How Not to Avoid the Rejection Blues, or embracing the inner Smurf… by Julian Rosado-Machain

44How Not to Avoid the Rejection Blues, or embracing the inner Smurf…

By Julian Rosado-Machain

Ah, the rejection blues! When all the hope built up during those long, interminable weeks that pass between sending a query letter or a manuscript and receiving a response is annihilated by the simple “Thank you, but….”

I blame the “but..” God, how I learned to hate the “but…”.

11“Thank you, ” at least, shows a modicum of sympathy, but “but…”? I am sure that everything after the “but…” is optional. The “but…” seals the deal, what you wrote isn’t good enough, at least to the “Thank you,” people. They are grateful that you thought about them, they might or might not have read what you sent, discussed it, placed it on the table as a probable project, fought for it to be accepted by the uber-bosses of the company, it may have moved their hearts, changed their lives and they keep a copy close to the pillows…


Its unavoidable… rejection always feels like a stab in the heart, or at least the spleen, depending on who rejects the manuscript and your hopes about that literary agent or publishing house taking up on your manuscript.

It’s going to happen, so don’t avoid it… Embrace it. I once went to the home of a friend who had been left at the altar, an envoy of his parents to see if he was okay because he didn’t answer his phone, my heart sank when I found the door to his apartment unlocked, and I went in and thankfully found him with a bottle of rum on one hand and watching Star Wars on a VHS. His words of wisdom that stuck with me I will now convey to you:

“Let me enjoy my depression in peace.” He said. “I’ll be over it tomorrow.”

He was so blue he looked like a Smurf and to be completely truthful the blue didn’t wash out overnight, but the rum wasn’t there the next day.

So yeah, embrace it, turn blue and Smurf it and turn it around, go back and edit, fix, twitch and fiddle with your manuscript, then do it again. Or, if you get tired of the “but..” like I did, self publish, BUT (and this one applies) please, do it only after editing, fixing, twitching and fiddling…thoroughly and preferably with the help of a professional… at least the editing bit.

Hopefully, and with a lot of work,(and let’s be honest, wishful thinking) you might hit it and then maybe the “Thank you,” people will come looking for you and you will be the one saying “Oh wow!…This is great!..but…”

Wouldn’t that be something?

So turn blue, embrace it, might as well try to enjoy it and use it in your writing, learn from it and then dream a little dream… and get over it.

BTW… my Smurfy friend found his Smurfette a couple of years later… and now they have little Smurflings of their own.

He got over it and so can we.

About the Author:

Julian Rosado-MachainJulian Rosado-Machain has enjoyed pizza in three continents, worked in graphic design, armored vehicles, built computers, handcrafted alebrijes and swears that he has seen at least one ghost.

He lives in San Diego, California. And enjoys the sun with his wife, three children and cat.

His latest book is the YA fantasy adventure, Guardians Inc.: The Cypher.

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About the Book:

Guardians Inc 7GUARDIANS INC.: THE CYPHER is two stories in one. A glimpse into a multinational company that is in reality the oldest of secret societies, one that spans close to seven thousand years of existence, weaving in and out of history, guiding and protecting humanity from creatures and forces that most of us believe are only mythology and fairy tales.

The other is the story of Thomas Byrne, a young man thrust into secrets he shouldn’t be aware of and dangers he shouldn’t face but, that he ultimately will, for he is a Cypher. The only one who can steer humanity’s future.

The ultimate conspiracy theory is that Magic is real. Kept in check by technology but, every five hundred years the balance can shift and, if it does, technology will fail and those creatures we’ve driven into myth will come back with a vengeance.

To protect the present, Guardians Incorporated needs to know the future, and to unlock the future they need a Cypher.

This is the first book of the Guardians Inc Series.

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Read-a-Chapter: Grand Theft Magic by Richard Blunt

Read a Chapter is *NEW* added feature at As the Pages Turn! Here you’ll be able to read the first chapters of books of all genres to see if you like them before you buy them. Today we are featuring the YA fantasy, Lucas Trent 3: Grand Theft Magic, by Richard Blunt. Enjoy!


Grand Theft Magic

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Blunt Publishing (September 11, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0985801107
  • ISBN-13: 978-0985801106

After a field trip suddenly turns into a near catastrophe Lucas and the others shift into high gear to avenge their injured friend. But when an unexpected foe arrives at the scene they quickly find themselves in a life or death situation that not even their extraordinary skills can solve. Realizing that they have bitten off more than they can chew Lucas desperately starts looking for trustworthy allies, just to find out once again that things are never as easy as they appear at first.

Can they survive the battles at hand? Will they be able to tell friend from foe? Or will the epic quest they have stumbled into be too much for them to handle?

Follow Lucas Trent and his friends through an action-paced story of mysteries, secrets and deceptions and find out…


Chapter One

It was a cold December day; the year was 2008. Within the corridors of a chemical plant near Luton, England, a teenage boy was running behind two security guards.

“I know that he is here somewhere,” the boy said after running around a corner. “I saw him go that way.”

“I saw him, too, but it seems that he is gone now,” one of the guards said. “Damn thief. Almost like a phantom.”

The guards walked around another corner, continuously looking. The boy continued down the corridor he was convinced he had seen the thief run into. He walked it up and down twice before he spotted the shadow behind a closet.

“Here he is!” he shouted.

Immediately a figure jumped out of the shadow, dressed in a black suit, looking like a modern day Ninja. He ran off through the corridor, the boy in pursuit. After having chased him through a number of hallways, they finally approached a dead end, with only office doors alongside and a small window almost two meters above ground level at the far end of the brick wall.

“Stop. You have nowhere else to go,” the boy yelled.

But the thief had no intention of complying. With an impressive jump, he plunged through the half-open window out into the yard.

“Damn it, what kind of circus clown is that?” the boy cursed. But he didn’t slow down and jumped through the windowalso, following the man in black.

“Base, Base, this is team four,” the security guard that followed a few meters behind yelled into his radio. “The thief has left the building through a window. He should be on the meadow, west of the main entrance.”

“Base copied,” a voice said. “We will send a team immediately.”

Another security team instantly raced out the front entrance to the described area. When they were halfway there they heard two gunshots and in response immediately drew their own weapons.

“Shots fired, shots fired,” the second man in the team yelled into the radio.

When they finally came around the corner, they saw someone lying in the grass.

“Man down, man down. Send an ambulance,” the guard yelled into his radio again.

The first guard continued on around the next corner, while the second one approached the body. It was the teenage boy, lying there unconscious, blood soaking his jacket and his jeans.

“They are gone.” The second guard now also approached the boy as well, holstering his weapon.

“Hold on, boy, hold on. Help is on the way.” The guard had taken the boys hand, pressing it firmly.

Only two minutes later, the ambulance arrived on scene, with three men jumping out of it immediately. The guards made a few steps back.

“Multiple gunshot wounds,” the medic commented. “One in the leg, one in the lower back.” He then started touching and tweaking the boy before continuing, “Patient is alive but unconscious. We need to get him to a hospital ASAP. Jimmy, get the spine board; Paul, see if you can get us a helicopter.”

The other two ran off while the first one started carefully cutting through the boy’s jacket. He had just started giving him fluids intravenously when Jimmy returned with the spine board.

“The bird can be here in 15 minutes at best,” Paul yelled from the car.

“Too long, by that time we can have him at Luton General ourselves,” the first one replied.

He and his colleague carefully moved the boy onto the board and carried him into the ambulance.

“We are heading for Luton General,” he then said to one of the guards. “Please inform the boy’s parents.”

He then jumped in, closed the door and signaled the driver to go. Then they started supplying the boy with oxygen and giving him medication.

“He is coming around,” the second man in the ambulance said.

The boy reached for him and pulled him down to his face.

“Guardian…,” he said with a very weak and shaky voice.

“Yes, your parents have already been informed. They will be with you at the hospital,” the medic replied, smiling at the boy. “Hold on, we are almost there.”

“No.” The boy weakly shook his head and pushed the oxygen mask aside. “Not parents… Guardian….” He coughed and closed his eyes in pain, tears running out of them. “Guardian…,” he then continued with an even weaker voice. “IT College… Lucas… Trent… Darien… Stance… Call them… Please…” With that, he faded out again.

Reprinted from Grand Theft Magic by Richard Blunt. © 2012 by Blunt Publishing

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Pump Up Your Book & Richard Blunt Announce Grand Theft Magic Virtual Book Tour

Pump Up Your Book is pleased to announce Richard Blunt’s Lucas Trent 3: Grand Theft Magic Virtual Book Publicity Tour beginning December 3, 2012 and ending on March 15, 2013. Richard will be on hand during his worldwide tour talking about his book in candid interviews and guest posts! As an added bonus, Susan’s tour is also part of a Kindle Fire HD Giveaway! To find out more details visit his official tour page here.

Publishing under a pen name to keep his personal life separate from his writing life, Richard Blunt was raised in the heart of Europe, in a nation where English is not the native language. Like his heroes, Richard blunt is nothing more than a shadow – a specter that whispers a story for everyone to hear.

His latest book is Lucas Trent 3: Grand Theft Magic.

You can visit his website at http://www.lucastrent.com/ and his blog at http://richardblunt.blogspot.com/.

Pump Up Your Book handles all the aspects of virtual book touring from pre-buzzing your book before the tour starts to making sure buyers will find your book long after the tour is over. If you are the author of a newly published book, have an upcoming release or just want to give a previously published book new life, a virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book is the answer. We welcome traditionally published, electronically published and self-published authors. Our esteem list of clients include Claire Cook, Caridad Pineiro, C.W. Gortner, Barbara Bretton, Cody McFayden, James Hayman, Karen White, Kathleen Willey, Lisa Daily, Lisa Jackson, Mary Burton, Nancy Thayer, Randy Sue Coburn, Ray Comfort, Sandi Kahn Shelton, Sheila Roberts, Therese Fowler, Hope Edelman, Wendy Wax, Jon Meacham, Shobhan Bantwal, Pat Williams, Jane Green, Judge Glenda Hatchett and cook show personality Paula Deen. We also represent Random House, Abingdon Press, Zumaya Publications, WND Books, Sheaf House Publishers, New Hope Publishers, Guardian Angel Publishers, Genesis Press, and Moody Publishing. Contact us to find out what we can do for you and your book!

If you’d like host Richard with an interview, book review or guest post opportunity and be a part of his Kindle Fire HD promotional tour (a great way to increase your Alexa and Google rankings and get more hits on your blog), contact Dorothy Thompson at thewriterslife(at)gmail.com. Pump Up Your Book is an innovative public relations agency specializing in online book promotion for authors. Visit us at www.pumpupyourbook.com.

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Interview with Christine Norris, author of ‘The Mirror of Yu-Huang’

Christine Norris is the author of several works for children and adults, including the Library of Athena series and the Zandria duology. When she’s not out saving the world one story at a time, she is disguised as a mild mannered substitute teacher, mother, and wife. She cares for her family of one husband-creature, a son-animal, and two felines who function as Guardian of the Bathtub and Official Lap Warmer, respectively. She has also done several English adaptations of novels translated from other languages. She reached a new level of insanity by attending Southen Connecticut State University Graduate School’s Information and Library Science program, so that someday she, too, can be a real Librarian. She currently resides somewhere in southern New Jersey.

Her current book is a YA/Fantasy titled The Mirror of Yu-Huang.

Visit Christine on the web at www.christine-norris.com. Connect with her at Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ cnorrisauthor and Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Christine-Norris/131776641000.

Q: Thank you for this interview, Christine. Can you tell us what your latest book, The Mirror of Yu-Huang, is all about?

Thanks for having me! The series centers around Megan Montgomery, an American teenagers living in England. She’s got a big secret—she’s responsible for protecting the Library of Athena, which is a huge chamber under the manor where she lives with her dad. The library holds some really rare and dangerous books, including a collection of enchanted books that hide magical artifacts. When the books are opened, the girls get sucked inside and have to follow the clues to get out again, usually while being chased by things that think they would taste good with ketchup.

In MIRROR, The headmistress of her school has wheedled her father into hosting a huge formal ball at their big English manor on New Year’s Eve. Which Megan is not happy about, because she doesn’t want people traipsing all over her secret. But she’s also got a Chinese ambassador and his family as houseguests, and it seems like one of them DOES know about her secret. She suspects everyone, and eventually she winds up inside one of the enchanted books, chasing someone who wants to steal the Mirrror of Yu-Huang. It’s all very exciting and edge-of-your seat and twisty-turny.

Q: Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters?

The main character in the series is Megan Montgomery, an American girl who is suddenly transplanted to the English countryside when her father’s job is transferred. By MIRROR, which is the third book in the series, she’s pretty well adapted to life in a new country, but she’s got a whole bunch of other problems. Besides trying to keep people from stealing her magical artifacts and trying to take over the world, there’s homework and first-class snobs to worry about.

Her three best friends are Rachel, Harriet, and Claire. They’re all different and each have their strengths; Rachel is a great athlete, Claire is the smartest girl in school, and Harriet is an Olympic-caliber Shopper.

Despite being so different, they all seem to get along (though not all the time), and it’s really interesting to me to see how they approach the same problem in different ways.

Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

Nothing is absolute, so it’s not all one or the other. This group is particularly interesting, because though this series centers around Megan, she has her three constant friends. Like I said, they’re all so different, but I see them as different parts of me—the brain, the athlete, the Princess. It’s like The Breakfast Club in my head.

Q: Are you consciously aware of the plot before you begin a novel, or do you discover it as you write?

A little from Column A, a little from Column B. I usually get some of the major points written down, and I use a chart that looks like a tic-tac-toe board to put it all in order. I’m a very visual learner, so having the major plot points charted is a great way for me to see the big picture. I still end up with a lot of things happening that I didn’t plan, and I LOVE that.  I also love that there IS no right way; I think I’ve written each of my five published books in a different way, including longhand!

I actually didn’t start using the block-plot method until after MIRROR was written, and I started using it because I had gone off the path of the book and ended up with 20,000 words I didn’t need! I said to myself, there’s GOT to be a better way. I don’t like to ‘outline’ chapter and scene, but I do like having a sort of roadmap, where I can see all the major tourists attractions. It’s like planning a vacation – you know where you’re going, and how you’re going to get from one place to the next, but you don’t know what’s going to happen once you get there J

Q: Your book is set in England and Ancient China.  Can you tell us why you chose these settings in particular?

Neither setting was a difficult choice; the series is about Megan, an American who is displaced to the English countryside when her father is transferred for his job. The manor itself, called the Parthenon, is an interesting place, a big rambling English manor house, and holds all kinds of secrets. I don’t think the stories would be quite the same if the house was in, say, New Hampshire (not that there’s anything wrong with New Hampshire, it’s lovely).

Ancient China was a necessity for the story I wanted to tell, falling in line with the previous two books, each set in ancient times in two other countries (Greece and Egypt). Those first two cultures have gotten a lot of ‘screen time’, if you will, in tween literature in the last few years, especially in the two Rick Riordan series, Percy Jackson and The Kane Chronicles , both of which are favorites of mine. But I chose China for book three because it was unusual. And the story reflects that, because the enchanted book that the girls fall into follows a different path than the previous two. It was really a challenge to make it work, mostly because this mythology, Chinese mythology, is so very different than either of the others I’ve worked with.

Q: Does the setting play a major part in the development of your story?

Absolutely. Every book in the series has two settings, really—the Parthenon, Megan’s big manor home in England, and the ‘country’ where she and her friends get swept off to. Ancient China, in particular the Forbidden City in Beijing, are essential to the storyline of MIRROR, because the artifact they need to find once belonged to an Chinese god.

Q: Open the book to page 69.  What is happening?

It’s the night of the New Year’s ball, and Megan, Rachel, and Harriet are searching the crowd for Claire, who they haven’t see yet. They meet up instead with Portia Kenilworthy, one of the richest and most popular girls in school. She’s looking for Mei-Li Wen, the ambassador’s daughter, so she can invite her to join her “Gardening Club”. Portia implies that Mei-Li is the kind of person who would only want to hang out with the ‘best kind of people’, but Harriet uses her best snobbery skills to point out that she, Mei-Li, and Megan are already close friends, since they’ve been hanging out together for a week. Harriet and Portia glare “diamond-studded Tiffany daggers” at each other.

LOL It’s a great ‘normal’ teenager moment in Megan’s life, which is in so many ways NOT normal.

Q: Can you give us one of your best excerpts?

Sure! This is from Chapter 12:

The snake’s head was eight feet across at its widest

point. Its skin was snowy as the mountains above them, except for a bright orange fringe that ringed its neck. The serpent’s eyes matched the fringe, like two suns burning in a white sky. Thick yellow whiskers, each the diameter of a rat snake, extended from both sides of the serpent’s snout. The creature’s body was covered with thick scales, each as big as Megan’s hand. The serpent looked a lot like the costume lion dancers wore during Chinese New Year celebrations.

Megan trembled. She grabbed the rock with her fingertips to keep from falling over. She had faced her share of monsters. She’d cut the head from Medusa, but hadn’t been able to look at her for fear of turning to stone. She had defeated the Cetus, but at the time had been more worried about plummeting into the sea than about the monster. And she had been afraid of the basilisk, but hadn’t looked into its eyes until it was already dead. This creature was in full view as it slithered toward Mei-Li.

The snake’s nostrils flared, and it inhaled deeply. A forked tongue the size of a surfboard flicked over the rice balls. The smell of the malt sugar must have covered the scent of the girls and the dog, or the treat was too big a temptation to resist, because the serpent started to eat the rice balls with a greedy slurp.

The first one had barely disappeared when Mei-Li attacked. She shouted a command in Chinese, and the dog leapt into action. He ran at the snake, snarling, teeth bared. The streak of brown fur launched over the serpent’s head, landed on its scaly back and sank his teeth into the snake’s flesh.

Mei-Li moved so quickly Megan could barely keep track of her. With expert precision, she slashed and lunged at the beast, her sword finding its mark with each swing. Bright red streaks appeared in the blade’s wake, the snake’s skin splitting like an overfilled water balloon.

Taken by surprise, the monster was slow to react. The dog had bitten it at least half a dozen times, and Mei-Li had slashed the creature twice that number before he retaliated. It made up for lost time.

With a monstrous roar, the beast whipped its head from side to side, like a horse trying to throw its rider. The dog flew high and far and landed with a pitiful yelp on the rocks, where it lay very still.

The serpent turned its sights on Mei-Li. Her face was impassive, her mind set on her task. Her movements were fluid, one flowing into the next. The snake lunged at her, and she easily dodged away from the bigger, slower-moving creature. She spun like a ballerina, and

slashed at the snake’s body. Part of his fringe fell to the earth, the splatters of blood turning orange into fire.

The snake gave another unearthly howl. It lifted its head and slammed it against the ground. The entire mountain shook, and Mei-Li was knocked off-balance. The sword flew from her hand and clattered toward Megan. The snake opened its mouth wide and dove for Mei-Li.

Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Christine.  We wish you much success!

Thank you for having me and being such a great host!



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