Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Announcing the Liz Norris Pay It Forward Writing Contest

To celebrate the publication of UNRAVELING by debut author Liz Norris we're sponsoring the Pay It Forward Writing Contest.

We're looking for a debut writer with a great voice and energetic prose (like Liz!)

We're looking for a novel that grabs us, enchants us, and keeps us glued to the page (like UNRAVELING!)

We're looking for the Next Liz Norris!

The contest is open to American writers who are not published in novel-length form (published includes self-published) and who are not represented by an agent.

The prize is:

1. Registration for the Backspace Writing Conference in NYC (May 24-26)
2. Hotel for three nights (Thurs, Fri, Sat)
3. Travel stipend of $300
4. Lunch with Liz Norris' agent

The winner will be announced on publication day for UNRAVELING by Liz Norris: Tuesday April 24, 2012.

Here's how to enter:

1. EMAIL your query letter and your finished novel to Janet@fineprintlit.com
The subject line must be: Liz Norris Pay It Forward Contest entry.
The query must be in the body of the email.
The novel must be an attachment in .doc form

2 SEND between March 1, 2012 and March 15, 2012. Entries received before or after those dates will not be considered.

3. Your entry will be acknowledged by email.

4. Your manuscript must be in English.

5. Your manuscript must be properly formatted: 1" margins, TNR font 12 pt.

We do not accept any responsibility for manuscripts that cannot be opened or read.
The contest is open to novels in any category or genre.

You are not eligible to enter if you have an agent, or have been published in novel-length form.

You agree we can publicize your name, the title of your book and your photo for publicity purposes.

To find out more about Liz Norris, check out her blog

To order UNRAVELING go to the Harper Teen site here

Questions? Post in the comment section of this blog post OR tweet to me @janet_reid


So, guys, what do you do when you're not writing?

I have all my clients on Google Alert of course and Google is stupid in the ways only algorithms can be. Which makes for some good fun here.

Sadly, writer of amazing mysteries Bill Cameron is not the same Bill Cameron who is head of the Body Donation program at Oregon Health Sciences University. That would be too perfect!

And I recently discovered that Andrew Grant has an interesting side job!

An after hours club!

These guys have been holding out on me!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

"Yes, I Want That" contest results!

I'm smacking everyone who confused the meaning of allegiance with alliance. Sheesh!

There were 155 entries which might be an all-time high. It's clear Veronica Roth's fans were out in force!

Here are the results:

Special recognition for homage to the Alot
"I fear no felt-covered grammatical error." Josin L. McQuein 2/2412 12:05pm
"Alot of wreckage" NotWarriorPrincess 2/25/12 3:20pm

Phrases that need to be used much more often
"I swore allegiance to the shark" Kathleen 2/24/12 12:07pm
"ninja Twinkies" Kregger 2/24/12 4:49pm

Entries that made my blood run cold

McWilliam 2/24/12 4:05pm
"reality fiction" Just Jan 2/25/12 12:06pm

Every writer should approach revisions like this!
Sarah 2/24/12 9:55pm

A minimalist!
Bill Plante 2/25/12 1:06pm

Special recognition for a lovely homage to DIVERGENT
MrsAC 2/24/12 2:36pm
Brodie 2/24/12 8:26pm

These entries totally cracked me up:

Rachel Schieffelbein 2/24/12 12:10pm
Ari 2/24/12 12:27pm

Steve Forti 2/24/12 7:09pm
CherylAnne Ham 2/24/12 9:27pm

Shirin Dubbin 2/25/12 5:51pm

Here are the semi-finalists!
The Happy Amateur 2/24/12 12:08pm
Mrs. Silverstein 2/24/12 1:21pm

Gabrielle 2/24/12 11:35pm
M.R. Jordan 2/25/12 7:01am

Seldom Pays Attention Kid 2/25/12 8:59am
SiSi 2/25/12 11:53am

Marsha Sigman 2/25/12 4:05pm
OwlAndSparrow 2/25/12 5:50pm

Morgan Hyde 2/25/12 6pm
Bane of Anubis 2/25/12 12:43pm

Here are the finalists

Tobi Summers 2/24/12 12:08pm
“Zombie Hunters 2, the sequel! Action!”

Laughter. The camera shook, picture wobbling.

A quick cut. He was on screen now, wooden sword to another boy’s throat. “Do you swear your allegiance to Eltron, Lord of the Zombies?”

“No! I’ll destroy you first!” More laughter, the clank of swords as they fought.

Then she was on-screen, and he cried, “I’ll save you, Ashley!”

His foe demanded, “Would you risk your life for her?”

“I would die for her.”

“Then you’ve made your choice!”

She wiped a tear from her eye. He had.

She rewound the tape again.

Mark Koopmans 2/24/12 1:26pm


Alone in the dark.
Lights on.
Striding by without a glance, your allegiance is always elsewhere.
Because I wear no leather, and can’t rock or roll anymore?
Won’t you please sit?
I heard you may destroy me – is there no other choice?
I helped feed your first, the sequel and now all three boys. I fed you when needed.
Puked, sat and farted on, I never gave up – you left me!
Sports coat on – the one I wore – you’re moving onward and upward.
Lights off.
I was your first risk.
I’ll wait forever.
Your old, brown fabric office chair.

Nate Wilson 2/24/12 3:42pm
Maeve's brother died the week she was born; her parents never quite recovered. She traipsed through life as a ghost, the sequel to a book never written.

Only Rakesh had been there for her. To his people she held no allegiance, but she was indebted to him.

In the packed marketplace, the bulky vest weighed on her body, though not her mind. She knew her actions today would accomplish little -- you couldn’t destroy what was already ruined -- but still, better her than Rakesh. Maeve didn't regret her choice.

She risked a glance at her watch. Ten seconds.




Brian Wells 2/24/12 5:39pm

Feathers, flying!

I run, never losing sight of my prey. It dives; I leap. I begin eviscerating before I land. Flesh and sinew fly as I destroy my catch.


Provider! I can't risk him finding me!


I have no choice. I may be Queen, but the Provider calls. I gather up the bones.

"There you are! Want to go again?"

A sequel! Yes! Why did I hesitate?

"Give me the ball."

To show my allegiance, I drop the carcass at his feet.

"Aw, who's a good girl?"

I cover his face with kisses. Doesn't he know it's me?

Terri Coop 2/24/12 6:45pm
It was raining lead in beautiful downtown Baghdad. Ducking into a storefront, I risked a moment’s respite only to find the space already occupied.

He was my age, another modern-day Crusader bound by ancient allegiances and trained to destroy.

My Kevlar and his Keffiyeh framed tired eyes and harsh lines that sleep would never erase.

“Stop fighting and I can go home,” I said.

“Go home and I can stop fighting,” he replied.

Silently we made our choice. The sequel might end differently, but no killing today.

Nodding, we backed through our respective doors. Back out into the rain.

Alec Breton 2/25/12 12:52am
A mobster exercises his bull mastiff.

"Forget family allegiance. Kill every rat."

A choice '56 Lincoln convertible slows.

The 18-year old driver risks being destroyed.

"I'm late for my birthday party."

The car looks eerily familiar.

"A ghost? Theresa?"

She flashes a faded newspaper: "Socialite Tortured To Death"

He chokes.

"Theresa died eighteen years ago today in 1956."

She delivers a flesh-searing message.

"Sequel time: Theresa was carrying your child. You killed yourself."

He clutches his chest.

"Stop! I'm sorry I hurt her."

She fades away.

His bodyguard shouts.

"Heart attack?"

Crimson stains the mobster's shirt.

"No! Those are holes."

AcireRo 2/25/12 12:22pm
“Present your payment,” Mr. Nein said.

The choice to steal for Nein came with great risk, but guaranteed my protection. Otherwise, Nein would destroy me. He didn’t like my kind.

“A sequel to yesterday’s?” He took the cotton-blend material, rubbing it along his face. “Your allegiance is promising.”

“Cay, it’s dinner time.” said Nein’s female companion.

“We’ll meet again tomorrow.” He took his newest gift, retreating into the night.

I snuck back home, making my way through the hole in the front door. Master looked across the table to the woman who had joined him, “Have you seen my socks?”

Melinda 2/25/12 2:04pm
I never had a choice. I could destroy him, or he would destroy me. Either way, it meant the same thing.

I had to risk it. My life couldn’t become the sequel to a horror movie. Terror forever set on repeat.

I turned to face the officer. “I know who killed my parents.”

She waited, one finger poised to scratch her chin.

“It was me.” I glanced at my brother, silent on the couch.

My false confession wasn’t allegiance to him. Prison was the only safe haven.

And they wouldn’t have given the six year old anything worse than juvey.

I can't decide!

I'm ready to start throwing darts at names on post-it notes! The late night denizens of Twitter are NO help at all (find 8 arcs of INSURGENT they say! --if I had 8 arcs, I'd be the most popular person in NYC!).

There's only one thing to do.

Call in reinforcements.

Ring! Ring!

"Hello, Veronica Roth speaking."

J: "Hello Veronica, this is your finned fan in New York"

V: "How did you get this number?"

J: "ummm...." (hiding Rolodex purloined along with ARC from Miss Molly O'Neill)

V: "It's 11:30 on Saturday night, shouldn't you be tormenting authors?"

J: (craftily not pointing out Veronica IS an author) "They're tormenting ME!"

V: "Good! About time." (pause)  "How?" (sound of tapping on keyboard that those versed
in Morse code would translate as Notes On Shark Strategies)

J: "155 wrote amazing entries for my most recent blog contest! 8 of them are so good they are the finalists.  I can't pick the winner!!" (pathetic shark wail)

V: "Ha! This sounds like a great day for writers everywhere.  What do you want me to do?"

J: "Read the finalists. Pick a winner."

V: "Hmmm... I could do that.  Send them over."

(incoming email bell)

V:  "oh. That's good. That one too.  REALLY, very good. Oh yes. Uh huh. Yes. Oh man, that's clever. Yup."   (pause) "Hmmm. You have a real problem  here. They're all good."

J: "I told you!!! I've never not been able to choose before. Oh my god, I'm becoming... DIVERGENT!"

V: (rolling eyes) "Get a grip, Shark. You're not a character in a book."

J: (regaining control) "You're right. But I still don't know what to do."

V: "When I don't know what to do, I call my amazing agent Joanna Volpe."

J: "Brill! Byeeeee!"

Ring! Ring!

JV: "Hello, Joanna Volpe speaking!"


JV: 'Hi J."

JR: "Your amazingly talented client Veronica Roth has created a HUGE problem for me!" (sound of muffled snort of laughter from other end of phone) "I finally managed to pick 8 finalists from 155 entries, but now I can't pick the winner."

JV: (scanning the bank of spy cam screens in her underground lair)  "Hmm...No extra ARCs to be had, I suppose?"

JR: "Sadly, no."

JV: (scanning list of ARC recipients)  No one we can put in cold storage for a while?

JR: 'I tried that. My cold storage locker is filled up."

JV:  'Hmm...let me see the list."  (sound of incoming email bell)




JV: "These are all really good."

JR: "See, I told you!"

JV: "Back in the day when I was your minion, you told me to keep one thing in mind when reading queries."

JR: "Look for the good stuff?"

JV: Well, yes, that.

JR: "Forward all the twenty-dollar bills to me?"

JV: "That too."

JR: "There was something else?"

JV: "Yes. You told me look for the story that made you want to read the next page. The one that made you want to read on."

JR:  "But that's almost unfair here! They were only asked to write a story in 100 words!  No one said anything about reading on!"

JV: "True. But all of these entries are great. You have to figure out some way to separate one from the rest. Short of random numbers, or counting the number of entries that have the all important letter J in them, what else can you do but raise the stakes."

JR: 'Stakes! I'm always yapping about what's at stake."

JV: (sotto voce) "Don't I know it."

JR: "What?"

JV: "Nothing.  Just um...singing."

JR:" Ok. This has been a big help."

After I hung up the phone, I reviewed the entries again.
Yes, they were all good. Each deserves a prize but I have only one ARC.

One entry however made me want to read the next page.

The winner of the ARC of INSURGENT and the winner of the most hellishly hard to decide contest EVER in the history of this blog is:

Nate Wilson 2/24/12 3:42pm

Congratulations Nate! Congratulations to all the finalists, and thanks to everyone who entered. This was an AMAZING display of talent!

Nate, send me your address via email and we'll get you your much sought after copy of INSURGENT!
Congratulations to our own Ed Desteiguer for being honored with a Southwest Book Award sponsored by the Border Regional Library Association!

Wild Horses of the West: History and Politics of America's Mustangs is a terrific book and we're glad the Library Association thinks so too!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The YES, I WANT THAT Writing Contest!

Yes, you DO want this copy of INSURGENT. Boy oh boy, do you ever!

Usual rules: write a story with 100 or fewer words. Post in the comment column of this blog post. (Comments closed until the contest opens).  If you need a mulligan, delete your entry and enter again. Only ONE entry per person will be considered for the contest.

Use these words in your entry:


Contest opens at NOON on Friday (2/24) and closes at 6pm on Saturday (2/25).  Winner receives an ARC of INSURGENT by Veronica Roth, the sequel to DIVERGENT which was voted Best Book of the Year by the readers at Goodreads.com (among many other honors!)

I purloined this copy right out from under the watchful eye of editor Molly O'Neill's protection detail (picture below) so, if you win, you might want to keep an eye out for anyone prowling around trying to retrieve it.

Tweet to me @janet_reid if you have any questions!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Oh you will love me for this!

I just acquired copy of the sequel to DIVERGENT today.  Yes, mayhem, lying, skullduggery, and downright chicanery were all involved. If you're of Candor, the word theft might be included. Erudite would probably say "machinations."  Those of us who are DAUNTLESS simply call it "all in a day's work!"


And now, I'm going home for the day!
BUT, because I will have read this tonight, that means I can send it to the lucky winner of the next writing contest!

Keep your eyes peeled for details here on Thursday!

Now, off to leap on a train!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Yea, I REALLY loved it!

It's the 50th Anniversary of Madeline L'Engle's A WRINKLE IN TIME and lots of people are re-reading this wonderful classic. I was a devoted fan of the book and extolled it far and wide in The Reef.

I asked The Sharkly Assistant if she'd read the book and when she confessed, in a terrified whisper, that she had NOT, I quickly ordered two copies.

When the books arrived I pounced at once, opened and started to read.

Whoa, this is a lot different than I remember.

Wait...I don't remember this at all.

Um...this ISN'T the same book.

I've not only never read A WRINKLE IN TIME, I read another book entirely and thought it was A WRINKLE IN TIME.

Now....what the hell did I read?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The adventure continues!

First came THE BREACH:

Trying to regain his life in the Alaskan wilds, ex-con/ex-cop Travis Chase stumbles upon an impossible scene: a crashed 747 passenger jet filled with the murdered dead, including the wife of the President of the United States. Though a nightmare of monumental proportions, it pales before the terror to come, as Chase is dragged into a battle for the future that revolves around an amazing artifact.

Allied with a beautiful covert operative whose life he saved, Chase must now play the role he's been destined for—a pawn of incomprehensible forces or humankind's final hope—as the race toward Apocalypse begins in earnest.

Because something is loose in the world.

And doomsday is not only possible . . . it is inevitable.

Then Patrick Lee ratcheted up the tension in GHOST COUNTRY:

 What Paige Campbell saw when she opened a door into seventy years from now scared the hell out of her. She and her Tangent colleagues brought their terrible discovery to the President—and were met with a hail of automatic gunfire after leaving the White House. Only Paige survived.

Fearing a terrifying personal destiny revealed to him from the other side of the Breach, Travis Chase abandoned Tangent . . . and Paige Campbell. Now he must rescue her—because Paige knows tomorrow’s world is desolate and dead, a ghost country scattered with the bones of billions. And Doomsday will dawn in just four short months . . . unless they can find the answers buried in the ruins to come.

But once they cross the nightmare border into Ghost Country, they might never find their way back . . .

Now, the thrilling conclusion, DEEP SKY

Now Travis Chase of the covert agency Tangent—caretakers of the Breach and all its grim wonders—along with partner and lover Paige Campbell and technology expert Bethany Stewart, have only twenty-four hours to unearth a decades-old mystery once spoken of in terrified whispers by the long since silenced. But their breakneck race cross-country—and back through time and malleable memory—is calling the total destructive might of a shadow government down upon them. For Travis Chase has a dark destiny he cannot be allowed to fulfill . . .

John Nardo of SF Signal is predicting DEEP SKY will be one of his "Best Reads of 2012"...in February!

(we think he's right!)

Happy Valentines Day!

You'll be my Valentine, won't you?

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Whoa! A contest a day for 7 days!!

Write a story in 128 characters!
(Makes the contests here on this blog look like tomes!)

128 character stories, drawing inspiration from this wonderful photo from Terry Borders new book BENT OBJECTS OF MY AFFECTION!

"If loving you is wrong, I don't want to be right!"

You enter by posting a tweet (128characters!) to @FairbankLit
(tweets are 140 max, but the @FairbankLit takes up 12)

There is a new contest every day!

Follow @FairbankLit to keep up on the photos.  You can enter each one.

Each day's winner receives a copy of the book.

I'm a DEVOTED fan of Terry Border--I will be entering this contest under a pseudonym and probably getting my clock cleaned by all you real writers out there!

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Looking for help with your novel?

I was stuck at home this morning waiting for a FedEx delivery.  (If you live in my building, any package left at the door is considered fair game for thieves!)

Because I had a few extra minutes I was able to give a querier some extra help.  My tools involved a hatchet and a bucket to catch the blood spatter.  "Murder your darlings" took on a whole new meaning.  She sent me three pages; after I was done she had about six paragraphs.

Fortunately this is not a story about a writer who didn't value feedback. She did. She was very nice about thanking me for slicing her work to pieces.

Unfortunately, I am not at home waiting for the FedEx delivery man every day.  Most days I'm at work brutalizing the minions and calling for the heads of uncooperative editors. Most days her work would get a form rejection and not a comment more.

If you're getting form rejections and you can't figure out what the problem is, you might want to take a class so someone can murder YOUR darlings.

There's a pretty good one being offered by Jenny Milchman and Butch Edgerton starting Feb 23.  One of the best things about this is it's offered via Skype.  You don't have to be in NYC to take advantage of it.

The details are here.

Both Jenny and Butch are pals of mine.  They come with my highest recommendation. Butch is the author of HOOKED a book I recommend to writers as a must-have.  Jenny is the hilarious and talented events wrangler at Wachtung Books in New Jersey--and the author of a book that I am very much looking forward to buying when it's published.

Whoever told you math isn't beautiful and elegant flat out lied

And here's the proof.

For more about what this video is check out the Harvard Natural Sciences lecture demo about harmonic motion.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Never before revealed footage of FPLM agent at lunch

The No-Pants Club Inducts a new member

Somehow I thought the No Pants Club would be limited to my talented if slightly insane clients Sean Ferrell and Jeff Somers.

No, no I was wrong.  Here's an email from a potential client, who as far as I know has never met Sean or Jeff, although of course, she's a writer, thus slightly insane (in the very best way of course), explaining her recent run-in with TSA on her flight home from DBW.

And yes--it was a "sweater dress" that is somewhat short on normal sized people, but is like a crop-top on me. I usually wear it with skinny jeans, but I forgot my jeans. So I threw on some thigh-high tights, tied a long-sleeve sweater around my waist, and clipped it in front with a hair clip.

As I was getting ready to walk through the detector, the TSA guy says, "I need you to take off the sweater around your waist."

Instead of beating around the bush (so to speak), I said point-blank: "I'm not wearing anything underneath it."

This caused quite a ruckus as I got ushered into the glass enclosure to await a female TSA ass-grabber. She arrived and said, "I understand that you aren't wearing any pants."

Instead of affirming her statement, I pulled up the tied-on sweater and flashed her my thigh-highs.

"Ma'am!" she yelled, holding up her hands at me to shield herself from the horror. "No one's asking you to do that!"

Since the email was NOT sent from JFK, I am hoping she got home safely! Either that or there's great wifi at Rikers.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Listening to Elmore Leonard

I swam over to the Center for Fiction last week to hear Elmore Leonard in conversation with Jonathan Santlofer.

Jonathan Santlofer was an exceptional moderator. He was concise, conversational, and didn't insert himself into every question. He should be cloned and made to moderate all panels forevermore.

Elmore Leonard told us:

"I spent 10 years writing short stories, or ten years 'getting better'."

"I started out imitating Hemingway till I found out he (Hemingway) had no sense of humor."

"I always write from the point of view of a character, major or minor."

"I never intrude. I never want to be seen telling the story."

"If it sounds like writing, rewrite."

"Outlining means you go with an idea that could be old or outdated as the novel develops"

"Not outlining allows for surprise and something else to happen."

"Verbs other than 'said' for dialogue call attention to themselves."

"Don't muck it up with -ly words"

"I write longhand then use a typewriter. No computer. No email."

"Watch for words that don't belong in the book because they are not natural to the characters"

The event even made NY Magazine's Approval Matrix -- thankfully on the correct side of the grid!

I only get 15% of the blame for this, right?

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

What Three Things Are You Grateful For Today?

As regular readers of this blog will know, I am a devoted fan of ShelfAwareness. I'm a particular fan of Marilyn Dahl, the book review editor, who is very influential in my book buying choices (MATTERHORN springs to mind, as does DARK END OF THE STREET.)

I read her article in the Readers edition of Shelf Awareness about gratitude.  It's here: Resolution Restart

Here are the three things I am grateful for today:

1. Cafe Bustello. It's a consistent pleasure to drink this coffee every morning.

2. Being able to work from home on days like today when the galloping crud is having its evil way with me.

3.  Marilyn Dahl of course. 

What three things are on today's list for you?