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The Avalon Fantasy Casting Call Giveaway

***CONGRATS TO THE WINNER! MARIA PILAR ALBARRAN***

***And thanks to all who entered. Be sure to keep a look out for the final cast results coming soon***

As promised, I’m giving away another signed arc of Polaris, the sequel and conclusion to Avalon. This giveaway is international and entering is super duper easy and fun—I hope.

Here’s the skinny. I’m working on an upcoming blog post where I’m going to chose my dream cast for the Avalon movie, and I need your help! First though, let me crush your hopes in one quick blow—no there are no current plans to make Avalon into a movie. Sadly, the film rights haven’t even been optioned. But it’s never too late. And hey, an awesome space-based sci-fi that’s both funny and warmhearted smashed the box office recently so there’s always a chance Hollywood might come looking for more, right? (And if you haven’t seen Guardians of the Galaxy yet, seriously…stop everything and do that now!)

Anyway, to enter my little contest all you have to do is leave a comment below telling me who you would pick to play any (or all) of the characters in Avalon. Tell me who would make a good Jeth or Sierra. Or Lizzie, Shady, Flynn, and Celeste. Don’t forget Milton, Hammer, Daxton, and Renford as well. I would prefer recommendations for current/available actors, please. I mean, as much as a teenage Nathan Fillion would rock for Jeth, I’d rather have someone ready made to call out in this fantasy casting.

The contest will remain open until Thursday at midnight EST. I will use random.org to select the winner. One enter per person, although please feel free to comment as much as you like. I’m seriously looking for inspirations here. I will announce the winner on the blog and on twitter and FaceBook. Good luck!

p.s. If you have trouble commenting, you can enter the contest on my FaceBook page here instead:

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Giveaway Alert: Gates of Thread and Stone and More!

It’s almost August, and guess what that means? The fabulous Gates of Thread and Stone by my friend and critique partner Lori M. Lee will be hitting shelves. I loved this book folks, and I hope you do, too.

There’s been so much going on, and I’ve been super duper busy for months now. But happily, I’ve turned in the draft of the third book in the Arkwell Academy and I’m finally working on new things. Given all this awesomeness happening, I’ve decided to celebrate with a giveaway. Here’s what’s up to win:

  • A hard cover of Gates of Thread and Stone
  • A signed paperback of The Nightmare Affair
  • A signed hard cover of The Nightmare Dilemma

Entering is easy. Just fill out the rafflecopter below. Unfortunately this is limited to US only.

And in case you haven’t heard about Gates, here’s the official description:

In a city of walls and secrets, where only one man is supposed to possess magic, seventeen-year-old Kai struggles to keep hidden her own secret—she can manipulate the threads of time. When Kai was eight, she was found by Reev on the riverbank, and her “brother” has taken care of her ever since. Kai doesn’t know where her ability comes from—or where shecame from. All that matters is that she and Reev stay together, and maybe one day move out of the freight container they call home, away from the metal walls of the Labyrinth. Kai’s only friend is Avan, the shopkeeper’s son with the scandalous reputation that both frightens and intrigues her.

Then Reev disappears. When keeping silent and safe means losing him forever, Kai vows to do whatever it takes to find him. She will leave the only home she’s ever known and risk getting caught up in a revolution centuries in the making. But to save Reev, Kai must unravel the threads of her past and face shocking truths about her brother, her friendship with Avan, and her unique power.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

Polaris arc Giveaway – One Day Only!

That’s right. I’m giving away an arc of Polaris today. But first up, check out this super cool radio interview I got to do on crafttheshow.com.

For the arc giveaway, it’s open internationally, and there are three ways to enter. You can leave a comment here, you can comment on my FaceBook status about the giveaway, or you can tweet using #POLARIS and tagging me in it @mindeearnett. That’s it. Easy-peezy. The giveaway will be open for 24 hours. Be sure to check back for the winner announcement. Good luck!

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Word and Page Counts

Recently, I had a reader and aspiring writer (presumably) ask me about the page counts of my books as they existed in the drafting stage. I love these sorts of questions, mostly because I’m a nerd about statistics like this. I’m not sure why.

Anyway, I decided the best way to answer would be a quick blog post. The question, while simple, requires some conditions for the answer to make accurate sense. Pagination–as in the way the document is formatted–has an impact on page counts. This is why most people in the pub biz refer to books by length of word counts. Word counts are universal across pagination. That said, the specific pagination layout I use while drafting is this:

  • Double spacing
  • 1 inch margins
  • .5 inch paragraph indents
  • Times New Roman, 12 point
  • 4 paragraph returns at the start of each chapter
  • Orphan/Widow control turned off

With this pagination applied, I’ve listed the page counts for all of my books below These are the counts just prior to copy edits. I didn’t give copy edit counts because that is the stage when the publisher imposes their own pagination onto what I use while drafting. I’ve also included the word counts, because really, that will prove more useful to you in the long run.

  • The Nightmare Affair, 304 pages, 85,000 words
  • The Nightmare Dilemma, 362 pages, 102,000 words
  • Avalon, 368 pages, 100,500 words
  • Polaris, 370 pages, 106,000 words
  • Proxy, 72 pages, 20,000 words (note, this is a novella)

There you have it. I could provide you all kinds of analysis on the variation you see there, such as the reason why Avalon’s page count is higher than Dilemma‘s even though Dilemma is actually longer (answer: this mostly has to do with chapters lengths. Avalon has shorter chapters), but I don’t really have the time. In case you’re wondering, I’m hard, hard at work on the third book in the Arkwell Academy series. Maybe soon I’ll get to post those numbers as well.

Happy writing!

p.s. Be on the lookout for the Polaris cover reveal happening in the next week or so!

Ohioana Book Festival!

Hi All,

This Saturday I’m going to be at the Ohioana Book Festival in Columbus, Ohio. I went to this last year, and it was completely awesome. It’s free to the public, and not only can you come in and get signed books from dozens of authors, but there are author panels going on all day.

You can find all the important details here.

The doors open at 9:45 and my panel is at 10:15. I know that’s early for a Saturday, but did I mention the free part? And the lots of awesome author part? Oh, and I will have swag with me, including Avalon Star Charts and emblem stickers. Hope to see you there!

 

News and Events!

Firstly, and super-duper awesomely, The Nightmare Affair has been nominated for the YALSA Teens’ Top Teen . I’m pretty sure this a big deal, and some of the other nominees are oh-my-gosh amazing. Anyway, if you’re a teen, you can vote for the book. There’s also a giveaway. More details here. Also, if you vote for me, there might be unicorns and rainbows in your future from yours truly.

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Secondly, I’ve got two events coming up in a few days. I’ll be doing a chat and signing with Erica O’Rourke and Stacey Kade at Read Between the Lines in Woodstock, IL on Thursday April 24 at 7:00.

After that, I’ll be spending the weekend hanging out at the Chicago Spring Fling Writers Conference. I’ve participating in a panel on Friday, as well as the Librarian Tea, and on Saturday, I’ll be signing books. Hope I get to meet some of you.

Building Suspense, the art of emergence

So this past Saturday I had the lovely fortune to present a workshop on suspense at the Wayne College Writers Workshop. I had an absolute blast with the class. The participants were attentive and eager and all things wonderful.

Anyhow, the materials I presented seemed to go over pretty well, and I thought I’d share a little bit of it here. Cheesy at it sounds, I created an acronym out of SUSPENSE. And while I won’t go through all of them here—some of them are fairly obvious (the first S = Sympathetic Characters)—I did want to share my favorite “letter” of the acronym, the final “E.”

In the workshop, the final E = Emergent. Here’s what the slides looked like:

–Definition: arising as a natural or logical consequence.
•As much as possible, the events in the story should emerge from what happened before; they should be consequential.
•Avoid the “and then” problem (as described by the creators of South Park on mtvu.com).
–Definition of the “And Then” problem:
•If you draw a flowchart of the events in your story and find yourself using “and then” to connect them, you have a problem.
•Instead, your connectors should be “therefore” or “but.”
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Here’s an example of how this works in an actual story:
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I know this is pretty simple, but it’s also super duper important. If you want to have any kind of suspense in your story, if you want a carefully plotted and tightly woven story in general, then you’ve got to employ this emergence technique. Not doing this in a story is one my all-time biggest pet peeves. I recommend to the participants that if they aren’t sure if they were employing emergence, they should map out their stories in flow chart format like that above. I’ll go ahead and recommend the same to you.
Happy Writing!

The Nightmare Dilemma is out!

Hooray! If you’ve been waiting to hear what happens next for Dusty and her friends, you’re in good luck. The Nightmare Dilemma hits stores today.

To celebrate, I’m holding two separate giveaways for a signed hard cover of Dilemma, one on Facebook and one on Twitter. For Facebook, all you have to do is comment and share this post.

For Twitter, simple write a tweet that includes the hashtag #NightmareDilemma and include this link: mindeearnett.com/nightmare-dilemma/ If you can, please @ me too (@mindeearnett.com)

Hope you can participate, and be sure to stop by my events page for a list of my tour stops as part of the Three Nightmares You Can’t Resist tour!

Nightmare Affair Paperback Release

That’s right! Today marks the release of paperback of The Nightmare Affair and it’s a beauty. It has two extras in it:

  • The first chapter of The Nightmare Dilemma
  • An alternate first chapter of The Nightmare Affair told in Eli’s point-of-view

Check it out if you can and spread the word.

Also, don’t forget that Avalon is out now, too. I’m still planning a blog post comparing the two, but I think it’s safe to say that if you like one of my series you might like the other.

Cheers!

Online Author Event!

This Thursday, the lovely Jennifer Rush, author of Altered and the newly released sequel Erased, and myself will be doing a joint online event through an awesome program website called Shindig. I’ve used Shindig multiple times before, and it’s a lot like FaceTime, only it’s also a giant chat room too. You can talk to both Jennifer and I and to other guests in a face-to-face interface. Or, if the video chatting isn’t you’re thing, you can also do an IM chat–at the same time! How cool is that?

Here are the important details:

  • The event is FREE
  • It’s taking place 8:00 EST
  • All you need to participate is a computer with an internet connection (video capability preferred but not necessary)
  • The link to the event is right here. To get in, all you have to do is fill in a name and email address. No worries about the email; it won’t be shared with anyone, promise

That’s it. Super duper simple and fun. I really hope you’re able to make it. Jenn and I will sharing a little about our books and then doing a Q&A. No questions is off limits. Come prepared to ask about the writing process, publishing, which Winchester brother we prefer, you name it.

If you want, please RSVP below.

See you there!