Friday, May 17, 2013

The Weird Stuff On my Desk

Jordan Dane

In a recent interview, someone asked me about my writer’s desk. They wanted pictures. My desk is in a constant state of clutter. I have books ideas, edit notes, and research piled high. Even though it looks like a complete mess, I generally know where everything is. I’m better organized online, but I am a packrat.

A better thing to talk about are the weird things I’ve accumulated over years and KEEP on my desk. While I was gone to the OWFI conference in Oklahoma recently, my husband waited for me to leave town before he cleaned my office. Basically he took the things I had in moving boxes and displayed them so it didn’t look as if we just moved in. I have taken over our upstairs media room and use it solely for my office. It’s like an apartment, suitable for my desktop sprawl so we can keep the rest of our house in order and pretend we are grown-ups. 

When I got back from OK, my office looked like someone could really work there. It was like taking a trip down memory lane, too. He hung my awards, recognitions, and B.S. degree. (I write fiction. Of course, I have a degree in BS. Duh.) He also has a section of photos on the wall - fun pics of salmon fishing with friends when we lived in Alaska. I have my writing contest certificates and old volleyball trophies and plagues when I was a player and coach in Alaska. My office is like a time machine now.

I tell people that I use toys to keep me plugged into my inner child so I could write YA, but that’s not entirely true. I am NEVER far away from my inner child. Since I chose not to have kids, I’ve never had to be a good example to ANYONE. So my inner child is totally me. Writing YA only gave me a reason to get worse. So the things I have on my desk were accumulated BEFORE I wrote YA.

Here are a few:

Pog Mo Thoin sign – a gift from my aunt and grandmother. It means "Kiss my Ass" in Gaelic. (Yes, I’m bilingual in obscenit-ese.)

Hat collection – My Greenbay Packer cap lights up and flashes & I wear my hardhat & bee antennas to ward off writer’s block.

Walkie-talkies – Doesn’t everyone have these on their desk? My husband and I recently used them to trap a stray Great Dane in our backyard to rescue him. True story.

Screaming Tomahawk – When you strike it on a surface, it screams bloody murder. I use it for scary scene writing to get me in the mood.

Mr Perfect Doll – Pull a chord on his back and he tells me whatever I need to hear. And no, he is not anatomically correct.

Diva Dog - This was a gift from very dear friends who thought Paris Hilton and I would have plenty in common once I got famous. The stuffed dog is a purse with a pen zipped into its back for autographs.

Okay so I have dished the truth about my office and desk where I write. Now it’s your turn. What is the weirdest thing on YOUR desk…at home or work? I want deets, people. We’re all friends here. I promise not to tell anyone, so spill.

Self-Publishing Promo Resources

 I've been accumulating links and resources for indie/self-published authors to promote their books. I have NOT had any experience with these sites, but on the many email loops I belong to for writers, I've collected their recommendations. I've broken down these links in categories for PAID PROMO, BARGAIN EBOOKS, and free listings for FREE Ebooks. Most of the links should take you to the actual submission pages.

After I post this, I will keep it on a tab on my YA blog and update it when I have new links. 

If you have promo to recommend that you've tried and liked, please submit your suggestion in a comment. Thanks.


1. Paid promotional Boost on Digital Book Today – est $30.00

2. Book Bub free day ad for $150  est.

3. Author Marketing Club – est $15.00

4. Kindle Nation Daily – est $29.99

5. Indie Book Promo – Ad pkgs  


1. EreaderNewsToday – Submissions for Bargain Priced Ebooks -

2. Books on the Knob – Submissions for Discounted Ebooks

3. Free Kindle Fiction – Submissions for Bargain Priced Ebooks

4. Free Kindle Fiction – Post New Releases

5. Book Goodies – Submissions for Bargain Priced Ebooks

6. Book Goodies – Giveaways (like Goodreads, except you can list it by using a Rafflecopter form)

7. The ereader CafĂ© – Bargain EBooks  


1. Pixel of Ink 2

. Ereader News Today

3. Books on the Knob

4. Free Booksy

5. Bargain ebook Hunter

6. Free Kindle Fiction

7. Free Book Dude

8. Indie Book Promo

9. Free Kindle Books and Tips

10. Book Goodies (List Free Kindle Days)

11. Ebooks Habit

Freelance Editor:

I've worked with Elyse and love her.
The Edit Ninja - Elyse Dinh-McCrillis

Cover/Bookmark Design:

I've worked with Croco Designs for years. I find them fast, affordable, and easy to pay on PayPal. Love Frauke! They do lots of covers for publishers - of all genres. Don't let the sexy website header dissuade you if you're a crime fiction author. Croco Designs does it all.

Croco Designs - Frauke Spanuth

Friday, May 3, 2013

New Trends in YA

Jordan Dane

I will be speaking at the OWFI Writer’s Conference this week in Norman, OK. Since I used to live in OK, I am really looking forward to seeing old friends. Here is the conference LINK.

I will give a workshop on “Writing for the YA Market” on Friday afternoon and will sit on a YA panel on Saturday morning. For my post today, I thought I’d share a brief aspect of my YA workshop – the trend toward YA Mash-ups.

The mash-up is the new black in YA. Speculative fiction is finding a new popularity. Repulsive and strange are in vogue. If the storyline has a high concept Sci-fi plot, it is usually paired with a strong romance angle to keep the story and characters relatable to young readers. In a recent Publishers Weekly article, I found a feature on upcoming YA Mash-ups that I found intriguing. I thought you might, too. Think genetic mutation with a romantic interest—and character hooks are important in these stories. 

Below are some examples of upcoming YA Mash-Ups:

Transparent is a March 2013 book from HarperTeen release from newcomer Natalie Whipple, is set in a world where everyone is born with a special power or mutation. The protagonist, Fiona, has a father who uses his special ability—mind control—for evil purposes; her signature trait is invisibility. The character hook is important. This is a story about a girl who has spent her whole life not knowing what she looks like, who finally meets a boy whose special power is that he can see invisible things. The romance is an indispensable part of the story.

 Eve and Adam by Katherine Applegate and Michael Grant follows a girl’s recovery after her leg is severed in an accident and then reattached with astonishing ease in the biopharmaceutical lab run by her mother. Eve (short for Evening) gets a project to keep her busy while she heals—create the perfect male—and an easy-on-the-eyes orderly is a foil. Imagine trying to design the perfect boy, but be attracted to a real guy who isn’t perfect. Who would she choose—perfection or a real boy with all his imperfections?
  Jessica Khoury's debut - ORIGIN (Razorbill) mines a similar vein: a “perfect” girl, Pia, has been created in a secret compound in the Amazon protected by an electric fence. She’s largely content to do the bidding of the scientists, who used advanced genetic engineering to make her invulnerable to illness and disease—until a storm rips a hole in the fence and she steps through it to meet a hunky indigenous boy. Suddenly Pia is second-guessing the curious circumstances under which she’s been raised.
  Above by Leah Bobet (Scholastic) - In an underground community, a collection of societal outcasts have created a haven for themselves they’ve named Safe. The residents are broken or sick, self-styled freaks. The narrator, Matthew, was born to a father who had lion’s feet and a mother with gills. Another denizen, Ariel, transforms into a bee when stressed. Their refuge is threatened when the only person they’ve ever forcibly exiled returns, bent on revenge.
  I also wanted to bring to your attention that established publishers are launching new YA imprints: Soho Press (Literary fiction & mysteries since 1986) has started Soho Teen
  Angry Robot (Sci-fi/Fantasy publisher since 2009) started Strange Chemistry, a YA imprint.
  Christian YA fiction is gaining momentum, particularly with social issues and real life storylines.
  Another trend I wanted to post about is the "New Adult" category. This type of story targets characters between the ages of 18-25 (slightly older characters with more sex – “Harry Potter meets 50 Shades of Gray,” the NYT’s wrote) – Publishers who have launched such a category are: Simon & Schuster, NAL, HarperCollins, St Martins, & Entangled, to name a few.
  Exciting trends are still coming for YA and New Adult book writers. What do you see as a coming trend in fiction?