Kitty

Just Jess: Writing & Editing

words. books. life.

Revised Logline Critique Round - #9
Kitty
justjess
TITLE: RAVEN'S WING
GENRE: YA fantasy with SF elements

When the king tries to force Veldt and her sisters to secretly bear his heirs, she escapes and joins the rebels as a spy. To save what's left of her family she leads a coup, but if Veldt fails, everyone she loves will die.

Read the original logline on MSFV.

Revised Logline Critique Round - #8
Kitty
justjess
TITLE: Rhamiel's Fall
GENRE: Fantasy

Ronnie was created to collect stray penumbra (shadows made of raw emotion). It's an easy job until the shadows start whispering in her head. Everyone - her boss, the gods, the creepy guy at the diner - seems to know more about her affliction than she does and no one's filling her in. If she takes too long to decipher the voices' message, her descent into madness will be a one-way trip

Read the original logline on MSFV.

Revised Logline Critique Round - #7
Kitty
justjess
Title: BROKEN FOREST
Genre: YA FANTASY

Seventeen-year-old Avikar, a despondent farm-boy, leaves on a daring quest to rescue his kidnapped sister. He has no idea the kidnapper is really a shapeshifter from another world or that his whimsical sister has fallen for him

Read the original logline on MSFV.

Revised Logline Critique Round - #6
Kitty
justjess
TITLE: Other
GENRE: YA Fantasy/Romance

When Alain sacrifices himself for his family’s freedom, he is trapped in a mysterious place where his ignorance of magical laws could result in death or worse. To survive the perils of this Other World, he strikes a bargain with the hideous creature who resides there, and she grudgingly agrees to teach him the secrets that govern magic. It is then that Alain has to decide which world he really belongs in, mundane or Other – because he just might be falling in love with someone who isn’t human.

Read the original logline on MSFV.

Revised Logline Critique Round - #5
Kitty
justjess
TITLE: Air Pirates
GENRE: YA Steampunk

The bravest thing Hagai's ever done is put peppers in his stew, but when he receives a seeing stone from his supposedly-dead mother, he joins a crew of air pirates to find her. With the Imperial Navy and the world's most ruthless pirate on his keel, Hagai has to figure out who he can trust before the vision the stone showed him comes true and he loses his mother. Again.

Read the original logline on MSFV.

Revised Logline Critique Round - #4
Kitty
justjess
TITLE: ELECTRIFIED
GENRE: YA Urban Fantasy

While searching for her missing brother, seventeen-year-old Mira has an accident that endows her with electrifying powers. She'll need them to save herself and her brother from the denizens of New York's magical underbelly who plan to sell their life force to the highest bidder.

Read the original logline on MSFV.

Revised Logline Critique Round - #3
Kitty
justjess
TITLE: The Children Of Iris: Discovery
GENRE: YA Fantasy

Skye learns that the land of snow and crystal castles she's been dreaming of is real, part of a magical world called Iris. And she's a princess, true ruler of Crystal Land. Now she'll have to journey there to save Iris from a powerful and haunted King - who also happens to be her brother.

Read the original logline on MSFV.

Revised Logline Critique Round - #2
Kitty
justjess
TITLE: Shield & Crocus
GENRE: Adult Fantasy

Aging superhero First Sentinel finally has a chance to overthrow the oligarchs that have ruled his city for fifty years…but it means making a bargain with his oldest enemy, a gangster who has bought, schemed, and betrayed her way to the top. If First Sentinel cannot tip the balance of power soon, the oligarchs will hunt him down and crush his rebellion for good.

Read the original logline on MSFV.

Revised Logline Critique Round - #1
Kitty
justjess
TITLE: Hunter & Hunted
GENRE: YA paranormal romance

A young Huntress jumps at the chance to escape her violent family when she saves the mysterious Altair de la Rosa, an old enemy of her parents. On the run and hunted by Altair’s enemies and her own parents, Ciera must learn to finally use her skills as a Huntress, all the while fighting the attraction she has for Altair, which she suspects may be more supernatural than real.

Read the original logline on MSFV.

Submissions are CLOSED
Kitty
justjess
Submissions are closed for the Round 1 Logline Revision Critique!

Eighteen (that's 18, not 40) posts coming shortly...

Revised Logline Critique Round is On for Tomorrow
Kitty
justjess
The Revised Logline Critique Round is on for tomorrow evening! From Authoress:

"Good news for Round One logline participants!

If you'd like some feedback on your REVISED logline (as in, you've worked to make it better), please send it to blogjustjess(at)gmail.com on Friday (tomorrow) between 8 AM and 4 PM EDT. Please format your entry the way you normally would (TITLE: GENRE: [excerpt]). If Jess receives your logline within the time frame, she will post it that evening.

PLEASE NOTE that this offer is extended to those 40 whose loglines were included in last week's ROUND ONE."

And also, a note from logline extraordinaire Holly Bodger:

"I will comment on these revised ones too as long as you promise me the following:

1) Please remember to include some kind of motivation with your goal. It's not enough to say that your character wants X. We need to understand why. Otherwise, the stakes won't make sense.
2) PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not ask any questions in your logline.
3) Please remember to include an obvious antagonist (person or force). The main character MUST struggle against someone or something, even if it is their own will. Otherwise, you have a goal that is obtainable (which means no tension).
4) Please make sure that your goal is tangible. This means that readers must be able to recognize when it has been reached. Things like "coming to terms" and "finding justice" aren't really tangible because they are feelings. Things like "putting X behind bars" are tangible.
5) Please try to put your inciting incident right at the beginning (before or as part of your character setup).
6) Please take a deep breath before you re-write. I know these things can seem harder to write than the actual novel, but if you really nail it, you will find it helps you maintain a focus for your plot as well."

Excellent advice. Thank you, Holly!

So, Round One logline participants, get your loglines ready--and let's have some fun.

FAIR WARNING: Revised Logline Critique Round
Kitty
justjess


I just wanted to warn people who have me on their Friends Lists or who check this blog regularly. Later this week, I'll be hosting a revised logline critique round for a popular writing blog, Authoress Anonymous's Miss Snark's First Victim. Basically, that means that there will be 40 (yes, that's FORTY) small blog posts up on here, and they're likely to clog your FList./Google Reader/whatever.

If you're feeling generous and writerly, scroll through and critique a few loglines. (What's a logline? Check this out.) The entrants would really appreciate it!

Comment with any questions.

Can You Hook A Teen? Blogfest Contest -- 250 Words for Critique
Kitty
justjess
I recently (as in, during the past few days) rewrote the first chapter of ALL'S FAIR, so critiques of the first 250 words will be very, very helpful.

I'm participating in Brenda Drake's Can You Hook A Teen? Blogfest Contest. Once I know whether or not this is working, I'll be able to post it (or a revised version) and officially enter the contest.

So. Hold onto your butts...

Title: ALL'S FAIR
Genre: YA Fantasy

Princess Fawn hoped to miss her seventeenth birthday party.

She slipped out of her quarters after the midday meal, while Nona, her maid, sorted through birthday ball gowns in the dressing room. The princess’s royal chambers were six floors above the practice fields behind the palace, which spread down the steep, grassy hill to the great wall that separated the palace grounds from the outskirts of Raven Heights city.

Fawn ran down the stairs, in too much of a hurry to quiet the clomping of her leather training boots. She could hear her guardsman, Tomas, behind her.

He stayed by the palace door as Fawn burst out into the crisp autumn air and jogged down the huge hill, her breath puffing out around her face. Lilla of Hawk Ridge, her best friend from court, waited by a grove of shedding oak trees that grew at the edge of a small pond near the wall. If they stayed behind the trees, Nona could not see them from the chamber windows. Lilla ran to meet her, her feet kicking up colored leaves.

“You escaped! Have you even seen your gown yet?” she asked. Fawn snorted.

“There will be plenty of time for that. Nona will come looking for me before the sun passes the North Tower.” She nodded to the sky. “And the dress will probably be green,” she said, wrinkling her nose.

“You look lovely in green, you know,” Lilla said. “With your hazel eyes and—”


And that's 249 words. Do your worst! Thank you, kind people of Internet-land.

On Hurricanes, Pumpkins, and Control
Kitty
justjess
Something horrible has happened, guys. Not only did Hurricane Irene wreck havoc in my favorite state, but she caused a PUMPKIN SHORTAGE. Irene's heavy rains have devastated pumpkin crops around the Northeast.

I'm a huge fan of Halloween, pie, and all things autumn. I have a can of pumpkin pie filling (pumpkin pre-mixed with the spices, sugar, etc., needed for pie) that I accidentally bought last year when I thought it was regular pumpkin. I plan to make a pie out of it, but I'm desperate to try a pumpkin muffin recipe created by my fiancé's friend's mother. And I can't do that without pure pumpkin.

Have you ever wanted to do something, only to find yourself stymied by things outside your own control? Seasonal gourds aside, I look at the overwhelming hurdles I still have to overcome on my path to publication (and being "in" the book publishing industry almost makes it harder--I have the knowledge, but I also know how darn hard it is) and I wonder if it's even worth it--if I'll ever realize this dream I've had since I was old enough to hold a pen.

It's not hard to admit I'm a bit of a control freak. Call it only-child syndrome or blame the entitlement factor that plagues my entire generation--either way, it's there. Eric, my fiancé, would be the first to agree that I like things how I like them (I'm not exactly sure how we put up with each other sometimes). If something doesn't want to happen, I try to force it. I combine that determination with the power of positive thinking (examples: "I can do whatever I want if I work for it," "I am strong and capable, I can do this") and realistic goal-setting. Mostly, this helps me get things I want: a better-paying job, freelance gigs, time to work on my book... and a pony. (Kidding, kidding.)

But I can't force away a hurricane or its aftermath. I can't will the destroyed pumpkins back into existence. And I can't put cans of Libby's on the bare grocery store shelf just by thinking positively about it. I can, however, support a local family orchard or an orchard and farm store by buying baked goods, apples, and other produce. I can bid on other Read for Relief items. I can do any number of things to help, but I can't fix it or retroactively stop it.

I guess the lesson here is to pick your battles. Believe in yourself, stay focused, set manageable goals, and strive for what you want. But you also need to know when to quit--how to recognize when something is out of your control. Some things can only be prepared for, and aren't worth worrying about beyond that.

These things can be large, like hurricanes, or small, like when jerks don't use their blinkers on the highway.

If you can focus on yourself, the needs of the people you care about, and the things you desperately want, and let the rest go--don't sweat the small stuff, if you will--you'll probably find your true goals are easier to attain. When your energy is focused and constructive, you will be too.

But if anyone has some spare pumpkin lying around, let me know.

How about you? Do you have problems with motivation or completing goals, or with letting things go once you have your heart set on them? Any advice for others?

Bidding on Read for Relief
Kitty
justjess
In the past few days, I've gotten a lot of referring traffic from Read for Relief, a writing community blog dedicated to raising money for the Red Cross to aid Hurricane Irene victims. I imagine this is because I use my LJ ID on writing community blogs in much the same way that most people use their Google IDs--as a signature, if you will, to sign posts. I don't use my Google ID because I decided to keep my blog on LiveJournal instead of switching to Google's Blogger, and I want people to find their way here.

If you're coming here from Read for Relief, you probably know that I won an awesome critique and prize pack. The crits have started coming in, and they're already more than worth what I donated to the Red Cross. There have been several other writing community auctions, and this is the first time I've bid. And that's because it's not always about the auction item--though all of them are amazing--but because of the cause.

I'm a native and hopefully lifelong New Englander, and although Boston was hardly affected by Irene, I spent 10 summers of my life as a camper, counselor-in-training, and finally a counselor at Camp Farnsworth, a Girl Scout camp in Vermont's Green Mountains. (Which, for all you New England moms out there, is a wonderful place to send your daughters if they're interested in overnight camp.) Not only is camp awesome, but its location is beautiful.


(Disclaimer: Not my picture. It belongs to Matt Roginski Photography.)


Vermont was heavily affected by Hurricane Irene. Although camp is fine as far as I know, I'm a little bit in love with the Green Mountain State due to all of the happy childhood and early adulthood memories. It's my favorite place in New England, and not just because I love cows, Ben & Jerry's, and the color green, but because it's where I learned how to build a wet-wood fire, went down my first zip line, and found the confidence to go on an overnight kayaking trip. I even made friends who live in other states--and other countries.

Being silly late at night:
Jess Huckins at Camp Farnsworth in Vermont

At a staff party on the dining hall porch:
Jess Huckins at Camp Farnsworth in Vermont


There's no guarantee that the money I donated to the Red Cross will go to Vermont. A lot of other states and communities along the East Coast were affected, too. But the combination of knowing that I could be helping people in the state I hold dear (or others who need it!) and getting such amazing critiques made it worth the donation. I'll definitely check out Read for Relief again on Monday to see if there's anything else I want to bid on. If you're interested in critiques; young adult, middle grade, or picture book ARCs for reading or review; or a any other writing- or book-related items, check it out!

Read for Relief badge and link.

Giveaway on YA Confidential!
Kitty
justjess
Just FYI: There's a great giveaway going on right now over at YA Confidential. You could win critiques from agents or ARCs of YA books!

Check it out: http://yaconfidential.blogspot.com/2011/09/launch-celebration-win-crit-from-agent.html
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In Bermuda with MAKING WAVES: Vacation Part 2
Kitty
justjess
When we came ashore in Bermuda, I took some time to take in the views around the Royal Naval Dockyard. Bermuda's rich blues, deep greens, and the sparkling white of the boats and roofs were unlike anything I've ever seen before, even in Sarasota, FL. As soon as I saw the first palm tree, the photo-taking began.

(If you missed my first installment in this series, it's here.)



Only Bermudan residents are allowed to drive, so we couldn't rent a car and we didn't want to rely on public transportation. Our solution was renting a motor scooter, which was awesome. We got to bike around the island, with the wind in our faces. Once we packed up the convenient carrying basket with our daypacks and MAKING WAVES, we were off.



Our first stop was Horseshoe Bay Beach, because who goes to Bermuda and doesn't immediately rush to the beaches? (The answer to that is, of course, "no one"--I think our entire cruise ship hit the beach that day. One funny conversation we overheard:
Woman: "Well, I think this will fill my beach quota for the whole summer."
Man: "Yeah. I want to go home. There's no sand at my pool."
Spoilsports.)







When we'd had enough sun, sand, and salt for the day (we're New Englanders, and I'm particularly heat-averse, so after a few hours we were SO all set), we rode the scooter to the Swizzle Inn. This restaurant is home to Bermuda's signature drink, the Rum Swizzle. We gave MAKING WAVES a taste of the Swizzle just before Eric dumped half a plate of nachos into his lap. (I love you, sweetheart.)



Later that day (and also again later in the vacation), we visited Hamilton. It was really quiet on Sunday, so we walked around and then headed back to the Dockyards to get out of the sun.

While in Hamilton, Eric posed with the "Honouring Bermuda's Emancipation" sign:



Then, the way back to the Dockyards, we stopped at the Somerset Bridge, which is the smallest working drawbridge in the world. MAKING WAVES and I stood on it, with me looking silly in my scooter helmet.



In the Dockyards, we spotted The Best Store Ever for a MAKING WAVES picture:



I mean, seriously. How perfect is that?

Later in the trip, we returned to Hamilton and found the Bermuda Book Store.



MAKING WAVES had fun hanging out. It made friends with some of the locals:



And with a friendly pirate crew:



On our last evening in Bermuda, Eric and I took my parents to the Frog & Onion Pub in the Royal Naval Dockyard. I saw a sign I couldn't pass up (fans of the book will know why):



When we were sitting out on the patio enjoying our drinks and the loud tree frogs, Dad noticed a sign hanging from the pole. We thought it would be great to get a picture with it, but it was too high. Eric joked, "Let's just throw the book!" Dad and I, never people to pass up a challenge, decided to try it. On the VERY FIRST TRY, with Dad tossing the book and me behind the camera, we got this shot:



How awesome are we?

To wrap up our trip, Eric and I decided to climb the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse.



Don't worry--we paid for MAKING WAVES's admission. It can foot the bill next time.



The high vantage point was awesome for taking the whole island in before we had to leave. Fun fact: every building in Bermuda is required to have a white roof.





We had fun showing Tawna Fenske's book a great time in Bermuda. There will be one more installment in this photo series, but I promise it'll be shorter. I have a huge announcement that I've been dying to share, but I wanted to give you all a tour of the ship and of Bermuda first. So, stop by tomorrow!

On the Ship with MAKING WAVES: Vacation Part 1
Kitty
justjess
A cruise sounds so romantic and alluring. We boarded the Norwegian Dawn and quickly discovered that we were stuck on a ship with the same kinds of crazy Bostonians that we went on vacation to get away from, except now they were being plied with alcohol. Go figure.



So, we quickly decided to make our own onboard fun. I read MAKING WAVES within the first few days on the boat, and it didn't take long to fall in love with Juli and Alex. Tawna Fenske's pirate-adventure-turned-love-story was hilarious--and my favorite beach read of the summer.

On our first day on the ship, I took MAKING WAVES for a burger at the Bimini Grill...



...And Mom, who hates having her picture taken, used it to hide her face while she gave herself bunny ears and hugged Dad on the ship's Sundeck. I love my family.



Then, we took MAKING WAVES for a stroll through the ship's gift shop, thinking we'd find some nifty trinkets that reminded us of Juli and Alex's romance-charged pirate mission.

Juli is probably a better pirate than me, but a girl does her best.



And I bet our group could drink her under the table, after her experience with Mai Tais. MAKING WAVES joined us for a rum tasting...



...looked tiny next to a giant bottle of Johnny Walker Black...



...and got its XXX on.



Then to calm down, we quietly read together on the stateroom balcony.



Mom joined me to read in bed:



And Eric and Dad took the opportunity to wrestle the books from us so that they could tease me about taking pictures of a book while on vacation.



And before we knew it, it was time to head ashore in Bermuda. Check out my epic sunburn.



Yesterday was MAKING WAVES's official release date, but copies have already shipped and are on display in stores. Pick up a copy and let me know what you think! Then, tomorrow, stop by for the next installment in my On Vacation with MAKING WAVES series to see pictures of the book making its way around Bermuda!

On Thursday, I have a Very Special Announcement. You won't want to miss it. Promise.

(You can find Part 2 of this photo series here.)

On Vacation with MAKING WAVES
Kitty
justjess
Soon, my parents, Eric, and I are cruising to Bermuda for a long overdue trip--I haven't been on any sort of vacation since I was about 12 years old, and after this epic summer of work (I've been working 60+-hour weeks every week, which is why I'm not here much... or on Twitter... or anywhere, really), I could use it.

There was a contest recently on Tawna Fenske's blog, and the prize was an ARC of her debut romantic comedy, MAKING WAVES. Well, I told her about my upcoming vacation, and I won!

Of course, I pre-ordered the book forever ago (read Tawna's blog and you'll see why--the woman is hilarious). I didn't expect to receive my copy until after I returned from vacation, but Amazon released it early. So now I have both the ARC and the paperback to keep me company.



And I wanted to let all of you know that there will be a photo post when I get back to show you all the neat things MAKING WAVES got to do and see while it went with me on vacation. I promised Tawna and her agent, Michelle Wolfson, that I'd show them pictures--so you all get to see them, too.

Give a little, get a lot.
Kitty
justjess
As some of you know, I lost my aunt, Patty Keenan, to cancer a few years ago. In addition, three of my uncles and another aunt have fought--and survived!--this terrible disease.

I'm participating in the East Boston Relay for Life. My fundraising goal is a very modest $100 since I only joined up a couple of days ago and the Relay is on June 17th. I'd really appreciate it if anyone with even a couple of bucks to spare could donate to my personal fundraising page to help raise money for the American Cancer Society and support me on my all-night relay.

This is a very personal cause for me, and the first time I've asked for donations since I did the Jimmy Fund Walk in 2009. Thank you so much for your help--and for your emotional support, even if you can't donate. ♥
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