Voting is open for the 2011 Bookie Awards. If you’re not sure who to vote for then you can always vote with me. I’d like to see Allison Pang win as Debut Author & Best Fantasy because her book, A Brush of Darkness was my favorite adult fantasy of 2011. I’m also voting for Lisa Kessler in the Demon Book of the Year category for her novel, Night Walker. BUT, if I can only sway you once I’d like to see Entangled Publishing take the Best Publisher category. Why? Because I’d like to see an e-publisher take it instead of the traditional publishers.

Let’s shake it up this year! VOTE HERE: http://t.co/IJtHdDR

10. Debut Author of the Year

Jae Lynne Davies
Gayle Donnelly
Sarah Gilman
Ann Mayburn
Deena Remiel
K.D. King
Dani Harper
Jenn Bennett
Ranae Rose
Laurie London
Sierra Dean
Virna DePaul
Abigail Barnette
Kevin Hearne
Laura Kaye
Bianca Sommerland
Cari Silverwood
Darynda Jones
Allison Pang
Lia Habel
Jean Murray

11. Demon Novel of the Year

Night Walker by Lisa Kessler
Daughter of Lust–Ann Mayburn
Eternal Rider-Larissa Ione
Secrets of the Demon – Diana Rowland
Demons Prefer Blondes, Sidney Ayers
A Brush of Darkness by Allison Pang
Blood of the Fallen by Dakota Rebel

18. Fantasy Novel of the Year

Darkfire Kiss by Deborah Cooke
Spectyr by Philippa Ballantine
Shalador’s Lady by Anne Bishop
Deadly Captive by Bianca Sommerland
Three Days of Dominance by Cari Silverwood
Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning
Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison
Ghost Story by Jim Butcher
The Difference Between by Stephanie Burke
Knightfall by Berinn Rae
A Brush of Darkness by Allison Pang

28. Publisher of the Year

Tease Publishing
Entangled Publishing
Decadent Publishing
Dreamspinner Press
Harper Collins
Xcite Books
Ravenous Romance
Resplendence Publishing
Carina Press
Loose ID
St. Martin’s Press
Changeling Press
Lyrical Press
Phaze Books
Siren Publishing

I’m so excited to announce that I have accepted a publicity internship with Entangled Publishing. If all goes as expected, I’ll move into a full time publicity position in about six months.

Hey wait, I thought you wanted to pursue a writing career?

I still do! I have a novel with an editor right now that I’m hoping to submit to agents over the next couple of weeks. That dream isn’t dead or put to the side by any means. However, since creating the YA Fantasy Guide, I realized I love publicity. I have so much fun playing around with social media and interacting with readers that I really want to learn as much as I can from experts.

Why Entangled Publishing?

I originally found EP while reviewing young adult fantasy titles on Netgalley. I started to research and discovered an article about the founder, Liz Pelletier. EP is an exciting new take on eBook publishing, and quite frankly, I wanted to be a part of it.

What will you be doing for them?

Mostly, learning as much as I can from experienced publicists. My knowledge has been mostly self taught so I know I have a lot left to learn. If you want specifics, I know I’ll be helping out on their new blog and working with a new young adult writer that’s about to debut. Truthfully, I’d like to get my hands into every aspect of EP that I can.

What will happen to the YA Fantasy Guide?

Everything will continue as it always has. We will keep updating our reviews and recommendations, provide author and agent interviews, contests, and chats on twitter. Adding EP into my life just means more access to upcoming authors, editors, publicists, and books. Tehehehe, and don’t think for a minute that I won’t use that to my advantage. ;-p  

Entangled sounds awesome, where can I get more info?

  • You can find their new/upcoming titles here.
  • Do you have a fab novel you want published? Check out their guidelines here.

Stacey O’Neale is a full-time writer and co-owner of the Young Adult Fantasy Guide. She’s had several articles and book reviews published, but spends most of her writing time on the revisions to her debut young adult fantasy novel. You can also follow her on Twitter.

This weekend, I was invited to the 12th annual Baltimore Comic Con at the Baltimore Convention Center. Baltimore’s Comic Con has been called, “…the antidote to San Diego.” by the Washington Post. San Diego’s Con has drifted away from comic book lovers and now focuses on the big draws like television shows and movies. In contrast, Baltimore’s Con is purely about the comics and that’s why I love it.

This year’s guest of honor was Stan “The Man” Lee. Not sure you recognize the name? He’s known as the architect of Marvel Comics. Still not sure? Ever heard of Spiderman, the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, the Incredible Hulk, Thor, Daredevil, Iron Man, X-Men, or Doctor Strange? Stan was the co-creator on all those comics. Yeah, he’s pretty much a rock star and legend in the nerd world. He was gracious enough to sign autographs and sit for pictures with hundreds of his adoring fans!

In addition to Stan, the weekend was jam packed with lots of amazing activities including the Harvey Awards and panel discussions with amazing guests. The weekend included a costume contest that brought out some outstanding competitors. I’ve included pictures of my favorites. Hundreds of vendors attended the event selling collectables that ranged in price from one dollar to well over fifty thousand. Cards, comics, toys, posters, decals, and clothing for miles.  

But the best part of the weekend for me was talking to the talented people behind the comics we all know and love. Naturally, I couldn’t go home empty handed. I purchased some cool stuff from the awesome guys at FUBAR. I’d tell you what that stands for, but it’s above a PG-13 rating. Let’s just say it’s lots of zombie goodness. I also purchased a comic that I’m happy to say is marketed toward the female comic fan. Monica Gallagher was on hand to sign her new series, Gods & Undergrads which is a modern comic based on aspects of Greek mythology.

If you’ve never been to a con, it’s a great fun for everyone in the family. Make sure to check it out next year and don’t forget your superhero costume!

Stacey O’Neale is a full-time writer and co-owner of the Young Adult Fantasy Guide. She’s had several articles and book reviews published, but spends most of her writing time on the revisions to her debut young adult fantasy novel. You also follow her on Twitter.

I had an experience recently with a very frustrated author that prompted this article. She was a debut author trying to get bloggers to review her upcoming release. She had contacted me through twitter asking if I would review her book. Two days after her initial request, she started to send messages to me that sounded borderline frantic. The messages ranged from, “Why won’t you respond to my request?” to “Is this because I went with a small publishing house?” Feeling the desperation and inexperience in her words, I did respond because I wanted to offer her a little advice. Knowing how many of you are out there in the same situation made me think that what I said may also benefit you.

Things to keep in mind when you’re requesting a book review.

You are not the only person out there with an upcoming book release. When you contact a blogger (especially one with a popular website) you should know that most get daily requests from authors, publicists, and publishers asking that they review their novels. In most cases, it has nothing to do with your method of publishing and everything to do with timing. The YA Fantasy Guide has six reviewers on staff. When I get a request, I email my reviewers and ask if anyone wants it. We read and review as much as we can, but it’s impossible to take on every request we get.

Attitude will get you everywhere or nowhere. You will find very little success asking for reviews through twitter. It’s 140 characters which leaves very little room for you to talk about yourself or your book. And, quite simply, it’s unprofessional. You’re asking someone to take time out of their day/week/month to do something that ultimately benefits you. Keeping that in mind, don’t ever freak out if it takes a while for a response. Most reviewers do what they do for fun so many have jobs and it could take some time to get back to you.

Personalize your request. Ask yourself these questions: What have you done to make your request stand out? Did you generically ask for a review or did you tell them why you wanted them specifically to review it? Did you read their review guidelines and follow the instructions? Have you done any research on that blogger? Have you followed that blogger and made comments on other areas within their blog? Have you contacted them on twitter to discuss books that don’t include yours? Have you offered to write an article or do a giveaway along with your review request? I can tell you that I personally have taken on additional books when I know that the author did their homework. The extra effort does make a difference.    

I hope you take this advice because it will help you score more reviews. Good Luck and Happy Writing!

Stacey O’Neale is a full-time writer and co-owner of the Young Adult Fantasy Guide. She’s had several articles and book reviews published, but spends most of her writing time on the revisions to her debut young adult fantasy novel. You can read her advice for aspiring writers on her blog The YA Fantasy Freak or you can follow her on Twitter.


Streaming live on Fate Radio starting on Wednesday July 27, at 12:30 p.m. Eastern time, on her show The Eclectic Artist Cave, writer and host Joann Hamann-Buchanan will be adding Stacey O’Neale as a weekly guest host for a new feature called, The YA Corner.

This portion of the show will discuss a variety of topics including but not limited to current trends in the young adult market, book recommendations, book related announcements, writing tips, social media for authors, and the publishing industry.

Stacey is the co-owner of the YA Fantasy Guide. Her website receives an average of thirty-five thousand hits per month and has a following of over ten thousand on twitter. The YAFG features interviews with NYT best-selling YA fantasy authors and literary agents, book reviews and recommendations, monthly contests, and articles for aspiring writers. In addition to her website, Stacey is a full-time writer. She’s had several articles and book reviews published, but spends most of her writing time on the revisions to her debut young adult fantasy novel. You can read excerpts from her novel and view her book trailer on her blog.

Join, Joann Hamann-Buchanan on The Eclectic Artist Cave via the internet or on the Tune In App on your smart phone. Joann’s love of the written word is apparent and she loves hosting The Eclectic Artist Cave.  Her show is the best showcase around for writers who love to talk about their work and the written word. The show starts with a half hour of music and then a live guest followed by more music. Guests have included writers like David B. Coe, Stephanie Osborn and Paul Levine. The Eclectic Artist Cave has also had up and comers like Lindsey Grey and Charlotte Blackwell. She has also had publishers and editors on to talk about some of the do’s and don’ts in the publishing world.

In addition, Joann has a novella coming out soon called Soulless Light about a young girl who is forced to watch her village burn to the ground then killed over rumor and speculation.  Her spirit then is given the chance to get revenge on those responsible for all the bloodshed, but will it cost her more than she is willing to risk? Tune in and find out who her next guests are going to be and keep a look out for her debut novella, Soulless Light.

I’m very excited that we’ve added our website onto Facebook. Through Facebook, we plan to offer: additional contests, articles, author interviews, and interaction with readers. You’ll have the opportunity to write on the page and tell US what you’d like to see on the website.

We want to build up as many fans as we can get so we’ve decided to hold a special contest exclusively on our Facebook page.

To Enter:

All you need to do is “like” us on Facebook. We will pick a winner from that list. You can click onto the link on the right side of my blog or the link from the YA Fantasy Guide website.


A SIGNED COPY of Bloodhound (Beka Cooper series, book 2) by Tamora Pierce. Anyone who follows fantasy knows that Tamora is legendary. This is a rare signature and perhaps a collectable in the years to come. Definitely not a contest you want to miss.


Contest will run through September 30th. Good Luck!


I read this fantastic article in Writer’s Digest magazine so I had to share since it’s not available online. The article is written by Scott Francis, an associate editor at WD Books and magazine and the author of Monster Spotter’s Guide to North America.

Grab a kitchen timer and kick-start your creativity with these 10-minute freewriting prompts.

  1. Turn on the TV or radio – the station doesn’t matter – and listen for just a few seconds. Write down the first phrase you hear, and let that serve as your prompt. How you use it is up to you: It can be the first line of your story, a bit of dialogue for a character, or whatever you wish.
  2. You discover a loose floorboard in the corner of your attic or the back of your closet. Without too much effort you’re able to pry the board loose. What do you find underneath? Something frightening? Something nostalgic? Let you imagination delve into the details – what it looks or smells like, reasons you think it might be there, emotions it stirs in you, etc.
  3. Imagine the best (or worst) possible thing you could receive as a gift from someone. Write about opening the package and discovering what’s inside.
  4. Think of a favorite accessory or piece of clothing from your past – a hat, scarf, glove, belt buckle, or anything else that evokes vivid memories. Freewrite based on images that come to mind.
  5.  Recall a place from your childhood that intrigued or frightened you. Describe the details you remember about that location – were there things about it that you always wondered about? An unopened door, an untaken path or darkened patch of woods? Write about what might have awaited you there.
  6. Your phone rings in the middle of the night. Reveal what happens in the next ten minutes.
  7. Pick a minor character from a favorite movie or TV show, and explore the main plot from that character’s point of view. Write about the aspects of the story that only he/she would’ve known.
  8. Plan the perfect crime. You have ten minutes.
  9. Describe the first time you drove a car (or the first time you remember riding in one). What kind of car was it? Who was with you? Include sights, smells and sensations.
  10. You find a bomb in an unlikely place. The timer says – you guessed it – ten minutes. Now what?

Stacey O’Neale is a full-time writer and co-owner of the Young Adult Fantasy Guide. She’s had several articles and book reviews published, but spends most of her writing time on the revisions to her debut young adult fantasy novel. You can also follow her on Twitter.

Now that we have our Clary and Jace, the next logical casting must be Simon Lewis. I’ve heard quite a few names thrown around so I’m going to assume that we don’t have one particular actor in mind. This role will require an actor with lots of wit and humor. A guy that’s not afraid to stand up to Jace and tease him whenever possible. A guy who can be both video game player and wannabe rock star. Not an easy mix if you ask me. I’ve always thought of Simon as “nerdy chic”.

In City of Bones, Cassandra Clare describes him, “in jeans and an old T-shirt that said MADE IN BROOKLYN across the front. His freshly scrubbed hair was dark brown and his glasses perched crookedly on the end of his nose.” She further went on to describe him as someone, “on their way to a chess club.” Yet, we all know that’s not enough to describe Simon. He may come of nerdy compared to the other blue-haired guys in the Pandemonium Club, but he’s much more than that. This is a guy who competes for Clary’s heart. He has to be able to come close to the sexy we all know as Jace Wayland. Not to mention that Simon turns into a vampire and catches the eye of both gorgeous, kick-butt Isabelle and cute, werewolf Maia.

Keeping all that in mind, here are three actors that have both the talent and physical appearance to bring our Simon to life:

Anton Yelchin

According to Imdb, Anton “is an American actor best known for starring as Bobby Garfield opposite Anthony Hopkins in Hearts in Atlantis (2001), and as Tommy opposite Robin Williams in the House of D (2004).” He’s recently starred in Star Trek and Terminator Salvation. His upcoming projects include Fright Night, The Winter Queen, and The Smurfs. He’s a talented actor that was ranked #12 on Moviefone’s, The 25 Hottest Actors Under 25 in 2008 and one of People Magazine’s, Most Beautiful People in 2009. I can’t confirm he has a twitter account, but you can use hashtag, #AntonforSimon to show support!

Xavier Samuel

I’m not going to go into a description on this one because we all know him as Riley from The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. This one may be difficult for some, but I heard a rumor that he read for the role of Jace Wayland. No way to know for sure because so many actors were considered, but I heard he made an impression with the Screen Gems casting directors so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him turn up in City of Bones. Simon would be a great role for him because he’s already played a sexy vampire. Not such a stretch, ya think? He doesn’t have a twitter, but you can show your support by using hashtag, #XavierforSimon

Landon Liboiron

Landon is a Canadian actor. Although he’s probably the lesser known of the three, he’s been a pretty busy actor. Most teens remember him as Sam Bradford in Life Unexpected and Declan Coyne in Degrassi: The Next Generation. His post-production projects include: See If I Care, The Howling: Reborn, and Zombie Punch. Did I mention that Landon plays guitar in a band? The picture below just screams Simon to me. Check him out singing and playing guitar here. Show your support for Landon on his twitter and hashtag, #LandonforSimon




On a personal note, I’d like to thank everyone who’s participated in my articles or has spoken about it on the Mortal Instruments message boards. Whether you agree with me or not, I am truly honored to be part of your discussions. You can find me on my website, the Young Adult Fantasy Guide or roaming the wild world of Twitter as: YAFantasyGuide

THIS CONTEST IS CLOSED – Kimberly Callegan is the WINNER

Giveaway runs from Tuesday, June 21st to Friday June 24th

My Prize:

I am giving away a copy of Iron King by bestsellling YA fantasy author, Julie Kagawa. The book comes with an Iron King SIGNED bookmarker!

How to Enter:

Any one of the three options below earns you a chance to WIN. Choose all three and earn three entries to WIN

1. Subscribe to this blog. There’s a box on the right hand side under my banner called Email Subscriptions. Enter your email address and click the Sign Me Up button.

2. Subscribe to the RSS feed of my website, the YA Fantasy Guide. You can do that by clicking HERE.

3. Follow ME on Twitter and tweet links to my contest.

 You can get to the other 240 participating blogs by clicking HERE

Many writers struggle with dialogue. Done correctly, dialogue keeps a novel advancing and develops our characters. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come easy to everyone so I’ve created a list that outlines bad dialogue issues.    

Mechanical Dialogue

This is when the characters sound like robots instead of humans. Most people use some form of slang when they talk in conversation so your characters are no different. It’s also important to remember where your book is set. For example, if your book is set in New York, then you have to use their unique regional dialect.


“The information you have provided is very helpful. Thank you once again for assisting me with my urgent problem.”

Don’t Data Dump in Dialogue

Let the story unfold naturally. Assume that your characters will remember certain facts and don’t put everything out there all at once. This, to me, is a pacing issue. I always create a detailed outline of my book before I write a word. That way, I make sure the pace stays even and I’m not tempted to give too much away all at once.


“Carter, don’t you remember that when I was eight years old, my parents were killed in a car accident and I feel personally responsible because I had asked them to drive me to a movie? Now, whenever I get in a car I am filled with anxiety. This has made it impossible for me to go on dates because I can’t pick up girls on my bicycle.”  

Don’t Overdo Dialogue Tags

You don’t need a he said/she said after every sentence. Overuse takes the emotion out of the conversation and it’s just annoying to read. You want your reader enchanted by your dialogue, not your ability to create synonyms for “said”.


“Yes,” she said.

“No,” he said.

“Yes, I can,” she said.

“No, you can’t,” he said.

Break up Dialogue with Action

When’s the last time you had a conversation and you stood there without doing anything else? Maybe you were driving or folding clothes or drinking coffee. When writing, all those actions become part of your dialogue. The action adds excitement to what you’re saying.


“I refuse,” she said, slamming her hand into the table.

“I refuse,” she said.

The easiest way to learn realistic dialogue is to listen to the conversations going on all around you. Go to a crowded place like the mall or a park and people watch. Listen to the dialect, pay attention to their facial expressions and other body movements as they converse. It also doesn’t hurt to read a ton of books and see how the experts are doing it. Good luck!

Stacey O’Neale is a full-time writer and co-owner of the Young Adult Fantasy Guide. She’s had several articles and book reviews published, but spends most of her writing time on the revisions to her debut young adult fantasy novel. You can also follow her on Twitter.

Thanks for the picture: In the Middle of Nowhere