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Archive for November, 2010

People Magazine’s new ‘Sexiest Man Alive’ issue declares that they know what women find sexy. But does that same blueprint work in fiction? What type of man keeps our noses buried in a book, makes us lose sleep, and keeps us begging for more? Is there a fictional fantasy male formula? I decided that readers around the country should provide the answer. So, I thought we might look at the New York Times bestsellers list and compare some of our leading men.

Rather than spend hours scanning all the bestsellers in fiction, I narrowed my list down to Young Adult Fantasy. Why? Because it’s currently one of the top selling crossover categories in fiction. Many of these novels crossover because adult women read them just as much as their teen daughters. There are actually websites that are dedicated to the adult women who read YA fantasy such as the hugely popular Twilight Moms website. http://www.twilightmoms.com

Keeping with the Twilight theme, I think we should start with Edward Cullen. He’s the ridiculously handsome, mind reading, super fast vampire from the Twilight Saga series. By definition, vampires are powerful, dangerous, and seductive. Yet, Edward stands out because he hates being a vampire, won’t have sex before marriage, and is completely dedicated to clumsy human, Bella Swan. Edward is sexy because he’s got all those old school charms that we rarely see in our modern men. I also think his devotion to Bella is sexy. Who wouldn’t want to be loved so completely? Don’t lie ladies, I can see your noses growing from here!

I simply could not create this list without mentioning Jace Wayland from the Mortal Instruments series. Jace is a shadowhunter, dedicated to protecting us from the demons of this world. He’s the powerful, wise cracking, completely beautiful bad boy with secrets. Throughout the series, Cassandra Clare takes us through his painful past and our hearts break for him over and over again. We melt whether he’s playing the piano, slaying demons, or kissing on rooftops. Did I mention he’s covered in tattoos? This guy is hard to resist.

I literally read Evermore, the first book of the Immortal series in one day. Is it because I am a super fast reader, sadly no. It’s because of Damen Auguste. We spend half the book trying to figure out who he is. Turns out, Damen’s an immortal. He’s lived for centuries, yet he remains forever gorgeous. He’s rich, model beautiful, an artist, and totally devoted to mind reading, Ever Bloom. Alyson Noel goes into great detail describing his incredible body, sense of style, his touch, and kisses. Not to mention his unending search for the his true love, the reincarnating Ever. He’s the total package. What’s not to love?

I never knew I liked faeries until I read the Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr. The series will leave you wondering if Seth or Keenan is better for Aislinn. Seth is her totally hot, body pierced, sexually experienced best friend. Keenan is interesting competition because he’s the definition of sexy as the seductive faerie Summer King. Did I mention that Aislinn is the Summer Queen? Her destiny is to be with Keenan, but she’s in love with Seth. What’s a girl to do? Two super sexy guys want to spend forever with you, poor girl, you certainly have my sympathy. What woman wouldn’t want to trade places with her? Ladies, your noses are showing again.

Now, I think I’ve got it. Step one: Male fictional leading characters must be sexy. It also doesn’t hurt if they’re a little dangerous, bad-boyish, and have tattoos or piercings. Step Two: They have to be powerful in some way. We’re looking for manly men here. Must run to danger and protect their leading ladies. Step Three: Attitude is everything. We like our men a little cocky, funny, and certainly interesting. We’re looking for depth here. Step Four: This is probably the most important step. Male lead MUST, MUST, MUST be totally dedicated to our female protagonist. He must put her life in front of his own, endanger himself, become physically hurt defending her, and give all his attention to just her. That’s what makes up our perfect fictional man!

Now that I’ve explained it all, you can resume writing the next bestseller. PS: Don’t forget to thank me in the acknowledgements or just dedicate the entire novel to me – your choice of course.

You can find many of my other articles posted here: http://www.yafantasyguide.com/for-writers/index.htm

Thanks for the picture: Hollywood

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Do you believe in faeries? I wasn’t sure, but after I attended FaerieCon, I was convinced. FaerieCon was held in Baltimore, Maryland on November 12-14, 2010. The first thing that caught my attention were the amazing costumes worn by participants and retailers. I took some pictures to show you exactly what I’m talking about.

The best faerie authors, artists, and illustrators were in attendance. Some of those notable young adult fantasy authors included Jane Yolen (The Devil’s Arithmetic, Owl Moon), Melissa Marr (Wicked Lovely series), and Maggie Stiefvater (Shiver, Linger). Each participated in panel discussions, took pictures with fans, and signed autographs. Michael Hague, one the America’s foremost illustrators, along with Jane Yolen were the Guests of Honor.

FaerieCon also offered lots of courses which included Fairy Godmother Academy, Drawing and Sculpting classes, and Oracle reading lessons. I took part in the Oracle reading lessons which included a meditation into Faerie. I can’t say that I saw a faerie, but I can tell you that one of the mischievous ones followed me around for the rest of the day. Strange things happened like the batteries fell out of my camera, forgetting to lock my car door, walking away from a vendor without my credit card, etc.

Along with the courses were rooms of some of the most beautiful faerie merchandise I’ve ever seen that included books, music, artwork, jewelry, clothing, and items for your home. Saturday and Sunday closed with the Good Faeries/Bad Faeries Masquerade Balls. This was so much fun. I couldn’t believe the beautiful costumes, wings, and painted faces that filled the room. The good/bad faeries balls also featured live music by Woodland, Gypsy Nomad, Faun, Cecile Corbel, and Adam Hurst.

I had the most amazing time and I will be back next year. As a matter of fact, FaerieWorld LLC will be hosting the Mythic Faire March 11-14, 2011 which I will also be attending. The Mythic Faire or RenConvention, is a celebration of world creation, time travel and fantastic realms. More information here: http://www.renconvention.com

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You’re an author. You’re not aspiring; you’re not soon-to-be-published. You are an author. Right now. Writing is what you love and writing about the stories and ideas in your head is what lights you up inside. I’m a story-teller myself, so I get the feeling.

What you may or may not know how to do is harness the reach of social media to market and promote your writing so that you may be a more successful version of yourself.

There are many ways to gain exposure via the internet and social media. This is the first in a series of posts that will describe several of the most influential and fruitful pathways, both common and less well-known.

Online Writing Communities
Communities such as Red Room and Writer’s Cafe are priceless for the value that you are able to take away. You can upload your profile and read posts and blogs written by authors that are already published. You can also join clubs and see reviews of other writers’ work.

It takes a simple Google search to find a wealth of possibilities. Writer Face allows you to have contact with literary agents. Talk about priceless. To know what lit agents are looking for because you had a conversation with several online? What are you waiting for?

Each one of these sites has niche communities within themselves for you to join and explore the Young Adult genre, so there’s no excuse. Join at least two right now. Even if they’re not the ones I’ve listed. Do your research and Google the crap out of it until you find at least two that fit your writing style and ambitions.

Social Media Networks
While Facebook has its advocates and its naysayers, it also has a lot of value packed into that addictive little interface. There are two types of Facebook accounts you can have: Profiles and Pages.

A Facebook profile is the general account people get to stay in touch with their families and friends and to play Farmville. (Here’s a hint: don’t play Farmville, go write another chapter instead.) There are limits to the numbers of friend connections you can have on a profile and, truth be told, this should be more of a personal account.

However, if you begin to add friend connections related to your writing – YA authors’ profiles, book clubs, local book stores, literary agents – then you are building a network of contacts that can provide a basis for a Facebook “page.”

A Facebook page is used for a branded organization/company/person/etc. These pages are the ones you can “Like.” Many professionals also use a page separate from their private profile to use as an online redirect for those who may be interested in learning of your professional accolades and accomplishments without getting to see that your Aunt Gert wants you to come rub her bunions.

Peruse the local writer’s groups and join them. Make your presence known on the discussion boards and share relevant articles and information related to your craft. The more you give of yourself, the more people will feel the need to reciprocate and that is how networking is done properly.

The key here is don’t become a spectator on your profiles. Pay attention to privacy policies and changes to the interface (the Facebook website.) They’re known for rolling out new privacy settings every few weeks in an effort to “make the world more social,” but that is not always a good thing. Remember to protect yourself, your private information, your work.

Twitter is a lot of networking power packed into 140 characters. You have a main feed of information like a Facebook wall except it’s called a timeline and it’s significantly more streamlined. The people you connect with are referred to as “followers” and it’s not a mutual connection like Facebook; you can follow someone that does not have to follow you back.

You can also group the people you’re following into “lists” and if someone wants to follow everyone in PR (public relations) that you follow, they can follow your entire list. Twitter has a keyword search function so you can seek out specific users who are related to those keywords.

Hashtags (# symbol) are used both as a source of sarcasm and humor, but more importantly as a way to follow certain conversations and chats that are happening strictly on Twitter. For instance, if you wanted to follow a particular conversation about young adult writers, you may find a chat labeled #yachat and type that into TweetChat which auto-amends each tweet with that hashtag.

If you couldn’t tell I like Twitter. A lot. I may need a 12-step program.

Anyway, if it all seems just too overwhelming to keep track of, there’s no shame in outsourcing the job to a social media strategist/specialist who can devote time and energy to representing you online. I know, for me personally, when I start writing I don’t want to stop to update my Facebook profile. I am in the zone and, if someone disturbs me, I’m not responsible for my actions.

Don’t murder someone over social media; it’s just not worth it. Do what you can and outsource the rest. Just do not ignore the marketing of yourself and your work. Don’t ever stop writing. It’s what you do; it’s who you are.

To find more articles for writers please check: http://www.yafantasyguide.com/for-writers/index.htm

About Brianne
This is the first in a series of posts on social media for authors by Brianne Villano of Mindful Media Management . Brianne has edited for Laura Kreitzer , author of the Timeless Series, and has consulted on social media for countless others. Feel free to contact her at briannevillano@gmail.com for more information about social media functionality and marketing.

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