November 2013 - Issue #7
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November, 2013, Edition:
In Which We Announce the Sequel to THESE BROKEN STARS!

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It's been a big month for us. We heard our TBS audio book for the first time. Our book officially hit shelves in France. We finished revisions on book two of the Starbound Trilogy.

It's only fitting that, after such a big month, we share a bunch of the goodies with you! So in this extra-special newsletter, we're doing a lot of subscriber-exclusive reveals. We're showing you the same 10 minutes of the audio book that we heard. We're also revealing the title of book two! And last, but certainly not least, we're revealing an extra-cool bit of swag that you, our subscribers, will have the FIRST chance to get your hands on. (You can't say we don't love you!)


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In this edition...

EXCLUSIVE: Title reveal for the TBS Sequel!

As more bloggers and book industry pros read early review copies of THESE BROKEN STARS, we've been asked more and more about the sequel. We've already talked about how the sequel will relate to the first book here, but we've been forbidden to reveal the title of the book... until now! We're revealing it exclusively to our newsletter followers, and will be revealing it publicly later.

The title for book two is....


THIS SHATTERED WORLD is a companion novel, set in the same galaxy as book one. Six months after the events of THESE BROKEN STARS, the second book in the trilogy follows a new pair of star-crossed lovers—one a rebel fighting for his home, the other a soldier tasked with eradicating the rebellion—facing down a powerful darkness hidden in the wilderness of a newly terraformed world. 

Three worlds. Three love stories. One enemy.

Pre-order THESE BROKEN STARS from your favorite bookseller!

SNEAK PEEK: First 10 Minutes of TBS Audiobook

If you didn't already know, there will be an audio book version of THESE BROKEN STARS, coming from Listening Library in December. We've been bouncing-off-the-walls excited about this, especially when we learned that they were going to use two different narrators, one male, one female, for the two different points of view in THESE BROKEN STARS.

But we recently found out that they're using not one, not two, but THREE voice actors. The audio book will feature a third voice during the interstitial interrogation scenes between each chapter. The producers put Johnathan McClain, the amazing narrator of Tarver's chapters, in the recording booth with  interrogator Sarge Anton, allowing them to play off each other in real time for genuine, goosebump-inducing tension. We've heard the results, and let us tell you, the production is drop-dead amaaaazing.

But don't take our word for it! We have an extra special treat for you--the first ten minutes of the THESE BROKEN STARS audio book! Click below to listen to the first interrogation, and the moment when Tarver first sees Lilac.
Sneak Peak: TBS Audiobook

Pre-order the THESE BROKEN STARS audio book
from your favorite bookseller!

TIPS: Five Ways to Make Time to Write

Wondering how to find time to write that book with everything else going on in your life? We totally feel your pain. This month, we're bringing you five tried-and-tested ways to make more time in your life for writing.

  1. Turn off the internet. It's hard, we know. There are programs that'll do it for you, like Mac Freedom, or you can simply head somewhere with a laptop or notebook and pen that doesn't have the internet. Amie sometimes turns off her router, knowing her husband will see her if she sneaks back out to turn it on.
  2. Set targets: Find an accountability buddy and tell them how many words you're going to write, then report back in. Having to explain why you didn't will motivate you!
  3. The social media rule: this is one of Amie's. Time spent writing each day must exceed that spent on social media. Want to spend an hour cruising Facebook? No problem. That's an hour and five minutes of solid writing.
  4. Make extra time: get up a little earlier, stay back at work and use a meeting room once your day is finished. Carve out time that's solely for writing, and keep it sacred.
  5. Make the hard choices: ultimately, writing is time consuming, and finding the time does involve saying no to social invitations, or walking away from that TV show you'd love to sprawl and watch. All work and no play kills your inspiration pretty fast, but ultimately, you have to want the writing more than you want that leisure time. It's up to you!

Introducing... the THESE BROKEN STARS poster!

Ever since we revealed the cover of THESE BROKEN STARS back in February, the number one thing we've been asked about it is how people could get a poster of the gorgeousness. Well, we listened, and the fantastic folks at Hyperion have made a limited print run of a spectacular THESE BROKEN STARS poster, featuring Lilac and Tarver in all their floaty majesty.

Want to see?

So shiny! We've gotten to see these posters in person, and they are lovely. If you want to know how you can grab one, stay tuned. We're going to be announcing it very soon, but we're going to give you guys a head start, before anyone else. The number of these posters is extremely limited, so keep an eye on your inboxes!

Books We Love

(And which you should read!)

THE GOOSE GIRL by Shannon Hale

Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, Crown Princess of Kildenree, spends the first years of her life under her aunt's guidance learning to communicate with animals. As she grows up Ani develops the skills of animal speech, but is never comfortable speaking with people, so when her silver-tongued lady-in-waiting leads a mutiny during Ani's journey to be married in a foreign land, Ani is helpless and cannot persuade anyone to assist her.

Becoming a goose girl for the king, Ani eventually uses her own special, nearly magical powers to find her way to her true destiny. Shannon Hale has woven an incredible, original and magical tale of a girl who must find her own unusual talents before she can become queen of the people she has made her own

Meg says...

"When I was growing up, my absolute favorite genre of book was the fairy tale retelling. I was addicted to Robin McKinley and Juliet Marillier, and that magical poetry-prose style that absolutely transported me into these fairy tale worlds. But I can tell you that THE GOOSE GIRL brought me right back, brought all the same magic flooding in. Shannon Hale's prose is lovely, and her characters so easy to empathize with that once you start, you won't be able to put this book down. I read it in the bath, and kept reading until the water was so cold I was shivering... and I still didn't want to get out!"

About Us...

Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner are longtime friends and sometime flatmates who have traveled the world (but not yet the galaxy), covering every continent between them. They are sure outer space is only a matter of time. Although they currently live apart, they are united by their love of space opera, road trips, and second breakfasts.

SHADOWLARK comes out Oct. 1, 2013, and THESE BROKEN STARS is coming Dec. 10, 2013!

Answer Me This: Jon Skovron

Answers from authors in a hundred words or less!

What do you do when you get stuck?

"Sometimes I force myself to keep writing, even if it's total nonsense or I know it's terrible. Usually after a short, awkward period, I push through and things start to flow. I can't tell you how many times I've thought, 'I'm just in a bad headspace tonight and I'm probably not going to get much done' and three hours later I'm so glad I tried anyway."

—Jon Skovron,
author of Man Made Boy

Quote of the Month

"If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it."

— Toni Morrison
SHADOWLARK is available now! In a starred review, Booklist called this sequel to SKYLARK "even stronger and more gripping than the debut" and "sure to ensnare further loyal readers. Available in hardcover, e-book, and audio!
Get it now!


Reading Geek Anniversary Giveaway!

Win an ARC (advance reader copy) of THESE BROKEN STARS from The Reading Geek and celebrate their third anniversary!

Bewitched Bookworm Fall Giveaway

We spotted this giveaway via Twitter—enter to win this ARC of THESE BROKEN STARS from Bewitched Bookworms. Contest ends in three days!

Writing Tip of the Month

This month it's Amie's turn for a writing tip, and she's talking about how you can make sure you pack a punch with your word choice!

Amie Says...

"I'll be honest: at school I was not much into talking about nouns, verbs and adjectives. (My English teaching aunt reads this newsletter -- I'm sorry, Jan!) These days, I'm all over those verbs! Using the right word can make all the difference, and add nuance without adding length. Let's take throwing a ball, for example. 'He threw the ball' doesn't give you much information. But what about lobbing the ball across, or hurling the ball across, or pitching it? Now it's being throw casually, or perhaps in anger, or we know the thrower has some sports training. The word you choose to use can make a big difference in creating mood, telling us about the person being described, as well as the person doing the describing!"

Peek Inside

We open one of our books to a random page and share a brief excerpt!

The forest is full of sound and movement I can't track, things that flicker out of the corners of my eyes, vanish before I can focus on them.

The Major doesn't seem to notice—or if he does, he isn't bothered. But it's as though the forest is whispering all around us, saying incomprehensible things in my ear.

Sometimes I almost think I can hear voices....

by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

So What's Next?

Amie and Meg share what they're working on now, and what's coming in the future!

"I can't believe it's already November! These Broken Stars is out this month in Australia, and our amaaazing Aussie publisher, Allen & Unwin, has already sent me a couple of finished copies. It was a pretty special moment, holding our finished book in my hands for the first time! Our book also came out in France on October 31st -- it's called Vertige there -- and I proclaimed it my Official Published Author day. I've also started a health kick this month, investing in a Fitbit, as I realised I was spending waaaay too much time at my desk. It's totally motivating me to get out there an hit 10,000 steps every day, and I love it! What else? Well, I might have some fun news soon about a new project... stay tuned next month!"

"As Amie said, THESE BROKEN STARS is already on the shelves in France--but this is the big month for Australia, Amie's home. I'm going to be headed there mid-month to help celebrate the launch and sign books, and since Australia is my home away from home after I lived there for a couple years, I couldn't be more excited! We've also just learned that the first US hardbacks of TBS have been printed, and I can't wait to hold those in my hands."

SKYLARK is available now!
This dark, twisty dystopian fantasy debut, called "a novel you don't want to miss" by New York Times bestseller Veronica Rossi, is the first in a trilogy from author Meagan Spooner. Available in hardcover, e-book, and audio!
Get it now!

Newsletter Exclusive Contest!

To thank you guys for subscribing, we're offering up a giveaway open to ONLY our loyal subscribers! To enter, click here for the Rafflecopter form. At the end of the month, we'll pick a random winner to receive a pack of signed bookmarks, postcards, bookplates and more for SKYLARK and for THESE BROKEN STARS, and announce the winner in next month's newsletter.

And the best part is: this contest is international!

Amie Kaufman 🚀

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The Latest From Our Blogs...

Oct 07, 2016 08:02 am | Nick Crowhurst

A year ago, Flynn Cormac and Jubilee Chase made the now infamous Avon Broadcast, calling on the galaxy to witness for their planet, and protect them from destruction. Some say Flynn’s a madman, others whisper about conspiracies. Nobody knows the truth. A year before that, Tarver Merendsen and Lilac LaRoux were rescued from a terrible […]

Oct 07, 2016 07:59 am | Nick Crowhurst

The second instalment in the epic Starbound trilogy introduces a new pair of star-crossed lovers on two sides of a bloody war. Jubilee Chase and Flynn Cormac should never have met. Lee is captain of the forces sent to Avon to crush the terraformed planet’s rebellious colonists, but she has her own reasons for hating […]

Apr 01, 2015 12:02 pm | shadows and spaceships

This is a tough question because no two writers follow the same path to publication or to full-time writer-dom. And there are so many sub-categories to this answer, so I’m just going to give the broad strokes here. Feel free to follow up with specifics if I don’t address your question! Warning: this is also really long. I apologize in advance. But it’s a BIG question. More under the cut, to spare people just scrolling past from getting a huge block of text. ;) 


The first thing you should know is that very few writers (statistically speaking) support themselves entirely on their writing work as full-time writers. Many very successful authors I know have other jobs and/or spouses to support the writing career, especially because being a self-employed artist comes with zero benefits of the financial kind.

Someone out there is going to disagree with me, I’m sure, but I strongly believe that you should never, ever become an artist of any kind for the money. For one thing, it’s way too easy to be disappointed if you never make it big, and for that disappointment to taint your love of creating art. I always tell people to ask themselves this question: If I never get paid a dime for my work, and I knew RIGHT NOW that I’d never get paid a dime for it, would I still do it? It’s okay for the answer to that question to be no! But it’s something worth knowing about yourself and your work, so that you can continue to reevaluate your goals as you move forward.

Now, I’m NOT telling all this to scare you. Far from it. I love being a writer, and I wouldn’t exchange it for any other job in the world. I’m also not trying to discourage you. But others WILL try to discourage you (every single writer out there can tell you about some naysayer who told him or her to study accounting instead) so I’m just laying out the realities so you’ll be prepared when others throw them at you.

SO. First of all, be prepared to work another job while you write (which it sounds like you are: teaching!). You may have to spend many years cramming your writing into lunch breaks and late night or early morning sessions. This can, strangely, help productivity. If you know you’ve only got an hour to write before you’ve got to go back to your job, you’ll end up writing like the wind.

Secondly, if you can afford to take a year to write before starting at another job, that’s fantastic. SEIZE THAT OPPORTUNITY, because it’s invaluable. Make the most of it. Just don’t bank on having a steady writing income by the time the year’s up. While it might happen, there’s no guarantee, so be prepared for what you’ll do if you’re not published by then.

Some advice on what to do to prepare for being a professional writer:

  • Read a lot. And not just for entertainment, though I’m a firm believer that life is short, so read what you want. ;) But read critically. If you read something you really love, go back and try to figure out how the author did what he or she did. What about this character made you fall in love? What about that plot twist made it so satisfying?
  • Write a lot. A lot of people disparage the idea of writing every day. I used to be one of them. I also never finished a novel until I tried it, and that experience made me a convert. But whatever it is, come up with a system for making yourself write regularly. The point is to start making the conversion in your head from “hobby” to “job.” This doesn’t mean it has to stop being fun, though your relationship with writing may change, which is okay.
  • Share your work. Find someone to read your work critically. There are a lot of great blog posts out there about how to find a critique partner, so I won’t go into it here. But getting used to both sharing your work and receiving both positive and negative feedback on it is invaluable. It gets easier the more you do it. It never gets EASY (at least it hasn’t for me!) but it gets easier.
  • Study the business. Follow writers on social media. Follow their agents. Follow their publishers. Read articles about how to get published, and read them from a variety of sources, because there are differing opinions that are all still valid. Read Publisher’s Marketplace and get a feel for what sort of books are selling right now, and how they’re pitched. When I began writing my first full novel (which ended up being Skylark) I started studying how one gets published, entirely via the internet. It helped motivate me to keep going, and by the time I’d finished writing the novel, I knew my plan of action when it came to querying agents.
  • And yes. Get an agent. Some writers do work without them, but personally, I am so grateful for mine and absolutely believe it’s worth the 15% commission. Not only do I think I would’ve struggled to get published at all without one, I KNOW I wouldn’t be making enough money to be full-time. All that aside, agents handle so much of the day-to-day junk that comes with writing—dealing with your publisher, fighting your fights for you, keeping track of income for tax purposes, selling to foreign publishers you’ve never even heard of, and a million other things. If you want to be traditionally published (as opposed to self-published) get an agent.
  • Set goals you can control. Don’t fall into the trap of “If I can just ________, I’ll be happy.” Because that bar keeps moving. You might think that getting an agent will make you happy, but then once you get one, you realize that now you’ve got to go on submission to publishers. Then it might be just selling your book that’ll make you happy, but then you have to see how it actually does in the market. Getting fans and followers. Selling another book. Getting to go on tour. Getting good critical reviews. Hitting various bestseller lists. Selling movie rights. These are all things over which you have next to no control, and if you make these things your goals, you’re going to be disappointed sooner or later. They can be dreams (because you should never stop dreaming) but don’t make them goals you HAVE to achieve to find satisfaction in your work. Set long term goals like “I’m going to finish my novel this year” and short term goals like “each week I’m going to research one new agent.” The rest will happen, or not happen, by itself.

The future IS scary. Trust me, it doesn’t stop being scary as far as I know. And if you’re looking for security, a career as a writer is not likely to provide a fear-free life. But in my experience, facing that fear gets easier with time. The first few years after publication are fraught with ups and downs as the reality of the business sets in. I’m still afraid, all the time, that my own career is a soap bubble dream that’ll burst if I look at it too hard. But fear doesn’t have to be a bad thing. I choose consciously to make that fear a positive, because it motivates me. (Sometimes I’m better at this conscious choice than other times.) I work hard because I love my work and don’t ever want it taken away from me, because what on earth else would I do for a living? I use my fear to drive me.

So it’s okay to be scared. It’s okay to acknowledge that you’re scared. Just don’t let your fear immobilize you. Bravery is going ahead despite being afraid, and art, ANY kind of art, is bravery. Every single one of us was scared too. You’re going to pour your heart onto a page and then ask someone you’ve never met to love it. It’s scary. But you can do it.

You can do it.

The post What steps should I take to become a full time writer? I’m graduating uni soon & plan to take a year off to write and then I’ll get qualified in teaching the year after but I really hope I can earn a living through my writing. The future scares me :( appeared first on Meagan Spooner.

Dec 02, 2014 11:41 am | shadows and spaceships

If you’ve ever wanted to study writing craft but don’t have the time or resources for an MFA or a full-time workshop, this is for you. The Odyssey Writing Workshop offers online courses, and this is the last week to register for the next session! The courses offered this time are “Showing vs. Telling,” “Crafting Compelling Scenes,” and “Effective Endings.”

I attended the full 6-week Odyssey workshop in 2009 and it was one of the best things I ever did for my writing career. Learning to do consciously what I’d previously done on instinct meant a wooooorld of difference when it came to writing and revising my work, and getting it publication-ready.

So check it out, and be sure to pass this along to any other aspiring writers out there who might be interested! Here’s where you can learn more about it.

The post If you’ve ever wanted to study writing craft but… appeared first on Meagan Spooner.

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