Want me to review or edit a book? Drop me an email – jadewritesbooks [at] gmail [dot] com with your information!
I’m based in the UK, and work on GMT/BST.
Want me to review or edit a book? Drop me an email – jadewritesbooks [at] gmail [dot] com with your information!
I’m based in the UK, and work on GMT/BST.
Yes, it’s a blog tour! I’m happy to host a mini interview with Matthew S Cox, author of new sci-fi Out of Sight, which is available now. There’s also a giveaway which you can enter at the bottom of this post!
The premise sounds like it could easily fit into the sci-fi rush of today, with the popularity of Altered Carbon and a renewed love of Star Wars – what was the main inspiration for the novel and its setting?
I initially conceived this idea a few years back in response to a call for short stories from a publisher I worked with. As I so often do, I let my mind roam in search of potential story ideas. The first thought I had was a young woman stranded alone on an alien planet, and maybe running into some signs of non-human civilization. From there, I kept thinking on potential things she might run across in said situation. Of course, the whole time I was trying to cram it into a short story, I realized I had too much in my head to squeeze into that format. So, I fleshed out the “before the alien planet” parts, deepening the backstory of what Earth is like in this world and fully developing the character on her transition from the person she is at the start to who she evolves into by the end.
How do you think you’d fare in the setting of Out of Sight?
Which setting, the Earth part or the Mirage part? : ) I’d probably manage, but doubtfully as well as Sima does.
What was the first book you ever wrote?
This could be answered in different ways. Are you talking about novels or books in general? The first thing I ever wrote would likely be a roleplaying game manual. After that, a software user manual for a place I formerly worked at. The first fiction novel I wrote (as so often happens with writers) is an enormous monstrosity that I basically wrote and put away in a box somewhere never to see the light of day again. It’s massive, something like 400k words. I haven’t laid eyes on it in more than ten years and I’m honestly afraid to.
The first novel I wrote that anyone saw is Virtual Immortality. However, the first book to be published is Division Zero #1. VI came out a little later.
You’re stranded on a spaceship – what 3 novels would you want with you?
Lord of the Rings, Neuromancer, and The Martian.
Out of Sight
Matthew S. Cox
Publication date: August 13th 2018
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
Most Citizens hold Outcasts in dim regard, but Sima never expected they’d throw her off the planet.
In 2411, overpopulation has spread a plaque of filthy, congested city to the corners of the Earth. Government has raised corruption to an art form, and no one hears the cries of those left to die in the dark passageways of civilization. Following the End of Nations, people cling to the only division left: social status.
Since running away from home four years ago, she’s managed to stay a step ahead of death―or worse. At sixteen, she’s getting too old to survive from begging, despite her best effort to pretend she’s younger. Worse, the sidewalks teem with little kids edging in on her turf, monopolizing Citizens’ charity with their wide, pleading eyes and genuine innocence.
A chance meeting with suspiciously nice cops leaves her more confused than ever. Between deadly gangs, unforgiving security forces, and a terrifying madam eager to exploit a girl her age, merely getting older is the biggest threat to her life. With no good choice to make, she risks the least of three evils.
Sima thought her life on Earth had been dangerous…
She hasn’t seen anything yet.
Born in a little town known as South Amboy NJ in 1973, Matthew has been creating science fiction and fantasy worlds for most of his reasoning life. Somewhere between fifteen to eighteen of them spent developing the world in which Division Zero, Virtual Immortality, and The Awakened Series take place. He has several other projects in the works as well as a collaborative science fiction endeavor with author Tony Healey.
Hobbies and Interests:
Matthew is an avid gamer, a recovered WoW addict, Gamemaster for two custom systems (Chronicles of Eldrinaath [Fantasy] and Divergent Fates [Sci Fi], and a fan of anime, British humour (<- deliberate), and intellectual science fiction that questions the nature of reality, life, and what happens after it. He is also fond of cats. Awards: Prophet of the Badlands (excerpt) – Honorable Mention – Writers of the Future
*horns blaring* It’s cover reveal day!! Wooo!
This time it’s for Wayward Stars (Starswept, #2) by Mary Fan! This sweeping sequel to the award-winning YA sci-fi novel Starswept will be released on February 26, 2019 by Snowy Wings Publishing. The cover features photography by Roberto Falck, with graphic design by Streetlight Graphics.
Are you ready…?
Isn’t it gorgeous? Read on below to find out more about the book!
[!!!!Warning!!!! Since Wayward Stars is a sequel, the book’s description may spoil some plot points for the first book in the series, Starswept!]
Sing your truth. Defend your dream. Defy your stars.
A month has passed since Iris joined an underground rebel group to save Dámiul from the brutal prison he was sent to for fighting back against his world’s oppressive system. Here, conformity and compliance are enforced through telepathy, and Earthling performers are brainwashed into absolute obedience.
Word of a merciless crackdown on those who sympathize with their cause leaves both Iris and Dámiul yearning for action. Determined to liberate her kind, Iris volunteers to return to her former patrons and covertly recruit supporters.
A raid on their hideout catapults her plan into action sooner than expected and forces her to leave Dámiul behind. After persuading the authorities that she’d been telepathically manipulated into helping him, Iris assumes the role of a dutiful musician while secretly spreading whispers of a possible uprising among her fellow performers. But the authorities always seem to be one step ahead, and anyone who defies them is swiftly mind-wiped.
Soon, Iris is forced to confront a horrifying fact: there’s a traitor among them. Desperately clinging to her cover, she races to find out who before her true loyalties are discovered—and the search leads her to an unthinkable answer.
Add it on Goodreads to show you’re keen to read! https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36177820-wayward-stars
Mary Fan is a YA and sci-fi/fantasy author based in New Jersey. Her books include the Jane Colt trilogy (a space adventure series from Red Adept Publishing comprising Artificial Absolutes, Synthetic Illusions, and Virtual Shadows), Flynn Nightsider and the Edge of Evil (YA dark fantasy, Crazy 8 Press), and the Starswept series (YA sci-fi, Snowy Wings Publishing, currently comprising Starswept and Wayward Stars). Her YA steampunk fantasy Stronger Than a Bronze Dragon will be released in June 2019 by Page Street Publishing. In addition, she is the co-editor of the Brave New Girls YA sci-fi anthologies about girls in STEM, which aim to encourage girls to explore STEM fields and raise money for the Society of Women Engineers scholarship fund.
–Just in time for back to school, create a reading list for a class on a bookish topic of your choice
Voice is probably the hardest thing to learn, as well as the toughest thing to get right tonally, when you figure out what craftspeople mean by “VOICE!”
Five POVS… all distinct from the last. This is how you do Voice in multi-POV novels.
A bit harder, but VOICE comes from another source–group chats, surveillance, audio recordings. Adds a difficult layer to portray characters through but does so effortlessly.
GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO VOICE (GUFFAW) AND VIRTUE
One POV and an astounding look at how you can distinct your first person present tense POV into one packed with VOICE, with humour and vulnerability
Perfect example of how to show a quieter voice in August, the monster boy who wants to be human ❤
Again, a huge example as to how to create a dynamic voice. Meda is an anti-heroine, a bit unreliable, with tons of personality.
This book made me fall in love again with reading — I adore it, and I’ve only read it once! I need to fix that this year.
I haven’t re-read this in so long. I only read the last two books once, but I read the others countless times. I think I need to re-read the whole series, even though JK isn’t my favourite so much any more.
I’m not going to lie, I am going to re-read this series for Nikolai alone.
THIS BOOK. IS PERFECTION. I NEED TO READ IT AT LEAST ONCE A YEAR.
I last read these when I was…. gosh, 15?! And I didn’t read the ending because I didn’t want the film to be spoiled (I adored the film). So I should re-read this. And skip Bombadil because he pissed me off.
Unfortunately I have NO idea who started this tag, but whoever you are – thank you!
B E S T B O O K O F T H E Y E A R S O F A R?
I had no idea what to expect going into this series and oh my gosh… this was amazing. I loved it. I was creeped out, gripped, in turmoil… I adored the dialogue and the formats. Sometimes I even tried to imagine what it would be like in TV series form.
A N E W R E L E A S E Y O U H A V E N ‘ T R E A D Y E T , B U T W A N T T O?
M O S T A N T I C I P A T E D R E L E A S E F O R A U T U M N / W I N T E R?
Strap in cause… there’s a few
B I G G E S T D I S A P P O I N T M E N T O F T H E Y E A R S O F A R?
A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES
DOW — I really wanted to love this one, but in the first chapter we had SEVEN PAGES of backstory. Seven. Pages. I didn’t NEED all that backstory, I just wanted to know the fricking plot. I DNF’d this.
CBAB — Another one I really wanted to love but… I couldn’t. I also DNF’d this. I didn’t connect to the voice or the characters, there was a lot of rushing, and I got lost.
B I G G E S T S U R P R I S E O F T H E Y E A R S O F A R?
I’m gonna sound like a broken record, but for a book with SUCH a different format I’d never read before, and a space opera which had zombies in it… I hate zombies… I actually adored it. One of the best series I’ve ever read and this opener has a special place in my heart.
N E W F A V O U R I T E A U T H O R?
Holly Black’s book was simple mastery, and Mackenzi Lee’s book had humour and voice by the absolute bucket load.
Y O U R N E W E S T F I C T I O N AL C R U S H?
It has to be Gavriel in COLDEST GIRL. A curly-haired vampire who’s sneaky, seductive, from another time, who clearly adores Tana and is a softie at heart? Thanks yes please.
Y O U R N E W E S T F A V O U R I T E C H A R A C T E R?
KADY GRANT / TANA
KADY from Illuminae- A badass pink-haired fiesty girl who codes, kicks arse and takes names, and generally has an amazing ethic about her. Brave, stubborn, and just completely amazing.
TANA from Coldest Girl – Every single choice she made was something I would do – she didn’t whine, she didn’t bitch, she was as natural as they came.
A B O O K T H A T M A D E Y O U C R Y?
I don’t actually remember crying much this year… maybe that’ll change when I read the end of Obsidio, though
A B O O K T H A T M A D E Y O U H A P P Y?
T H E M O S T B E A U T I F U L B O O K S O F A R?
Is this like, cover art or something? Cause it’s easy –
— Discuss the books that you wanted to read at one point, but don’t anymore
This is a difficult topic, mainly because I have the memory of a fish and therefore can’t remember what I put ON my tbr in the last hour.
I’ve done some clearing TBR posts before, so I might borrow from a few of those.
I read the first one, NIGHT WATCH and it really annoyed me mainly because of the girlfriend and how she was portrayed as someone nitpicking and stupid. Also I read the author was a bit of a dickwand, so I decided not to bother with this.
A dear friend recommended this to me after I came out of hospital with a crush on my surgeon, since the protagonist here also has the same issue. But I no longer have a crush on my surgeon (he’s probably still pretty hot to be fair) and I won’t ever read this, so.
Ok so this cover does NOT reveal it’s about aliens and mind control. From this you’d think it was a nice, magical-realism or contemporary romance or something, but no. It’s aliens. And it’s about Special Characters Who Don’t Conform. So I decided early on that this wouldn’t be on my list.
The consensus with this… as well as what I’ve actually heard from friends – is that the romance gets in the way of plot with this one. And that’s generally not what I’m in the mood for. The author is absolutely lovely but I’ll check out her other works instead.
I WAS SO EXCITED to read this book, because it had so many great reviews… and then I read an excerpt of this and it was painful with its exposition dialogue and no.
(title is best imagined as me with one of those candy sticks as a fake cigarette in my mouth and a Columbo-esque brogue)
PitchWars is one of the biggest writing contests on Twitter. I first read about it in 2015, since there were so many excited tweets, and I was lucky enough to be a mentee last year, but the contest is only a middle step for many of the writers picked to be mentees–and for those who aren’t.
For those of you gearing up to enter PitchWars 2018 this post will hopefully give you a glimpse into the whole kit and kaboodle and prepare you for what is to come, whether you’re picked or not.
MY PERSONAL PW TIMELINE:
In 2015 I applied with the Adult Fantasy I’d written and finally completed after 10 years. I didn’t get in (and rightfully so).
2016, I applied with my YA sci-fi. I was picked as an unofficial mentee by M.K. England (her book is coming out in December!) and Jamie Pacton. Their advice was absolutely amazing, and while I got some agent interest with the MS I nevertheless didn’t get an offer. I took their advice on board when writing my next book.
2017, I applied with my third completed MS, a YA fantasy. I WAS PICKED! I was an official mentee, mentored by the wonderful Cat Scully. I was part of a grand community of talented and kind mentees, all going through the same thing. After intense revisions, I entered the agent round full of hope. I got 2 requests, but when querying it turned into rejections. I revised again, and sent out more queries, but it still wasn’t to be.
2018 – I’ve written my 4th MS – a YA speculative – and I’ve noticed how much easier it’s been to tackle this book with the knowledge I gained from the contest and, yes, the rejections I received. I am not planning on entering PitchWars this year (though don’t hold me to that, because it’s easy to get caught up in the rush of it) but I am getting involved with #PWPoePrompts and engaging on the feeds again!
With the recent shake up in the PW community I’ve watched / discussed the new format which I LOVE. Yes, the contest might have fewer mentors this year, but it will not provide any less knowledge or gravitas when it comes to drawing in writers who want that mentorship. The #menteeshelpingmentees contest drew in over 700 entries — holy crap — for 200 critique places.
When you see it from that scale, the odds may seem stacked against you. But to be honest – that’s publishing. The key to rising out of the slush and getting an agent is hard work, and PitchWars will teach you the merits of that and more. But first–you want to get into the competition, right?
HANDY HINT FOR PITCHWARS PREP – STEP 1
The key to surviving the PitchWars experience (not to mention your entire writing career) is the community you build. One of my dearest CP’s and I met during PW about 2 years ago, and she’s one of my best friends now. Even when I didn’t get in to PW those first few tries, I still managed to find and enjoy talking to a whole bunch of authors who connected on a very spiritual level (read: crying over words).
You MUST reach out to connect with other writers if you want to stay balanced on this journey. As the mentor bloghop comes around, then the windows open, and then the agonising wait happens, and THEN the mentees are picked – it can be exhausting on top of every other emotion you feel.
Writing is an isolating business before, and sometimes even after, you’re agented so it’s always best to get fellow potential PW contestants on the same path to talk to in order to survive the sheer volume of this competition!
HANDY HINT FOR PITCHWARS PREP – STEP 2
Until recently I didn’t think I could write a query to save my life. I could edit one, the same as I could edit others’ stories, but my own novels were not able to be put in query format. All the “How to write a perfect query” posts I read didn’t seem to make sense until last month, when I sat down, wrote out the heart of my story, and had it critiqued by an incredibly-supportive agent who had only one note to give me (not gonna lie I almost fainted).
All of the research I’d done culminated in that one query, so it might have taken a while to sink in but researching WORKS. As I critique queries myself, I notice there’s always a few who omit their bios or word counts (both are important but word counts are essential), or just talk about the themes of the book rather than what it’s actually about or go into so much detail the truth of the story gets lost.
On average, agents can get over 300 queries every week. 300 people, per WEEK, asking an agent to love their book. You need it to be concise, effective and true to you and your story.
Query Shark is a notable source of querying nuggets, CPs should be able to tell you what works, you have various sites and YouTube videos giving tips on how to create an amazing query.
HANDY HINT FOR PITCHWARS PREP STEP 3
Revise those open pages, darlings.
Your writing is the best way to snare both mentor and agent alike–they want to sip at the glorious cup of your carefully crafted words and enjoy the story you’re about to tell. The first chapter should be the insight into your book–character, tone, hints of themes, plot, motivation, and worldbuilding all have to be in some sort of evidence in that first chapter, if not even the first page.
I would say the first line, but that’s sometimes too much like a mountain to climb, so we’ll go safe with the first page.
If you can set the tone for the rest of your novel in that first page, and draw the reader in to want to stay there, you have it. But as before, first chapters can be tough. Share them with CPs, read them aloud to yourself (seriously!) or get a thing like naturalreaders.com to test how it sounds out loud.
HANDY HINT FOR PITCHWARS PREP STEP 4
PitchWars is VERY PUBLIC. If you’re entering and you have Twitter, don’t be one of the hopefuls who complain or moan about how long it takes, or that you haven’t had requests–or, come to think of it, boasting that you HAVE. That shit is to discuss in private with your writer friends, who will understand what you’re going through and support you along the way.
Airing out your dirty laundry on social media isn’t a good look. Help those who need help, show support, be humble, stay calm, and be sure to take breaks to help keep your head in this experience.
You might think you have better writing than someone who you swapped chapters with–fine! Maybe they’re not at the same level as you. That doesn’t give you a reason to gloat about it or feed your ego.
You might think the contest is too unfairly stacked against you, since you must be the only one without requests: I promise you, you’re not, and it’s nothing personal against you. Do what you need to get your head sorted, walk away, and return with more experience when you feel ready.
Ever hear about being nice to people on the way up just in case you meet them on the way down? Yeah. That.
Be kind to yourself and to others. It’ll take you a LONG way.
WITH ALL THAT BEING SAID – Still want to enter? You should!!! It’s an intense time but it gets you out there, connecting, excited about writing and engaging in a community full of heart.
The full list of mentors is live HERE!
If you want to know more about PitchWars, their website with full deets is here – but if you have any questions about my experience, leave them below! I’ll be happy to answer them.
Preparing your query or just have an MS you need editing? I can help! I have spots open all summer for developmental edits, query critiques and proofreading. Email me – email@example.com – or visit Cover to Cover Edits for more information on how to reserve your place!