Summer & Books: Testing Liberty

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Inspired by the A to Z Blogging Challenge this past April, I have decided to blog about books for the month of June. I will be sharing tidbits about my own books and the other books on the Catholic Teen Books website.

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I never meant for Chasing Liberty to be a trilogy. I wrote it as a stand-alone that was meant to get readers thinking. But my readers wanted to know what happens next, and the characters began to tell me. The second and third books in this trilogy came together rather quickly.

Check out the GIVEAWAY for a chance to win the entire trilogy.

About the Book:

Hidden no more. Imprisoned by the all-controlling government. Slated for Re-Education. Liberty must escape from a high-security facility to rescue the colonists who lost their freedom. Their capture is her fault.

Set in the not-so-distant future, where the government controls society through indoctrination, population control, and the eradication of the family, Liberty bides her time in Aldonia’s Re-Education facility. If she fails to escape and rescue the others, the children, teens and adults of the Maxwell Colony will be integrated into society, facing sterilization and indoctrination. She is not alone in the desire to rescue the colonists. An underground, anti-government group has been rescuing people from Aldonia for years, but never have they attempted to rescue so many at one time. To do so would risk exposing, even ending, their operation. Dedrick, one of the top rescuers, grieves for his family members who are now residents of government’s facilities. He wants Liberty free, but he is opposed to working with her.

Racing through the wild, the underground and sordid inner-city slums, Testing Liberty follows Liberty from one trial to another, to her final sacrifice.


Check out the book trailer here. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I will share a few images that tell some of the story from Testing Liberty.

Here are a couple of review snippets from Amazon.

A great sequel to Chasing Liberty. It takes up from the first story and carries it forward. You meet more characters, also thoughtfully drawn. It is full of action and surprises, as well as thought provoking ideas. It is totally believable, as our society heads the way of the Regimen thinking today. I like how Dedrick and Liberty draw closer, although she has to atone for what she caused to happen in book one. I can’t wait for the wrap-up in the last book. I hope they overthrow the Regimen and return America to its roots.

“Chasing Liberty and Testing Liberty have made me a fan of dystopian fiction. Smart, suspenseful, and well-written, these gems will have you eagerly awaiting the final book in the series!”

Want to learn more about Theresa Linden and her books?

website: www.theresalinden.com

blog: Things Visible & Invisible

Facebook author page

Twitter: @LindenTheresa

Thanks for stopping by my blog! Have you stumbled upon a favorite book this summer? Tell me about it in the comments. Feel free to share a link.

CathTeenBooks

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A to Z Blogging Challenge: U is for Utopian

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“U” is for Utopian

I write dystopian fiction. A dystopia is an undesirable or frightening society characterized by misery. It is the opposite of utopia.

A utopian society has perfection in law and politics and very little crime, violence, or poverty. The term was first used by Sir Thomas More in his book, Utopia.

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Saint Thomas More was an English lawyer, social philosopher, author, and councilor to Henry VII.  He was beheaded for refusing to acknowledge King Henry’s annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon, and for refusing to recognize the king as the Supreme Head of the Church of England.

His parting words: “I die the King’s good servant, but God’s first.”

In 1516, he wrote a political satire called Utopia. While the word utopian has come to mean “a good place,” in Greek the word means “not place” or “nowhere” because the place doesn’t exist anywhere in the world. More’s story is all about the religious, social, and political customs of a fictional island. Through his story of this fictional land, he discusses some of the bad things going on in Europe at the time and he proposes a society based on rational thought, where there is no poverty or class distinction, and little crime or immoral behavior, and no threat of war.

It is a good idea for a writer to have a version of utopia in mind, all that is good and true, when they are writing conflict, challenges, and failings into the plot. We can’t delve into the bad if we don’t have the framework of good.

What would an ideal society look like to you?  What would an ideal life look like to you? What does “the ideal” look like to the protagonist in your story?

 

 

 

A to Z blogging Challenge: Q is for Query Letter

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“Q” is for . . .  the dreaded Query Letter

Writing is hard work, but it’s also fun and rewarding. I would love the opportunity to write all day and all night for a week, sleeping and eating as necessary. Editing has its rewards too, as you tighten a plot and polish a manuscript. I love the English language and enjoy learning new words and grammar and punctuation rules. (Call me weird if you want.) But writing a synopsis and query letter has always posed a challenge for me. I don’t enjoy it at all.

By the time I’m ready to write the query letter, I should know the story inside and out and be able to convey it in two paragraphs. I should be able to explain to an agent why my story is worth checking out and worth representing. But I struggle with this. So I am writing this post for myself and for every other writer who struggles with query letters.

Writers Digest gives a list of “10 Dos and Don’ts of Writing a Query Letter.” I am summarizing their suggestions here.

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  1. First, research agents. We want to find an agent who is interested in what we write. And we want to be able to refer to an agent by name in our query letter. (Writers Store has an online list of free resources for researching agents. You can also use Writer’s Market or Literary Marketplace, both of which can be purchased online or found at your local library.)
  2. Next, develop a hook that will get the agent interested in your manuscript right away. Then sell your manuscript with a summary of the story. This is similar to the back cover copy and should be no more than 100-200 words. Pour all your energy and skills into this part. (We will need to include genre, word count, title/subtitle)
  3. Then we want to show that we’ve done our research when selecting this specific agent. Consider mentioning one or two of the books they represent.
  4. In the last paragraph, let the agent know your platform. Do you speak at author events or writing conferences? Do you blog, tweet, or use Instagram, and have a ton of followers? If you don’t have a platform, don’t worry about it, but consider building one for the future. You can also include other published books or relevant awards in this paragraph. Keep it tight; don’t add too much.
  5. End with a short thank you and closing.

Study other successful query letter. Writers Digest has a link to query letter examples. They also include a list of what not to do, things like being arrogant or giving your age, saying how much your mom loves the book, or including irrelevant credits.

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When developing the story hook in your query letter, consider:

  • What does the protagonist want?
  • Why does she want it?
  • What keeps her from getting it?
  • What is unique about this story?
  • Don’t reveal the ending of the story here; save that for the synopsis.
  • Don’t go longer than 200 words. The entire query letter should be no more than 400 words.
  • Don’t mention more than 3 or 4 characters.
  • Don’t go into minor plot points.

Make sure to show your voice and personality in the hook.

Here is another helpful website by Jane Friedman, who has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry. She has good advice for us at this stage of the game.

What resources or tips have you found most helpful in creating a query letter?

 

 

 

A to Z blogging Challenge: N is for New Adult Fiction

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“N” is for New Adult Fiction

I can’t believe I am halfway through the Blogging from #AtoZChallenge! To all of you who read my posts, follow me, click “like,” or leave a comment, thank you!!! You help me to persevere with this challenge. And I’ve now developed a good habit of writing with purpose every morning–a habit I hope to maintain even after the letter “z.” (Oh no! What begins with “z”?)

So what is New Adult fiction? And, no, I am not referring to recently released adult fiction. Okay, but isn’t New Adult the same as Young Adult?

No, it’s not the same. There is a new category now!

It sprang up around 2009 when St. Martins Press called for “…fiction similar to YA that can be published and marketed as adult—a sort of an ‘older YA’ or ‘new adult’.”

Characters: Both Young Adult and New Adult have young protagonists. YA tends to feature characters aged 14 to 17 while NA characters range from 18 to mid-twenties. Many adults enjoy YA fiction, but it is geared toward teens with issues teens can relate to. And the teen voice needs to be strong.

New Adult fiction is written for brand new adults!

The characters in NA fiction are now officially adults, but they don’t really feel like it. (Us older folks, we remember that feeling, right? Moving out and living in your first apartment on your own or with your new spouse, it didn’t feel real for a long time. Am I right?) NA characters are trying to understand what it means to be an adult and discovering how they fit into the adult world. They are faced with new responsibilities and adult issues.

Themes:  first jobs and financial independence, starting college, living away from home for the first time, making the decision to live by faith, wedding engagements and marriage, starting new families– and all the fears, challenges, and failures that accompany these things. Protagonists in NA fiction gain insight and perspective from life experience in a way that characters in traditional YA don’t.

Style and voice: New Adult fiction has emotionally tense story lines and fast-paced, dramatic plotting. It is often written in first-person, but it must have an engaging narrator.

New Adult titles appeal to both the young-adult and adult audience. Many (currently most) are contemporary romance, but NA combines all genres and sub-genres: fantasy, mystery, romance, science fiction, paranormal, dystopia, etc.
I would love to see more New Adult fiction in different genres.

My current favorite NA dystopian is by Erin McCole Cupp, The Memoirs of Jane E, Friendless Orphan. The first book begins with the protagonist as a child, but the character soon grows up and is thrown into the world. The insights she gains as a young woman as she finds her place in the world are what I believe make this NA fiction. If you’ve enjoyed Jane Eyre and you love dystopian or steampunk, check out this trilogy. ALL of the Jane E ebooks will be FREE April 17-21, in honor of Charlotte Brontë’s 201st Birthday on April 21. FREE on Kobo too.
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“Classic Gothic heroine rebooted”


I will soon be seeking representation for my New Adult mystery romance, Anyone But Him. This is a love story that is light on the romance and heavy on the mystery.

anyoneTagline: A young woman wakes with no memory of the past three years and finds herself far from home and married to a boy she hated in high school.

Her perfect husband would love Jesus above all
and would love her because of her love for Jesus.
He would be faithful and gentle and have a heart for others.

So how did Caitlyn Summer end up marrying the guy who got her high school best friend pregnant then pressured her to abort?

Unable to remember the past three years or understand why she would’ve moved so far from home, Caitlyn can’t believe she willingly married such an overprotective, bossy, and jealous man. In this emotionally charged mystery romance, Caitlyn struggles to solve the mysteries of what caused her amnesia and of why she married this guy. Suspicious circumstances surrounding him tempt her to leave and start life over, but they also force her to evaluate the strength of her Christian faith.

The arrival of her first love, her husband’s younger brother, intent on helping her regain her memory, offers a glimmer of hope. Together they uncover secrets involving her coworkers and the local abortion clinic, but nothing to explain her marriage. Had he changed, or had she?

 


Happy writing! If you are a fan of New Adult fiction, please share your favorites in the comments!