YA blogs you have to check out!


Young Adult Fiction, YA Book Giveaways, Advice from Young Adult Authors, Plus Writing Tips, Publishing Information, and Insider Tidbits

Plus contests and workshops!!

5 pages workshop:

How cool is this? They open submissions and participants are mentored by two published authors through three rounds of revisions and receive additional feedback from their literary agent mentor on their first five pages and their pitch. The agent mentor will offer additional feedback to the best of the five manuscripts in the workshop.

See their full rules before submitting!


Agent spotlight: Kaitlyn Johnson of Corvisiero Literary Agency

This excerpt from https://www.corvisieroagency.com/kaitlyn-johnson.html

Kaitlyn Johnson – Literary Agent Apprentice

Kaitlyn is currently OPEN to queries.

After receiving a BA in Writing, Literature, and Publishing from Emerson College, Kaitlyn refused to leave the concept of nightly homework behind. As well as being an apprentice agent for Corvisiero Literary Agency, she is also a freelance editor at her own company, K. Johnson Editorial, and has worked as a copyeditor for academic publisher codeMantra, a YA editor for Accent Press, and a Conference Assistant for GrubStreet, Boston. She has written various articles for Writer’s Digest and has had a flash fiction story published in the anthology A Box of Stars Beneath the Bed.

For #mswl listings and writerly life thoughts, feel free to check out her Twitter, @kaitylynne13.

View her visual #MSWL Pinterest at http://www.pinterest.com/kaitlynjohnson7011/.

What Kaitlyn likes to see in her inbox:

​- upper MG, YA, NA/A are her main interests

– Kaitlyn adores fantasy works (yes, that very much includes urban!) and time travel

– General Romance (erotic elements OK) and Contemporary Romance

– Historical Fiction: anything other than Henry VIII, Shakespeare, American Civil War, Greek gods/myths

– Contemporary can grab her attention only if the concept is unique and well-executed

– LGBT (as well as characters questioning their sexuality) welcome in all above genres

Kaitlyn is NOT accepting:

– Nonfiction
– Chapter or picture books
– Horror/thriller/suspense/mystery
– Romantic Suspense
– Novellas, poetry, or short story collections
– Storylines heavily dependent on religious motives/events/themes

Her favorite authors/books include the following: Cornelia Funke (Inkheart series); Michael Buckley (Undertow series); John Green (more Looking for Alaska, less An Abundance of Katherines); Gayle Forman (Just One Year and Just One Day); Lois Lowry (The Giver series); Scott O’Dell (Island of the Blue Dolphins). Her favorite tv shows are Doctor Who, Buffy, Supernatural, Firefly, basically the nerdier the fandom the better.

Submission Guidelines
Please follow the submission guidelines on our “Submissions” page at https://www.corvisieroagency.com/submissions.html

Agent spotlight: Justin Wells of Corvisiero Literary

This excerpt was taken from https://www.corvisieroagency.com/justin-wells.html

Justin Wells – Jr. Literary Agent 

Justin is currently OPEN to queries.

Justin started his journey six years ago when he started his blog which grew far beyond what he had originally thought it ever would. If you had asked him then, he would have never imagined just how much his journey would impact his future. Being a literary agent is something that Justin has fallen in love with, and is eager to continue for years to come. 

Justin is going into his Senior year of college, and will be graduating with a B.S. in Mass Communications with a focus in Public Relations. He loves being able to utilize his skills in public relations to assist the agency, and his own clients through his work as a literary agent. 

Justin loves every aspect of being a literary agent. He loves being able to do all he can to help writers. Be it writers he speaks to over social media, conferences, or other sources. The ability to help writers hone their craft is one of the most rewarding aspects of being an agent for him. He loves helping his amazing clients, along with the many other writers he comes into contact with through other means. 

When it comes to reading, he is very open. His main focus is young adult, middle grade, and new adult, though he has been known to branch out and explore other books that catch his eye. 

Favorite Authors:  (only some) 
Markus Zusak
John Green
J.K. Rowling 
J.R.R. Tolkien 
Beth Revis 
Susan Dennard 
Gary Paulsen 
Lauren Oliver 
Sarah Dessen 

These are just a handful of his favorite authors! Most of which are YA authors. There are many more that he loves, but it would take forever for him to go through them all. 

Outside of both work and college, Justin spends most of his free time reading. It is one of those things he can never escape. He gets to have a lot of fun reading for work, and he can still have a lot of fun reading outside of work too. He is always looking for new book recommendations, so if you ever run into him on social media feel free to share some of your favorite books with him! 


Middle Grade: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Historical Fiction 

Young Adult: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Historical Fiction, Contemporary

New Adult: Contemporary Romance *Not Actively Seeking Right Now*

Adult: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Historical Fiction 

Submission Guidelines: 


Agent Spotlight: Eric Smith, P.S. Literary


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Thursdays are all about the agents.  The first one to grace my long list, excerpt taken from the P.S. Literary website:

Eric Smith – Literary Agent

EricSmithEric Smith is a literary agent at P.S. Literary, with a love for young adult books, sci-fi, fantasy, and non-fiction. He began his publishing career at Quirk Books in Philadelphia, working social media and marketing on numerous books he absolutely adored. Eric completed his BA in English at Kean University, and his MA in English at Arcadia University. A frequent blogger, his ramblings about books appear on Book Riot, Paste Magazine, Barnes & Noble’s blog, and more. As an author, he’s been published by Bloomsbury, Quirk, and Flux.

Eric is eagerly acquiring fiction and nonfiction projects.  He’s actively seeking out new, diverse voices in Young Adult (particularly sci-fi and fantasy), New Adult, and Literary and Commercial Fiction (again, loves sci-fi and fantasy, but also thrillers and mysteries).  In terms of nonfiction, he’s interested in Cookbooks, Pop Culture, Humor, essay collections, and blog to book ideas.

To see his manuscript wish list or to learn more, visit  https://www.psliterary.com



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I’m slightly straying from my blogging schedule, but I feel it’s completely worth it.


What is WriteOnCon?

WriteOnCon is a three-day online children’s book conference for writers and illustrators of picture books, middle grade, young adult, and even new adult. It was founded in 2010 and is now run by a new team of writers who are eager to hearken back to the awesomeness that they remember so fondly from being attendees over the years, while also bringing exciting new elements to the mix.

WriteOnCon features blogs, vlogs, pitch sessions, Q&As, critique forums, and more — there’s something for every writer/illustrator, in every stage of their career. From the comfort of your home, a library, a coffee shop — any place with an internet connection — you can meet agents and editors, connect with potential critique partners, and generally soak up a whole bunch of knowledge!

This is happening in less than a week. February 9th-11th.  If you haven’t attended this online writing conference before, now would be a great time to do so.  Not only is it an incredibly affordable conference, but the wealth of knowledge shared here is priceless.  All the live events are transcribed, so if you miss one, you can always view them later.  So go ahead and follow the link to check out the awesomeness!

Balancing writing, family, and a full time job



One of the most important lessons I’ve learned while tackling my current WIP is how to better allocate my time.  This seems like a simple enough task, but for me, it has been a long-standing struggle.  I didn’t want to give up precious time spent with my family, couldn’t quit the full time job, and refused to give up on writing, so where did that leave me?

It left me with a great need for organization.  I have always been a go-with-the-flow kind of person, always willing to restructure my plans or come up with a last minute idea to make it all work, but that type of mindset was not only crushing my creativity, but leaving me with an overall sense of mental exhaustion.

I tried to use my one hour commute to ramp up plotlines and character motivations, but would soon stress over what needed to get done at work and how impossible it seemed to achieve.  Then I tried to set aside time at home to write after everyone went to sleep, but being tired myself, I found it easier than ever to let it slide, telling myself, I’d figure it out tomorrow.  Then I would repeat the whole routine the next day, and the next day, and the next after that, until I managed to become an efficient procrastinator.

So something had to change.  First, I needed to carve out time to write, allowing myself to be able finish a first draft.  I figured out how to do that when I discovered the power of getting up one hour earlier. I know, genius concept, right?  But for me, it was unusually difficult to get up five minutes earlier, let alone a full hour. 

Second, I set my goal, not at a certain word count per day, but estimated how many more chapters I have left based on my outline, and started the countdown.  It has made all the difference in my writing routine.  That full hour to write while the kids are asleep and while I have a fresh outlook on the day have allowed my creativity to flourish.  And the price paid for this? The small sacrifice of turning in a little earlier the night before.

This small process change helped me conquer the last ten thousand words, so I thought I would share in case it can help anyone else.


James Patterson- Master Class

As I finish the last of the notes I took during this course, my one take away is…I finished an outline.  That is a first for me, so obviously this course helped.  I loved the way the information was presented via prerecorded videos on each topic.  James Patterson was so real and didn’t sugar coat anything, which made me laugh out several times.  It was just what I needed to get myself on track.

If anyone knows anything about me, they’d know that I’d been struggling to complete just one of my many works.  Just to be able to type “the end” and mean it would be a celebration for me, but that wasn’t how it was working out.  Call it being too hard on myself, call it poor method…whatever it was, I was drawn into my writing habit, the same one I’ve harbored for the last ten years, and there didn’t seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel with what/how I was doing it.  So, I didn’t think a Master Class with a bestselling author would be the worst way to go about changing what I needed to in order to finally complete one damned story.

The end result?  I completed a coherent and believable outline-start to finish, no kidding!  Best thing I could have done for myself as a writer was push past the comfort zone of familiarity.  I mean I’ve always been a bit of a panster, and a bit of an outliner, but I’ve found with drafting a completed outline, that I still get to be both, it’s just that I have no reason to get stuck at 35K and not know where to lead my characters.

Also, if you haven’t heard, Mr. Patterson will be choosing one of his students to co-author a book with.  I believe the deadline is March 1st, but if you’re interested, you should probably check into it prior to that.

In the mean time, live well and write a lot.



Happy NaNoWriMo!



To all of you who’ve decided to embark on this journey, I commend you and will totally support you! (look me up, hboland) I’m also insanely nervous about actually completing a novel in 30 days.

I encourage any writer who’s decided to commit to this to pay attention to the forums.  They’re a great resource for everything Nano and also the pep talks are pretty awesome.  Best of luck fellow Nano’s!

What is an old soul?


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And how can you use this to help with characterization?

I’m an old soul.  I’ve known this since I was in grade school…since I could conceptualize what a soul was…or at least that’s what I recall.  I related with my older peers better than I would ones my own age and always felt a gap with classmates.  I had many acquaintances that I befriended, but would always be slightly disappointed when they didn’t ‘get’ me.  This continued on throughout high school and still happens even now.  I’ve come to peace with the fact that many people will never ‘get’ me, but on different levels, I connect with almost every person I come in contact with on a superficial level…not a true friend level, but a kindness level that allows me to care without knowing every detail of their lives.  I do, however, feel a general responsibility for everyone in my life.   Like if they come to me for advice, I  look at the whole picture and hope that I advise them wisely.  “Wise beyond my years” was the term I heard the most…and that was from the elderly peers that I had contact with.  And of course, I knew how to suck up pretty good, so any elderly person pretty much loved me.

I know that the terminology for ‘old soul’ is supposed to be related to reincarnation,  but I’m not sure that’s why people end up being old souls or not.  I think it’s something you’re born with.  Much like others are born to be great athletes or others mathematicians…some people are born to be old. And they instill traditions from the past onto others naturally throughout their actions and conversations sometimes without being environmentally conditioned to do so.  Which I guess speaks loudly of some kind of past life interference, but who knows right?

I know that I am both an introvert and an extrovert.  I love being around people, yet I love being alone.  I need the balance of both in order to see the whole spectrum though.  I also find that I love historic facts…not textbook history, but old artifacts and their past history.  Family heirlooms and how these items came to the families they were past down to and what that means.  I respect everything.  I love listening to Sam Cooke, even though that’s probably not a trait of an old soul exactly…I think listening to soul music has got to be somewhere up there.