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Deconstructing the Query Letter


Writing a query letter is tough, but at the same time, it’s an essential skill a writer who wishes to get an agent must master.

I’ve received a lot of requests from writers wondering how to write a query letter. So I put together some of my tips and thoughts into this video. Basically I’ve broken down the query letter by paragraph.



To those of you who are querying, make sure you check out Query Tracker and Literary Rambles to help you with your agent search.

May the odds ever be in your favor!

Cover Reveal for THE PRINCESS & THE PAGE + Giveaway!

I am thrilled to share with you the cover for my first middle grade book, THE PRINCESS AND THE PAGE!


Giveaway Details

The official reveal was yesterday on YA Books Central where a insider look from the illustrator, Pétur Atli Antonsson, is shared as well as a giveaway. The giveaway includes two advanced autographed copies (US only when they become available) and a $25 gift card (international) so make sure you head over there to check it out and enter.

Make sure you add it to your Goodreads list here, and consider adding it to your favorite Goodreads list, too!

What is this book about?

If you loved the Gilded series, I think you’re going to fall in love with Keira, Chet, and Bella, too. This book is full of twists on fairy tales, humor, adventures, history, and a modern-day girl who discovers a powerful pen. Plus it’s set at my favorite castle in France- Chateau de Chenonceau! (click on the link to check it out).

Here’s the official blurb:

A mystical adventure about a pulls-no-punches princess and the power of her magical pen.

A dark secret lurks in Keira’s family. She comes from a long line of Word Weavers who bring their stories to life when they use a magical pen. But for generations Word Weavers have been hunted for their power. That’s why Keira is forbidden to write. When Keira discovers her grandma’s Word Weaver pen, and writes a story for the Girls’ World fairy tale contest, she starts to wonder if anyone ever truly lives happily ever after. Inspired by the life and times of Gabrielle d’Estrées, a real French princess who lived during the 1500’s.

Enter the YA Books Central giveaway here! 

3 Winners! Prizes include 2 autographed advanced copies of the book when it is available (US only) and a $25 gift card to your favorite book vendor (international).
 

The First Line of Your Book

That first line of your book is the most important. In this video, I’m sharing some quick tips and giving examples of how to create a captivating first line for your book. If you have any questions, feel free to post below or on my YouTube channel!

Teachers!


Thank you to all of the teachers and media specialists that invited me to your school this past year. It was an amazing experience! 

As the school year comes to a close, I wanted to share some quick things for you as you plan your next school year. 

1. If you are a teacher, media specialist, or librarian, you can get a free swag pack of the Gilded series (middle and high school) or THE PRINCESS AND THE PAGE (elementary and middle school). Just fill the form out here or below. 

2. Are you looking for new books to teach next year? If so, I’ve compiled a list of free novel guides for middle grade and young adult books here

3. Interested in hosting a author visit? Check out Kim Norman’s blog, which lists authors by state who do school visits

4. I’m currently booking school visits for next year. For information and pricing of my visits, go here for US schools and here for international schools. 

5. Finally, I have a new author visit video featuring my visits. Check it out!


Reviews of the Gilded Series and Pictures!

Hello guys! Lots of fun things have been happening over the past few months with more cool things to share with you in the near future! But today I wanted to post 3 reviews written by Erica Luo, a middle schooler from Washington state. She sent these to me through her teacher, Mr. Pearson, since she is unable to post reviews on Amazon or Goodreads. I was so impressed with her writing and thoughtfulness that I wanted to share her reviews with you (don’t worry, she sent in her consent!).

Also, below I have posted some pictures of some of the events I’ve been doing including an author visit to Colonial High School, the Amelia Island Book Festival, and a really cool limo ride to Chili’s and ice cream autograph party for students who read all 15 of the Sunshine State books!

Reviews by Erica Luo
I really enjoyed Gilded by Christina Farley. I loved the plot and the awesome character development. I could picture every single moment of the book in my head. The ending is great, it leaves you wanting to read more. The book starts with 16 year old Jae Hwa having to recently move from the United States to Seoul, South Korea. Her life is chaos, her grandfather hates (?) her, and this boy named Marc is SO ANNOYING, she WANTS to like him, but family issues. Then she sees two creatures of Korean folklore on the street after being sent outside for hurting someone in Tae Kwan Doe, she’s confused and scared. That’s when her grandfather explains that their family has been cursed for centuries, every generation the oldest female over 15 years of age will be kidnapped by Haemosu, the Korean god of the sun. It turns out she is the oldest female in her generation AND over 15. Haemosu will stop at nothing to capture her and turn her into his bride. Even if it means hurting the ones she loves most. Jae struggles to find a way to beat Haemosu, so she can get her life back. Jae is a really complicated person, you wouldn’t be able to tell by looking at her. When you listen in to her thoughts, you can almost feel her pain, from losing her mother, and shock from seeing two mythical beings. Jae is portrayed at the beginning to be sort of confused about feelings, she has loyalty to her family’s favoring (Example: Not wanting to like Marc because her father wants her to date a Korean). In the end, she seems to understand her feelings a lot more than she did before. The books teaches you how things can all work out in the end no matter how hard they seem to be. Jae suffers great loss, but in the end it all works out. I’d recommend it to people who are ok with a little romance and violence.

The book Silvern by Christina Farley builds off of Gilded is a unique way. The book somehow manages to continue a seemingly closed off book, which is very surprising. After beating the living daylights out of Haemosu, Jae thinks her connection to the spirit world is over. She can go on with life and pretend that didn’t happen. Until someone sends an assassin to kill her in a Tae Kwan Doe test. She barely manages to escape with her life, and finds out that now Kud, the god of Darkness, and Haemosu’s partner in crime, sent the assassin. Now ANOTHER god is trying to kill her. Great. She and her friends must find the White Tiger orb before Kud does, and fast. No one likes an angry god. This time, Jae feels so much more sorrow, you want to cry for her, all her emotions are now clearer, and she learns more about The Guardians. There is so much character development in the book, Farley even makes the immortals have human like personalities, which makes you think of people in history, or people you know around you.  This book teaches the lesson of hope, to never let hope go no matter what. Throughout the book, Jae always has hope that something good will come out of every situation. I’ll warn you though, this book does have a bittersweet ending, so you might get a bit emotional. Once you finish this book, you’ll be waiting for the next!


Brazen by Christina Farley, is probably the best book in the ‘Gilded’ series. There is so much suspense and stakes for survival, you’ll be on the edge of your seat, wondering what will happen next. Jae is now Kud, the god of darkness’ servant. She has to do whatever he tells her, the contract on her arm is a sign to remind her. Now her father and grandfather think she’s dead, even though she’s not. That’s the punishment of being Kud’s slave. She can’t see her family OR Marc anymore. And now she and all her friends, her supporters are now supposed to be her foe. But Jae has a plan, a plan to break free of Kud’s control. She only needs someone to believe her. Jae is now begging for help from her former allies, because she needs their help. Jae is so pitiful, and when everyone calls her a ‘thing of evil’ you want to magically pop into the book and yell at them, you will genuinely feel all Jae’s emotions. Her fear, anger, sadness, worry, and even hate at herself. The book taught me that when all hope is lost, you have to try your best to find hope, even in the most impossible situations. The ending of the series is calming, you feel like the story has closed off somehow, and peace is restored.
Colonial banner

Spring YA Scavenger Hunt!



Hey guys! I’m Christina Farley, your hostess for this leg of the hunt. I wrote the GILDED series, contemporary fantasies about a Korean-American girl with a black belt and a deadly proclivity with steel-tipped arrows who discovers an ancient Korean demigod has been kidnapping the first-born daughters of her family for generations. And she’s next.

Look for my next novel, THE PRINCESS AND THE PAGE, comes out early 2017.

To celebrate, I’m giving away a $10 gift card to the book vendor of your choice (open internationally). Enter at the bottom of this post!
 

Welcome to YA Scavenger Hunt! This bi-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors…and a chance to win awesome prizes!


At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize–one lucky winner will receive a book from each author on the hunt in my team (that’s 20 books)!  




Are you freaking out yet?

Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are NINE contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all to win tons of books! I am on TEAM RED!





SCAVENGER HUNT PUZZLE

Directions: Below, you’ll notice that I’ve listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the RED TEAM, and then add them up (don’t worry, you can use a calculator!).

Entry Form: Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.

Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by Sunday, Apr. 3rd, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.



SCAVENGER HUNT POST


Today, I am hosting Vicki Leigh



Vicki Leigh grew up in a small suburb of Akron, Ohio where she learned to read by the age of four and considered being sent to her room for punishment as an opportunity to dive into another book. If she couldn’t be a writer, Vicki would be a Hunter (think Dean and Sam Winchester) or a Jedi. Her favorite place on earth is Hogwarts (she refuses to believe it doesn’t exist), and her favorite dreams include solving cases alongside Sherlock Holmes. She’s a previous acquisitions editor for Curiosity Quills Press and also writes as Tori Rigby.

Find out more information by checking out the author website here

EXCLUSIVE CONTENT



They may have won the first battle, but the Apocalypse has just begun.

Five weeks have passed since the battle that left Rome and Columbus in ruins. Sheltered in the hidden city of Caelum, Daniel and Kayla train alongside over one hundred Magus and Protectors, hoping that their unified ranks will be enough to take down their greatest threat yet: Richard, his followers, and his horde of Nightmares. Then a fallen comrade is returned to Caelum with a message carved into his chest and a note referencing the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and Daniel knows their time for training is over.

Finally understanding Richard’s plans for Kayla and the three other Magus born on Halloween, Daniel and the rest of Caelum’s volunteers scout the U.S. in a desperate attempt to stop their enemy before he can unleash his first Horseman. But when massive attacks claim thousands of lives, people all over the world begin to fall ill—including those Daniel and Kayla care about the most.

With the Horseman of Pestilence released, Daniel knows it’s time to step aside and let Kayla take the lead. Only she has the power to rival her father’s. But when Richard’s plot turns out to be darker than they imagined, their fight is met with more death and destruction—and an enemy who might be unbeatable, after all.


Hello, everyone! Vicki Leigh here, excited to be back for my third YA Scavenger Hunt. So excited to be on Team Red this time!

I’m also super pumped to be sharing with you my dream cast for Book Two of my DREAMCATCHER series, FIND ME IF YOU DARE. Pretty sure every author dreams about who they’d cast in their characters’ roles. I’ve had mine picked out since I started writing! So here you are—the main cast of FIND ME IF YOU DARE:


Plus get the sneak peak at the first chapter of  BECAUSE I LOVE YOU.

And don’t forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of books by me, Vicki Leigh, and more! To enter, you need to know that my favorite number is 7. Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the RED TEAM and you’ll have all the secret code to enter for the grand prize!

CONTINUE THE HUNT

To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author!



Don’t forget to enter my additional giveaway of a $10 Gift Card below!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review the Gilded Series and WIN Big!



It’s that time! My THANK YOU to all of you who helped bring the Gilded series to life. It’s because of YOU that I’m able to keep publishing books.

Giveaway: If you reviewed any of my books, I’m giving away the new 4G Kindle paperwhite with 300 PPL display to one lucky winner! (US only)

Bonus (International): If I get 100 reviews total for BRAZEN or 200 reviews total for SILVERN or 800 reviews for GILDED, I’ll add in a $25 gift card to your favorite book vendor (Indie, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, etc). Double that and I’ll double the amount.

It’s pretty simple. Just review GILDED and/or SILVERN and/or BRAZEN on Amazon and let me know by filling in the rafflecopter form below. Your review doesn’t have to be 5 stars or long winded. 1-2 sentences is fine! If you haven’t reviewed the books, go now and do so!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Lists, Resolutions, & Action!

Every year, I make goals. I found this old post here where my goal was to finish GILDED. It’s crazy to think at that time I had no idea that book would someday go on to be published and hit #4 of all books on Amazon and #1 in the YA category.

I’ve found creating manageable goals that I have control of are powerful and effective. Here’s my process for goal setting and (more importantly), the action plan.

Reflection
One of the keys to developing goals is to reflect over what has worked and what hasn’t in the past.
1.     Pull out that calendar! Look back through the last year. See what you did and when you accomplished things. For writing, I love using Word Keeper. At the end of every writing session, I type in my daily word count. This program graphs my progress so in one glance I can see which months are my most productive months.
2.     Question yourself. What were my busy months? When am I most productive in the day? What projects did I enjoy working on the most? The least? What inspired me? What was discouraging?
3.     Friends and co-workers. Always surround yourself with people who are not only positive, but also push you to become a better you. This year take the time to build those relationships and let go of the relationships that are toxic. 
I’m a part of the MiG Writers, a group of six writers from all around the world, who critique each other and offer support. 
I also a part of the YA Chicks, a group of Florida writers. We tour together and offer school visits. Then I have my crit partners like Beth Revis and Casey McCormick who not only give me honest and deep critiques, but are great as sounding boards. Having these groups revitalizes and stimulates me professionally and mentality as well as offers that support system I need.

Goal Setting
http://intaward.org.mt/do-the-award/set-smart-goals/
Once you have a solid handle on what worked and what didn’t, create your goals for the new year. Remember:
1.     Make manageable goals. Goals are created so you can be successful.
2.     List your goals and post them in a visible location in your work place.
3.     Break down your goals into chunks. For instance, by early January my goal is to send my agent 3 chapters from two new YA projects I’m working on. My goal for February is to revise my middle grade project.
4.     All goals must be in your control. So getting a movie deal would not be on my list because I am not the person to decide if GILDED or THE PRINCESS AND THE PAGE would be picked up by a producer.
5.     Set up a support system. Find friends who will keep you accountable to hitting those goals. My MiG Writers Group emails each other from time to time with our goals and how we are doing on them. Here’s our post with examples. Debbie Ridpath Ohi set up a team on #Slack for a group of writers who wanted accountability. It’s a great place for me to tell the group my goal and then return with my results.

Action Plan
1.     For each goal, determine the actions to achieve that goal. For instance, if I want to finish a novel by February, then I need to write 2k a day. Am I having trouble finding time to write? Maybe I need to go to bed earlier so I can wake up earlier? Or cut out TV for two months so I can write for an extra hour that night.
2.     Rewards. Build into your schedule freedom days. Know that if you meet your weekly goal, then you get a day off. Or once you finish a draft of a book, celebrate by going out to dinner.

The Reach-for-the-Stars List
Last year I attended the Lucky 13 and One Four Writer’s Retreat. One of the exercises we did was to share something that we secretly really wanted for our writing career that was a big reach goal such as movie deal, selling or hitting a bestseller list. This is the list that is NOT in your control.
Why keep this kind of list?
Because it:
1.     Pushes me to be better.
2.     Forces me to not settle or get too comfortable.
3.     Allows me visualize hitting that next level.  
The important thing is to remember that this is a fun/dream list. If you find yourself getting discouraged or it’s dragging you into despair, then set this aside until there’s a time that you are able to pull it back out.

The most powerful aspect to goal setting is to be steadfast in your daily delivery. Think of your goals like a marathon—one mile at a time—until you reach the finish line. 

5 Ways to Stay Motivated for NaNoWriMonth


NaNoWriMonth is one of my favorite months of the year because I know that I’m not alone in writing. There are thousands of people just like me hacking away at their computers, desperately trying to piece together a story. But the thing is, writing is HARD.


And writing every day with determination and accountability is even harder. So how do we keep persevering through doubt, writer’s block, and indecision?


Here are 5 tips to keep you motivated throughout your NaNoWriMonth:

1.      Quotes for Inspiration– For November, I like to print out motivational quotes, put them into a jar, and then for each day of November, pull one out and have it front of me as I write. For a great start, go here.



2.      Write Gibberish– There will be days you will be completely stuck and you don’t have any clue what to write. In those moments, I love to send my character on an errand, get into a fight, or kiss some random stranger. The sillier, the more freeing. Remember, it’s okay to write gibberish in order to keep yourself writing. If it’s bad, there’s always the delete button! But I think you’ll be surprised at how much ‘gibberish’ ends up being amazing.


3.      Move! Don’t only write in one place every day. Move to different rooms, write outside, curl up in the library with your laptop, or find a new coffee shop. Also, make sure you take brief breaks during your writing day. During those breaks, run in place, do jumping jacks, or just go for a walk. Exercise is proven to stimulate the brain.



4.      Have a Plan– Before you begin, outline your book. You can do a full outline like I have here, or something more general here. This is a great roadmap to keep you on track. The key to remember is it’s okay to deviate or take side paths. And here’s the big kicker, it’s okay to throw the whole outline out the window and just go with it! Here’s a video that shows me creating my plot grid for NaNoWriMonth.


5.      Twitter Sprints– Sometimes my most productive days are when I participate in word sprints on Twitter. Basically I put out a call on Twitter asking if anyone wants to word sprint with me. We choose a time and length of writing (usually 30 min or 1 hour) and write as fast as possible. Then whoever is a part of the sprint reports back and must post their word count. Winner gets to choose a picture for all the losers to change their avatar to.


For more on NaNoWriMonth sprints go here.

Need ideas on how to prep for NaNoWriMonth? Check out my video here. Feel free to write with me on the NaNoWriMonth boards here. I’ll be working on a new project too! I wish you all the best in your writing. I have a feeling it’s going to be an amazing November!


Good luck everyone and happy writing!

I’m Going On Tour!

YA Chicks Fall Tour

I’m super excited to be touring this fall with the YA Chicks– Amy Christine Parker and Vivi Barnes, along with guest Lynne Matson- this week! We will be visiting schools, bookstores, and the Southern Book Festival. Everyone that comes to our open-to-the-public events, gets a free autographed poster!

Hope I get a chance to see some of you!


Oct. 5, 2015
Bolles Middle School

Oct. 6, 2015
St John’s Country Day School
7 pm
Barnes and Noble, Jacksonville

Oct. 7, 2015
Charles Ellis Montessori, Savannah
Savannah Arts Academy


Oct. 8, 2015
Milton High School, Milton
Amana Academy, Alpharetta
Notre Dame Academy, Duluth
Riverwood International Charter, Sandy Springs

Oct. 9, 2015
Fall YA Book Bash
6 pm
Barnes and Noble, Alpharetta

Oct. 10th
Publishing Boot Camp Panel w/ the YA Chicks 2 pm

Oct. 21-23

Nov. 5, 2015
Wekiva High School
Writing Workshops with the YA Chicks Event

 

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