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Monday, August 27, 2012

Do you have a question for the NA Alley blog?

Hey all!  Victoria here with a special Tuesday post.  Here at NA Alley we just love informing both readers and writers about all things New Adult!  We love what we do and try so hard to make sure we spread as much information about the category as we can, but we unfortunately can't touch on everything so...

We invite you to participate in our first NA Alley Question & Answer Session!

Got a question about the New Adult category?

Got a question about the publishing industry?

Or do you just have a specific question for an NA Sister?

Whatever your question we want to hear from you!  

We will be taking questions starting today until September 14th.  We will then answer as many questions as we can on our answer post on September 17th.  

Send your questions here: naalleyblog (at) gmail (dot) com

We can't wait to hear from you!

Also, feel free to ask things not relevant to NA.  Blogging questions?  Why we chose purple for our blog?  We're game!

Feature: Karen Y. Bynum and her book WITCH WAY TO TURN

Hello friends!

This is the last week of August and I just wanted to say a huge THANK YOU! We've been live for 4 months and have over 400 followers. That's awesome!

Now, I brought to the blog a friend of mine,

Karen Y. Bynum 

Her book Witch Way to Turn was released in the beginning of August by Lyrical Press.

Can you tell us a little about your book?
Love to! Witch Way to Turn is about a witch-halfling, named Breena Cross, whose life gets uber-complicated when her desire to protect her sister unleashes her own dark nature, gets two hot supernaturals fighting over her and initiates a plot to assassinate her.

Do you consider yourself a plotter or a pantser?
I’d say I’m a little of both, but more on the pantser side. I almost always start out knowing the heroine’s goal and how the story will end. It’s a journey of discovery for me to find out which paths my characters will take and how the plot will unfold. Most of the time I’m really surprised where things lead. J

What books are sitting on your TBR pile that you can’t wait to read?
Omigosh… I wish I could read all day! There are so many wonderful books out there to discover. Three young adult/new adult books that I’m really excited to start are: The Space Between by Yovanoff  Brenna, The Reapers Are the Angels by Alden Bell and Paradox by Patti Roberts.

What’s your favorite quote from any book?
I can only pick one?! *shuffles feet…if I must* I love this line from Fallen by Lauren Kate: “He kissed her as if she belonged to him, as naturally as if she were some long-lost part of him that he could at last reclaim.”

Who’s your hero crush of the moment?
A crush that really stands out to me—not so much because he was a total hottie but because of his confidence and care for the heroine—was Cabel from Lisa McMann’s Dream Catcher series. He was an outcast with a secret mission pretending to be the bad-boy all while being exactly what the heroine needed. The way he provided for Janie (brought her food) and made her be her best (no matter how much she fought it) was a brilliantly written hero. And there’s something about a boy bringing you food…ya know?

What are you working on now?
Right now, I’m writing book two in the Witch Way series and am about 45,000 words in with a goal of 70,000 words for the rough draft (my word counts normally increase on the second and third drafts). I’m really excited where things are leading!

If you decided not to be a writer, what would your other dream job be?
Hm. Good question! I haven’t really thought about it before. lol I’m just so happy to finally know what it is I want to be when I grow up…a writer! But if we’re dreaming… I would say either a professional ballerina or a food critic. Ballerina because I absolutely loved taking pointe ballet when I was younger (sometimes I still do the steps when I’m doing housework). A food critic because, well, I love to eat and talk about restaurants and I’d be getting paid to do so! Besides, then I could put my culinary degree to good use since my husband does all the cooking now J

What is one talent that you’re hopeless at, but you wish you had?
I would love to be able to sing on key. Yes, I sing in the car, but it’s bad. Epically bad. Hah. I so cannot carry a tune.

What does New Adult mean to you and why do you write NA?
For me it’s the genre for those characters who are not quite adults yet, but who are dealing with adult issues in very adult ways. In my Witch Way series the heroine is an eighteen-year-old working a full-time job, going to college part-time and trying to get custody of her foster sister all while dealing with boy troubles and discovering her magical powers. For me the NA genre bridges the gap between young adult and adult fiction.

What are some words of advice that you would offer to aspiring authors who are writing in the NA category?
Write the story you’re in love with. It sounds so simple, but it isn’t always. Sometimes we try to write things to please others…to fit into a certain market/niche. If you write the story you want to read and are passionate about, others will be too. Don’t stop. Ever.

Can you give one guy your heart and another your soul?

The last thing eighteen-year-old Breena Cross needs in her life is more complications. It’s all she can do to balance studying, working, trying to keep her foster-sister safe and drooling over the new guy at work. But things go from complicated to crazy when a fit of rage ignites the dark magic inside her and she finds herself fending off the supernatural underworld.

Myles, Breena’s drool-worthy coworker and vampire convict, is carrying a load of secrets--one of which is that he’s fang-over-lip in love with Breena and in danger of violating the terms of his sentence.

Karen Y. Bynum is an author of young adult paranormal fantasy.  Her novel Witch Way to Turn is published through Lyrical Press.  She grew up in Hickory, North Carolina where mountains and magic surrounded her.  Even as a child, she wrote her own faery tales and prattled incessantly to her imaginary friends.
After graduating from UNC Charlotte with a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Media Communications, she went on to become certified in culinary arts from The Art Institute of Charlotte.  But it wasn’t until her aerospace engineer husband accepted a job in Virginia and they relocated that she knew what she wanted to be when she grew up.
With the support of family and friends, Karen embarked on a journey with the voices in her head.  They wouldn’t stop talking (yes, she does answer back) and their stories took shape.
Karen currently lives in coastal Virginia and enjoys reading, tweeting, writing and spending time with her husband and their spoiled rotten Vizsla named Rusty.

PS: be sure to come back tomorrow for a special post! 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Agent in the Alley: Pitch Contest with Agent Vickie Motter

We'll host the second Agent in the Alley on September 5th and agent Vickie Motter (blog | twitter) of Andrea Hurst Literary Management has agreed to be our judge! 


You must be unagented, your manuscript must be complete and polished, and it must fall into the New Adult (NA) category to be considered. Any genre, though Vickie has some dislikes and you can check them on this link. No novellas.

The submissions window will open September 5 at 8 am EST (5 am PST) and will remain open until we reach 25 entries. One pitch per person. To enter, you will be required to submit via comment the following:

  • Name:
  • Email:
  • Title:
  • Genre:
  • Word Count:
  • Twitter style pitch (140 characters):
  • First 200 Words:

Please note that the twitter style pitch is 140 characters, not 140 words. 
You do not need to follow our blog to participate -- but if you want to stay up-to-date on further details about this pitch contest, and be informed about future contests, you really should.


The winners will be chosen by Vickie and we will post the results on the blog within two weeks. Vickie may request partials or fulls from the pitch winners.

Critique Session:

We'll host a critique session on September 3rd here on the blog. Come, post your entries on the comments and we'll critique them!

Spread the word!

We can't wait to see you back here on September 5th. Please tweet, blog, chat, email, etc. about this contest.


Post them in the comments!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Demographics + Q&A

Source: (CC BY-SA 2.0 CollegeDegrees360
The other day, I was skimming through the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) archives.

…What? Don’t judge me. *Grins*

Anyway, I found a brochure from 2009 called Reading on the Rise: A New Chapter in American Literacy’. Huh. Not too long ago, right? So, I opened the PDF and had a look at their charts. All I could say was, “Holy sweet statistics, Batman!”

Source: (CC BY-SA 2.0 CollegeDegrees360
You know how I’m always preaching that categories like ‘new adult’ (NA) are around to give us expectations and not to dictate what we read? (I know. This is typically where I bust out my movie rating analogy.) Well, I’ve found something for our friends who disagree.

To some people, ‘new adult’ is a heat-seeking missile aimed at college students. You can talk about demographics until you’re blue in the face, but they’ll still drone on about how the 18-24 market doesn’t read outside of school. They think readership strictly correlates with the age of the protagonist—you know, because that makes sense. [1]
The point is: Even if that were the case, their complaints would still be unfounded.

According to the NEA’s Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, literary reading rates for those 18-24 rose 21% between 2002 and 2008. [2] That’s more than any other age range they studied. Of course, if you take out required reading, you’ll have a slight declination, but you know what the NEA calls that? ‘Not statistically significant’.

Maybe that’s their way of telling us to drop it. ;)

© Carrie Butler
Now, let’s go ahead and take the e-revolution into consideration. Since the NEA survey, we’ve seen a boom of e-readers and tablets. I wonder how many of those belong to our young, techno-savvy market? What about computers and smart phones?


The 18-24 market may not be the only audience we're writing for, but we shouldn't count them out. They are reading. 


Let’s summarize with a little Q&A for the blog-skimmers:

  1. Are NA books solely intended for a college-aged audience? No.

  2. But if they were, isn’t it true that the 18-24 market doesn’t read outside of school? No, they’re reading more than they have in years. Check out the NEA study (PDF).

  3. So, categories don’t dictate what we read? *Eye twitch* Right. NA could appeal to anyone. Soccer moms, skydiving grandmothers, men waiting in doctors' offices, high school jocks on the bus to state finals, etc. The category is there to give you a content expectation.

  4. What should I say if someone tries to tell me NA is a marketing ploy? That depends. Is it a troll? If so, do not engage.

    If it’s anyone else, just tell them you respectfully disagree. It’s okay. :)

  5. What if they tell me the 18-24 market doesn’t have enough time/money to read? Ask them if they’ve ever met someone 18-24. They’re resourceful.

    (Then remind your conversation partner of Q&A #3.)

  6. What if they bring up the fact that most Big Six publishers don’t think NA is a real category? Ask them if the Big Six always considered YA a ‘real’ (marketable/profitable) category.

  7. Well, who does consider NA a real category? Check out our Publishing tab.  We have a great listing of NA-friendly agents and publishers.

  8. So, NA is happening? You better believe it! :)

Have a great week, guys! ♥
1.     Sarcasm.
Monday, August 13, 2012

Feature: Kayla Curry and her NA title Obsidian: Mystic Stones Series #1

Hello, NA Readers!  If you recall, a few weeks ago we featured 5 different authors for the All's Fair in Blogs and War book fair.  Well, that book fair was hosted by the wonderful lady I'm featuring today:  
Kayla Curry

Tell me about Obsidian: 
Ava Tanner finds herself in a world without satellite technology in a time of GPS, Smart Phones and Tablets. When she discovers that a corporation headed by vampires with a sinister motive is to blame, her world is turned upside-down. After a narrow escape, she learns a mystical secret about herself that could aide her in her fight against the vampires. Unfortunately, the vampires see her either as a valuable asset or a target for destruction.

When the world is on the brink of complete social and technological devastation, one must ask themselves: Would I give up my blood for the modern ideal way of life, or will I wage war with the overlords of chaos?

Describe your main characters:

Ava Tanner is a 24 year old, who is starting a career with her business degree. She’s completely content with her life as it is, but her life is turned upside-down when the virus hits.  She is a strong woman who speaks her mind and can fend for herself.

Tom Walker is just a vampire trying to get ahead in the world.  He wants more power and more recognition for all his hard work.  Most of all, he wants Ava—and for a few different reasons.

Jesse Sutton is trying to find his rightful place in the world.  He does what he can to help others, but he’s got problems of his own.  Love wasn’t on his agenda until he met Ava.

What was your favorite scene in Obsidian?My favorite scene in Obsidian is the scene where Ava finds out about the vampires and their plan.  The scene spawned from a dream of mine and was the basis for the entire novel.  The scene can be found in chapter three.

What was the hardest part of the book for you to write?The hardest part for me to write is the part where Ava and Tom part ways.  I had to decide if Tom was going to be the bad guy or the good guy and whether or not to bring in a new hero.  It was a tough decision, but I’m confident that I made the right one.

What compelled you to write Obsidian?Once I had the dream, I couldn’t let it die.  I woke from a dream which turned into chapter three, and wrote the whole chapter and the two leading up to it in one day.  The idea I got from the dream just kept growing and growing and now Obsidian is turning into a whole series.  This one dream I had is taking me on a 5 book long journey, and I can’t abandon that journey.

Now, about you in a few words:
Kayla Curry is the Author of the Mystic Stones Series. Her goal was to be a published author by the age of 25 and her debut novel was just released 5 months before her 25th birthday.  She lives in Nebraska and loves writing stories about the paranormal.

What’s your favorite New Adult title?

My favorite New Adult title would have to be The Forever Girl by Rebecca Hamilton.

Why do you write New Adult?I write New Adult because I can relate to the characters since I am in that same age category.  I also believe that there is a large gap between YA and Adult and it needs to be filled.  I don’t mind reading either age group, but I feel much more at home reading New Adult.

What books are sitting on your TBR pile that you can’t wait to read?

Vaempires: Revolution and Vaempires: White Christmas by Thomas Winship and The Elemental Enmity Series by Christie Rich, which are all also in the New Adult category.

If you could have dinner with any author, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  I would just have to find out how he wrote the Sherlock Holmes series.  I’m a huge fan and he is probably my favorite author ever.

Your favorite quote from any book:

“When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” It is said quite often by Sherlock Holmes throughout the series.

What’s up next?

I’m working on the second book in the Mystic Stones Series.  The nest one will be called Moonstone and I am putting it through a few rounds of editing before sending it off to my publisher for consideration.

My Author Website:
My Blog:
Facebook Page for Obsidian:
Author Page on Goodreads:
Obsidian on Goodreads:
Obsidian on Amazon:
Obsidian in all available formats:
Saturday, August 11, 2012

Agent in the Alley Pitch Contest Winners from Lauren Hammond!

Happy weekend, all!  Jaycee here, and I'm excited to post the winners of the Lauren Hammond Pitch Contest!

First, though, we want to thank everyone who submitted to our first-ever pitch contest. There were a lot of great entries, and we applaud you all for putting your work out there.  If your pitch wasn't chosen, don't give up hope!  Keep writing and keep in mind that we have more of these contests coming this year.

So, without further ado, here are the pitches that, in her Lauren Hammond's own words "won me over:"

The Unity by Paulina Germanos
My Mother Grows Wallflowers by C.L. Howland 
Deadline Day by Erika Grotto 
The Almost Adults by Rachel Solomon

Congratulations winners!  Please contact us at naalleyblog [at] for further instructions!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Agent in the Alley: Pitch Contest with Agent Lauren Hammond

The pitch contest is here!
Let us get to it.
Writers, are you ready?

For those of you who are just joining the Alley today, well, you picked a lovely day to stop by! Agent (with ADA management group) and author Lauren Hammond is judging a pitch contest. You can find out more about Lauren at ADA Management and at her website. 
For more information, check out our announcement post.
For a post on pitches, check out a post Juliana did last month.

The rules:

-Your manuscript must be COMPLETE and polished.
-It must be in the New Adult (NA) category to be considered.
-The submission window is open today from 12:01 am EST and will remain open until 75 pitches are submitted OR until 11:59 pm EST, whichever comes first.
-To enter, leave a comment with the following:

·         Name:
·         Email:
·         Title:
·         Genre:
·         Word Count:
·         Blurb:
·         First 250 Words:

The blurb is where your pitch skills come in. The blurb should be no more than 200 words and is similar to the pitch paragraph in your query.

*If you are agented, please discuss entering this contest with your agent before entering. Also mention that in your pitch.
*Please no questions in this comment area. If you have questions regarding the contest, please leave them in the comments on the announcement post or email us.

The winners will be chosen by Lauren Hammond and we will post the results on the blog within two weeks. Lauren may request partials or fulls from the pitch winners.

****** I know this is a late note, guys, but Lauren replied to one of our questions recently. She does NOT accept novellas.**************

AND GO!!!!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Calling Readers: Lists, Reviews and can authors cross the line?

 Happy Monday!!!!!!!!!!!!! *positive burst of energy for the beginning of the week*!!!!!

Thanks for coming to the Alley. It's L.G with you this week. Before I get started, did you check out our Featured Book of the Month? You could win a free book so make sure to head to our contest tab to enter the contest before leaving the blog.

Calling all READERS:

What do lists and ranks mean to you? 
Do you base what books you read or your to-be-read pile on lists like NYT Bestsellers Lists or the amazon ranking lists? And if so, does the sort of list matter?

And how about reviews? Do you read reviews before you buy a book? Does the actual review make a difference or do you just look at how many stars the book was given?

You know those things on Amazon, right above the review, that say "a zillion people found this review helpful" or "a zillion people found this review unhelpful"? Does that ever impact what you read?

I'll be honest--I rarely read reviews before I read a book. Very rarely. I sometimes read reviews after I finish the book because I always like seeing what other people thought/liked/didn't like about things in books. I also don't know where the book reading is on a list or where it ranks. It doesn't really matter, to me.

But I see a lot of this lately and, even though these things don't really influence what I read, I'm not crazy about what I'm seeing--

Authors asking people to do things that will increase their ranking and "likes" and "stars" and so on. I have no problem with authors wanting people who have read their books to give support. We need support as authors. I may not use them, but reviews can be very very beneficial to authors. So, yes, if you have read something and you loved it, like the author, give them stars, give them reviews. 

But what about when they are asking people who have never read their book? What do you guys, as readers, think about authors asking for reviews from someone who hasn't read the book? 
What about authors asking people to "find this review unhelpful" because the reviewer didn't like the book--not because the review itself was unhelpful or bad.

What do you guys think? Do you think asking those sort of favors crosses a line for authors and portrays what may not be accurate? Do you even care about those reviews and ranking and all of that?

As readers, do you have standards you hold authors to when it comes to these sort of things?


HERE  are the rules. So go work on your pitch and come back to give it a shot on Wednesday!

And, don't forget that Thursday will be another round of NA Lit Chat (twitter), hosted by EJ (twitter). I will be there to represent the Alley @NAAlleyblog, so please stop by! #nalitchat

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Featured Book of the Month for August

Last month's winner is Shannon!  You'll be contacted soon :)

BLOOD AND GUITARS by Heather Jensen 

Happy August everyone! Our featured book of the month, as you can tell, is Blood and Guitars by Heather Jensen. We interviewed Ms. Jensen a few weeks ago and you can find that interview and some more information about the book series and Ms. Jensen HERE. 

 I’m no stranger to chaos, but even the life of a rock star couldn’t prepare me for the consequences of loving a vampire. I’m risking more than my career to be with Aurora. My life is in danger, threatened by the very group I must join to stay alive. –Trey

I have to keep Trey alive until I can make him a vampire, but my own kind will stop at nothing to prevent it. The Emissary is having me followed, and if I can’t figure out who is behind the violent attacks Trey won’t make it to the full moon. Am I even powerful enough to carry Trey through the change, or will he be left floating in the wake of destruction? –Aurora

When Aurora meets Trey, a famous singer and musician, she’s only hoping to get her fill of human blood for the week. The last thing Aurora expects is for Trey to make her feel alive for the first time since she was, well, alive. It begins with a casual painting lesson at her art studio, The Waking Moon, and quickly turns into a forbidden romance. Aurora is forced to hide her true identity from Trey, while keeping her relationship with the human a secret from other vampires in her Brood. Trey’s band is recording a new album and with Aurora as his muse, Trey is writing songs like never before. After being hired by their record label to paint the cover of the new album, Aurora has a legitimate reason for spending so much time with Trey and his band mates. Aurora can’t deny the unexpected connection she has with Trey, which is fueled by glimpses into his emotions every time they share a kiss. Caught between two worlds, Aurora must attend celebrity award shows and vampire rituals, find time to feed, and protect Trey from the dangers of the night, all while preserving her secrets.
 -Summery from Ms. Jensen

Barnes & Nobles

And don't forget to check out Ms. Jensen's website, her facebook page and her youtube channel for book trailers.

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What is NA?

Typically, a novel is considered NA if it encompasses the transition between adolescence—a life stage often depicted in Young Adult (YA) fiction—and true adulthood. Protagonists typically fall between the ages of eighteen and twenty-six, though exceptions may apply. NA characters are often portrayed experiencing: college, living away from home for the first time, military deployment, apprenticeships, a first steady job, a first serious relationship, etc.

Other terms for NA include: Upper YA, Crossover Fiction, and Mature YA.

Mission Statement

As one of the first websites dedicated to New Adult (NA) fiction, NA Alley acts as a central hub for the category—promoting great reads, featuring authors, hosting contests with agents and editors, discussing industry news, and listing relevant resources. We have been quoted by various publications, including USA Today and Book Business Magazine, but our main goal is to encourage the readers and writers who make NA possible.

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