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2K13 at SCBWI OH

Whew, that’s a lot of acronyms…but The Class of 2K13 is going to be at an event in Ohio next week. Well, six of us are! Here’s the rundown!



Reconnect – Recharge – Renew: N. Ohio SCBWI 11th Annual Conference

WHEN: Friday, September 20, 2013 2:00 PM –
Saturday, September 21, 2013 5:30 PM (Eastern Time)

WHERE: Cleveland Airport Sheraton
(216) 267-1500
5300 Riverside Drive
Cleveland, Ohio 44135

WHAT: Reconnect with old friends and make some new friends. You can never have enough acquaintances in this industry. The networking opportunities are AMAZING!!! Recharge and become motivated, educated and inspired with the presentations from experts in the field. Renew leaving the conference with new ideas or goals on making old ideas successful. Feel refreshed and ready to jump into your career of writing and/or illustrating for today’s youth.

WHO: 2K13 Members:

•Kelly Barson, Author of 45 POUNDS (MORE OR LESS)
•Geoffrey Girard, Author of PROJECT CAIN
•Demitria Lunetta, Author of IN THE AFTER
•Mindy McGinnis, Author of NOT A DROP TO DRINK
•Jennifer McGowan, Author of MAID OF SECRETS
•Kate Karyus Quinn, Author of ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE

We will be doing a debut panel on Friday: From Finished Manuscript to First Book: A YA Debut-Author Tells All and a Query panel on Saturday.

There are a ton of other authors and panels, so come check it out! There’s still time to register so we hope to see you all there!



Having a Book Baby – What I’ve Learned

InTheAfter - hi-resThe blog theme this month is what we’ve learned during our debut year. IN THE AFTER came out in June, so it’s only a few months in bookstores, but I learned a lot before it even hit shelves!

1)      Social Media is Your Friend – When I first made a facebook fanpage I kind of did it with an eye roll, I mean, who needs another random social media outlet? The same with Twitter. But I’ve grown to embrace the social media aspect of being a writer and wish I’d started sooner. First of all, it gives you more exposure and that’s always a good thing. Secondly, it’s an easy way for people to get in contact with you and ask you questions about your book, or even just give you a shout out. It’s also a great way to keep in contact with other debut authors. If you’re an aspiring writer, get on twitter now. Don’t wait. Follow people at first, then jump into the convo…you’ll soon be addicted!

2)      The Importance of Community – Whether you’re a reader, an aspiring writer, or a debut writer, community is important. I don’t know what I would have done without 2K13, 19 other people who are experiencing the same things I was, all the joys, stresses and wonders of our debut year. Community is important!

3)      It’s Out of Your Hands – I joke about my “book baby” but really, once your book releases it’s out of your hands. People will love it. People will hate it. People will sing its praises, or use it as a doorstop. I try to think of my book as more of a “grown up” now and try not to check up on it every five minutes to make sure it’s doing well. Instead I occasionally hear things about it and I’m okay with that. My editor emails me the trade reviews and I think of it as my book checking in when it comes home to do laundry. I decided early on in the process not to be an overbearing author-parent and it’s working out for me. Believe me, it’s better for my sanity.

So those are just a few things I’ve learned from my debut year so far!


IN THE AFTER is Almost Here!

Hi guys!

It seems strange that IN THE AFTER is releasing tomorrow (Tuesday 6/28)…considering that my process took 2+ years from signing with Harper Teen to actual real live hold-in-your-hand book. It’s got me looking back on my writing career and everything I’ve done to get here and how easily I could have given up. When you want to be a writer, you have to deal with a lot of rejection & criticism and it’s easy to think that it will never happen, but then you keep with it. Each step, (getting an agent, going on submission, getting a publisher) is a hard won accomplishment and now, with my book so close to actually being out, it’s a bit surreal.

So…what do all you writers out there want to know about the publishing process…in general or specific to my journey. Ask, and I’ll do my best to answer! And if you’re in a book store tomorrow, go and check out my book-baby. The cover feels really fantastic (no joke, the cover feels amazing). It looks like this:




demitria lunetta nameplate Read the rest of this entry

Q & A with Demitria Lunetta on IN THE AFTER!

Posted on

demitria lunetta author page Hello! I’m so excited for Demitria Lunetta’s release of IN THE AFTER next week on June 25th from HarperTeen! I was lucky enough to read an ARC of this book and it was the definition of unputdownable. Demitria let me pester her with questions. Here we go!

 I was entranced by how Amy and the little toddler she cares for, Baby, communicated in total silence. Did you always know this would be a major part of the book from the beginning?

Thank you! When I first came up with the premise for IN THE AFTER, I knew I wanted my creatures to be unique…they have poor eyesight and are very sensitive to sound. I built my post-apocalyptic world around this concept. As a result, my characters living in the After would have to be painfully quiet. I loved the idea of two people relying on each other for survival, living in complete silence. Amy, my teen MC, and Baby, the child she care for, only have each other to communicate with. Over the years they’ve created their own version of sign language. I realized that this language that only they shared linked them together throughout the novel, and often highlighted the unbreakable bond between them.

What was the weirdest (or most fun, or most gross) thing you had to research for this book?

The weirdest thing I had to research was what actually happens when a lobotomy is performed. It’s a very small part of my book, but I think of all the horrors present, including flesh-eating creatures and the end of civilization, the threat of a lobotomy is the scariest. It’s so frightening to me because it used to be an acceptable medical procedure, resulting in drastic behavior changes and often ending with a non-functioning comatose patient. In the mid twentieth century, thousands of people were lobotomized in order to treat depression, manic behavior, violent tendencies and was even recommended to cure moodiness. Some people had their children lobotomized because they were too willful, or defiant. I still get chills whenever I think about it.InTheAfter - hi-res

Plotter, or pantser?

I think about a story for a long time before I start to write. I finished the first draft of IN THE AFTER in four months, but I thought about the plot and characters for about three months before that, sometimes jotting down my thoughts. While I don’t have a long complicated outline or pages and pages of notes I definitely carefully consider a story before I begin writing.

Have you stockpiled your own pantry for the apocalypse? If so, what’s in it? And also, what advice do you have for the paranoid masses out there who know it’s coming?

While I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about “the end” in theory, I am not at all prepared for an apocalypse of any kind. I have mostly fresh and frozen foods…I might have a can or two of tuna fish somewhere. There are so many ways in which the world could end, how could I ever be prepared for them all? I have a strange respect for doomsday preppers, they’re so committed to their view of the apocalypse. I’m more of a “whatever happens, happens” kind of girl, so at the end of the world I’ll be gorging myself on slowly melting ice cream and hoping for the best.

Thanks Demitria! I’ll have some of that ice cream too, but let’s hope the apocalypse doesn’t happen. I like my ice cream cold, after all. 🙂 Congrats on your upcoming book release next week!

IN THE AFTER is available for preorder on Amazon and Barnes and Noble!

Want To Sell Your Manuscript? Do Your Homework!

One smart thing I did to sell IN THE AFTER was research everything that applied to my book/genre/industry. It may sound completely counter to a creative process, but if you want to sell your manuscript you have to do your homework. Research the market, the publishers, and the agents.

Now I’m not saying write for the market, unless of course, you were already writing in a high-demand genre, but know what’s selling and know who’s buying your type of work.

For IN THE AFTER, I knew that YA dystopian was selling like crazy, and while IN THE AFTER is post-apocalyptic it has enough of a dystopian feel to fit that market. But it’s also different enough that I hoped it would stand out.

So I started researching agents. I looked at the acknowledgements page in books that I thought were similar to mine. I also went to the website for the Association of Author’s Representatives, and searched by which agents represented YA authors. You don’t want to waste your time approaching agents that don’t even represent your genre. If an agent has sold books of your genre in the past, they have connections and know who in the publishing world will be interested in your manuscript.

I researched the hell out of agents and got not one, but five offers of representation. That’s how I knew my hard work paid off. And since I’d already done a ton of research on each agent, I felt really good choosing one who I knew could sell my manuscript to a publisher.

Take it from me, if you want to sell your manuscript, you have to do your homework!


Violence and Cursing and Sex, Oh My!

InTheAfter - hi-res

This month we’re talking about the levels of violence, sex, and other “badness” in our books. IN THE AFTER is recommended for 13 and up, and if it were a movie it would be PG 13…but what does that actually mean?

Violence – I’m not going to lie, my book is filled with violence. By definition post-apocalyptic means after an apocalypse, a horrible event in which millions are killed. Flesh-eating creatures appear on the planet, and very quickly wipe out the human population. My main character Amy, is left in the aftermath and ends up killing countless creatures. These attacks are some time gruesome, but never at any point is there violence for violence sake. It’s about survival and living in a harsh environment.

Sex – There is absolutely no sex in my book. With little romance, the only “sexual situation” is a man who tries, and fails, to force himself on Amy. This one incident is in no way gratuitous, and younger readers may not even understand the sexual undertone.

Bad Language – There are a few “curse” words in my book, but nothing that is still bleeped on television after 9pm. No F-bombs.

So, like I said, pretty PG-13 across the board. The truth is; every child/teen has a different level of reading comfort. While admittedly my book does have a lot of violence, it’s important to differentiate between gratuitous brutality and important strife. Children of all ages should know that there is a difference between fighting for nothing and fighting for something.

IN THE AFTER is available June 25th from Harper Teen.


What I’ve Learned From Kids – Kids Say the Darndest Things

Let’s face it, kids can be brutally honest. They’ll tell you if you have spinach in your teeth or ask you what’s up with the mole on your chin, or flat out tell you at the top of their lungs that you’re wrong. And children say it with such sincerity, such openness, that it’s not even insulting.

Maybe it’s because of this honesty that children are incredibly insightful. Kids are very observant and pick up on a lot of things that an adult may not. I don’t have children myself, but I’ve spent countless hours baby-sitting, listening to little high-pitched voices, and I’m always eager to hear what they have to say. Children are amazingly bright and perceptive. We have a lot to learn from them.

demitria lunetta nameplate


This month’s theme is about music and creating playlists for our books…but IN THE AFTER is all about flesh-eating creatures that hunt by sound so I decided to instead write my blog post about silence.

I want you all to do a little experiment. It would be best during nighttime because my creatures are more active during the day, but any time will do.

Turn off all the electronics. No TV. No music. No Computer. Anything that makes a noise, off.

Now turn off all the lights. The creatures in my book have poor eyesight, so will focus on any little light they see and go to it like a moth to a flame.

Listen. What do you hear? If you live in a city you’ll hear traffic and voices and it won’t even be that dark because of light pollution. Tune all of that out. Imagine a world where you are the only person left and your survival depends on your absolute silence.

Now walk across the room. (Please try not to walk into anything…I won’t be responsible for any bruised shins.) How quiet are you actually? Does the floor creak? Is your breath louder than you thought?

How noisy are you actually, and what if any little noise meant your death?

This is the world that my MC, Amy lives in. Silence.

In the after cover

IN THE AFTER releases June 25th from Harper Teen.


How IN THE AFTER is different…in a good way

In the After

Sure, there are a lot of creature books out there, from aliens to zombies to vampires (ummm…I’m talking about the non-sparkly kind) …but IN THE AFTER takes these norms and flips them. These creatures (referred to as They) are ravenous, flesh-eating monsters, but they have poor eyesight, making them more active during the day when it’s light out. They also hunt by sound. This means that my MC, Amy, lives in a world of silent darkness. She only goes out at night, making the usual world of frightening shadows her comfort zone. The day becomes a time of terror, when They own the world.

Another difference in IN THE AFTER is its focus on the relationship between Amy and a child she finds in the After. Called Baby, this child becomes Amy’s reason to survive, not only the After, but all that she must face as the story unfolds. While a lot of YA spotlights romantic relationships, I wanted to focus on Amy and Baby’s sisterly bond and the connection two people would form trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world.

IN THE AFTER will be available June 25th from HarperTeen
Pre-order at B&N or Amazon
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