It's book release day for CONTRIBUTE!

 
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I'm so excited to announce that Contribute has officially released today! The sequel to Consider and the conclusion to the Holo Series brings many mixed emotions since my debut year was a long, winding journey. There were times I wasn't sure if book 2 was ever going to see this day. And here we are. Series done. :)

It's weird writing a series. It still feels like my characters are alive (well, the ones who survived--spoilers!) and they've been put on pause. At the same time, there's a giant sense of relief to have reached this point, to let them go creatively and discover new characters and new stories. The best way to get over an old love is to find a new love. Isn't that what they say? I'll be spending the next year working on a new YA project (top secret for now, sorry. You'll be the first to hear details when I can share, so stay tuned).

To the readers out there, I want to say thank you for sticking with me and giving my debut series a chance.

***To celebrate publication week, some giveaways!***Check out the flash giveaway on Twitter:

FLASH GIVEAWAY to celebrate my book release! Today only: RT & follow to win a signed copy of CONSIDER+CONTRIBUTE, plus some extra swag! pic.twitter.com/hNEZigEq5N

— Kristy Acevedo 📝 (@kristyace) July 11, 2017

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On Goodreads, there are two separate giveaways for each book. Both end July 17th.Enter Consider Goodreads GiveawayEnter Contribute Goodreads GiveawayFinally, if you're local, please come celebrate this Saturday, July 15 from 2-4pm at Barnes & Noble in Dartmouth, MA. More details here!

 

Save the Date: CONTRIBUTE Book Launch Party on July 15, 2017

 
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CONTRIBUTE, the sequel to CONSIDER, officially releases on July 11th. Finally!

Locals, come celebrate with me at the CONTRIBUTE Book Launch Party on Saturday, July 15, 2017 from 2-4pm at Barnes and Noble in Dartmouth, MA. Open to the public. Click here to RSVP on the Facebook invite page!

This is also a Greater New Bedford Voc-Tech High School Book Fair day. B&N will donate a portion of any store sales to support GNBVT school library and summer reading program. Just mention it at the register!

GNBVT students will be running the following events:

1-2 pm Face painting and crafts

2-4 pm CONTRIBUTE Book launch party: Q&A, Book series secrets, and book signing. And free cake, of course!

Consider and Contribute books will be available for purchase at the event. Hope you'll come out and bring a friend!

 

Book an Author Visit with Me

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I've been getting lots of inquiries about author visits. So exciting!

As a high school English teacher for almost two decades, I love talking to people about books and writing. I'm in the process of printing my full author visit brochure, so in the meantime, here is a chart of my author visit offerings and fees to answer any questions. Click here for info and pricing chart. Thanks! (Note to Southeastern MA & RI schools, libraries, and book clubs, please email me for special local pricing discounts.)

Book Fun in Corpus Christi, Texas

 

Last weekend, I had a blast at the Teen BookFest by the Bay in Corpus Christi, Texas. It was snowing in Boston when my flight left, so the weather in Texas was a nice change of pace. The event was held at the American Bank Center, a gorgeous venue with a view of the bay. We had a wonderful author dinner the night before, and I had great conversations with author Margot Kelly and illustrator Evan Turk. I fell in love with his work. (Seriously, check it out online.) We received awesome author swag bags with treats. Woohoo! The T-shirt was even designed by a local student.

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View from my hotel. I mean, come on.

View from my hotel. I mean, come on.

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The next day, I appeared on the World Away Panel for four talks with a fabulous group of authors, including Joe Shine, Becky Wallace, and Manuel Ruiz. I was so impressed by the teens in attendance and their questions. Future authors, perhaps?

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(left to right) Authors Joe Shine, Becky Wallace, Kristy Acevedo, and Manuel Ruiz on World Away panel

(left to right) Authors Joe Shine, Becky Wallace, Kristy Acevedo, and Manuel Ruiz on World Away panel

Our panel's moderator Sarah Walker was awesome. She read our books ahead of time. Did I mention she's also a fellow English teacher? English teachers are superheroes :)

Our panel's moderator Sarah Walker was awesome. She read our books ahead of time. Did I mention she's also a fellow English teacher? English teachers are superheroes :)

I snuck in two selfies when I could with author Rose Garcia and Jeff Zentner.Jeff is a fellow 2016 debut author who just won the William C. Morris Award for his book The Serpent King, so it was great to finally meet him in person. Sweet Sixteens unite! The day ended with a group book signing, where I was lucky enough to sit next to the fabulous Miracle Austin. The teens were super polite and excited to be there, and I loved talking to them about books.

After a great weekend, I spent an extra day there to finish edits on CONTRIBUTE. The next day, I got stuck in the Corpus Christi airport when a huge thunderstorm rolled through early in the morning. Brendan Kiely came to chat with me in the airport (thanks to Twitter). It was my first author event on the road, and it couldn't have gone better. Thank you to all the volunteers and sponsors who made the event possible.

Authors Rose Garcia and Kristy Acevedo

Authors Rose Garcia and Kristy Acevedo

Authors Jeff Zentner and Kristy Acevedo

Authors Jeff Zentner and Kristy Acevedo

Authors Miracle Austin and Kristy Acevedo

Authors Miracle Austin and Kristy Acevedo

Authors Brendan Kiely and Kristy Acevedo

Authors Brendan Kiely and Kristy Acevedo

Special shout out to Debbie VanZandt for your dedication to connecting teens and authors. And to all the teens, happy reading!

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Avoiding Writer's Block: My Writing Process

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As I'm writing the first draft of Contribute, Book 2 of the HoloSeries, several people have asked me, "Aren't you nervous? You have a deadline with a publisher now. What if you get writer's block?"

Okay, first, Are you kidding me? Thanks for the confidence killer. Second, no. I don't get writer's block. (Stop giving me the finger.) My creative writing process prevents me from getting stuck, and maybe it will help you, too.

Here's my overall writing process for the most part:

1. Come up with a shiny new idea and characters for a manuscript. Ideas usually come to me during walks, drives, or in the shower. Basically when I'm not trying. I keep a file of ideas for when I'm ready to start a new project. When I choose a project, I first visualize major characters and names. Some writers use Pinterest, but I like using an actual corkboard over my desk where I hang images that appeal to me. Feels more tangible.

2. Free write for 50-100 pages or so. (I do 20k for YA.) This is judgment free, creative writing time. You don't have to think chronologically. Write whatever comes to you. Leave spaces to separate different scenes and thoughts. Let your characters interact with each another for the first time. Hear their voices. Write the opening scene. Write the last scene. Write the turning point. Write something funny. Write something heartbreaking. No rules. No fear. This is all about getting thoughts on paper.  You are testing voice, character, and plot during this phase to find out what will work. Explore and let your creativity loose. Free writing gives you the freedom to be creative. It lets characters grow and change and bring you places without fearing that you'll hit a dead end. I have discovered many creative subplots in free writing sessions that I wouldn't have thought of if I had been following a strict outline from the start.

*Warning: There's a possibility that half of these 100 pages will not be used in your book. I promise this is not a waste of time. It helps to get bad ideas on paper and realize what doesn't work before you write the entire novel. You don't want to discover you've relied on a crucial moment or character that needs to be cut or changed, causing a plot avalanche. A major overhaul after 400 pages is the real time waster.For example, when free writing for Consider, Book 1 of the series, my main character actually had an older, pregnant sister living in California. Within twenty pages of free writing, I knew this choice wasn't working. By changing the sister character to Benji, an older brother in the military, I got so much more conflict out of the story, and he has become a crucial character in Books 1-2. I wouldn't have discovered him without free writing, and the series wouldn't be the same.

3. Outline the major plot points and any subplots that have come up during free writing. Your free writing should give you plenty of insight and fodder for creating a working outline. Be as detailed as possible. If you still don't have an answer for a plot hole, write "plot hole" in the outline. Knowing what's missing is different from discovering it later.

4. Make a major, "To Write" list by scene. Include subplot scenes if you know them. Label them accordingly. (For example, these were my first three scenes for Consider):

Scene 1: Train scene with first vertex sighting

Scene 2: Bus scene conversation w/ Alex and Dominick

Scene 3: Hospital scene with Hazmat workers

5. Write your first draft by scene, using your "To Write" list as a checklist.This is my secret to never getting writer's block. I do not necessarily compose scenes in chronological order. First, I sift through the 100 pages of free writing and reuse any material that works. I finish those scenes and check them off the list.Then each day I look at my "To Write" list and choose a scene based on how I'm feeling.  Why would I force myself to write a tragic scene if I'm in a good mood? Nope, that's a comedy scene day. Granted, eventually I face the last few random scenes that I've avoided, but usually the sheer joy of almost being finished gets me through those moments.

6. Reread the manuscript and add any necessary connecting scenes, especially quieter, reflective moments. Those tend to be missing from the outline.

7. Reread the manuscript for continuity and make an "Editing" task list.  Then edit following the list. Reread with a notebook nearby and take notes on any sections that need revising, or print the manuscript and write notes directly on it. Composing out of order can often mess with time sequencing, so be sure to edit for time and season. Character arc issues also need addressing.

8. Reread and edit for language. Many writers spend too much time crafting gorgeous sentences and falling in love with the sounds of language while writing their first draft.  Unless I'm writing poetry, I prefer to get anything down on paper first and tweak for language later. Otherwise, the whole process slows down, and it can takes years to finish a draft. Plan the forest before tracing the veins of a leaf on a tree.

9. Have beta readers/critique group provide feedback, and implement those changes. Do not skip this step. I know you're excited to be near the finish line, but do not start sending out queries thinking that your manuscript is amazing and clear. You need readers. What is clear to you may not be clear to them. Whatever they say, take it in. Use their feedback. You spent a lot of time and effort on your manuscript. Make it the best story it can be.

10. Celebrate that you finished a working, viable manuscript. Query. Take some time off. Do something nice for yourself.  Then start thinking about that next, shiny new idea.

*I'd love to hear from you. What's your writing process?