Us And Our MCs: A Ten But…

Welcome to another Path2pub Special! Following the hilarious twitter trend, we decided to make a bit of fun of our MCs in our manuscripts and WIPS. They’re A Ten BUT!!

We look forward to seeing your takes in the comments!


Lucia

From my current manuscript: A Dyad Of Brass

He’s a ten, but he steals money to buy you roses.

– She’s a ten, but she’ll pick the king’s pocket when he’s not looking!


Alex

For my upcoming manuscript: Galentine’s Day

-She’s a ten, but needs a fake boyfriend to keep her friends off her back.

-He’s a ten, but has a master plan to steal his fake girlfriend’s heart without getting attached.


Briana

For my current WIP: The Finley Case

She’s a ten, but she kind of has dead parents and the investigation for their murders went cold and now she wants you to assemble a team to help her solve the case and maybe ruin your chances for law school.

He’s a ten, but he is too focused on his law school dreams right now but also kind of wants to help the hot new girl out.


Mariana

From my debut picture book: Santiago’s Dinosaurios

– He will be a ten, but right now he’s a dinosaur obsessed first grader.


Amber

From my YA fantasy: The Fall of the Dragon

-She’s a ten, but she likes creating weapons of destruction (like a flying guillotine that can take off your head!)

-He’s a ten, but you never know whether he loves you or he’s just using you to get power 😦


Swati

From my desi Emma-inspired romcom: [Shhh, the title is a secret!]

-She’s a ten, but she’s so obsessed with playing matchmaker that she’s clueless about her own love life.

-He’s a ten, but he’s been pining after his aspiring matchmaker friend for decades and will probably never love anyone else.


We hope you enjoyed reading as much as we enjoyed writing it! Tell us in the comments about your MCs buts 😉

AUPQ: What Established Author Would You Like A Chat With?

If you have questions you would like us to answer on publishing topics, simply leave a comment on our AUPQ page and we’ll get to it! Also, tomorrow is a Path2pub Special we can’t wait to share with you. Stay tuned!

Today, Garlow wants to know: If you could have a two hour chat with an author where you could ask them anything about craft and the industry, who would it be?

Briana

Oh? Do I get to go first? Ah! I’m so excited. I’ve been fortunate enough to have met a few of my favorite authors before hand (shout out to LeakyCon 2012 where I met John Green and Maureen Johnson, GeekyCon 2015 where I gushed to Holly Black about The Spiderwick Chronicles and Freddie Highmore, and fangirled over Dream Team Ransom Riggs and Tahereh Mafi, and NerdCon: Stories 2015). But if there is any author I could sit down and talk to right now and I seriously mean right now it’s Leigh Bardugo.

I saw Leigh Bardguo at GeekyCon 2015 at a few panels, one of them where she arrived late because she was on deadline and was taking a much needed nap. I then realized last year she was on deadline for Crooked Kingdom and could have been working on Chapter 40. However, I really want to ask Leigh about her adult series, Ninth House. That series is dark. The first book is also a dual timeline multi-POV. As a huge Gilmore Girls fan, I find myself drawn to stories that are set at Ivy League schools and since Leigh is a Yale alum, I just want to hear all the gossip that happened there. I then want to know how that helped transfer over to Ninth House. (Shameless plug for the sequel Hell Bent coming out in January 2023)

And for an author who is no longer among us, I would hands down pick Louisa May Alcott.

-Briana, The Mystery Writer

Lucia

I’m so jealous of Bri that she’s met all these authors! This is such an awesome question, Garlow. If I could chat with one author on Craft, it would be Sarah J Maas. I started writing my fantasy series after I read ACOTAR. I finished reading it and while I wasn’t quite mind-blown by the plot of book 1, I was enthralled by the idea of worldbuilding. She had introduced me to fantasy in this easy-to-grasp yet fascinating manner and I wanted to be able to inspire people like that too. And then the more I read the series, the more impressed I was by her ability to check all the storytelling boxes. Characters? Lovable. Plot? Twisty, turning, and captivating. World building? Unique and dazzling. It’s not a trio many authors thrive in and she manages it while churning out two books every year.

She’s also the first—and so far only—author whose writing process I relate to in that she churns out thousands of words daily with little hassle. And loves every bit of it. When I speak with or listen to most writers, they often share how writing is a struggle, and there are so many memes about procrastination as a writer that I don’t relate to, so it feels good to see a writer who writing also comes very easily to. And her two-books-a-year method is something I’d love to be able to do someday too. While I listen to a lot of her podcasts and interviews, Craft isn’t something she delves deep into in them. So I’d love to have a chat with her and pick her brain on her storytelling processes!

—Lucia, the YA Fantasy Writer!

Alex

I can’t believe all the amazing authors Bri got to meet! That’s amazing. I love this question by the way. Because my answer this year would probably have been so different from last year. Without a doubt I would love to meet Elle Kennedy. She is the Best Selling Author of the Off Campus series. One of the reasons is because I love her writing style and quite frankly most of her books.

But the main reason why I would love to meet her is to ask her about her experiences with publishing and how does she manage to create so many lovable and sexy characters without having to deal with the pesky same plot bunnies for every story. As a romance author, we rely on tropes and the growing love of the two main characters and every time I read an Elle Kennedy book, I know I will read a distinctive voice. I also love the fact that she is traditionally and self published. But if and hopefully when I meet her I will have at least an hour to ask her questions, because I’ll definitely waste at least 2 minutes just blabbering and making absolutely no sense.

-Alex, Romance Writer!

Wow this is a difficult one. Firstly, I just want to say that I probably don’t want a two hour chat with anyone because my introverted self cannot handle a conversation for this long without wanting to keel over and bury myself in a hole. I’m also terrible at choosing, so any one of Fonda Lee, Neil Gaiman or Ken Liu would be great! What’s in common with all three of them is their skill at complex worldbuilding, which is so important for SFF writers but at the same time so hard to do in a coherent way. I’d love to be able to ask them for tips and tricks when it comes to creating lush new worlds and characters that live and breathe in those worlds, and how they manage to keep track of all these different moving pieces so they can weave them into one giant story.

-Amber, YA/NA SFF!

This is such a great question, and I’m loving all your answers. Choosing one author feels SO hard… but I’d have to say Emily Henry. She’s one of the most successful romance authors out there, and honestly, I love her work so much I’d probably read her grocery lists alongside any book she writes in the future. I’d want to pick her brains for two hours about how she got into writing, what her querying/publishing journey was like, and what advice she has for a hopefully-soon-to-be-published debut romance author.

I also feel like Emily Henry is a pro at writing witty banter, comedy, and slow-burn chemistry–three things that are a staple in my books! I’d want to get some tips from her on improving my craft and surviving publishing.

-Swati, Desi Romance & YA!

This is such a fun question and I’ve enjoyed reading all these answers (Bri, how lucky you are!). In my case, I’d definitely choose Nicholas Sparks. He’s my favorite author and I just love his books. I’ve been a fan for a long time and I really enjoy the movies that are based on his novels. My favorite ones are The Notebook, A Walk to Remember and The Best of Me. I’ve seen the movies several times and I can read the books again and again. But the way, his new book Dreamland is coming out in September and I can’t wait.

If I could meet him in person, I’d like to know what’s the secret to his success and to have his books in the New York Times Bestsellers each time they release. Also how does he come up with inspiration for new ideas (since he already has 23 novels!). I’d also like to know his own story as a writer. How he began this journey, what type of struggles and obstacles he faced before becoming successful and what was the inspiration to write his first novel (The Notebook). Another question would be why does he think it was so special that it became a movie and even a musical (wow!). Finally, I’d also love to know more about his philanthropic projects and the writing program he champions.

-Mariana, PB Writer!


What about you readers? What authors would you like to meet?


Working Full Time & Writing.

Alex Garcia

Life is busy. 

For this post I wanted to talk about what it’s like to work full time and have time to write. 

I am not sure if I had mentioned it in one of my older posts, but for my day job I work full time as an engineer for a company. To give a brief insight, I have been an engineer for about seven years, and in those years, I have ventured myself into writing for the past four years. Two of those years were not consistent because of the position I was in. 

Sometimes, for my day job, I would be working 12-14 hour days and start again the next day all over again. Five years ago, all I wanted to do when I came home was to not think, take a shower, and mindlessly watch a movie.

I consider myself incredibly lucky because my husband was the one pushing me to follow my dreams. I used to wish to the wind or a dandelion to be a writer and read more, but never had the time to do so. That’s when my husband got me an iPad with a keyboard and during the weekends, he told me: You alone have the power to make that wish come true. 

I then started with the excuses, well we have to go grocery shopping, take out the trash, or do something, and he would simply say I’ll do it. You write and read.

Quite frankly, I was terrified to write because I had no idea where to start. I didn’t know how to write an outline or anything, but the power of google came and saved me. I read blogs and I just simply found my love for reading again, and once I started I couldn’t stop.

But then, of course, my day job was still draining me mentally (It still does that). Because one thing is that as much as I love writing and it’s absolutely my passion, it takes mental strength to do it. You, as a writer, are thinking and choosing carefully every word and don’t even get me started on editing. For this particular predicament, what I tend to do is right after I take a shower, I take 5-10 minutes to meditate, leave the headspace that is my day job and enter to my writing world.

From Hobby to Career.

The moment when everything changed was when I took my writing hobby and decided to make it a career.

Writing as a hobby is an absolute pleasure and I only wrote whenever I wanted, hence the two years of not doing it consistently. Which was completely fine. Writing is an escape and even if you are journaling or writing thoughts, just for you, it is a gift to have the ability to express your creativity and imagination through words. 

Trust me when I say this, not everyone can write and not everyone has the imagination to create a story or express their creativity. 

So, to anyone who tells you anyone can write a book. They are lying.

What made me decide to make it a career? Yes, I wrote that right, decide. I decided to hone my craft and pursue publishing out of pure love for my stories, and to change someone’s life, if only for a moment.

As I read more, more lessons from books stuck with me and others helped me escape into the author’s world. I wanted to do that for someone else. That was the pivotal moment for me. It was also my beta readers. After they finished reading the book, two of them told me: I want to follow your career, send me book two when you finish. And I was like, Oh, goodness! I have written four books… people are reading this and I am trying to get published. This is not a hobby anymore. This is a career and part of my future.

Time Management.

But sometimes, my day job and my writing schedule don’t get along.

I can go on and on about how I manage my time and when do I find the time to write, but to be completely transparent is that I sacrifice other things so I can write. I remember so clearly when I made that choice and was okay by making sacrifices. I was hiking in Montana and I had an encounter with a bear. Yes, a bear, and literally one of the things that crossed my mind was I can’t die right now, my stories need to be read, among other things.

So from then on, the little extra time that I have at night I use it for that, to write and read. I don’t watch TV anymore, unless I am too burned out and I really need time to let my head go blank for new ideas. Also, during the weekends, I write and read. I made writing part of my routine to the point that now, if I skip a day, I feel prickly.

For example, there was one day that I had worked 13 hours, and I was exhausted. All I wanted to do was take a shower and sleep. I honestly pushed through and wrote a sentence. And that was enough for me to say I wrote that day.

But, regardless of the sacrifices, I consider myself privileged and lucky that I am able to write every day.

Closing Thoughts.

Wherever you are on your writing journey, remember that everyone is different. For two years I was writing whenever I felt like it and that was okay. At the time, that was what I wanted, and then I made the change to prioritize my writing and become consistent. And this goes also for when you see posts on Twitter about people writing faster or having deals and you don’t. Every path is unique and at the end of the day, writing is a passion and a gift.

“Don’t write for money. Write because you love to do something. If you write for money, you won’t write anything worth reading.” Ray Bradbury.


Alexandra Garcia is a Romance author. She currently lives in Texas with her 2 pups: Jett and Maggie. She is currently editing her 4th WIP (Work in Progress) and just like all her novels she is a constant work in progress. 
You can find her here:
Twitter | Instagram | Website

On Trends or, The Twilight Era

Time is a flat circle. No, hear me out. Publishing trends have time limits but they always find a way to come back, just a decade or so after the last time it was around. With the new Vampire Academy adaptation on Peacock coming out next month (coming to us from THE Julie Plec) as well as the Teen Wolf movie coming out soon (if you have not seen the trailers, what are you doing?), it’s safe to say that the Vampire and Werewolf Era is having a comeback, its renaissance.

But we have to look at the series that really helped create this big craze that lasted from 2007-2012 and that is the Twilight Era. I am just going to talk about Twilight, but there were other vampire series out during that time (Vampire Academy and the spin-off Bloodlines that is even better than the original series, The Vampire Diaries, which then gave us The Originals and our recently departed Legacies, True Blood, The Blue Bloods series by Melissa de la Cruz to name a few) as well as a few werewolf series (don’t worry Shiver fans, I got you).

Twilight was literally my everything from 2007-2011. I even had the first book in one of my senior pictures. That was how important the book was for me.

This November marks a decade since the final Twilight film came out and the impact the series had is still felt today. And as someone who lived it, and I mean LIVED IT, we need to talk about it. Music recomendation for this would be the Twilight soundtracks because they are unmatched.

Humble Beginnings

If you are someone who knows a lot about Twilight, you know that it came in the form of a dream to Stephenie Meyer. Her dream featured a vampire and a human girl and he just wanted her blood but couldn’t. This scene is known as the Meadow Scene. And from there, Twilight was born. The first book was published in 2005, the second book New Moon in 2006, and Eclipse in 2007.

I was introduced to the books fall 2007 about two months before I saw the series as the literal talk of the internet. I devoured these books in single sittings and they are long books. But boy, were they good. Before I was aware of the books, MTV Films had the rights to make the movie but thankfully it didn’t work out.

Instead, we got Summit Entertainment.

The first Twilight Film and Breaking Dawn (the book)

Here are a few fast facts about the first Twilight film:

  • It was written by Melissa Rosenburg of The OC and Step Up fame
  • The first film was directed by Catherine Hardwicke who was known for the film Thirteen and for her edgy work pushing the limits while filming
  • The ideal fan cast for Edward and Bella were Henry Cavill and Emily Browning
  • Instead, they went with the still trying to get his footing in the world, Robert Pattinson, whose biggest role was still playing Cedric Diggory, and child actress Kirsten Stewart who was making Adventureland
  • The screen test for Robert Pattinson happened on Catherine Hardwicke’s bed…where he and Kirsten Stewart as Edward and Bella had to make out
  • The fan reaction for the cast was…not good

Here’s the thing about making movies and being a fan of the book. We fan cast people who we think would fit the part accurately. When it comes time for casting, the director, the producers, and the casting department either have hundreds of people they audition or they have a few people in mind and ask them to audition. It’s very rare for an author to have their pick of who should play who. They can be asked their opinion but it’s out of their hands.

When the cast list was announced, I was at school for musical practice. I told a few of my friends the list was up and we ran to our choir director’s room, got on his computer, and screamed over it.

That spring, the first trailer came out and I cringe now but my entire Facebook feed was me going “OME! OME! OME!”

OME=Oh my Edward!

That summer, Breaking Dawn, the final book came out. I went to the midnight release for it, read a few chapters before going to bed because I had a flight that day, read it on the flight, and then finished it at my destination. My mom, who was also a fan of the books, asked me what I thought about it. I was 16 years old and one of my favorite book series of all time had just ended. How did I feel?

“Underwhelmed,” I said. I feel that we as fans put everything on a pedestal as we read it. And when we read trilogies, or series that have many books, we raise the expectations every time. And when those expectations aren’t met, we feel as if the author didn’t try hard enough when they did. It’s us, the readers and fans, who have to realize things.

The First Film’s Release

I sometimes wonder what life was when the Fab Four were the biggest thing in the world. When the first Twilight film came out, the reaction was immediate. Robert Pattinson, Kirsten Stewart, and Taylor Lautner all became household names. The fans were pushing #TeamEdward or #TeamJacob. The amount of merch (fan made and official) was ridiculous. The fan fiction created was off the charts. The film was overall a success. It showed that small studios can create their own film franchises. And we cannot forget the Taylor Lautner SNL episode. That episode was art.

And yet, the downfall was going to happen eventually.

Fatigue

Two more films came out: New Moon in 2009 and Eclipse in 2010, just months after the second film’s release. The actors were tired. The fans were taking in so much content. It was just non-stop vampires. And there was still one more film to go.

Except one film became two and we can all thank a certain film series about a boy wizard for that.

The decision to split the final book into two movies sent shockwaves throughout the book to adaptation community. If that series is ending with the final book being made into two movies, then all series should follow that lead.

Breaking Dawn Part 1 came out November of 2011 and the ending had fans yelling. We finally got to see Bella become a vampire. Never mind the CGI mess that was Renesmee. Bella Swan was a VAMPIRE!

The next November, Part 2 was out and by then the cast was literally going, “I’m just glad I’m done.” And I can’t blame them. Working on a film franchise is hard work. It’s years of your life dedicated to one project. The same can be said to people who work on television shows for multiple seasons. You get tired and you want to go on to other things.

The fans were feeling the exact same way. A lot of us still went to see the last movie because we just wanted to see how it ended. We were no longer as dedicated as when the books first came out…six years ago? Seven? Eight? You get tired and move on to other things. Good news for everyone during the Twilight Era was that the Dystopia Era was thriving (until 2017 when it kind of shut down…and is waiting to be revived again). The Twilight Saga had been replaced with The Hunger Games and the Divergent series was right on its tail for a film adaptation.

And just like that, the Vampire Era of Twilight ended, and the vampire era of many other series slowly started to follow.

Fifty Shades of Grey

Fanfiction is funky. A lot of good fanfiction goes on to become original works. And then we have Fifty Shades of Grey. Known orginally as Twilight fanfiction, the series became very, very popular. The series ended up becoming adapted in a film series as well. And I will never let people forget that it started as vampire fanfiction.

Midnight Sun

Long time Twilight fans know about Midnight Sun. It’s Twilight in Edward’s point of view. It was literally the Holy Grail of the fandom. Meyer even let Catherine Hardwicke and Robert Pattinson read some of it for his characterization. It was promised that it would come out.

That was until 2008 when tragedy struck. The story was leaked online and Meyer was understandably upset. She put it aside and that was that. Midnight Sun remained a dream for long time fans. Just one day, maybe, we would get it.

And then in May 2020, Stephenie Meyer revealed online it was happening. Midnight Sun was finally coming out. In August it came out and the reception was…not that great.

Remember how I said we put everything on a pedestal? Honey, we did it again! I got maybe 10% of the way done but my problem was that it had been over a decade since I read the first book. I couldn’t remember the book anymore. Even though I wanted to like it, I just couldn’t get into it.

The Future

Stephenie Meyer has plans for at least two more Twilight books. Yay? Nay? I really don’t know how I feel about this. I read the books when I was 16-17, which was the perfect age to read them but now here I am 30 years old and wondering when do you just let go to the nostalgia of the books you loved before? When do you let go and let a new generation fall in love with the books?

Let’s look at Vampire Academy. The new series on Peacock looks nothing like the previous film adaptation. Will this be a good or a bad thing? Will book fans embrace all of the changes or will they hate them? Will fans instead say that the film was better than the TV series, even though a very well known producer is in charge? But then again, said producer also angered fans of The Vampire Diaries.

On the flip side, we have Teen Wolf’s movie coming out. But, it doesn’t have fan favorite Stiles in it. Will fans still watch the movie because they loved the show? And with a certain character coming back as seen in the trailer, will that be enough to bring fans in?

And what if there is a Twilight reboot made for TV or on film again? Reboot culture is very in right now. But a lot of the reboots don’t hold up to the original because fans feel a connection with that orginal series. They can’t feel one with the new one.

With people discovering books decades after their popularity thanks to BookTok, it’s been interesting to see a new generation react to what was popular and in nearly 20 years ago. But then again, time is a flat circle. Everything comes back eventually. And with the Vampire Era 2.0 well on the horizon, I say bring it. Because that means Dystopia Era 2.0 is on deck and I for one cannot WAIT for the Joey King led adaptation of Uglies to come out on Netflix because I have been waiting since 2005.

How about you? Were you a major Twihard back in the day? Were you #TeamEdward or #TeamJacob? Or were you a Charlie Swan stan? Were you more Jasper/Alice fan? Or did you prefer the regular Forks High School Kids because Anna Kendrick? Did you speak in Twilight speak all the time? Were the movies our introduction to Muse and Bon Iver?

Briana Michelle Meyer is currently finishing up her time in South Korea where she spent the last six years working as an English teacher. She is actively working on #MurderMysteryWIP which is basically her love letter towards true crime shows she grew up watching. You can find her on Twitter.

Weekend Roadside Cafe

The road to publication can be exhausting sometimes. Here’s a roadside cafe serving all things writing/publishing to relieve you: information sodas, entertainment burgers, amusement chips… we’ve got it. It’s Alright to take a break; check out the menu!

Info Burgers 🍔

Photo from Twitter

Tweet Chips 🍟

Links to tweets from the writing community we hope interest you!

Informative Tweets

Relatable Tweets


Got any awesome writerly links or quotes to share with us? From your blog or another’s? Leave in the comments and we’ll add it next time!

Book Review: I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy

Published August 9th, 2022
By Simon & Schuster
320 pages

This book by Jennette—popularly known as Sam from iCarly—has stirred A LOT of conversation in the past few weeks, and I mean look at that title! That alone is enough to get anyone talking. Honestly, the title terrifies me to type or say aloud cause I love my mom and like I want her to live forever, and uttering that title sounds like some kind of scary declaration.

Anyway. This memoir isn’t a wry, snarky book as the title might lead one to believe. It’s the recount of a teen star who endured emotional and mental abuse, despite having the kind of fame many people think would make life perfect.

For a while I’ve known that the behind the scenes of Hollywood is a nest of abuse and trauma, but the reason this book felt like a whiplash was because I never thought kids working on Nickelodeon encountered similar issues. Growing up a fan of the network, it had always seemed like a safe space for kids to be ridiculous and have fun. But the reality is that these shows (iCarly, Sam & Cat) that had brought viewer happiness were filled with actors who were very unhappy.

“Fame has put a wedge between Mom and me that I didn’t think was possible. She wanted this. And I wanted her to have it. I wanted her to be happy. But now that I have it, I realize that she’s happy and I’m not. Her happiness came at the cost of mine. I feel robbed and exploited.”

Manipulation is one of the major themes in the memoir. By Jennette’s mother and by ‘The Creator’ especially. It was sad to see how she was ‘molded’ for so long, constantly weighing her wants against other people’s, wondering if she was being selfish for wanting anything her mother didn’t. Her mother had cancer and would often use that against Jennette when Jennette wanted something else. This jars because her character Sam is a load of confidence and it’s easy to believe she was that way in real life, but she wasn’t.

“Catering to him emotionally. I feel similarly around The Creator as I feel around Mom—on edge, desperate to please, terrified of stepping out of line. Put both of them together in the same room and I’m overwhelmed.”

As a fan of the old iCarly, younger me had honestly thought Sam, Carly, and Freddy were friends in real life too because they’d had such chemistry. Especially Sam and Carly, but it turns out their friendship had been a bit hard won. Her mother hadn’t thought Miranda (Carly) a good enough influence and had told Jennette to keep away. But eventually, they did become good friends. Further in the memoir, Ariana Grande (also her co-actress in Sam & Cat) was brought into the story and Jennette shares explicitly her jealousy of Ariana at the time. How Ariana had been allowed more opportunities to pursue a music career while Jennette had been manipulated (by the producers) into constantly holding down the fort—and that couldn’t have been easy to do.

“But what finally undid me was when Ariana came whistle-toning in with excitement because she had spent the previous evening playing charades at Tom Hanks’s house. That was the moment I broke.”

As a Christian myself, the chapter/paragraphs addressing how her mother had suddenly stopped finding church important because Jennette had landed the iCarly role and become a series regular really sank in. And it wasn’t that her mother had decided to stop going to church—no one is forced to go to church. It’s more like when her mother decided to stop, Jennette no longer had the choice to go. And at that point Jennette was 16 years old.

“Maybe people go to church because they want things from God. And they keep going while they’re wishing and yearning and longing for those things. But then maybe once they get those things, they realize they don’t need church anymore.”

Another major theme here was the Price Of Fame. I was honestly puzzled to learn Jennette had hated the Nickelodeon fame at some point, because again I’d thought it wasn’t like Hollywood fame but just kids having fun in an environment made for them and sprinkling happiness all over the world. How wrong I had been. There were many times when she’d hated the spotlight and the Sam jokes and even the fans.

A side note is that this makes you wonder where you stand generally as a fan to shows, musicians, or books. You think you’re doing good supporting your favorite shows and showing your love, but then these stories come out and you wonder if you were merely just a nuisance in their lives. If you were part of what made that point in their life so rough.

My Reservations

The reservations I had while reading the memoir was that sometimes, I wondered if Jennette was coming off a teeny bit self-righteous. In the sense that the blame always laid in everyone else and her ‘shortcomings’ were written in such a way that we the readers had to understand them and her reasons behind them.

Then I also got a sense of friend-worship for Miranda Cosgrove. Because based on the memoir, Miranda did no wrong but was the very best and perfect of friend.

So these made me more attentive to the fact that this was very much Jennette’s point of view. Her recount of the world as she wants to share it, hence might not be totally foolproof.

In the end, I enjoyed reading it, seeing the sides of Nickelodeon we hadn’t known, and my heart went out to Jennette so much. I’m glad she has grown out of that phase and is at a much better place in her life! I definitely recommend people—especially older Nickelodeon fans—read it.


L.O. Nobi is an avid writer, with numerous novels constantly blinking at her on her laptop. She’s a lover of words, reading, and Disney. You can find her tweeting here, or visit her personal blog here.

Why I Write Romance Novels

Post by Swati Hegde

This is my first solo post! So hello, everyone–I’m Swati Hegde, a 26-year-old romance author from Bangalore, India. I’ve lived in India my whole life, and my writing almost always features Indian cities as the main setting. Which is interesting, because most traditionally published contemporary novels in the US are not set outside of America, least of all in India. Here’s hoping my literary agent and I are able to change that 🙂

Anyway, let’s get to the topic of this post: why I write romance novels.

Whenever I meet someone new and they ask me what I do, I tell them, “Oh, I’m a writer and editor.” And they almost always say, “Wow, so cool! What do you write?”

And when I reply, “I write romance,” there’s this flicker of amusement–sometimes disappointment–on their face. Like I should be embarrassed for writing romance novels, or maybe I should have said, “Literary fiction that makes the world a better/smarter/more thoughtful place”.

And that’s the first reason I write romance: as a big F-you to those out there who look down upon romance authors and think it doesn’t help the world (because it honestly does).

I truly believe romance is one of the most wonderful genres out there, not just because it upholds strong standards for romantic relationships, but also because in this dumpster fire world where everything seems tragic and exhausting most of the time, romance novels can give you hope. And sometimes, hope is all you need to keep going.

So here’s the second reason I write romance. Not only do I want to normalize people having high standards in relationships and not tolerating problematic behavior in their partners, but I also want to show my readers that the right person for them will treat them with more love and kindness than they ever imagined possible. I know, because I’m in a romance novel-worthy relationship myself (tropes: second chance romance, best friends to lovers) that very closely mirrors the kind of love I write about.

Also, romance novels have gotten me through some of the worst moments of my life: depressive episodes, bad breakups, career hiccups. Being able to laugh at a funny meet-cute or grin at an adorable confession of love? I don’t take that for granted on the bad days. That’s my reason #3. If a reader somewhere in the world feels happy, even for a minute of their difficult day, because of my romance novels… that would make every single part of this (long and frustrating) author journey worth it.

So that’s why I write romance, and why I’ll never stop writing it. Because romance novels make the world a better, kinder, funnier, happier place–and that’s the kind of world I want to live in.

How about you? What genre do you write, and why do you write it? I’d love to hear your reasons in the comments below.

Love hard & dream big!


Swati is a desi adult romance and YA author. By day, she’s a mindset coach and freelance editor. She is also a self-proclaimed coffee shop enthusiast who lives in Bangalore, India, and can usually be found at the nearest café with a hot mug of tea. You can follow Swati on Twitter or Instagram.

Agent Interview: Jenissa Graham

A surefire way to determine an agent is the best fit for your manuscript/writing career is by learning everything you can about them. Such information is great when choosing who to query and deciding who you’d love to work long term with. As a site dedicated to guiding writers through the publication journey, we’ve put together awesome agent interviews for you!

Today we’re introducing Jenissa Graham from BookEnds Literary Agency!


Path2pub: How did you become an agent?

JG: I started my publishing journey at Writers House, first as an intern and then full time in the Subrights department as the Global Licensing and Media Rights Assistant. After a while, I missed the early stages of the book journey (reading through queries, reading revised manuscripts, writing pitch letters, etc.), and I knew eventually I’d want to return to that part of the job. When I learned BookEnds Literary had a position for an Associate Agent and Subright Manager, I knew it was the opportunity I was looking for because I didn’t have to choose between Subrights and Agenting. I could do both!

Path2pub: That’s awesome! What genres do you represent and why did you decide ‘these are what I want to help bring to the world’?

JG: Across middle grade and YA/NA, I’m looking to represent contemporary, fantasy, sci-fi, speculative fiction, mystery/suspense, and thrillers. The preteen to early adult years are pivotal in what shapes us. So many choices, experiences, and moments between those stages in my life brought me to where I am today, and I’m eager to represent books that also highlight that. In adult, I’m only open to psychological thrillers and mystery/suspense.

Also, many of us know the lack of diverse voices in Publishing. Growing up, I wanted to see more characters that looked like me or from different cultures and now I get to represent that.

Path2pub: What instantly catches your eye in a query letter/manuscript?

JG: The writing! I try to get a sense of the writer’s voice in the opening lines.

Path2pub: What is that element that makes you know at once that a story is not for you?

JG: I don’t think there’s something *at once*. Unless it’s something I blatantly said I’m not looking for, I carefully read through my queries to see if the query letter or sample pages evoke some kind of emotion or inclination to keep reading. If it didn’t, that just means I’m not the best advocate for it.

Path2pub: Thank you for sharing that! How hands-on are you editorially?

JG: I think I take on pretty hands on approach. As soon as I request more pages (either a partial or full), I’m taking notes while I consider the project. During the offer call, I make it clear my vision for the book and discuss some of my editorial suggestions. If we sign together then I break down my letter into categories where I will both gush about my favorite elements of the book while also suggesting where we can enhance it. I offer creative calls to all my clients because sometimes you just need to talk through scenes rather than type it.

Path2pub: Creative calls are great and I concur that talking through scenes is super helpful. Do you have goals for how many clients you want to acquire in a year?

JG: No set number. As I build my list, I’m looking for the stories that transformed me after reading and if I know I’ll be heartbroken (dramatic, yes) if I missed out on.

Path2pub: What is your favorite trope?

JG: Consequences of choices!

Path2pub: What are some books you think everyone should read?

JG: Beloved by Toni Morrison, The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom, Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison.

Path2pub: Thank you for sharing those! If a writer could write a book specifically for you, what would you want it to be about?

JG: A speculative fiction or story told from the POV of the antagonist where I’m questioning my own beliefs/morals.

Path2pub: What advice do you have for querying writers?

JG: Start from a one line pitch and then expand from there. The hook is going to have my attention immediately, and as you expand into the subplots and elements, show me how/why your book is unique from all the other queries I read. I want to know what that thing is in your story that separates it from everyone else.

Path2pub: Great advice! What are your non-publishing related hobbies?

JG: Music, trying new foods/recipes, and tarot.


Jenissa Graham is an Associate Agent and Subrights Manager at BookEnds Literary Agency. She represents MG, YA, and select Adult projects across a wide-range of genres. Jenissa is a first-generation Jamaican and dedicated to increasing the BIPOC space in Publishing. She is always on the lookout for new underrepresented authors, so if you think your project may be the right fit, please consider querying her through Query Manager: QueryManager.com/JGraham


Subscribe below for more agent interviews!

AUPQ: Can Writers Contest Agent Rejection?

Hello everyone! On today’s post, joining us in answer is our newest contributor on the team! We’re excited for you to meet her. You can visit the Contributors Bio for more info and keep an eye out for her introductory post this month.

Now from a previous Roadside Cafe, Erica asked a question in the comments for an AUPQ: Can writers ever contest an agent rejection? Can they message the agent to contest the feedback given for rejecting a query?


This is a very interesting question, and wouldn’t writers like to be able to do that? Haha. Tell an agent, sorry you said my MS wasn’t a good fit for your list at this time, but you just tweeted last week that you’re hungry for an adult sci-fi with goat-like aliens which is exactly what I sent you! On a more serious note, when agents pass on queries it’s usually because they’ve decided they aren’t interested—and then often give a general rejection note. So messaging them to contest their reasons, most likely won’t change anything—unless the agent is super open minded. Agents talk about how they have to look at hundreds of queries a months and I’m not sure any would be happy to revisit mails from a writer insisting their MS is their fit.

This isn’t to say they might not be wrong? For instance, there are agents who reject queries, but then at pitch events ‘heart’ a pitch for that same MS and end up soliciting for full MSs. Which proves you were right and the story was a fit after all. But that’s a different occasion. In the end my thoughts is that: it’s best never to contest agent rejection.

—Lucia, the YA Fantasy Writer!

I mean you can, there’s nothing stopping you from sending a response to the agent, but I would advise against doing that because it will very likely not give you a different outcome. Lucia’s right when she says that agents who pass on queries likely already decided that they aren’t interested for 123456789 reasons, that might well go beyond the feedback they’ve given you. If they liked the book enough and think the issues can be resolved through editing, they would have offered an R&R instead of a rejection.

Agent feedback can be super subjective. For the same MS, there can be agents who find the pace too fast and others who find it too slow! Feel free to take whatever feedback you agree with and set aside what you disagree with, and press on! If the agent has rejected the MS, it’s likely this agent isn’t the right fit for you anyway. You’ll find someone who loves your work for what it is soon enough 🙂

-Amber, YA/NA SFF!

I agree with Amber and Lucia that contacting an agent to explain why you don’t agree with their feedback for rejection isn’t a good idea. It’s true that maybe you could contest the agent’s answer, if they used an email to contact you. However in my experience with agents using Query Manager, the moment the agent sent me a rejection, they closed the channel so there was no way of contacting them back (maybe because they really didn’t want to argue with authors about their decision). Also keep in mind that receiving feedback with a rejection isn’t that common. For me, it only happened twice, because I mostly received form rejections which didn’t give me much to work with. So, I appreciated receiving feedback in spite of not getting the result I wanted.

I think agents have the right to decide if they feel they are a good fit for the author’s story or not. And that’s the best interest for the writers too. You want an agent who loves your work, who believes in your stories, and who can’t wait to champion your book; not someone you need to convince to take you on. As writers it’s always hard to receive rejections, but instead of staying focused on those NO, we can decide what to do with that feedback and move forward with other agents (in the end, this industry is really very subjective). Contesting the feedback received might even hurt your chances of being able to query that specific agent in the future with different stories; so it’s up to you to decide if you’re willing to take that risk (especially when there’s a big chance the agent’s decision won’t change).

– Mariana, PB Writer!

I completely agree with my fellow contributors. Getting a rejection hurts and it hurts even more when it’s a full or a partial, especially if they send a form rejection. I always take the rejections with a grain of salt and remember that publishing is subjective. I remember one personalized rejection where a lovely agent wrote me back saying, I loved your voice, your query letter is strong, but ultimately I am only looking for historical romance. Ouch. Did I feel the need to say, but hey, I read your MS wishlist and the genres you represent and I am a great fit? No, not really. The only thing I thought was: Well, if I ever write a historical romance I might query her again. I didn’t want to burn bridges by contesting her decision.

Just remember, publishing is subjective and agents are the first step in this long journey!

Alex, Romance Writer!

I’m in agreement with my fellow contributors. “Contesting” a rejection definitely makes it seem like you’re trying to convince the agent to change their mind, which will most definitely not happen. The agent for you is going to love your writing, your book, and your potential as an author–and if you received a form rejection or unfavorable feedback from them on a book, they’re likely not the agent for you, or at least, not the agent for this particular book.

What I will say, though, is that sometimes, if you’ve received very personalized, actionable feedback that for sure isn’t a form rejection (the agent mentioned your book’s characters, scenes, subplots, etc.) and you’re able to contact the agent via email or if the Query Manager form is still open, it doesn’t hurt to reply with something like “Hey Agent! Thank you so much for the feedback. This is so helpful and definitely aligns with my editorial vision. When I do finish editing based on this feedback, could I send you the revised draft?”

A lot of agents don’t want to see revised work unless they explicitly ask for it, and more often than not, even if agents see potential in a book, they don’t request R&Rs simply because it’s time-consuming. I don’t think it hurts at all to ask the above question if the feedback seems actionable and definitely something you’d use to revise, anyway.

You might never get a response–or the agent might say, “Yes, you can query me again with the revision.” You won’t know until you ask! Just make sure to ask with professionalism, kindness, and gratitude.

Swati, Desi Romance & YA Author!

I agree with everyone else. Of course we think what we wrote is amazing. We spent so much time on it to make sure it would be good. But we also need to find an agent who agrees that is just as amazing and maybe even more. It’s better to have an agent who will stand by and support us from the get go. If an agent is not vibing with your book and that is why they rejected it, it’s a good indication that they would not be the best person to champion your work.

Agents also have a more clear image of the publishing world than we do. So yes, the rejection hurts, especially when you are so close. But to quote a very popular singer, sometimes you just got to “shake it off.”

-Briana, Slice of Life YA


What are YOUR thoughts, dearest readers?

#DVPit Most Iconic Tweets

Because this August 1st and 2nd 2022 is the DVPit Season in the writing community, and because Lucia is a total geek for all things publishing success stories, here are some of the most successful #DVPit pitches. Both in the sense that they got the authors agents and also launched the authors’ successful writing careers!

So if you’re wondering how to craft a Twitter pitch or if to participate in DVPit next time, check these out!







For more info on successful pitches, visit the site here! Happy pitching!