Sunday, January 26, 2014

Announcing the Free February First Five Pages Workshop with Guest Mentor Todd Strasser

Note from Martina: 
The workshop is full for the month. Thanks everyone for all the entries. We will notify all participants by tomorrow, so stay tuned to see who made it. Entries will be posted on Monday at noon.

Our February workshop will open for entries at noon on February 1, 2014.
We'll take the first five Middle Grade, Young Adult, or New Adult entries that meet all guidelines and formatting requirements.

Click here to get the rules!

And we have some very exciting news!

As some of you may know, Lisa and I have been really struggling to keep up with the workshop on top of our own writing and various other responsibilities at Adventures in YA Publishing and elsewhere. In addition to going through the final stages of publication on the first book of my trilogy, I'm writing the second book, and I was honestly struggling with the decision to have to close the workshop  down. But we have had such success and so many great participants come through the workshop, that I really hated that idea.

Fortunately, a number of amazing authors have stepped up to give us a hand here as permanent mentors who will each take one participant per month through the initial entry and two revisions so that each workshop participant will receive a critique each week (time permitting) from the guest mentor and two permanent mentors.

We'll always have the updated mentor list here, but so that you know how it is going to work, here is the full current list.


Martina Boone (little old moi), loves reading and writing books about beautiful, vicious, magical worlds that intersect our own. She is the principal blogger at Adventures in YA Publishing, and the founding member of YA Series Insiders. COMPULSION, the first book of her Southern gothic trilogy, will be available Fall 2014 from Simon Pulse – Simon & Schuster.

Lisa Gail Green (aka Lisa the Great) writes paranormal and fantasy. She is the author of THE BINDING STONE, the first novel in her DJINN series. She would most definitely have a werewolf for a pet if she weren't allergic.


Kimberly Sabatini is a former Special Education Teacher who is now a stay-at-home mom and a part-time dance instructor for three and four year olds. She lives in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband and three boys. Kimberly writes Young Adult fiction and is represented by Michelle Wolfson of Wolfson Literary Agency. TOUCHING THE SURFACE was her debut novel from Simon Pulse – Simon & Schuster.

Julie Musil is represented by Karen Grencik of Red Fox Literary. She writes Young Adult novels from her rural home in Southern California, where she lives with her husband and three sons. She’s an obsessive reader who loves stories that grab the heart and won’t let go.

Susan Dennard is a reader, writer, lover of animals, and eater of cookies. She used to be a marine biologist, but now she writes novels–and not novels about fish, but novels about kick-butt heroines and swoon-worthy rogues. Her debut, SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY, as well as the prequel, A DAWN MOST WICKED, and the sequel, A DARKNESS STRANGE AND LOVELY, are available from HarperTeen.

Ron Smith writes television commercials for an ad agency in Chicago. He doesn’t want to talk about it. He’d rather be writing fiction full-time, and exploring worlds of wonder and imagination. He writes YA and MG fiction and is represented by Adriann Ranta of Wolf Literary Services.

Miriam Forster is a recovering barista and former bookseller who's obsessed with anthropology, British television and stories of all kinds. Her debut fantasy CITY OF A THOUSAND DOLLS was published by HarperTeen in February 2013.

Leslie S. Rose was an assistant professor in the Department of Theatre at UCLA for many years where several of her plays were produced. Her short stories appear in the ongoing Journeys of Wonder series and the anthology Paramourtal 2 by Cliffhanger Books.

Erin Cashman's debut YA fantasy novel, THE EXCEPTIONALS, was named a Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Book. She primarily writes YA and middle grade fantasy while eating chocolate and drinking tea.

Sheri Larsen is a lover of the otherworldly, and her sweet spot is writing for the average tween/teen who's not so average. But she write picture books and middle grade as well. She is represented by Paula Munier of Talcott Notch Literary, and is also the creator of #WS4U!-a Facebook writer support group, and co-collaborator for Oasis for YA.

Stasia Ward Kehoe is the author of YA novels THE SOUND OF LETTING GO and AUDITION, both published by Viking. She grew up performing at theaters along the eastern seaboard, then shifted from stage to page and has been writing fiction, marketing copy and educational materials for almost two decades.

Melanie Conklin is a MG & YA author represented by Peter Knapp of Park Literary Group. In between books, she spends her time doodling and chasing after two small maniacs. She is also the founding member of, a group blog that gets to the heart of kidlit.


Along with our permanent mentors, the guest mentor this month will be TODD STRASSER, the author of more than 100 books for teens and middle graders including the best-selling Help! I’m Trapped In … series. He has written numerous award-winning YA novels including The Accident, The Wave, Give A Boy A Gun, and How I Created My Perfect Prom Date, which became the feature film Drive Me Crazy starring Melissa Joan Hart and Entourage star Adrian Grenier. The New York Times called his most recent novel, Fallout, "Superb entertainment." His books have been translated into more than a dozen languages, and several have been adapted into feature films. Recent novels include the YA mystery thrillers Wish You Were Dead, Blood on My Hands, and Kill You Last. He has also written for television, newspapers, and magazines such as The New Yorker, Esquire, and The New York Times. His novel BOOT CAMP, an ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, recently made Barnes and Nobles' short list of 13 Great YA Novels with Male Protagonists.

Here's his full bio:

Shortly after Todd was born in New York City his parents moved to Roslyn Heights, New York (Long Island). Todd went to the I.U. Willets Elementary school and then attended the Wheatley School for junior high and high school. His best subject was science. He also liked to read, but had difficulty with spelling and grammar, and struggled in English. His favorite sports were tennis, skiing, and fishing.

Todd went to college at New York University for a few years, and then dropped out. He lived on a commune, then lived in Europe where he was a street musician. All the while, he wrote songs and poems and lots of letters to his friends back home.

After returning to the United States he studied literature and writing at Beloit College. After college, Todd worked as a reporter at the Middletown Times Herald-Record newspaper in Middletown, New York, and later at Compton Advertising in New York City.

In 1978, he sold his first novel, Angel Dust Blues, and used the money to start the Dr. Wing Tip Shoo fortune cookie company. For the next 12 years, Todd sold many more fortune cookies than books.

In 1990, Todd moved with his family to Westchester County, N.Y. He is the author of more than 140 books for teens and middle graders including the best-selling Help! I’m Trapped Inseries, and numerous award-winning YA novels including The Wave, Give A Boy A Gun, The Accident, Can’t Get There From Here, Boot Camp, If I Grow Up and Fallout.

Several of his books have been adapted for television and his novels The Wave and How I Created My Perfect Prom Date became feature films. His books have been translated into more than a dozen languages, and he has also written for television, newspapers such asThe New York Times, and magazines such as The New Yorker and Esquire.

Todd now divides his time between Westchester and Montauk, NY. He likes to read and watch movies, spend time with his grown children, play tennis and ski, but his favorite new sport is surfing.
Todd's Most Recent Book

No Place
by Todd Strasser
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Released 1/28/2014

When Dan and his family go from middle class to homeless, issues of injustice rise to the forefront in this relatable, timely novel from Todd Strasser.

It seems like Dan has it all. He’s a baseball star who hangs with the popular crowd and dates the hottest girl in school. Then his family loses their home.

Forced to move into the town’s Tent City, Dan feels his world shifting. His friends try to pretend that everything’s cool, but they’re not the ones living among the homeless. As Dan struggles to adjust to his new life, he gets involved with the people who are fighting for better conditions and services for the residents of Tent City. But someone wants Tent City gone, and will stop at nothing until it’s destroyed...

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about No Place?
Somewhat sadly, I suppose my favorite thing about NO PLACE is its timeliness. When I started working on the book nearly three years ago, I had no way of knowing what the state of homelessness would be in early 2014. Now here we are just a month from pub date and this week the New York Times is running a big front-page series about homelessness while the most recent statistics indicate that there are more homeless children here than at any time since the Great Depression. I’ve always felt that books like these – including GIVE A BOY A GUN and IF I GROW UP – present something of a moral dilemma. The worse the situation is, the more I, the author, stands to gain. And yet I strongly believe these topics need to be addressed.

To give an example of why I feel NO PLACE is an important book for today’s young adults, I recall doing a Skype with a class from a suburban school in Florida back when I was just beginning my research. When I asked the students if there were any homeless children attending their school, they all said no. But when the Skype session ended and the students were leaving the room, the teacher came up to the camera and said in a low voice that there were indeed a number of children in the school whose parents were homeless. The other students had no idea.

Purchase No Place at Amazon
Purchase No Place at IndieBound
View No Place on Goodreads

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