Friday, September 16, 2016

Cover Reveal: Pintip Dunn; BEFORE TOMORROW

Title: Before Tomorrow
Publisher: Entangled TEEN
Release Date: Oct. 31, 2016

And now for the reveal...get ready--it's a beaut!! and NO I did not design this--I just love Pintip and her writing so here goes...

In a world where all seventeen-year-olds receive a memory from their future selves, Logan Russell's vision is exactly as he expects—and exactly not. He sees himself achieving his greatest wish of becoming a gold-star swimmer, but strangely enough, the vision also shows him locking eyes with a girl from his past, Callie Stone, and experiencing an overwhelming sense of love and belonging.
Logan’s not sure what the memory means, but soon enough, he learns that his old friend Callie is in trouble. She’s received an atypical memory, one where she commits a crime in the future. According to the law, she must be imprisoned, even though she's done nothing wrong. Now, Logan must decide if he'll give up his future as a gold-star swimmer and rescue the literal girl of his dreams. All he'll have to do is defy Fate.
Add BEFORE TOMORROW on Goodreads!
But what if you don't want to wait until Oct. 31?
No problem. Pre-order REMEMBER YESTERDAY, book 2 in the FORGET TOMORROW series, and register your receipt here, and you'll receive a copy of BEFORE TOMORROW to read before anyone else! Plus, U.S. residents will also get a bookplate and bookmark!

Want to learn more about FORGET TOMORROW and REMEMBER YESTERDAY? Click here.


Author bio: Pintip Dunn is a New York Times bestselling author of YA fiction. She graduated from Harvard University, magna cum laude, with an A.B. in English Literature and Language. She received her J.D. at Yale Law School, where she was an editor of the YALE LAW JOURNAL.
Pintip is represented by literary agent Beth Miller of Writers House. Her debut novel, FORGET TOMORROW, won the RWA RITA® for Best First Book. Her other novels include THE DARKEST LIE and the forthcoming REMEMBER YESTERDAY.

She lives with her husband and children in Maryland. You can learn more about Pintip and her books at

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

#Pitch Wars: The Window Closes PSA #1 All my dirty secrets revealed...

REMINDER: To repeat an old cliche that has been repeated to me more times than I can count:

Your writing career is a MARATHON and not a sprint.


But let's unpack that. What do I mean by endurance? 
Just pushing and pushing the same manuscript ad nauseum for years and years? Fixing and editing and revising the same old tired thing? How long should you keep revamping the same book? I think that it is sometimes advisable to shelve a manuscript and apply everything you've learned to something new.

Which doesn't mean you can't GO BACK and rewrite that shelved lovely with fresh eyes months or even years later.

Let me share my own sordid adventures in writing--all 13 years of them.

You may have deduced that I am a late starter. As in, I had an entire career as a graphic designer, professor, fine artist, and illustrator (not to mention mother of two) behind me. I had even already earned an MFA in painting. I'm not bragging--I'm just trying to explain the ridiculous and improbable nature of my quest...very much like Don Quixote's ambitions. I wasn't exactly looking for a new obsession. It just kind of found me. 

In 2003, I'd wanted to illustrate a children's book--because--well--I am an illustrator/designer. That is what I was trained to do. It's how I saw myself. I'd always "dabbled" in writing and brushed it off as something that came "easily." I'd never struggled with writing in school, but had also never taken it too seriously. It was just a way to get a good grade and sometimes amuse myself with half-baked stories I'd never intended to finish.

That was until 2003. What was supposed to be a short little picture book, somehow morphed into five notebooks worth of scribbling. At first I thought I had a middle-grade book, until I realized it was really YA. That was after I learned what YA was!

Translation: I had NO CLUE what I was writing. 

I did not understand genres, let alone the marketplace. All I knew was that this character (His name was Will, for the record, and I still have the drawings of his never to be published exploits) walked into my brain and stayed there. 


Yes--three years. Two of which (2003, 2004) I did not admit to ANYONE, except a trusted friend and a family member. You'd think I was a spy or had an addiction. (wait--I did have an addiction).
However, what I DID have was INTENSE passion--but not much else! 

I had no one to share my words with, no one to advise me on craft. Honestly, I had no idea there even was such a thing. (Shameful for a person with a graduate degree--but heck--I was an art major).
All I had a wild meandering plot, and a character I loved. Oh, what a glorious mess!
Finally, after two years of writing in secret, I managed to type the monstrosity into a word doc. At a friend's urging, I sent it to her acquaintance, a big shot at one of the BIG 5 (there were 6 then).
Do you want to know what said person had to say about my "masterpiece?" 
That I should strongly consider taking a class, or maybe even quitting. 

In a word--I SUCKED. I mean-- really, really sucked. And here I was thinking-- Damn! I labored two years over this thing--isn't that worth something?

It was worth something. 

Yes. I learned loads.

But it wasn't worth a cent to a busy editor whose business it was to publish good books that people will want to buy and read.

So, there you have it. 

2005--Year of reckoning, Pt. 1. 

Quit? Or figure out what to do next.

I knew I wasn't quitting. Instead, I found an online critique group. And after about a year of ripping, tearing, learning about "show vs. tell", tension, dialogue tags, voice (all things I had NO IDEA existed despite getting a grade of 100 on my HS English exit exams, and "5" on my AP English exam and getting waived from Freshman English). 

Well color me shocked. 
I had NO IDEA there was so much to know about writing fiction. About genre!

The good news is that after seven months of getting my writing chewed and spit back out at me, I made major strides in my craft. So, by the end of 2006, I was ready to query the monster I had been nursing for over three years. (Okay--I will tell you the name--because this thing is dead and it is going to STAY DEAD. It was called TRUE VOICE).

Yeah--so what happened? Did I get an agent? Did I get a multi-zillion dollar book contract?

Did I expect that I would?
Um--yes--actually--I thought I had created a work of rare genius and that the whole world should be as thrilled about it as I was.

What really happened was this. I queried my favorite agent (after tons of flailing over query letters, etc.) and actually GOT MY FIRST PARTIAL REQUEST. I was over the moon!!
Fast I did not get an agent. And after I revised this monster umpteen times, and got about 60 rejections, I decided to put it to bed. 

So in 2006, I wrote another ms. This time the voice was SPOT ON. It grabbed people. This was IT, everyone said. I finished this book within the year and was querying by the end of the year. And there we go again--LOADS of requests--including one from a HUGE agent. This agent said she LOVED my voice, but didn't think this premise would work--but please do send her my next ms.
Now, it's 2008. Book TWO (Freaks of Nature, may it rest in peace) is murdered and buried next to Book ONE. I finish my THIRD book (Afterside--may it also rest in peace) in maybe, eight months and send the ms to the BIG AGENT. BIG AGENT signs me in September 2008.
Sounds great, right? 
In only five years, I have a BIG AGENT and I am on my way.

NOPE. But one thing I did learn was genre and voice. I learned enough about how to hook a reader. But guess what? I still could not plot my way out of a paper bag (sometimes I think I still can't!)
Fast forward to 2009. BIG AGENT never subs the book. Drops me after the financial freak out and market crash of 2008. Everyone panics and I believe I am finished. Washed up.

Yes--2009, year of reckoning Pt. 2. 

The year I finally decided that I needed to write for my love of it--and nothing more. 
So I worked and wrote and by the end of 2009, had completed Book 4. (I also attended loads of conferences and did whatever I possibly could to improve my craft. In other words I switched gears from getting PUBLISHED to being a BETTER WRITER.

Now it's 2010. I place runner-up for a WRITER'S DIGEST contest. Which wins me a partial request from another BIG AGENT (no disclosure, but this agent--who did not become my agent, has become a friend.). That agen (who is a terrific agent should you be so lucky to have her), helped me with some big plot problems I had. I queried BOOK 4--got about a 30% request rate and FINALLY in the summer of 2010, landed my second agent--a new agent who has since gone on to greatness (and though I still respect her deeply is not longer my agent--but that's about the biz and not writing. I have a lovely agent now, Shannon Hassan--who is NEVER EVER going to see books 1,2,and 3.)
So guess what? Agent #2 did not sell my Book 4. Instead, I wrote BOOK NUMBER FIVE.

See if you can guess the title of BOOK NUMBER FIVE?

That book is BREAKING GLASS, the fifth book I wrote and my first book to get published. 
In 2013. That is a full ten years from the minute I started filling those notebooks.

I will stop here--though my journey is far from over. Getting published is just another step on the ladder. There is no arrival, only the voyage.
But here's a good one to leave you chuckling. Remember BOOK FOUR? The book that joined my other three in a shallow grave?
In 2013, a lightbulb went off, and suddenly I knew how to "fix" BOOK FOUR. Want to know the name of BOOK FOUR?

That book is UNTIL BETH--the fourth book I ever wrote and my third to be published.
Moral of the story? Never give up. But that doesn't mean keep on working and re-working the same manuscript. Put that one aside and write a new one. 
Learn from your mistakes. Listen to your feedback. Apply what you know until something finally sticks!!

Has this been helpful? I really don't want any of you with a story in your hearts to let those stories go dim. Just know that in the arts, it takes time and effort to perfect your craft.
Please let me know your own stories and thoughts in the comments below.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Hello, future mentees: Behold—My Pitchwars Wish list...

Greetings, aspiring writers of YA! I am Lisa Amowitz and this my very first year as a Pitch Wars mentor, so I’m kind of a newbie at all the protocol stuff.

However, I am far from a newbie in this publishing game. Though my first book BREAKING GLASS was published in 2012, behind that moment was a long, long road of skill building, rejection, and loads and loads of constructive feedback to wade through. Behind that moment are three different agents, heartbreak, meltdowns. Many times I was ready to give up, but crawled and scratched my way back to the writing chair.

Why? Because I had stories in me, pushing to get out. Stories I had to tell myself. And if I wanted to tell those stories, I reasoned, maybe someone else might want to read them if I worked hard enough.

To do that I realized, I needed to develop the hide of a dinosaur and the steady determination of the ocean tide. I had to continue while watching others succeed as I did not. 

I had to tell myself this:

comparison is the thiEf of joy...

There is always someone out there who strikes gold while you only get coal.

The process took me years—and it’s still ongoing.

Does that sound like you? Are you just itching to get your story out there, not for fame and money, but just because it deserves to be read?

Then I’m here to help.

Heck, I’m a professional helper. I’m a Professor of Graphic Design—I help people learn for a living.

I have no formal degree in writing, just an MFA in Fine Art. My writing cred comes from the internet and the countless people whom, over the years helped me polish my craft. I’ve seen many of these transform from hesitant beginners to accomplished authors because THEY DID NOT GIVE UP.

As best I can, I’ve tried to give back. How do I work?
I am tough. I’m less about line edits (though I am kind of a sentence structure geek), and more about pacing, plotting, deleting slack scenes and extra words. If you are delicate about your ms and sensitive to red ink—I AM NOT YOUR MENTOR. I may be tough—but I am kind. I will let you know what shines, and help you cut out what is dragging down your manuscript.

If you have the passion, drive, and stubborn determination to prevail, no matter the amount of setbacks (there are ALWAYS setbacks in publishing. It really never ends…just saying) then


So what kind of submission am I looking for? I am YA only—it’s what I read, what I write, and what I am best suited to work with you on.

I lean toward urban fantasy, clever dystopic, mystery/thriller/ghost, magical reality, historical fantasy, historical fiction, sci-fi, and some contemporary.  Love QUIRKY.
I am a looking for books that are lyrical in their use of language and imagery, detailed in their world-building, genuine in the crafting of  true and unique characters. I enjoy some romance, but I do not think a book whose sole emphasis is on romance is for me. I like depth—and growth. I crave deeper themes to be explored—though I am also, very, very plot driven. I love action, suspense, mystery like plants love the sun.

I’m looking for textured, beautiful, magical YA with a distinctive voice.

Maybe, to give you a better idea of my tastes I will list my favorite authors/books:

1. Of course, it’s no surprise I love HARRY POTTER and the HUNGER GAMES. But that’s been done. If you could come up with some new twist on it, fine—I’m your mentor.

2. One of my favorite books of all time is THE BOOK THIEF, by Marcus Zusak. This book literally changed me as an author. It taught me the power of voice. Yes, it is somewhat magical reality, as it is narrated by Death! Yep—falls right into my zone.

3. Maggie Stiefvater’s RAVEN CYCLE. Maggie is my patron saint. Her finely detailed characters, her creepy bad guys, her incredible sense of place, coupled with the wonderfully original blend of myth and magic in her stories, makes her most definitely, my Goddess of All Words.

4. Alexandra Bracken’s PASSENGER. Here you have my love of history, fantasy, and voice all rolled into one single wild adventure of a book. I also loved her DARKEST MINDS series.

5. Patrick Ness: I kind of worship this guy. He is the king of voice and totally original narratives, combining depth, humor and total strangeness. THE CHAOS WALKING trilogy is right up there in my pantheon. Also, I am a huge fan of MORE THAN THIS. Confession: I have not yet read A MONSTER CALLS.

6. Ransom Rigg’s MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN. Twisted, dark strange: Love, love LOVE!

7. Leigh Bardugo: SIX OF CROWS. How do I love this book? Let me count the ways: Character—so intricate—all interwoven with their own secrets and pasts. Storyline? Tense, suspenseful—unpredictable. All of this pulled together with deft, vivid prose. SWOON!!!

8. Ruta Sepetys: SALT TO THE SEA Strictly historical, it’s really not that different in structure from SIX of CROWS in that it unfolds in four POVS and follows the character’s converging story lines. Very human, very dark—Gorgeous prose you can eat with a spoon. It hardly gets better than this.

9. ILLUMINAE, by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. I’m not always a big reader of sci-fi, but I am a huge Star Wars and Star Trek fan, so any YA that has all of the above features and is set in space or the future works for me. This book was so original and amazing. I actually listened to the audio book which was performed like an old fashioned radio play. Incredible.

Other authors who have made an impact on me: 
Anne Rice: INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE; Stephen King: THE STAND, STAND BY ME; Robert Heinlein: Stranger in a Strange Land; Marie Lu: Young Elites; Victoria Schwab: Vicious, A Darker Shade of Magic; John Green: Looking for Alaska.

In summation: I am looking for unique and original YA with strong voice, lyrical prose, finely wrought characters with depth, mystery, intrigue. If your manuscript have those ingredients then I WANT YOU:

But most of all, the thing I most want to see from you, my potential mentee is


Lisa Amowitz is an award winning author of three fantasy/thrillers for young adults, UNTIL BETH [Spencer Hill Press, 2015], VISION [Spencer Hill Press, 2014], and BREAKING GLASS [Spencer Hill Press, 2013].

She is also a cover designer and Professor of Graphic Design at Bronx Community College.

She is represented by Shannon Hassan of
Marsal-Lyon Literary Agency 

Twitter: @lisa_amowitz
Instagram: @lisa_amowitz

Learn about her books:




Mister Linky's Magical Widgets -- Thumb-Linky widget will appear right here!
This preview will disappear when the widget is displayed on your site.
If this widget does not appear, click here to display it.