Cover Reveal! Check it!

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Courtesy of Strange Chemistry Books, here’s the cover for my forthcoming POLTERGEEKS. From Strange Chemistry’s site:

After you seemed so appreciative of the little tasters we gave you of the Blackwood and Shift cover art as it progressed, we thought that we would do the same with POLTERGEEKS (coming in October, written by Sean Cummings).

We have asked the artist to do some funky stuff with the background to the piece and obviously there is no lettering on it at all – but meet Julie, the main character. Julie is a sassy teen witch, embroiled in a life and death showdown with a Dark Power, and we are thrilled to see that the artist (which is one Paul Young) has captured Julie’s look of determination brilliantly.

Also? Julie is a jeans and t-shirt gal, and we’re proud to show her in such!

 

I don’t know about you, but I’m thrilled with cover artist Paul Young’s work on this!

 

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Still more bad joo-joo in Mrs. Gilbert’s Kitchen

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WTF is happening at Mrs. Gilbert’s house?????

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There are worse things that can happen to little old ladies in Julie Richardson’s neighborhood on a Sunday morning. Check out these cool promotional clips for my forthcoming YA thriller POLTERGEEKS!

 

 

Discuss!

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My Letter To A Completed Project

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April 2, 2012

Dear Poltergeeks:

This past weekend I completed final changes on you for my dear editor at Strange Chemistry Books. These were the last changes on a two-year project from the time I queried my equally dear agent Jenny Savill. This led to a fairly intensive revisions process whilst Jenny, her assistant Ella Kahn and I got used to working together. I know, Poltergeeks, I know … you were there through all of it.  Remember when I did that first draft of you back in September 2009? Remember how you started off as a cool idea that summer and how it led to a flurry of writing over a thirty-five day period during which I pumped out that first, innocent draft of you?

We’ve come a long way, Poltergeeks – the two of us. And I know there were difficult times … I know. Remember how I sucked at writing romance and that you needed to have romantic elements to make the book more realistic for teens? Remember how Jenny told me to print you off and highlight everything that even smelled romantic with a pink highlighter and then rewrite it so that it made more sense? All of this was before I even signed with her – she and Ella made me a better writer and you know, Poltergeeks, you should thank them because you don’t bear much resemblance to that first draft from September 2009.

So here we are, Poltergeeks. This weekend my fabulous editor Amanda told me that you and me … well, we’re done now. There’s nothing more I can do to you. Soon you will go through the final touches before you get published. Soon you will have incredible cover art … we’ll actually get to see what Julie looks like. It’s like a prom dress,that cover art. You’re going to the prom Poltergeeks, except it doesn’t happen in May or June … for you it will be in October.

I’m a sentimental kind of guy, Poltergeeks. It’s why I’m writing this letter to you – I kind of feel like that lost looking parent who has just sent their child off to his/her first day of school. So much awaits you, Poltergeeks … you might be a hit. You’re going to get reviewed, there’s going to be a blog tour, giveaways, the list goes on. People are going to see you at the bookstore and grab you and spin you over to read the back cover blurb. They’re going to spend their hard earned money to buy you and they might like you enough to recommend you to a friend or two.

And I promise not to have a writer meltdown if there are any bad reviews. I promise not to make an ass of myself because after querying more than thirty agents, after going through six sets of revisions before my agent actually started to try and sell you. After working closely with an editor for the last two months, I’ve learned that publishing is so darned subjective. You might be a great book to some, a not so great book to others – to me, though, dear Poltergeeks … you’re the book that got me an agent and that’s a huge milestone. You’re the book that people are adding on Goodreads and at least a couple of people have already pre-ordered on Amazon. Pretty cool, huh?

So off you go now, Poltergeeks. Our journey is complete. It’s been a whirlwind two years of hard work and I send you out to the universe. My work on you is done and I’m very grateful to everyone who helped me make you what you are today. It’s bittersweet, I suppose … but you’re a big book now and I have to write your sequel. So go on now … scoot, Poltergeeks. You’re free of me at last.

 

Best Wishes,

Sean!

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It’s the end of the world … or at least a synopsis!

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I’m currently working on the follow-up to my forthcoming POLTERGEEKS – it’s called STUDENT BODIES. I have an outline and I’m plugging away at the first few chapters – it starts off with a mother-daughter argument and an assassination attempt at the C-Train station.  It gets pretty dark (according to my outline, at least) from then on. But … the book isn’t yet complete. Hell, it’s not even 1/3 complete in the very first draft … and I have to write a synopsis. The. Dreaded. Synopsis.

I’ve written them for my other books, but that was AFTER I wrote the book. Now I have to write one before the book is done and that presents a number of challenges because when you have a completed work, you can easily assemble the key points in a synopsis – they’re right before your eyes. At the present time, the key points for STUDENT BODIES are just bullet points on a sheet of paper and sort of a movie inside my head. (Yeah, I know … all writers are weird. I am their King.)

Not sure what a synopsis looks like? Well, here’s an excerpt from the synopsis to my novel UNSEEN WORLD. (I wrote it in 2006.)

Book Title: UNSEEN WORLD

Word Count: 80,000

Synopsis:

MARSHALL CONRAD is a forty-something curmudgeon who strives to draw as little attention to himself as possible. He lives alone in a two bedroom apartment and likes to walk his obese Siamese cat on a leash in the evenings. He’s got a nosy upstairs neighbor named MARNIE BRINDLE and she’s taken to clicking snap shots ofMarshallwith her cell phone camera.

And he’s a superhero. Sort of.

He’s just saved the wife of prominent local Congressman Byron Aldrich and someone snapped a picture of Marshal lcarrying Mrs. Aldrich off to safety. The picture was then e-mailed it to the Drudge Report and suddenly Marshall Conrad is an instant celebrity. A national tabloid has posted a $1million-dollar reward for further proof of Greenfield’s so-called “superhero” and the town is filling up with crackpots and conspiracy theorists, not to mention the paparazzi.

It wasn’t supposed to work out this way. He’s been adept at staying out of sight during his ten year career as a crime fighter, and the last thing Marshall needs is a national audience for an apocalyptic showdown with a being from the UNSEEN WORLD. All hell is going to break looks at the apex of the summer solstice and Marshall writes a blog to warn the world if he winds up dead.

So I’m not an authority on writing a synopsis but I do know that authors lose a lot of sleep over writing them. What I can offer as advice if you’re putting one together is this: go back to your outline (assuming it follows your book correctly) and use the outline as opposed to the manuscript. Why? Because you’ll go nuts flipping forward and back over all the pages you’ve typed into MS Word to find those key areas that make the story flow.  At the same time, your synopsis can’t ever read as follows:

“This happened. And then this happened. This also happened and then finally this happened.”

Your synopsis needs an element of drama to make it work – and remember, a synopsis is in large part a selling tool. Whether you’re selling your book to an agent or a publisher or whether your agent is selling a yet to be written work to an editor. Because of this, it’s gotta look polished. It needs to flow all its own and most importantly, it should to read a lot like an expanded back cover of a novel – if the back cover is designed to give a snapshot of a book with enough drama to get a consumer to buy your book, then a synopsis needs to be the back cover on steroids.

How big should your synopsis be? Well that will depend on how big your story is. Most of the stuff I write is between 70-80K words and I don’t think I’ve ever written a synopsis with less then ten pages – all single spaced. There’s a lot of stuff to cover in your synopsis so it really needs to bring the reader through all the key points in your novel and there must be a satisfying conclusion as well – just like your book itself.

So there you have it – my hard and fast rules for writing a synopsis. It doesn’t have to be a painful exercise and while they aren’t fun to write, the synopsis is a key piece of the “getting published” puzzle.

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