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Thursday, December 16, 2010

5: The Six: Writing Groups and Breaking Into Publishing

Sara, Kimberly, Bree, Emily, Valynne, Brodi
(picture by Michelle Sallay Photography)
Tonight we heard from The Six, a long-standing writer’s group, based in Salt Lake City, Utah. Two are published and poised to release their sophomore novels. Three are currently under contract. Four have agents. Five have finished at least one novel. All Six are made of awesome and chock full of advice for newbie authors about how their writing group works and how to break into publishing.

Over an hour and a half (yeah, we had a bit too much fun), The Six answered such burning questions as:
·         How did you know when your group had the right balance of crazy?
·         How do you critique (/rewrite) each other’s stories?
·         What do you do at writing retreats (besides writing)?
·         How do you ever get any writing done with 5 of your best friends around all the time?
·         Do you find threats or writing contests more motivational?
·         How do you approach scary-powerful agents and editors at writing conferences?
·         How many queries does it take to land an agent?
·         What is the appropriate wardrobe for receiving news of a book sale?
·         How many days should you wait before talking to your editor about their recent revision letter?
·         Can published authors still be fangirls?

The Six, in order from least to most crazy, are:

#6 Sara Bolton has a degree in journalism, years of professional editing experience, and has written and published hundreds of non-fiction articles and product advertisements in newspapers and magazines. She is currently working to finish her first novel, a YA Historical Fantasy that explores chivalry and knighthood from the perspective of a female knight.

#5 Kimberly Reid used to be an editor for the FRIEND magazine, and is the author of hundreds of articles published in the FRIEND, NEW ERA, ENSIGN, and LIAHONA magazines. Her picture book THE CHRISTMAS MEMORY QUILT won a Moonbeam Award in 2007. Her agent is currently submitting her first novel, a YA contemporary about a small town threatened with extinction after the death of a five-year-old.

#4 Valynne E. Maetani works professionally as a script editor for educational stories. She has worked as a film producer and has edited several screen plays, including MY LITTLE WAR IN JUAREZ, the winner of the 2010 Creative World Award. She has completed two novels and will soon be seeking representation for her latest book, THE ROTTEN ONES, an abnormal romance set amid horror flicks and bouts of petty espionage.

#3 Bree Despain is the author of the THE DARK DIVINE, in which Grace Divine, a pastor's daughter, must unravel the secrets behind her foster-brother's sudden return after a mysterious three year absence, and why her real brother wants her to have nothing to do with him. The second book in the trilogy, THE LOST SAINT, is scheduled for release on December 28, 2010. Her release party will be at The King’s English in Salt Lake City at 7pm that night.

#2 Emily Wing Smith is the author of THE WAY HE LIVED, which won the Utah Book Award in 2008. In her next book, BACK WHEN YOU WERE EASIER TO LOVE, Joy takes a road trip to visit her abruptly-departed, possibly-ex-boyfriend… with his former-best-friend riding shotgun. It is set for release on April 28, 2011. Emily will also be teaching a beginning YA class at the upcoming Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers on June 13-17, in Sandy, Utah.

#1 Brodi Ashton just sold her first book, EVERNEATH, to Balzer and Bray (Harpercollins). EVERNEATH tells the story of a girl who just spent six months or a hundred years (give or take) in a version of Hell, and now has six months to spend with her family and her boyfriend before going back… this time forever. It is set for publication in the Winter of 2012, with two more books in the series already contracted.

If you missed the call, you can listen to it below. (Turns out Brodi is quite technologically savvy, as well as being an awesome writer. Thanks, Brodi!)

You can also download the MP3.


  1. Trust me, the pleasure was all mine! :)

  2. Thanks for the great call! That was very fun.

  3. Brodi--thanks so much for coming! Your group is amazing. I'm sure everyone is wondering what it would take to convince you to add to your numbers and change your name....


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