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  1. Author Chris Struyk-Bonn, NICE GIRLS ENDURE

    October 20, 2016 by Kiersi

    Nice Girls Endure by Chris Struyk-BonnI was lucky enough to get to do an interview with Chris Struyk-Bonn, a friend of mine from my days among the Oregon chapter of SCBWI. I’ve always hugely admired Chris as a fellow writer and author, and so I’m thrilled to be able to interview her for my blog about her new book, NICE GIRLS ENDURE. (Look at that cover! Isn’t it perfect??)

    Nice Girls Endure

    by Chris Struyk-Bonn

    Category/Genre: YA Contemporary

    Released: August 1, 2016 (OUT NOW! Snag your own copy on Amazon!)

    Publisher: Switch Press

    Blurb: Chelsea Duvay is so many things. She’s an avid musical lover, she’s a gifted singer, and she has the most perfect, beautiful feet. But no one ever notices that. All they notice is Chelsea’s weight. (more…)


  2. Announcing 2-book deal with Carolrhoda Lab

    February 21, 2016 by Kiersi

    Hot dang, it has been a wild week around here.

    I’ll be posting tomorrow or the next day about what’s going on in QUARTZ CREEK RANCH land, but today, I have a super special announcement to make:

    I’m going to have TWO Young Adult novels published by Carolrhoda Lab!

    Here’s the deal announcement in Publisher’s Weekly:

    Deal text from Publisher's Weekly

    So a little background on these two books, because they both have a story.

    HONOR CODE has some pretty deep roots in my feminist heart, even though the subject was originally Alix’s brainchild. The novel takes place at a private boarding school on the east coast—an elite institution that’s been educating and refining the rich and powerful for over a century. (more…)


  3. 10 Truths About the Time I Almost Gave Up

    October 12, 2014 by Kiersi

    I still can’t believe I got a book deal. (Check out this post for more information.) I don’t mean that metaphorically. I honestly sometimes sit here and don’t actually believe that it happened. That it is happening.

    One thing I want to say to all the writers out there trying to get published, trying to get an agent, trying to finish a novel:

    Don’t. Give. Up.

    I mean it. And believe me—I know what it feels like to hear that from an author who’s getting published. “Yeah, well, that’s all well and good and easy for you to say. You have a book deal.”

    But there’s a reason I sometimes still don’t believe it’s true:

    Truth #1: I almost gave up.

    Truth #2: SECOND CHANCE RANCH is, actually, my second book deal. (Though SHY GIRL AND SHY GUY will still be my first published book.) (more…)


  4. We’ve Got A New Horse Book Series!

    October 3, 2014 by Kiersi

    Kiersi Burkhart riding her horse at 12

    Me at 12 years old, running the poles event at a gymkhana show with my Appaloosa pony, Frosty

    All right, everyone. Do me a favor and, before we go any further, run and get your cowboy hats on. Then shrug on your cowboy boots. And prepare a good old holler: WHOOPAH!

    First: This whole thing came about because of a story I told on Twitter about a horse I loved as a girl. When my friend Amber Keyser heard I’d grown up a cowgirl, she approached me about a possible opportunity for a series of horse books, aimed at the middle-grade age range.

    Then we started dreaming. We dreamed and dreamed and had this really wild Vulcan-esque mind meld, where suddenly the perfect idea came to us.

    And so SECOND CHANCE RANCH was born—a place for troubled kids to find themselves with the help of a horse. The series is set on a cattle ranch in the mountains of my home state, Colorado, and based loosely on a cattle ranch owned by Amber’s relatives (also in Colorado). It draws on a lot of the things we loved about horse books as youngsters ourselves—the child helping the horse, and the horse helping the child; the magic of learning to ride for the first time; and the deep relationships we form with animals.

    Second: Here is the announcement in Publisher’s Marketplace!

    Publisher's Marketplace announcement SECOND CHANCE RANCH

    So, after giving birth to this crazy idea, we handed it over to Amber’s agent, Fiona Kenshole, at Transatlantic Literary Agency.

    And she loved it.

    She asked us to write some sample chapters right away for two of our proposed books in the series. Though we dreamed up this world together, we each took control of one story—my debut in the series will be SHY GIRL AND SHY GUY, and Amber’s PUSHOVER AND PRINCE.

    Third: Since then, I have signed with Fiona as my agent, and I couldn’t be happier! Fiona has done a fantastic job helping us hone our proposal for the series and negotiating our 4-book deal with Andrew Karre at Darby Creek, an imprint of Lerner Books.

    The books are scheduled to release twice a year beginning in Spring 2016. I’m so excited to be working with the folks over at Darby Creek and, of course, my great friend and truly talented co-author Amber!

    (Seriously, you guys don’t even know how awesome this woman is. I am pretty much the luckiest girl on the planet.)

    And that’s it for today, my friends. It’s time for me to go eat some celebratory sushi!


  5. Book Update: Some Unfortunate News

    July 23, 2013 by Kiersi

    For the time being, I have removed this post.

    In the meantime, here is a picture of a kitten trying to play ping pong, and some other articles you might enjoy reading.

    Writer’s Tools: Scrivener Review

    Writing Is A Professional Job

    White Girls, Dead Girls, and Fancy Dresses


  6. Writing is a Professional Job

    July 11, 2013 by Kiersi

    "Businessman in an office" by Victor1558

    Photo by Victor1558, flickr

    Usually I spend this space discussing the nuts and bolts of writing. I like to talk about craft. I prefer, in fact, to discuss and share things I’ve learned as it relates to becoming a better writer. (The surest way to getting published and finding success is to, well, be a good writer.)

    But today, I want to talk about what it means to be a professional, why you should consider yourself a professional, and why you should be annoyed when anyone tries to treat you like you’re not.

    Writing is a professional job.

    Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise. Let me say that again: writing is a professional job. I do two kinds of professional writing: copywriting (for a variety of purposes, such as marketing initiatives, technical documentation, and website copy), and fiction writing. Both of those are professional-type jobs that require professionals to perform them correctly. (Many fiction writers start as amateurs, and that’s fine. But working with editors, delivering manuscripts on time, and listening to critique–that makes you a professional.) (more…)


  7. Yes, There IS Still Sexism In Publishing

    May 7, 2013 by Kiersi

    Alter-cover by the fabulous Gillian Berry

    I’m shaking as I write this, because I’m both sad and angry. I guess in some parts of the world they call this “frustrated.” Or “sangry.”

    I’m sad that as a culture, we’re still divided this way: that some books are girly books, and some books are guy books.

    I’m also angry that people still try to pretend like it’s not a problem. That’s it’s not a problem we have to have separate “women-only” book awards, because female authors get so little recognition in mainstream awards (3:10 female to male winners for the Booker). That it’s no biggie when a female author gets slut-shamed while her books get ignored. Or that books by female authors tend to get fluffy, jazzy covers; that female authors have to use pen names to supposedly be marketable to boy audiences (J.K. Rowling?).

    Somehow, all this is not a “gendered” problem.

    Author Maureen Johnson did a pretty neat piece recently of books written by male authors, with the covers re-imagined as if the author was of the opposite sex or gender queer (also see the top image on this post). And boy, is it fascinating to look at. (more…)


  8. So You Want To Be A Writer?

    April 18, 2013 by Kiersi

    Girl writing in her journal

    Photo by Erin Kohlenberg - Flickr, Creative Commons

    I’ve been writing “full time” since November 2011. I teach online classes and write marketing copy to make ends meet. When I’m not busy making enough money to live, I write. (And rewrite, and revise, and edit, blah blah blah.)

    Over the course of this journey, with my first book coming out in August, I’ve discovered a few things I wish I could have told myself years ago. Not even just when I left my job in 2011 to go freelance–but back in 2010 when I wrote the first draft of my “grown up” novel. Back in high school when I decided I wanted to write for life. Back in middle school when I cranked out stupid amounts of fan fiction (not even kidding–500,000 words in total). People liked my stuff and I thought I was set.

    What I wish I could have told myself back then?

    1. It’s going to be really hard.

    Everything about publishing is hard. Writing a draft is hard. Getting feedback (and learning to really listen to it) is hard. Finding an agent is hard. Wooing a publisher is hard. Going to conferences and meeting people and putting yourself out there is hard. (more…)


  9. It Takes a Village to Write a Book

    April 9, 2013 by Kiersi

    The Night Circus

    As I move into the critique stage of my current novel, and my August book release finishes up with the editor over at Rain Town, it has become clearer and clearer to me that no single person is responsible for the great books we read and love.

    Today I read a fabulous post, “On Writing and Publishing Paths,” by Erin Morgenstern–author of the seriously delightful, magical, spectacle of a novel The Night Circus. And the takeaway is one that I hope every aspiring writer takes to heart: a manuscript rarely emerges from a writer’s mind a finished product.

    I’ve been on the receiving end of query rejections, form letters and personalized responses alike. “They don’t get it,” is something we’re tempted to think. “They’re blind to my potential.”

    As Erin writes:

    …I got my manuscript to the point where I didn’t know what else it needed and it seemed like the right point to start sending it out. I did. It got requests because I had a query letter that made it sound like it had a plot when it really didn’t. It also got a lot of rejections. (more…)


  10. Don’t Get Screwed: Author Solutions & Hydra

    March 6, 2013 by Kiersi

    UPDATE: I received an email from Allison Dobson, Director of Digital Imprints at Random House, regarding recent changes made to the Hydra, Alibi, Lovestruck and Flirt ebook-only imprint contracts (based on what I’m sure was a torrent of critical feedback). Read about the changes here, on the Writer Beware website (or see the full, official PDF here).

    Essentially, they’re offering two packages: one that’s a more traditional advance-and-royalty deal, and another that’s still the original “profit sharing” deal with some important changes. No longer will Random House charge a setup cost or a fee for the sales/marketing/promotion; that’s part of the package, up to a certain amount.

    So, I think that addresses a lot of the concerns raised in this post (and by other critics on the web)–but I am still leery of this emerging trend.

    Read on.

    This is a bit of a gossip post because sometimes, I think it’s important to spread certain gossip–especially as it pertains to large publishing houses (corporations) screwing writers who aren’t aware they’re being screwed. (more…)