Saturday, August 23, 2014

PitchWars Mentee Bio: Just Your Typical Lifter-Upper

Hi! If you're here, you've probably been biting your nails, refreshing your inbox, and stalking Twitter feed for #PitchWars! Mentors and fellow mentees, let me tell you what I'm all about.
  • I, Jenna Klein, am a bubbly, lift-you-up-at-all-costs person. If you jump into my arms and you're twice my weight, I'll probably make a face similar to the one in the picture, but I will try my darndest to keep you up for five seconds. I find that walking around with a smile on your face can make or break someone else's day, and it makes me feel awesome! I teach, so if you see me in the halls, you will see me grinning because I'm happy to see you, even if my arms are full of butcher paper and I've been holding my bladder for three periods because they're back to back (I've stopped doing this, by the way. High school students are understanding when you talk about bathroom breaks. They want you to remember that convo later when they ask you if they can go.) (P.S. Love my students' style!)
  •  I adore grammar like the common citizen adores puppies. I'm one of those annoying people who gets pleasure from correcting punctuation errors. This comes in handy for critiquing purposes. Commas are practical and dashes are beautiful. I never correct anyone speaking to me. I don't even always think to myself, "She just said 'I' when 'me' was appropriate." On an airplane, that's the first question people ask when I reveal my job as an English teacher. I'm not correcting your grammar as we speak, but I will think you're rude if you make me straddle your lap to get to the toilet (has happened, quite embarrassing. At least she was female and got up the second time around).
  • The military and my family occupy approximately half each of my heart. My dad retired from the Air Force after 22 years. My mom got us through each move and expertly aced the role of military spouse (spouses serve as well!). My little brother (in the first picture) is a Navy nukes engineer. My father-in-law is retired Navy; my mother-in-law, active duty at the Pentagon. I work for the DOD school system in Puerto Rico, which caters to military children. People who protest anything troops-related boggle my mind. I try to excuse naive behavior the first time it happens. If you want to piss me off, don't freeze at 5 PM for the retiring of the flags on base or do say something ignorant about our soldiers. Also, we might have an issue if you don't shed at least one tear at Lee Greenwood's "Proud to be an American."

  • Traveling rocks, and I feel beyond blessed to be able to see exotic lands (thanks, in great part, to Lasik eye surgery). I've lived in Missouri, Italy, England, Japan, Texas, and Oklahoma. You can decide which ones fall under the above mentioned "exotic" category. My husband and I are cruise fanatics (OMG, the food!). Ireland is my goal; we're working on a trip at Christmas!

     We'll be staying in a bed and breakfast thanks to the appeal of the one in Leap Year!

Favorite things:
  • Going to the gym with my husband
  • Purple shirts
  • Nachos topped with all kinds of goodness
  • Spider monkeys
  • YA books (Maggie Stiefvater, Tahereh Mafi, Sarah Ockler, and Sara Zarr are among my heroes!)
  • Calligraphy
  • Fruity adult beverages (some concoction of orange and pineapple juice mixed with coconut rum and splashed with grenadine or cherry flavor...turns out brown, but my taste buds go crazy!)
  • Inspiring teenagers
  • The smell of grass after it rains
  • Dexter
  • Reviewing submissions for the Belle Reve Literary Journal.
Why I'd Make an Amazing Mentee:
I'm not huge on bragging on myself, but I am a hard worker.
  • For four years I was sponsor and editor of my school's 500+ page yearbook. 
  • I (just yesterday) oversaw and helped implement a new school-wide writing assessment. 
  • I'm co-writing curriculum for a new Honors English/history course for this year that will be adopted by other schools in the district. 
  • I sent out my first flash fiction pieces this summer and got 2 out of the 3 published!
  • My critique group pushes me (shout out to the OKC Plotholes!). We are HARD on each other. The kind of brutal honesty that could make a person go home and cry at night. But I don't. I just fix what doesn't work. 
  • I make time to write. I love my job, but I've been doing it for seven years. I don't need as much time for lesson planning as I used to. This means that after-school time is spent writing and revising (and sometimes binge-watching Netflix with the hubby).
  • I'm organized. These bulleted lists aren't just for show!
  • And finally, I don't use parentheses in my writing. Don't let this post fool you!
Why I'd Appreciate a Mentor:
  • I value experience.
  • I love talking writing with anyone who'll look my way, but bouncing ideas and books faves around with a passionate cohort is my dream come true.
  • I know my manuscript's not perfect, but I believe in it. 
  • My characters WANT YOU (cue Uncle Sam poster) to guide them on their journey.
So there you have it. That's me. I'm nervous for the results on September 3. I'm up late stalking tweets from the mentors rummaging through their slush piles. But I wouldn't trade sleep for this experience.

To all the mentees out there, I'd love to get to know you. Everyone brings a different talent to the table. It makes me insanely tingly to read your writing. Let's face it-- that writing's infused with your experiences, opinions, and a unique style. Bring on the chills!

Good luck, everyone!
To view other mentees' profiles, hop around our blogs!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Cover Reveal: In the Rearview

Fans of Fiction is pleased to participate in a cover reveal blog tour for author Maria Ann Green.

Her book, In the Rearview, is one of the exciting new YA contemporaries that will be out August 19th. We love the cover, especially the font of the title. After you read the blurb, I think you'll agree that the cover model is a perfect fit for Meagan.

What's in store for you? A giveaway package will be announced on August 15th with instructions on how to be entered (and what you could win). 
Stop by Maria's blog or her website for more info.

Title: In the Rearview
Author: Maria Ann Green
Genre: YA Contemporary 
Release Date: August 19th
Main Character: Meagan
Book Tag Line: Heartbreak, Healing, Hope
Unique Features: The story is told through poems, journal entries, and narrative scenes.

Plot: When Meagan’s secret is found out, and she realizes there is no way to outrun her habit of cutting, she tries to work through it, and her depression, before she cuts too deep, making a mistake that can never be undone.

Meagan's problems aren't like every other adolescent's no matter how much she wishes they could be. Hers are worse. They've pulled her down into the depths of a depression that is anything but normal. She begins her pattern of self-harm as her depression threatens to drown her. She starts with one cut that leads to the next, and the next. After starting, it's apparent that there's no stopping, and Meagan spirals into a dark and cruel world she doesn't understand. Meagan cuts to feel better, but that comfort doesn't last long enough, and soon life is worse than it ever was before.

While learning to quit cutting Meagan faces life-altering obstacles and grows up in the process. IN THE REARVIEW is a story of pain, loss, confusion, and hope told through Meagan’s poems, journal entries, and a splash of narrative.

About the author: Maria Green currently lives in Minnesota, despite its bitter winters, with her husband. She graduated with a degree in Psychology and a minor in English. When she isn’t writing, Maria loves to read with a cup of strong coffee or a glass of sweet wine, craft, and spend time with her family. This is her first published novel. 
"And so she wrote..."
Good luck with your release, Maria!