Monday, January 30, 2012

Posie & Mosey Monday

On Mondays, I share word posies with my readers. Comments are disabled so you can enjoy this gift of poetry then mosey on along to your list of daily do's.*

*Hungry for more in-depth Monday posts? Visit any of the entertaining and insightful blogs on my sidebar.

~Anne Bronte (1820-1849)

MY soul is awakened, my spirit is soaring
And carried aloft on the wings of the breeze;
For above and around me the wild wind is roaring,
Arousing to rapture the earth and the seas.

The long withered grass in the sunshine is glancing,
The bare trees are tossing their branches on high;
The dead leaves beneath them are merrily dancing,
The white clouds are scudding across the blue sky.

I wish I could see how the ocean is lashing
The foam of its billows to whirlwinds of spray;
I wish I could see how its proud waves are dashing,
And hear the wild roar of their thunder to-day!

Reprinted from Poems By Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell. Charlotte, Anne, and Emily Bronte. Philadelphia: Lea and Blanchard, 1848.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Query Trackers Making Tracks, #15

Today is installment number fifteen of my series on successful authors from QueryTracker. Some of my guests have agents, others have found success in less conventional ways. But one thing they all have in common is the utilization of the QueryTracker website to help make their tracks in the publishing world.

Today’s guest, Jenn Johansson, signed with her agent Kathleen Rushall of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency at the end of March last year. To read her "Call" story, visit this post on her blog. One of the things I like about Jenn is her wacked out sense of humor. It shines through her tweets and blog posts. In fact, she even receieved the coveted Mad As a Hatter blog award from my Wonderland Bloggie Awards last year. So it's intriguing to me that this lady with such a keen wit is drawn to the darker side in her writing. Let's find out what makes her tick.

Welcome Jenn, and on with the interview!

AGH: Could you give us a quick summary of the book which snagged your agent?

JJ: Sixteen-year-old Parker spends every night trapped in the dreams of the last person he made eye contact with, and it’s killing him. He misses soccer practice, falls asleep at the wheel, and his mom thinks he has a drug problem. His exhaustion from never reaching the deeper levels of sleep is getting worse every day, and he knows his time is running out. Until he meets Mia.

Mia’s dreams are the first Parker’s encountered where he can finally get real sleep. A good night of rest after so long is addictive. He has to have it. But getting it means he must follow Mia and find a way to make eye contact every day. Mia is increasingly freaked out, even turning Parker’s best friends against him. To make matters worse, Mia starts to receive threatening e-mails, and her wonderful dreams become scenes of a horror movie—and Parker is cast as the villain. He must discover who is truly tormenting her, and clear his name, before she turns him in for a crime he hasn’t committed–or worse, the true stalker makes good on his threats to end Mia's dreams forever.

AGH: Before you signed with your agent, how many books had you tried to query?

JJ: I'd gone the rounds and then some with another book before moving on to INSOMNIA and signing with Kathleen.

AGH: What were the responses to those queries (stat-wise: fulls, partials, etc.)?

JJ: Unfortunately, I don't have the stats on my first book. I know it was no where near the percentages of my second. Let's just leave it at that.  But on INSOMNIA, I queried 40 agents, had 19 requests--11 fulls and 9 partials. 

AGH: What genre(s) do you write?

JJ: I stick with YA, but within that arena I like to dabble. I've done some sci-fi, urban fantasy and even horror. INSOMNIA is a supernatural psychological thriller. No matter which genre I'm writing though, I tend to stick toward the darker end of the spectrum. I love a lot of dark and twisty in my stories.

AGH: What inspired your very first book idea?

JJ: I'm honestly not really sure where the idea came from. I was going through a rough time in my life and then suddenly there was this story in my head that just wouldn't let go of me until I wrote it down. It wasn't even an option really. I HAD to write it.

AGH: How do you come up with titles?

JJ: I don't worry myself much about titles. Usually by the time I have the story written and have gone through the first couple of rounds of revisions, I have a title that just clicks with me.

AGH: What books / authors have most influenced your own style and concepts?

JJ: There are really so many, but to name a couple I'm a big fan of Holly Black's White Cat series, Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game Series and anything by Stephen King.

AGH: How did you find QueryTracker, and how did it help you in your effort to get inside the publishing doors?

JJ: QueryTracker was recommended to me by a fellow writer and I loved the way it allowed me to research, track and update all in one place. It saved me so much time and made it so I could focus on what I needed to, the writing.

AGH: Have you recently learned anything about the business side of publishing that you can share with up and coming writers?

JJ: I've learned that even when you feel like you've learned an enormous amount about this business, there is still so much more to discover. For example, I knew nothing about literary scouts until one helped my book sell overseas before it sold here. I posted on my blog about literary scouts and how that side of the business works, if you're interested, you can find the post here.

AGH: Do you have any current news to announce?

JJ: Toward the end of last year, I sold my debut novel, INSOMNIA, at auction in Germany to Heyne (Random House), and to Newton Compton in Italy. It was an awesome and crazy year--also, auctions are every bit as fun as they sound. l'm currently waiting on final dates for INSOMNIA to release in Italy and Germany. I'm working on a new project while we're on submission here. So, no--nothing really current yet, but stay tuned to my blog and I'll update you as  things move forward. 

***Five For Fun***

1)  In your opinion, what was the best thing before sliced bread?

JJ: Wow, hmm...fruit? I love fruit. I also think it was brilliant to spread smooshed fruit on top of sliced bread. I'm hungry.

2)  Are you Team Dog or Team Cat?

JJ: Team Cat, at least I was until Christmas. My kitten tried to build a nest in my Christmas tree every night. I think she is part bird. No wonder she freaks out when she looks in the mirror. Perhaps she needs therapy.

3)  If you could morph into any food, what kind would you become and why?

JJ: Probably brussel sprouts. I feel like I'm less likely to be eaten that way.

4)  If you were tight with one of the Greek gods, which one would it be and what favor would you ask of them?

JJ: Probably Athena, I could use some wisdom in my life. And a little strategy couldn't hurt either.

5)  What would be the first thing you would do if you woke up to find you were a fish?

JJ: Figure out how to stop swimming in circles. But I still haven't figured that out as a human, so my hopes aren't high.

Thank you so much for having me, Anita! It's been so fun to answer these fantastic interview questions! 

And thank you, Jenn. Your "five for fun" answers cracked me up!

Also, congrats on those amazing foreign sales! If you'd like to give a shout out to Jenn in the comments, I know she'd love to hear from you. To read an excerpt from her awesome YA thriller, check out her website. And don't forget to find her on twitter: @jennjohansson.

Thanks for stopping by, and have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Announcing the YAmazing winners of the MGnificent Prizes:

At least for my blog contest ... you'll have to hop over here for the announcement of the official Apocalypsies YAmazing race gift packages. (Not sure when they'll be posting it ... just keep checking in.) was on the ball tonight, so I decided to post his selections early...

First, I had this 6 piece set of Alice In Wonderland Gift tags/Bookmarks up for grabs~

And the winner of the gift tag/book mark set is:

Zara Alexis

Then I had ten of these Wonderland-themed autographed bookplates so you can personalize your own copy of Splintered one day~

And the winners of the bookplates in no particular order are:

1. Maria from Fantasy's Ink
2. Angela V. Cook
3. Michele from Just a lil' lost
4. Petra from Safari Poet
5. Hannah Lorraine
6. Katherine Skye
7. Heather from Books and Quilts
8. MaryAnn from Chapter by Chapter
9. Silent Shade
10. Kristen from The Cozy Reading Corner

Congrats winners and thank you everyone for playing! By now I've emailed you for your addresses. The names highlighted in black will need to contact me with contest winner in the subject line (my email is in my profile) or leave their emails in the comment section below because I couldn't find their contact info.

Everyone else, good luck with the Apocalypsies prize packages! And be sure to stop by from time to time; I'll be having lots more giveaways for Alice and Splintered swag before the release date!

The YAmazing Race is officially over!

Thanks everyone who played!! and I will do our drawing tonight and announce the winners of the gift tags/bookmarks and the ten signed book plates tomorrow. Have a fabulous Monday!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Free arcs, gift certificates, and swag ... Oh, MY!


Yay! I'm so glad you're here on the Splintered stop of the YAmazing Race with MGnificent prizes -- a crazy whirlwind blog hop featuring over 50 debut authors and prize packs featuring ARCs, gift certificates, swag, and more!

Want a sneak peek into the prize vault? Here's what I tossed (or gently dropped, rather) into the gift pile:

Lady’s bronze vintage locket/pocket watch inspired by the White Rabbit's watch

If you haven’t yet been to the Apocalypsies website, please click here to start from the beginning and read the complete rules. There are links there to take you to each leg of the race, so you'll find your way back to me all in good time.

Those of you who already followed the yellow brick road of blogs, onward with the race!

Since my book cover is still in the design phases, below is the synopsis which offers the answer to one of the questions you'll be asked in the quiz at the end of this leg of the race. Remember, you must complete ALL FIVE quizzes (one at the end of each leg) to be eligible for a prize pack:

Splintered by A.G. Howard:

For sixteen years, Alyssa Gardner has lived with the stigma of being descended from Alice Liddell -- the real life inspiration for Lewis Carroll's famed novel, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. But cruel jokes about dormice and tea parties can’t compare to the fact that Alyssa hears the whispers of bugs and flowers ... the same quirk which sent her mother to a mental institution years before.

When her mother takes a turn for the worse and the whispers grow too strong for Alyssa to bear, she seeks the origins of their family curse. A set of family heirlooms and a moth tied to an eerie website lead Alyssa and her gorgeous best friend / secret crush, Jeb, down the rabbit hole into the real Wonderland, a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on.

There, creepy and violent counterparts of the original fairytale crew reveal the purpose for Alyssa’s journey, and unless she fixes the things her great-great-great grandmother Alice put wrong, Wonderland will have her head.

WAIT! Before you go – there's a **bonus contest** for my readers to win this:

Set of  6 Alice in Wonderland gift tags/bookmarks from

If you'll simply be a follower of my blog and leave a comment below letting me know, your name goes into a drawing. To have your name entered a second time, tweet up this post on twitter (be sure to use my handle @aghowardwrites in the tweet so I'll catch it in my mentions feed) OR share it on FB (include the link in the comments below so I can go check it out). I will close comments at 12pm easter on Monday the 23rd and the winner will be announced here on Tuesday the 24th.

UPDATE: The response has been so good to my contest that I'm going to do an extra drawing to give away 10 personalized and signed bookplates that you can place on your own copy of Splintered one day:

Just an example ... I promise to use your name. Oh, and my signature isn't nearly that neat. ;)

This means I’ll be pulling 10 more names from so you all have ten more chances to win. My way of thanking you for your interest in the book!

Ready to move on? Awesome! Click here to go to the next stop on the race, and good luck!


Want to know more about Splintered?.

Click the picture for a sneak peak at Splintered's sexy antagonist and the skateboarding / gothic fashionista heroine:

Seven ways my antagonist is tastier than a cookie, and why my MC is way cooler than me...

Still want to see more?.

Here's a look at the book trailer:

To check Splintered out on GoodReads,

Thanks for stopping in, and have a great week!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Tune in for YAmazing fun and MGnificent prizes!

If you take part in the upcoming Apocalypsies blog race, you'll get to meet some fabulous 2012 debut young adult and middle grade authors and hear about their upcoming books along the way...

The YAmazing Race with MGnificent Prizes begins tomorrow (January 16) at noon-ish eastern, so get your game face on to win some awesome SWAG.

See you then!!!


P.S. HUGE props to Gina Damico for organizing this race, and her husband who put together the fun quizzes that will win you lucky guys and gals those prizes. Gina is super generous w/her time. Don't know how she does it, considering her own book CROAK will be coming out in March (SO VERY CLOSE!) so I know she's crazy busy. Be sure to put that book on your to-read list because it looks FAB, FUNNY, and wickedly creepy to boot.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Step Into My Nightmare ... and win a prize.

If you'd like to know what the first half of the title is all about, you'll have to visit my new young adult and middle grade group blog, ADR3NALIN3: Books that are worth losing sleep over. I spilled my guts out over there today, almost literally, sharing some of my weirdest fears and how I developed them. As to the prize part, we'll get to that in just a second...

I've made some changes on my sidebar to reflect efforts at building an online presence for my upcoming book, Splintered, and ADR3NALIN3 is one of those changes. That doesn't mean I won't still be posting here. I'll continue my Monday poetry spots here, keep posting any news I might have, and also have my QueryTracker series every first Friday.

But two Wednesdays a month I'll be posting at the new blog. I'll keep you apprised of where I'll be by the calendar on the sidebar.

Speaking of the calendar, as you can see, I'm taking part in a HUGE blog race next week with 58 other Apocalypsies -- fellow 2012 debut authors of YA and MG books -- and there will be prizes galore to be had! More deets are to come on Monday, but for now, here's a sneak peek at two of the prizes I'm putting up for grabs:

Alice in Wonderland gift tags/bookmarks from

Lady’s bronze vintage locket/pocket watch

So if you're interested in free goodies, stay tuned.

Be sure to visit and promote the ADR3NALIN3 blog. There are some great YA and MG authors over there, several already published and with a large fan base, so I'm hoping for good things all around.

Thanks for stopping by! Hope to see you next week for the YAmazing Race and MGnificent Prizes! Until then, have a fabulous and safe weekend.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Posie & Mosey Monday

On Mondays, I share word posies with my readers. Comments are disabled so you can enjoy this gift of poetry then mosey on along to your list of daily do's.*

*Hungry for more in-depth Monday posts? Visit any of the entertaining and insightful blogs on my sidebar.
Chance Meetings
~Conrad Aiken (1889-1973)

IN the mazes of loitering people, the watchful and furtive,
The shadows of tree-trunks and shadows of leaves,
In the drowse of the sunlight, among the low voices,
I suddenly face you,
Your dark eyes return for a space from her who is with you,
They shine into mine with a sunlit desire,
They say an 'I love you, what star do you live on?'
They smile and then darken,
And silent, I answer 'You too--I have known you,--I love you!--'
And the shadows of tree-trunks and shadows of leaves
Interlace with low voices and footsteps and sunlight
To divide us forever.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Query Trackers Making Tracks, #14

Today is installment number fourteen of my "first Friday of the month" series on successful authors from QueryTracker. Some of my guests have agents, others have found success in less conventional ways. But one thing they all have in common is the utilization of the QueryTracker website to help make their tracks in the publishing world.

Today I'm extra excited because my guest is Claire Merle from the beautiful city of love: Paris, France.

You heard right! My interview is going international, yo! (◕‿-) Actually, I've had one other author from London way back in the beginning phases of this interview series. Just goes to show how far reaching QueryTracker is and proves that a truly amazing idea backed by inspiring and enthusiastic people has no bounds.

Claire's book has already sold to Faber and Faber and is coming out in the UK June 2012! You can pre-order it right now from UK amazon, waterstones, and WHSmith.)

AGH: Welcome Claire! Could you give us a quick summary of the book which snagged your agent?

CM: THE GLIMPSE: In a near future society is segregated according to whether people are genetically disposed to mental illness. 17-year-old Ana has been living the privileged life of a Pure due to an error in her DNA test. When the authorities find out, she faces banishment from her safe Community, a fate only thwarted by the fact that she has already been promised to Pure-boy Jasper Taurell. Jasper is from a rich and influential family and despite Ana’s condition, wants to be with her. The authorities grant Ana a tentative reprieve. If she is joined to Jasper before her 18th birthday, she may stay in the Community until her illness manifests. But if Jasper changes his mind, she will be cast out among the Crazies. As Ana’s joining ceremony and her birthday loom closer, she dares to hope she will be saved from the horror of the City and live a ‘normal’ life. But then Jasper disappears.

AGH: Before you signed with your agent, how many books had you tried to query?

CM: I’d written and queried one book prior to The Glimpse.

AGH: What were the responses to those queries (stat-wise: fulls, partials, etc.)?

CM: I queried my first book long before I found QT and I knew very little about the process. I didn’t really keep stats or anything. I probably queried around thirty agents. From those I received 2 full requests and a phone call, but didn’t land an agent.

AGH: What genre(s) do you write?

CM: Young adult. Within that genre, I’m particularly drawn to sci-fi, fantasy and stories with a paranormal twist.

AGH: What inspired your very first book idea?

CM: I wrote my first full-length screenplay when I was thirteen and though it wasn’t a book, I’d say it was my first real effort to tell a ‘big’ story: Two best friends awake a malignant spirit that gives them the power to speak mentally to each other, but also leaves them running for their lives. I guess I’ve always been drawn to danger, adventure, the paranormal and psychological.

AGH: How do you come up with titles?

CM: Usually, when I start a project the title just seems to come at the same time as the ideas. Though sometimes I rework the title once I’ve finished a first draft and know more about my story.

AGH: What books / authors have most influenced your own style and concepts?

CM: Personally, I’m not sure I can be objective enough about my own writing style to give you any sort of definitive answer to that. I think an author’s style and concepts probably come as much from who they are, what they believe, what sort of questions they’re asking, and the experiences that have shaped the way they see the world, as anything else. Though I’m imagine along the way I’ve also picked up techniques and absorbed various elements from the stories that have had the greatest impact on me.

Some of those books include,

Favourite books pre-teens: ‘The Faraway Tree’ by Enid Blyton, ‘Ballet Shoes’ by Noel Streatfeild, ‘The Hounds of the Morrigan’ by Pat O’Shea.

Favourite books as a teenager: ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ by Margaret Atwood, ‘Rebecca’ by Daphne du Maurier, ‘Pride and Prejudice’ Jane Austen.

Recent favs include: ‘The Sky is Everywhere’ by Jandy Nelson, ‘Fingersmith’ by Sarah Waters, ‘Hunger Games’ by Suzanne Collins, ‘The Gift’ by Alison Croggon. (Better known as The Naming in the US.)

AGH: How did you find QueryTracker, and how did it help you in your effort to get inside the publishing doors?

CM: I think I found Query Tracker through googling for agent information. QTs amazing forum helped me work and rework my query, get feedback on my first chapter, and introduced me to many wonderful writers – two of whom critiqued my whole manuscript before I sent it out. That sort of help is priceless.

AGH: Do you have any current news to announce?

CM: Yes, some very exciting news! Next week, Faber are launching online Open Auditions for a series of fictional video diaries that will be a prequel to The Glimpse. The videos will centre around a character from the book – 16-year-old Tamsin Strike – and anyone in the UK from 13 upwards will be eligible to audition. The videos will be shot by an award-winning British director in the Spring. So if you want to be the first to know when The Glimpse facebook page launches (sometime during the second week in Jan) with all the hows, whens, and wheres about auditioning, follow my author facebook page where I’ll be giving you the links and the most up-to-date info. I'll also be running an international giveaway for anyone who is kind enough to help spread the word.

Here's the linkage:

**Five for fun**

AGH: In your opinion, what was the best thing before sliced bread?

CM: Hey, I live in Paris where they have baguettes and fresh, chunky loaves which I prefer to sliced bread, so I’m not convinced about the whole sliced bread thing!

AGH: Which would you rather do: carry an umbrella or sing in the rain?

CM: I’ve never been one for carrying an umbrella. Way too practical. I’d go for singing in the rain.

AGH: What’s your favorite breakfast?

CM: Coffee with whatever story I’m working on.

AGH: Are you Team Dog or Team Cat?

CM: Grew up with a cat, which I adored. But I think I’d like to try Team Dog now.

AGH: When would you go to if you had a time machine, and why?

CM: 150 years into the future. Wow! I’d love to see that!! And then I’d write a book about it.

Thanks so much for having me on your blog!


And thank you so much for coming, Claire! Two things, your premise sounds INCREDIBLE, and WOW on the promo-videos! If anyone out there knows a teen girl who's been looking to break into acting, this would be an excellent start! And if you're on twitter, please tweet Claire up so we can pass on the word!

Also, you can find Claire at these online haunts:


Thanks everyone for stopping by. Have a happy and safe weekend, and see you next week!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Posie & Mosey Monday

On Mondays, I share word posies with my readers. Comments are disabled so you can enjoy this gift of poetry then mosey on along to your list of daily do's.*

*Hungry for more in-depth Monday posts? Visit any of the entertaining and insightful blogs on my sidebar.

~Percy Bysshe Shelly (1792-1822)

MUSIC, when soft voices die,
Vibrates in the memory;
Odours, when sweet violets sicken,
Live within the sense they quicken.
Rose leaves, when the rose is dead,
Are heap'd for the belovèd's bed;
And so thy thoughts, when thou art gone,
Love itself shall slumber on.