Four Fast Thoughts on YA and MG Genres #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

Author Toolbox Blog Hop

The Author Toolbox Blog Hop is “a monthly blog hop on the theme of resources/learning for authors: posts related to the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, blogging tips for authors, reviews of author-related products, anything that an author would find helpful.” Want to jump into the writing tool box? Search #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join via blog, click here.

Thank you Raimey!


In 2008, my son was born. My life changed. No longer quite so free to go out wherever I wanted, I happily stayed in with my first born, rocking him, cooing over him, helping him roll over and crawl.

In those quiet moments of holding him in my arms while he slept, I began to read again. On one of my mom’s visits from Colorado, she suggested we get out for a brief afternoon to see an actual movie—Twilight, the new hot young adult craze.

“Twilight?” I asked, because I hadn’t heard of it. I did want to get out though, and I sat in the packed theater gradually drawn into the slow, windy town, the character dynamics and new friendships. I loved every last bit of the movie along with the young audience. When I found out the movie stemmed from a series of books, I bought them all and read them each, word for word.

Twilight was my first introduction into the Young Adult genre. I quickly discovered other amazing authors like Becca Fitzpatrick, Maggie Stiefvater, Alyson Noel and Richelle Mead. Young Adult books seemed so refreshing with younger voices I could easily relate to, nail biting growth as they dealt with major life hurdles and humanely failed, then eventually succeeded to some degree.

Today in 2019, the genre has exploded—divided if you will. We have Young Adult with all sorts of subgenres. We also have Middle Grade, an equally healthy younger genre.

Some folks may ask, “aren’t young voices all young?” Definitely not. There’s a huge difference between books for Middle Grade and books for Young Adult. I had no idea some of the specifics were so detailed so I thought I’d mention a few today.


  1. Age Group.
    • An 8-11-year old perspective verses a 17-year old. The struggles are definitely different in an 8- year old world from a 16, even 13-year old.
    • Middle Grade stories are often told in 1st person perspective.
  2. Book Length.
    • Middle Grade is much shorter with an average word count between 30–50 K words verses YA at 50-75K.
  3. Voice through the world specific to the age.
    • Dialogue should sizzle with what your audience really says and would say or do, which is tricky sometimes when you think of bad language. In the articles I read, definitely think twice about bad language in middle grade books. A good point to consider: Middle Grade audiences often get their books primarily from parents, librarians, and teachers.

A great quote on what age to make your MC from article one in Writer’s Digest: “remember that kids “read up,” which means they want to read about characters who are older than they are.”

  1. Themes important to the different age groups.
    • Middle Grade focus on relationships in their world.
    • YA focus on what’s their world beyond their relationships.
    • Agent Alex Slater with Trident Media Group was quoted in Writer’s Digest as clarifying character and world to the different genres: “a colleague once said something like, ‘MG literature explores how a character finds the world, and YA literature examines how the world finds a character’.”


Any fun tips you’d like to share on YA and MG differences? I’d love to hear it.

Imaginative Potential in Useless Academic Requirements #IWSG #amwriting #WednesdayMotivation

[I wrote this post as a member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our worries and also offer support and encouragement to each other on the first Wednesday of every month. If you’re a writer like me and you’re looking for a bit of support, you can click the link and sign up here]

This month’s awesome Co-Hosts:    Raimey Gallant, Natalie Aguirre, CV Grehan, and Michelle Wallace!

Check out our IWSG homepage.  And as always, thank you to founder Alex J. Cavaugh 🙂 


Galileo Quote

This past Monday while I was getting ready for work, while the pups wove in and out of my legs in the bathroom, the 6 a.m. news caught my attention. A survey of post high school students listed four top useless required learning items:

  • The Pythagorean Theorem
  • The Periodic Table
  • Protons and Electrons
  • The sum of Pi = 3.14 and then some.

Post high school students cited they not once used these formulas or learning points in school since they were required to memorize them, so why not take more classes in managing college student loans, learning how to do taxes, and how to budget money once out of high school?

Do I agree?

I’d have to say no, and maybe a little yes?

Math and Physics were not my friends. I’m a picture person. I don’t memorize lengthy jumbles of words and numbers without seeing a bigger application. However, just because I struggle to understand certain concepts, doesn’t mean these concepts shouldn’t be required learning. In fact, I believe in Plato when he said, “Geometry will draw the soul toward truth and create the spirit of philosophy.”

So where am I going with this conversation of science and math?

This month’s IWSG question asks, “Besides writing, what other creative outlets do you have?”

I find creative outlets in everything. From the way I cook, to the way I work on the computer as a graphic designer in Public Relations, to the way I write my notes on a page at work when my print and cursive swirl together, and my bullets become flaming falling stars (which aren’t really stars by the way). In fact, my whole note page may become one giant doodle.

Creativity never leaves us. We always find our own ways of self expression.

And what do math and physics have to do with creativity? Lately, they’ve been the source of my creative inspiration. My second draft in  my YA Urban Fantasy/Sci-Fi manuscript has challenged me to merge science and magic. I’ve had to revisit the topics I once dreaded, and am now doing it on my own terms. No horrid college textbooks. No over the head lectures where professors talk to the chalk board more than to my face. I don’t have that kind of time anymore, so I invest it wisely in YouTube PBS mini lessons in astronomy and physics. I’ve covered everything from magnetic fields, to electron charges, to neutron stars, magnetars, galaxy formations, and the importance of tides and how they shift with the new and full moons.

And required subjects in high school? Sure I would have loved to have taken accounting or a business class instead of Chemistry. I don’t think skipping Chemistry would have done me an ounce of good. Why? Required academics exposes our minds to unfathomable possibility. I now have a greater imagination, and it’s one mixed with science, hypotheses, and magical potential.

What about you? Would you agree with the post high school graduates? What was your least favorite subject in high school? Was any subject or formula useless to you? I’d love to hear it.

Surprise Disasters Bring Sunny Outcomes #thursdaythoughts #amwriting

May the very best outcomes find youThursday morning, after feeding my new sweet baby rescue pups, I heard a loud crash come from somewhere inside my house. The pups and I looked up. My heart pounded faster. Quickly, I scoured the house and nothing seemed awry. Kansas City temperatures have been dangerously low these past few days and I thought a huge branch or something might have fallen on the roof. Yet, nothing turned up. Not until I stepped into the garage, hit the button for the garage door, and strangely the door wouldn’t open. After careful inspection, I noticed the spring on the garage door broke. I panicked for maybe 60 seconds since I couldn’t get to work, and this is not the time of year for me to be stuck in my garage. Not in public relations. Not when I’m in charge of some major academic and legislative events.

The good news? The panic has passed. The garage door repair company is on its way, and the lesson is right out there in front of me.

Some days, the day has its own mind. That’s okay. We just have to decide in a moment how we can change our hearts with the new direction. Lucky for me, my new direction involves edits on a second draft of my manuscript while I wait.

We can’t plan everything. Some days we climb hills, and some days we ski with a beautiful finesse right down them. No matter what happens today, may the very best outcomes find you.

Happy Thursday all 🙂

Artificial Intelligence Marketing #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

Author Toolbox Blog Hop

The Author Toolbox Blog Hop is “a monthly blog hop on the theme of resources/learning for authors: posts related to the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, blogging tips for authors, reviews of author-related products, anything that an author would find helpful.” Want to jump into the writing tool box? Search #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join via blog, click here.

Thank you Raimey!


Technology is like human imagination

Whenever I think of a new year, I think of new chances, new goals and renewing my faith in where I really want to be with my work, my writing. Having thought about new starts, I’ve been reading articles on marketing trends for 2019 and I must say, I am amazed with some of the statistics on books and what we as authors should consider.

Did you know the average time a person chooses to read in free moments of life has dropped a third since 2004? I didn’t. But I do realize how social media, movies, and game apps tend to steal more free time than most, and if we’re not careful even as authors, we might not be reading either.

For this month’s post, I’m targeting one of several marketing strategies to consider in an article I found from Aerio—Chatbots. Heard of them for authors? I hadn’t. I do know I am annoyed by all the Chatbots on car service websites, help bubbles that appear too soon, and especially the new Chatbot on my bank app, Erica.

Aerio claims though, this year “Chatbots will become more prevalent.”

How might they be helpful to authors?

Aerio suggests they can help solicit book reviews, manage contests and giveaways, and even increase social media. In further reading on Chatbots, one article suggested they are becoming the new form of email with zero lag time due to the automated process. The average person receives 140 emails in a day. It’s easy not to look. I know I’m one of those some days.

Further yet, I read how the younger generations love Chatbot quirkiness. Considering what I see on twitter with engagement, I believe it.

If you’re looking for a few past publishing chatbots to check out, I sampled Harper Collins Epicreads bot. I must say, it didn’t give me the books I was really hoping to get or hadn’t seen. Maybe I was expecting an instant book connection. I don’t know.

I did engage in the following message as a test:


And I did keep going until I found a book I could consider. I’ll let you know if it’s a true match 🙂

Interested in created your Bot? Check out links to the following resources:

Have you thought of using a Chatbot in your marketing strategy? Seen an author using it? I’d love to hear it.