Sunday, August 25, 2013

FREE signed ANY WITCH WAY recipe card for all subscribers to my Newsletter! author give-away where EVERYONE WINS!
I'm giving away FREE, autographed cards for the desesrt recipe featured in my novella, ANY WITCH WAY to everyone that signs up for my Newsletter before Wednesday, August 28!

Plus...I will draw the name/email address of one lucky newsletter recipient to get a $25 AMAZON GIFT CARD, just for being a part of my Newton Nation! I only send out a newsletter when I have something FREE to giveaway, so your in-box will not be cluttered with letters from me, nor will I share my email subscriber list with anyone else.

It's stupid easy to get this freebie--simply sign up for my Newsletter by entering in your email address where it says 'Subscribe to Dylan's Newsletter' at the right of this blog. On Wednesday morning, I will draw for the giftcard, and email my newsletter recipients instructions for how to get your FREE autographed card.

Dontcha love freebies?!?
Happily My Ever After...

P.S. If you haven't read ANY WITCH WAY, and would like to preview the novel, just click here to peek inside the book and read the first few pages for free! :)

P.P.S. Want to see pictures of Grimaldi Ganache, the dessert recipe featured on my card for ANY WITCH WAY? Just check out my Pinterest page here. Yummmmm.....

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

$25 Cheesecake Factory giftcard drawing extended through the weekend!

My publisher is extending the drawing through the weekend, so if you haven't commented, there's still time!

$25 Cheesecake Giftcard to one random commenter on my interview with my publisher (The Wild Rose Press). Find out where I got my inspiration for ANY WITCH WAY...and maybe score some cheesecake! 

Here's the link...hope to see you there!!

P.S. If you don't want to use the "Comment As" feature, simply 'sign' your name/email after your comment so if you win, I can send you the Cheesecake Factory giftcard!

Happily My Ever After,

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Book Trailer for ANY WITCH WAY --Sexy, but eerie!

I'm loving my brand-spanking new book trailer for my paranormal romance novella, ANY WITCH WAY. I think it completely represents the book--sexy, but with a dark, creepy undertone. My favorite part of the video is the very end, when the eyes fade out and you're left with just a heartbeat.

My BIG, big thanks to R the Great Production studios for another marvelous job!!

Dancing around to my new video as I...
Happily My Ever After,

If you loved this video, check out my video for my first novel, DESPITE THE GHOSTS, here.  I'm pretty partial to them both!  :)

Friday, August 16, 2013

Query Letter Top 10 Do's and Don'ts

Now that you've printed out and thought about the basic Anatomy of a Query Letter, you're ready to get to work! As part of my Writers Paying it Forward series, here are my Query Letter Top 10 Do's and Don'ts for ensuring your email to your A-list of agents/editors doesn't get automatically deleted.

Remember: the goal of your query letter/email is to entice the agent/editor, so that you can GET YOUR MANUSCRIPT READ--a partial or (*gasp*) full manuscript request is the ultimate prize for following the query letter rules. 

I would recommend printing out the below, and stapling it to the back of your Anatomy of a Query Letter, as I will be referencing these tips in the next few weeks as we examine Actual Query Letters that Worked from other writers...and even some that didn't!

Good luck, and be sure to click on the "Subscribe to Happily Ever After" button on the right of this blog. That will ensure you don't miss a thing as we...

Happily My Ever After,

Query Letter Top 10 Do’s and Don’ts:
  1. DO double-check the agent’s name and email address and if he/she is still accepting submissions. Be sure to have done your homework and have a list of which agents actually WANT your material. It's not like testing done spaghetti; don't throw your query out there, willy-nilly, to see what sticks. Spend the time doing your research and you are more likely to get a request for a manuscript.
  2. DO send exactly what’s asked for in the agent’s/publisher’s submission guidelines. Nothing more, nothing less. Yes, that means if they want a synopsis, you must write one!
  3. DO put your own email address and phone number on the bottom or in the body of your query letter to facilitate a reply. Nothing screams, “I don’t care about my book,” quicker than not enclosing a way for the editor/agent to contact you!
  4. DO spell check, grammar check and have your query letter proofread by someone with that skill set. So very many query letters that I see from writers fail in this simple step!
  5. DO thank agents that took the time to consider your manuscript, even if it was a rejection.
  6. DON’T call your book a “fictional novel” because a novel is fiction.
  7. DON’T use fancy colors, borders, fonts, etc. for your query letter email. You are a professional writer, so use standard formatting for business letters. What this means in an email: flush left margins, paragraph return between paragraphs, Times New Roman or Courier font, and NO ATTACHMENTS unless the agent/editor has specifically requested them. Your query won't make it through the virus filters of most agencies/publishers with unsolicited attachments.
  8. DON’T mention in your query how much relatives, friends, etc. loved your book.  Unless you are related to a famous writer!
  9. DON’T take rejections personally, and never retaliate against an agent/publisher for a rejection. File it. Move on.
  10. DON’T stop writing and submitting your work!
Did this help? If so, drop me a line below, or contact me through my website at www.DylanNewton.comWhile you're there, sign up for my Newton Newsletter so you'll be the first to know about freebies, author swag, speaking engagements, book signings and other events!

Want some other resources for query letters? Here are a few of my favorites:

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Anatomy of a Query Letter

One of the questions I get asked most by unpublished (and stressed out) writers is, "How do I get an agent/editor to read my f-ing manuscript?" and because they know I succeeded with a 'traditional' query letter approach, "Will you help me with my f-ing query letter?"

Yes. I will. Read on, my stressed out writing friend!

The Anatomy of a Query Letter (below)  is from a course I gave two different writer's workshops, and it is the backbone of my Writers Pay it Forward program, where we will be visiting each section of the query letter in depth, and showing actual query letters that led to a writer's contract! Here's what I would recommend:
  1. Print out my "Anatomy of a Query Letter" below. 
  2. Join me as I take it section by section. Skip ahead on my blog to whatever you feel is the easy section and write that first, as some will be easier for you to write than others.
  3. When you need to see how other writers have done it, read the Actual Query Letters that Worked from my blog. Be sure to subscribe so you don't miss any tips that might help make your query brilliant!
  4. Give yourself time--as one agent I follow so wisely said, writing your query letter should take you as long as it did to write (and revise) two of the BEST chapters in your novel.

Good luck and be sure to subscribe to my blog to get the latest examples and hints for your query letter and your developing writing career!

Happily My Ever After,

Anatomy of a Query Letter

A query letter is your introduction as a writer, your calling card. Unless you’ve previously met the agent/publisher, this is a cold sales pitch in which you are selling your story, your writing talent/voice, and YOU! The query is the way to get your proverbial foot in the door; its job is to entice the reader to request your manuscript!

Follow the basic anatomy of a query letter (in any order):  hook, mini-synopsis, your writing bio or credits, and the call-to-action. Although you'll likely submit via email, when writing your query in Word, make sure it fits to one page, single spaced, one inch margins and standard business letter formatting (don’t forget your phone number and email address!)

  • Hook: Eye-catcher; what sets your book apart from the rest? I'm not gonna lie, this one sucks to write, but spending time here will be well worth it, as this short 1-2 line hook will grab the editor/agent's attention and ensure your query is read. Most queries fail here, so be sure to tune in as we discuss various hook options, and give examples.
  • Mini-Synopsis: This is where you do your market research, and let the agent/editor know how your book fits. Who is your reader? What is your genre? This section will also contain your ‘TV Guide Blurb’ and should give a sense of the overall arc of the book and themes within. Be sure to include approximate word count and using the words, “complete” when describing your novel. By the way, your novel should be complete before you query!
  • Author Bio/Writing Credits: One to three sentences that highlight resume-worthy aspects of YOU. If you have writing credits, contest wins, background or relevant life experiences, list them here.
  • Call-to-Action: The shortest (and usually the easiest!) section of your query letter to write, this is typically a one-liner, indicating what is attached beneath the query (i.e. first 5 chapters and synopsis), or it is a nicely worded plea for the agent/editor to take a look at your manuscript.'ve gotten the Basic Anatomy of a Query Letter I will give you the Top 10 Do's and Don'ts of a Query Letter. Subscribe to my blog so you don't miss a thing!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Grimaldi's Ganache Recipe from ANY WITCH WAY

Featured in my paranormal romance novella, ANY WITCH WAY, the Grimaldi Ganache my heroine swoons over is based on this candy-bar-like pie which will make your sweet tooth moan and beg for more!

I have a couple of pictures of it on Pinterest (click here for my author Pinterest site), but here is the recipe for your enjoyment!

Grimaldi's Ganache

featured as Lily's favorite treat in ANY WITCH WAY

Pre-made 9" graham cracker crust (make your own or store bought--I use Keebler's)
Ganache Filling:
10oz Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate morsels (do not 
use semi-sweet)
1 3/4 cups heavy cream
2 large egg yolks, beaten
Sweet Topping:
2 3/4 cup mini marshmallows
1 1/4 cup salted almonds with skins, toasted
1/2 cup (or 4 oz bar) Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

Ganache Filling: 
Melt 10 oz bittersweet chocolate in double-boiler; keep warm. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, bring cream to a simmer; remove from heat. Slowly whisk 1/4 cup heavy cream into the beaten egg yolks, then whisk the yolk mixture into the remaining cream in saucepan. Now whisk cream mixture into the melted chocolate. Scoop out one cup and set both cup and saucepan aside.
Sweet Topping:
Coarsely chop the rest of the bittersweet chocolate and combine in large bowl with mini marshmallows and toasted almonds, and spread all but one cup of this candy topping over bottom of pre-made graham cracker crust. Pour the saucepan of liquid ganache filling over the top and refrigerate the pie for 1 hour, covering reserved 1-cup of liquid ganache and candy topping, and leaving them at room temperature.

After 1 hour, remove pie and top with remaining candy topping, then pour reserved 1-cup of ganache filling over it all. Refrigerate for 1 hour, then enjoy!


Want to see pictures of this recipe, and other amazing eye-candy (like the smexy men I use as inspiration for the heros in my novels)? Check out my Pinterest page at and drool along with me! 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

ANY WITCH WAY cover is a contender for Affair de Couer contest!

My cover for my paranormal romance, ANY WITCH WAY, was chosen as a contender for the Uniquely Yours contest at the Affair de Couer! Check it out and I'd love a vote if you are so inclined! :)

Cover contest link here!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Interview with Juli D. Revezzo, author of Passion's Sacred Dance

In conjunction with my Writers Paying it Forward program, today I am featuring paranormal romance author Juli D. Revezzo, author of the newly released Passion's Sacred Dance

I've had the pleasure of meeting Juli, and I knew right away we were kindred spirits: we both love the paranormal, and hard rock. Juli was kind enough to share with me some of her writing experiences, as well as her query letter that worked--a query that got her a partial request for, and eventual contract with, The Wild Rose Press. Juli's actual query letter will be posted next Friday, so check back!

I am insanely curious, so I've asked the questions I wanted to know of Juli, but feel free to ask any questions I didn't ask--the blog interview will be open all weekend.

Congratulations on your book release, Juli! Passion's Sacred Dance came out this week, and it looks outstanding! What was your inspiration for the book?
Passion's Sacred Dance was inspired by a song title. There's a song called "Foreclosure of  a Dream" by Megadeth. (Dylan's Note: Wanna see the YouTube video? Scroll down for the Megadeth song that inspired this author.) It started playing in my head one day and for some reason I'll never understand that prompted my heroine to start griping about losing funding to her history museum.

Can you describe your daily writing routine? Do you have a word count goal, or time goal for your writing every day?
It depends on the day. Sometimes I get started first thing in the morning, if a dream prompted some scene, or sometimes I get started about noon. If I can make 500 words a day it's a good day. If I can make more, it's wonderful but due to carpal tunnel I try not to force over 1,000 unless the scene demands it.

What's one thing about you that not many people know?
You couldn't talk me into get onto a plane for all the tea in China! *laughs*

What one avenue of marketing/promotion do you think all writers should become familiar with/take advantage of, if they'd like to build their writing platform?
I'm still new to all this, but Twitter and Facebook, and targeted Facebook groups seem to help. Just get your book in front of as many people as you can seems to be the key.  If the opportunity presents itself and you can find a new place to get your buy link posted don't pass it by.

Thanks for being a guest on my blog, Juli, and best of luck with your new novel! 

Feel free to ask Juli questions, and check out the blurb for her new book Passion's Sacred Dance below, available now on Amazon Kindle, and soon to come in print at The Wild Rose Press.

Writers Pay It Forward Friday--Query Letters that Worked!

Today is the first post of my Writers Pay It Forward Friday series--where I will feature a writer, showcase their latest and greatest novel, and give newbie writers a chance to look at what I would've given my left nostril to have before I was published...


I'm not sure why it is, but actual query letters that got results are hard to find online, especially from the author himself/herself. Maybe it's a hit to their pride; query letters are personal, sometimes embarrassing, soul-baring missives that writers may not want their fans to see. Or maybe it's a territorial thing--sort of a 'I had to muddle through it, so should they!' vibe.

I'm neither prideful nor territorial. 

So over the next few weeks, I'll show you mine--the ones that bombed, and the ones that got requests for partial manuscripts. Along the way, I'll offer tips and tricks to writing a query letter (or query email) for ANY manuscript.

Best of all...I will feature an author each month with his/her actual query letter that got him/her a request for a partial or full manuscript. In that way, not only will you see the actual query that resulted in a contract, you can also see the end result--what the novel came to be after edits and revisions.

Pretty cool, right? If you want 'in' on this party, just check back weekly to see what's new, or better yet, subscribe to my blog by clicking on the link to your right that says, "Follow My Happily Ever After."

Here's to ALL of us writing...
Happily My Ever After,

P.S. If you are an author who has been traditionally published and have an actual query letter that got you a publishing contract, please click the "Contact" link above. I'd love to feature you, your actual query letter, and the resulting book on my blog!