Friday, October 21, 2011

Please Welcome Guest K. Dawn Bird

Why I'm loving writing for the young adult market...

It's October 21, which means I'm visiting Seekerville! Grab a cup of hot tea or a cup of coffee and enjoy some of the sweet treats prepared especially for you. No coffee for me, please. The smell turns a headache into a migraine. I'll have a cinnamon roll, a big one with lots of goo in between the layers. I can smell them from here. Ahhhhh!

Now, where was I? Back to my post. I've been asked several times recently why I moved from writing for adults into the young adult market. It all started with a book I wrote five years ago...before I even knew how to write. Last year, just before going to the ACFW Conference, I found that manuscript. It was called Swarm of the Butterflies and I'd logged fifty thousand words. Not too shabby for someone who'd never written anything. I had no doubt that I could revise it into something saleable and contacted the CEO of Desert Breeze and asked if she'd be interested (Desert Breeze had just opened up a young adult line.) She was.

After returning from conference, I dusted it off and started revisions. Talk about telling instead of showing! It was a mess. Mind you, I absolutely hate editing. I ripped it to shreds and the finished product has little to do with the original manuscript. The name even changed to Mistaken Identity. However, the love triangle, two BFFs who fall for the same guy, remained intact.

That said, because of this book, I fell in love with young adult fiction. I'd been writing suspense, which is heavier and darker. Young adult romance was a breath of fresh air. I was worried at first that I couldn’t get the voice right. After all, how can a 43-year-old woman get inside the head of a 16-year-old girl. I read a few young adult books in first person, hoping to get the voice right. It must have worked. Several teens have emailed me or mentioned in reviews how characters in Mistaken Identity reminded them of someone they knew.

Young adults are smart and writing for them can be even more difficult at times than writing for the adult market. I have to ask myself constantly if a young adult would think or say a certain thing. My editor is good at catching certain words and marking through them and sending me a note such as, "Would a young adult really say that word?" I've learned not to use certain words or phrases.

So, the next time you're feeling a little bogged down with your writing. You know the feeling. You feel like everything's the same old same old and you'd like to try something different. Give young adult a try. I've enjoyed it so much that I've signed a contract for a new mystery series. The Zoe Mack Mystery series, a college-age romance/mystery series will debut in January. When I get a break in deadlines, I'd like to work on the young adult paranormal that's rolling around in my head, but that's a topic for another day.
I'm not saying, I've given up on writing adult fiction. No Siree. My October 15 release is called This Time for Keeps and is a novel about second chances. On the night India McGuire becomes engaged to another man, the love of her life rides back into town after leaving a decade ago without so much as a goodbye. Should she keep the ring and the stability that comes with it or risk everything and follow her heart?

Leave a comment for your chance to win a gift card for a download of any one of my books.


  1. Cinnamon roll?

    I had my first salted caramel mocha today (or technically yesterday) and I still taste the sweetness.

    Maybe in the morning after I wake up. I will have coffee ready. :-)

  2. Happy blogging in Seekerville today! So glad you came by!

    Sorry about the coffee - tea works for me too, and yeah. YUMMO - Cinnamon rolls! MMM MMM MMMMMM!

    Thanks for sharing your YA journey. I'm writing middle grade adventure so I hear ya, except... I constantly must ask myself what my spy Schnauzer, May, would say! It's a challenge but FUN!

    Would enjoy reading more of your work! Thank you again for being here, celebrating the BIG BIRTHDAY for Seekerville!!! WAHOOO!

  3. YESSSS!! I love love love YA fiction and I probably read just as much YA as I do Christian fiction. I love that you combined the two. I'll definitely be looking into reading both your books! Oh and if anyone is looking for another YA book to read right now I suggest There You'll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones. It's excellent!!

    XOXO~ Renee C.

  4. Hi, Dawn. Welcome to Seekerville.
    It's late here.
    i'm in Tulsa with Tina and Ruthy. They're both sleeping.
    I've got an insomnia problem.

    We've got plans for tomorrow.
    To talk
    And Eat
    And Explore (Tina lived her a while and loves Tulsa and set her last book Oklahoma Reunion in Tulsa)
    then talk and eat some more.

    I love learning more about the YA market, Dawn. Thanks for this post.

  5. Hi Dawn,

    Thanks for posting this. As a teacher I read a lot of Middle Grade and YA fiction and I'm always thrilled by how well written the stories are. Even though they're not written for my age, I really enjoy them.

    Thanks for stopping by. I've been fighting off a migraine today so I'll keep the coffee far away from you.


  6. Here's the coffee for those who NEED it. For the rest of us there's tea, juice, hot chocolate, hot cider, and sodas.

    I've read almost no YA since my kids grew up and left home. So I don't really know what they're reading.

    I'm glad there are those of you who provide for the younger set, but I don't feel compelled to go that direction myself.


  7. Dawn,

    I enjoyed this. It's especially interesting that you got a book request and then shredded your masterpiece to make it good enough to sell. I'm amazed that you could do that. How long did you revise it before sending it in?

    I'd love to win a book.

  8. Thanks for sharing about your new endeavor, and congratulations on all your new and upcoming releases! :)

    I've read a few great YA books this year (Renee, I have There You'll Find Me on my TBR stack!), and when they're well-written they're quite enjoyable to read! One of the ones I recently finished is The Merchant's Daughter by Melanie Dickerson - loved the new take on the Beauty and the Beast story! :)


    P.S. Mmmm...please pass the cinnamon rolls! Sounds good right now as I'm so easily distracted from my homework... Currently reading Twelfth Night for the first time (for my Shakespeare class), and I'm enjoying it so far!

  9. Hi Dawn:

    I understand that “Queen of Hearts” was written as a NaNoWriMo book. Are any of your other books NaNoWriMo books? Will you be partaking in the challenge this November?


  10. Hi Dawn, I really like your covers, and that you ventured into YA. I don't read much myself, but I have one or two friends who are not avid readers and anytime they are reading something, it seems to be YA.
    I'll have to suggest Mistaken Identity to them. Gotta love a good love triangle!

  11. HI Dawn. I love your guts, going right to the CEO! Yay for you!

    I'm always looking for new authors to pitch to my teen nieces. Your latest sounds like something right up their alley. Thanks for your post.

    Lyndee H

  12. This Time For Keeps sounds intriguing already!


  13. Helen, what happened to the cokes? Hahahahaha I had a root beer tonight, still on my lazy rear and failed to grab a case of Mountain Dew to share from the store.

    But! Today I went to the store without a shopping list AND a hubby, soooo, things that I normally wouldn't purchase can be found in my pantry.

    Feel free to eat: Oreos, Fig Newtons, Circus Peanuts, Honeycomb Cereal, graham crackers and marshmallow fluff,fritos and the best by far.....BACONNAISE. No, I am not kidding, it found it's way in the cart and I will gladly share with anyone crazy enough to slather that on something. Maybe the oreos? :)

  14. Dawn, I know what it is to wonder if your voice is right for YA. My first book was YA and someone pointed out that my voice didn't fit, that I should remember how I used to talk--problem is, I'm too big for my britches, even back then I didn't talk/act like a teen, so how could I recall how a typical teen talks/thinks? That memory right there threw me off the YA writing track. But that's okay, I like where I am.

  15. Hi MARY:

    If you have not seen the Will Rogers Museum in Claremore, it would be a great visit. It’s ideal for western humor writers.

    Also, you may already know this but Margaret Daley is having a book signing Friday night, 5 pm to 7 pm at the Lifeway Christian Store at 10333 E. 71st Street. There are probably 20 good restaurants in that area so it might be worth a visit before dinner.


    P.S. I’d be happy to drive you up to the Will Rogers Museum if you don’t have a ride and that would help you fit the visit into your schedule.

  16. I LOVE cinnamon rolls: the gooier the better. I'll take at least one, please. Oh, and a cup of coffee with cream sounds dreamy.

    I've heard some authors write more than one type of books sometimes, hadn't given it much thought. It must be something like different talents all rolled up into one person. I know I do different things with yarn, is that the same thing? Maybe not.

    What fun it was to read your post! I'd love to read a book written by you, K Dawn Bird. I also have a granddaughter coming up to YA age and have already shared some of my books with her (her daddy is reading them aloud with her) and if I get one of your books, would be sure to introduce you to her too.

    I'd like to be with you and the comments that come all day Friday but we have to travel so won't be back home till late afternoon or evening so I'll catch up then.

    Pam Williams
    cepjwms (at) wb4me (dot) com

  17. Whoo-hoooo!!!! I've been waiting for this post ALL WEEK!!

    See, I probably read 4-5 YA books a week and maybe 2-3 Junior FIC. I have three voracious readers from ages 8- almost 12 and you know us moms, we gotta see what's in there before they can absorb it all.
    Let's see, yesterday I read 'The Totally LAME Vampire' because one of my kids wanted to and I was expecting it to be like getting a root canal. I'm happy to say it was very clever and I laughed out loud in several places.
    The day before I read 'The Girl of Fire and Thorns' and it's now in the hot hands of the 11 year old. It starts with an arranged marriage, which gave me pause, but is handled so beautifully... And of course the heroine saves the day (or the world).
    Tonight's read-through is 'The Looking Glass Chronicles'. Hope it's good.
    Some authors I just give a pass and let the kids have at it. Sarah Prineas, Shannon Hale, Rick Riordan, Patrick Carmen, Christopher Paolini. :)
    And some of my personal fave YA authors will have to wait until they're quite a bit older.

  18. So, I have a question..

    What do you think of the covers of YA? I read an article that said how covers can really change the teens' willingness to pick up the book IF THEY'RE A BOY. I totally agree. The girl face or girl torso that has replaced some of my favorite YA has been a hard sell to the teen boys I met at the library when I was a children's librarian. I'd try to convince them it was a great book, but they'd see the chick on the cover and pass. Some covers just don't seem to fit the books (like Holly Black's reprints which had gender neutral covers and now have girls).
    My own son doesn't care what it looks like since he's usually getting the older sister's cast off books, but I learned not to try and convince a 14 year old to carry around a girl's face on the cover, no matter how great a story it was.

  19. I started reading YA when my daughters did and never stopped. I agree, the stories are like a breath of fresh air.

    Thanks for the post. Learning what you had to do to get published reminds us about staying the course and working it out.

    Your book is now on my have-to-read list.

  20. Cinnamon roll with lots of goo! Count me in! That should kick start my day. I'll take anything hot to drink - it's kinda chilly this morning.

    K. Dawn I know you are excited that you are writing for young adults now. After writing adult fiction I bet you had to change your thinking process. But like you said I know it is a breath of fresh air for you.

    Mary, are you too excited to sleep?


    Dude. Proud of you! ;)

    Dawn, I love the strength that resonates with strong young adult books. I take a lot of my background from those teen books that put me in writing mode. The what if's that happen to those teens become my adult characters' burdens. Thanks for this post about stretching our wings in all directions.

    Mary Does Not Sleep. But when she does, she talks, as if ANSWERING someone... Not long sentences. Just "Oh..." "Hmm...." "Uh huh..."

    Now it's POSSIBLE that she had a phone stashed in bed, I'm not saying she didn't, but I think the reality is she was TALKING TO CHARACTERS IN HER SLEEP. Of course it sounds strangely like how she handles me...

    "Mm hmm. Of course, Ruthy. Uh huh. Mm hmm."



  22. Hi Dawn, thanks so much for this post! I am attempting to write my first manuscript and it's YA :) I have no idea yet if I actually have a YA voice, but I've had these YA story ideas for years and have always felt drawn and compelled to write YA. I'm still catching up on reading the YA that's out there at the moment - I haven't read much since I was a teen. I would definitely like to read Mistaken Identity, it sounds like a great story, and right along the lines of what I'm looking for.

  23. Vince.



    I'm not invited??? Or TEEEEEENA????

    I'm crushed.

    But I found coffee here in the hotel, so my Ruthy-heart is happy. Although I still miss Jeter. So much.


    You know, not all YA's are YA's... A regular novel that appeals to young adults can fit. A children's book (Harry Potter) that appeals can fit.

    So a YA doesn't have to be about teens necessarily. It can be a suspense, a comedy, a fantasy about a mountain legend...

    It's the appeal that counts with editor and reader, not the age.

    Hey, I'm loving the cinnamon rolls, Dawn. Very happy to partake of that! And now to work, perchance to dream....

    (that was for my buddy AMBER...)

  24. Enjoyed the post this morning. Thank you. I haven't read a YA novel yet but I'm sure I would enjoy them very much.

    You mentioned you hate the editing process. I think I have a fear of it. Like, what if I cut out something that could work if said in a different way, etc. When I was going to college to be a Surgical Tech I had a problem when taking tests. I knew the subject matter so well I would fly through the test, then go back and recheck my answers...then I would always 'edit' one answer..only one..okay it wasn't actually an edit but I would change one answer. My instructors, all doctors, would sit and snicker when they would correct my test because they knew I second guessed myself and changed a correct answer to the wrong answer. They would then tell me 'you should never go back and check your work but let us check it for you'. I guess that would be like letting a critique partner check my work before I cut it up, right?

    Well, I hope you all have a wonderful blessed day in Seekerville!

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.


  25. Ruthy! I'm down in the lobby checking my email so you can sleep. Come down. Free Breakfast!!

  26. Vince that is so sweet of you. I think we'd better let Tina sleep a while longer, then we'll confer. Thanks though. :)
    We're going to Margaret Daley's signing tonight.

  27. PS, I slept fine. And if I talked in my sleep about my Characters, Ruthy, did I say anything good? Tomorrow night, would you mind waking up and taking notes so I can use them in my book the next day?

  28. I love reading YA fiction and some of it's much better than adult...especially if it's secular.

    Best of luck to you!

  29. Gotta love YA!!! Well, I do anyhow :) And so happy to see you over here on Seekerville, K. Dawn. Your work is totally on my TBR pile.

    Question - do you find that Christian YA is a tough sell to publishers/agents? My local bookstore is full of YA (hot market, in more ways than one), but nearly all of it is secular. Makes a writer wonder whether the CBA market has a viable spot for YA... Thoughts? Opinions? More cinnamon rolls?

  30. Dawn, loved this post. I was a voracious reader of YA MANY years ago when I was in the age group. It's so nice to know there are quality, clean stories being published. There probably were in my day too, I just didn't know what they were. :)

    It was fun to read of how you got started writing YA, and of your confidence to talk to the CEO. Establishing relationships helps in many ways in the writing world, eh?

    Thanks for the cyber cinnamon rolls. I can actually eat them. :) Coffee is great too, Helen. Thanks! Hope your birthday was wonderful!

    Mary. Insomnia. Been there. Done that. For years. Praying for you!

  31. Yes!! I'll have six cinnamon rolls please.

    Good morning Seekerville.

    Welcome back to Seekerville, K DAWN!!

  32. MaryC: That's what I love so much about's for every age. I'm 43 years old and I still enjoy it. I just finshed an excruciating round of edits on my January YA release. I didn't enjoy that very much, but I loved writing the book.

  33. Ha! I signed in as Ruthy. She borrowed my puter.

    Okay here's a funny. I got up at 6:30 and I think everyone is a sleeping. So I am quiet for an hour. FINALLY I get up and creep over to see. They are both gone.

    I have been abandoned. You see why I have issues. I got dumped AGAIN.

  34. Cathy Shouse: Honestly, it would have been easier to have written Mistaken Identity from scratch than to have edited it. I'd written it many years ago and it was full of telling instead of showing, had no setting, and my characters needed lots of work. I edited it three times myself, which caused it to need very little be the time it landed on my editor's desk. I probably spent about two months on it.

  35. Welcome Dawn!! I absolutely love YA!! I read it all the time. I'll be sure to check out your story!

    Renee, thanks for the recommendation!

  36. So once again, this time from the real ME..welcome to Seekerville, K Dawn.


  37. Mary and Ruthy and Tina...I'm so jealous. I know you're going to have a blast. :)

  38. Hey, Vince! I have my own personal NaNoWriMo four times a year. All of my books are written in 30 day marathons and the put away for a few weeks before giving them a thorough edit. I love writing in 30 days spurts because it keeps the plot fresh in my mind and it's such a challenge to finish a book in 30 days. I love a challenge!

  39. WELCOME BACK TO SEEKERVILLE, DAWN -- ALWAYS a pleasure, girl!!!

    And, goodness, you ARE a Jill of all trades, no question! But I can see how writing something totally different for a totally different audience might be really fun and invigorating!

    I write heavy-duty romance and a huge segment of my market are the teenage crowd as well as older gals like me, so I was wondering -- do you reduce your market by writing YA?

    Also, my heroines are always in their teens, but I write historical, so what would be the basic differences in writing YA vs. regular fiction other than language/mindset, although when I'm writing teens, I have to keep that in mind as well.

    Thanks for your feedback and good luck on the new books -- they look WONDERFUL!!


  40. Good morning Dawn and welcome to Seekerville,

    I've read a lot of great YA books, esp when I was teaching literature to 7th and 8th grade. I love the fact that there are some great YA books coming out that can be read in school.

    I started to write YA when I came back to writing for the above reason. But discovered I not only was unable but didn't even want to be in the head of a teenager. LOL

    Hence, my YA novel sits on the shelf.

    I'm happy that YA is becoming so popular. Do you know that I read most YA readers are adults. I find that interesting. Any ideas as to why?

    Tina and Mary, I knew you were in Tulsa, but Ruthy too. She talks to angels in her sleep. You all must be having a blast. I'll try and call tomorrow and order books.

  41. Okay, you have all convinced me to give YA fiction another chance.

    I've read so many very, very BAD books that I've been avoiding the age group for years. I mean a LOT of years! And all through those years I've been wondering why publishers can't provide YA books that I could recommend to my children...

    So I'll pick up some on my next library trip - I'll definitely look for yours, Dawn, and others that have been suggested.

    Meanwhile, who else wishes they were in Tulsa this weekend?

    Thanks for the hot chocolate, Helen! And Walt, the Cinnamon rolls are delicious!

  42. Melissa Jaegars: If you decide to try writing YA again, I'd suggest that you choose a couple of YA books to help get you in the mood and to get your YA voice flowing. It worked for me. Jenny B. Jones' and Simone Elkeles' books helped me.

  43. YAY, WALT, on the salted caramel mocha -- sounds DEE-LISH, but I agree -- later in the day. First thing in the morning I gotta have hazelnut straight up with a touch of 1/2 and 1/2, no sugar.

    MARY C ... saying one RIGHT NOW for that nasty onset of a migraine, girl.

    Oh, NANCE, I'm with you -- GOTTA love a good triangle, especially between sisters or best friends, so K.Dawn, that plot intrigues me ... :)


  44. Tina, I think you've found the downside of rooming with Ruthy and Mary. You knew there had to be at least one, right?

  45. Hey, Virginia! I really hadn't thought about how a girly cover would be an aversion to a boy, but it makes sense. Kids are trying to fit in with their peers and the last thing they want is to be made fun of. I can see a bully making fun of a boy carrying around a book with a girl on the cover. So sad.

  46. VIRGINIA, WOW ... you read that much YA??? I'm impressed with you, Mom!!

    AND, MELISSA, BACONNAISE??? Really and truly???


  47. Patsy: You're right...I'm enjoying YA soooo much. It is like a breath of fresh air and it makes this 43 year old feel young again. :>)

  48. I love the mention of coffee or tea at the beginning of most posts, because I am usually drinking a cup of coffee! No hot tea, though. I love me some iced tea, but it's hot counterpart, bleck.

    Anyway, welcome, Dawn! I love the name you chose for your heroine in "This Time for Keeps", India McGuire. I was wondering if it was a historical when I read about Chase "riding" back into her life, but I'm pretty sure it is a contemporary. Any interest in writing historicals? :P

    Many props to authors who can write for the YA audience. It's very demanding in every way.

    Thanks for sharing!


  49. Okay, MARY, TINA AND RUTHY ... serves me right for being behind on my Seeker digests, but why is Ruthy with you in Tulsa???

    I knew about Tina and Mary signing together, but Ruthy too?? I gotta go read Seeker digests to catch up, I guess.

    And, Teenster, sorry about the abandonment issues, but with Mary talking in her sleep (which I vouch for because I roomed with her once at a writers' retreat) and Ruthy WAY too chipper in the morning for a normal human being, much less a New Yorker (which I know because she spent the night at my house over ACFW), you would have bigger problems if they didn't abandon you ... :)

    Have a blast, guys!! Off to read digests ...


  50. Diana Dart: When I attended the ACFW conference last year, I was told by more than one editor that YA is hard to sell (I pitched Mistaken Identity to them.)

    When I arrived home, I found that my publisher, Desert Breeze, was opening a YA line. They were happy to get Mistaken Identity and I was glad to give it to them )It has sold better than all my other books combined.)

    That said, I'm not sure how hard it is to place YA right now, but the editors weren't jumping all over it last year.

  51. Julie: I'm not sure about reducing your market, you'd have to ask your agent or editor. Your name is so well known for "passionate," yet clean romance, I'm sure your fans would buy your YA to keep as part of their Julie Lessman collection. I, personally, would love to see you write a YA book! I'd buy it hot off the press.

    I'd recommend you read a few to get the voice right. I'm not sure I could write a historical YA. It would be too much of a challenge for me to get the lingo of the era correct since I'm not well versed in anything but WWII, an era I love.

  52. We found each other. All three of us were workign quietly out of the room so the rest could sleep. Tina was in the breakfast room, I was in the lobby, Ruthy was in the business center.

    I found Tina wandering in the hall, we phoned Ruthy and found her.
    we are reunited.

  53. Sandra LeeSmith: I believe that adults like to read YA because it makes them feel young again. I love the innocence of the first date, first kiss, first dance, and others probably do also. And, I love being in the head of a teenager! LOL

  54. Whitney:
    This Time for Keeps actually started as a WWII romance, but it just didn't "feel" right and ended up contemporary. I wanted my heroine to have a unique name. Her parents were missionaries in India for many years and that's why they gave her the name.

    I really wanted to write it as a WWII romance because I love the era so much. There were many young men who went off to war and returned so different that their girlfriends didn't even know them when they returned. That's kind of what I had in mind, but it didn't turn out that way. Maybe one day I'll write it.

  55. Hi Dawn,

    That's great that you've expanded into YA. I think writing in a teenager's voice would be a real challenge.

    This Time For Keeps sounds really good. I noticed in one of your responses you originally wanted to set the story during WWII. I'm sorry it didn't work. That's such an interesting time in history. I hope you find your WWII story someday.


  56. What a fun post Dawn! Your novels sound fantastic!

    Cinnamon rolls sound yummy! I'll take two please! But no coffee, gives me a headache too :)

    Rarely does anyone put hot cocoa on the menu so I’ll put a pot on. LOL.


  57. Ruthy you said: "It's the appeal that counts with editor and reader, not the age."

    So glad you brought that up....My characters are college age. So I'm thinking YA but my critique group told me that all YA's are ages 12 to 17.

    Personally I'm writing for ages 16 to twenty-six but several middle aged first readers love the story.

    Does the length and plot level determine the category?

    This stumped me when I entered two contest.

  58. Welcome Dawn.

    It's great to know an author can write for both genres.

  59. Vince are you doing Nanowrimo this year?

    I wrote on of my ms's this way.
    Thinking about giving it another go.

  60. DAWN, great post. And I'm with you on the coffee.

    MARY, RUTHY, and TINA, I don't think Tulsa will ever be the same. They're used to dealing with tornados, but nothing like y'all.

  61. Good morning, Dawn!

    My novel I'm editing now started as a YA, but now I'm not so sure. The character is a 17-year-old girl, the summer between her junior and senior years of high school. I thought it should be YA because of her age, but there are some other situations that popped up that I never intended upon (how did THAT happen?) so I'm not so sure. I'm not really sure if I should pitch it as adult, or YA, or whatever that group is in between.

    I initially started it as YA because I think there's very few Christian YA writers out there. The market is huge in the secular realm (Twilight, The Hunger Games) but pretty limited on the Christian side. Do you have any idea why?


    P.S. I KNOW there are Christian YA writers out there, they just seem few and far between. Even my local Christian bookstore has just one bookcase for YA. And I think there's only three shelves on it.

  62. Mmmm, and thanks for the cinnamon rolls this morning! Perfect start to a Friday morning!

  63. Welcome to Seekerville, Dawn. Your books look great! Congratulations! Fun that you've figured out how to write teen.

    Thanks for the cinnamon roll!

    Ruthy, Tina, Mary, have a blast in Tulsa! Say hi to Margaret Daley for me, for the Seekers.



    No wait. That's tomorrow!

    Mary, Tina and RUTHY! WOOHOO!!!!

    Ya'll are a hoot!!!!

    I read YA if it strikes my interest - like Jenny B Jones' new one, but not as much as I used to [and by used to I mean a few years ago, not when I was a YA ;)]. Too many books, not enough time ;).

    I want to WRITE YA though. A few years in the future. With my now 10yo who also loves writing [she's writing a Titanic book for Nano this year].

    I also want to write... I don't know how to define them. Not YA because it's not teen storylines. But about older teens. 18. 19. 20.

    Book 3 in the series I pitched at conference has an 18-19yo heroine and 21-22yo hero. But she's out of high school and they're in grown up situations. [Can you say shotgun?] The heroine is in the other two books so hopefully readers already care about her. But they're not YA, even though the heroine is a teen.

    I think.

    I dunno.

    I need an agent /sigh/.


    /giggle at Ruthy's use of "The Byrd"/ thanks for stopping by Pentalk too! Did see your comment this morning - we were glad to have you!

    I think I'm supposed to be writing... but I'm going to a Lori Copeland book signing tonight then Tulsa tomorrow which means I should probably find all my unsigned Mary, Tina and Ruthy books. [I did get a couple in yesterday that look way scary but they're by some Nealy lady...] ;)

  65. Ugh. I mean the only one I've actually READ recently is JBJ's new one.

    This one is interesting too. Love triangles = <3!* But it's not in my possession. Yet. ;)

    *Unless they end up unresolved. Hate that. Dee Henderson did that with her last book. And then no more. Anyone know what that's all about?

  66. I'm looking forward to seeign you, Carol.
    Vince hope we manage to arrange this afternoon, thanks so much. Some evidence that we are directionally challenged. We look forward to the help and guidance

  67. We are indeed reunited... I am happily sending myself 1876 new words in my Christmas 2012 story AND....

    chattin' with all o' youse while we get ready to take Tulsa by storm.


    And then we bought a map of Kansas in Waverly, KS, one of the cutest little towns. Loved it and MIKE, the great guy working at the convenience store/service station there.

    Mike: You rock, Dude! Hope Kristin enjoys the books!

    Bridget, I think that YA isn't just about teens at all. It's like a flavor... Now that doesn't mean it shouldn't have a teen flavor... that appeal. But it doesn't have to be just about teens, right? Although young person involvement can up the ante.

    Most teens like to read about young adults... so I guess it depends if you're targeting the tweens "10-15" or the teens "14-18"...

    And most voracious teen readers edge toward slightly out-of-age reading.




    Yee haw! Headin' out to the Tulsa rodeo now...


    There ISN'T one?


    Why not?

  68. That's cool that you write young adult fiction.

  69. That's cool that you write young adult fiction.

  70. thank you Helen! I would love some coffee!

  71. Welcome to Seekerville, Dawn! I enjoyed reading about your journey to YA fiction, and it sure sounds like you found your niche! (or, at least ONE of them, LOL). ~ Sorry coffee gives you a bad headache...I, on the other hand, would get a horrific headache if I DIDN'T have any coffee (drink it 24/7 *sigh*). ~ Not sure if you like peaches, but I brought some homemade biscuits with Georgia Peach butter to spread on them---ENJOY! ~ Thanks for visiting today, Patti Jo :) p.s. Tina, Ruthy, and Mary--Hope you girls are having a TERRIFIC TIME in TULSA!!! ;)

  72. oooh cinnamon rolls! we have those every sunday night as a weekend treat.

  73. Hello Dawn! Did you have to mention cinnamon rolls? A weakness of mine! My mother made the most awesome ones ever when I was growing up...she was so famous for them that whenever people had "auctions" in our little town, they came to her for a pan of them! They used to go for over $50 in the 1960's! I could use one today!
    That's great that you write YA fiction. I have two college daughters and they love to read. I will have to tell them about you. They are always looking for new authors to try out. One especially would like your books, I think.

  74. Bridgett Henson: I'm kind of in the same boat with a book I recently completed. It's called "Something Beautiful" and is a college-age romance. However, I'm being told that it reads more like YA than adult because my 19 year old heroine is the daughter of a districe attorney, has always been sheltered, and is pretty immature.

    I'm kind of caught in the middle on this one. I either have to make my heroine more mature or I have to sell it as YA. The word count has nothing to do with whether your book will end up YA or adult.

  75. Mary, was it continental or buffet?

  76. Bridgett Henson: Writing for more than one genre is great fun for me, but might not be the best career move. An agent that I recently broke ties with believed that I should stick with one genre. That idea wasn't too appealing me. I'm lucky enough to have a job that pays the bills, so I write just for the fun of it. Being told what to write just wasn't much fun.

  77. Dawn, your journey into YA fiction sounds interesting!

  78. Stephanie Queen Ludwig: I'm assuming there are scenes in your book that you're not sure are appropriate for the YA market. Trust me, I'm amazed at some of the things I read in secular YA books, so don't let that stop you. If the book is clean, Godly, and your scenes are handled tactfully, there shouldn't be a problem.

    I never judge how popular a genre is by looking at a bookshelf because everyone is going E. Kids are very tech savvy and most have smart phones or Kindles.

  79. Carol Moncado:
    Your 10 year old is tacking Nano? I'm sooooo impressed!

    There really needs to be a college age genre for books with characters 18 up to about 21.

  80. I don't really care for cinnamon rolls. thanks anyways, though.

  81. Valri:
    I hope your mom passed the recipe on to you!

  82. I don't really like to read a lot, but YA books are sometimes fun!

  83. cinnaomon rolls are good. i'll take one.

  84. Helen, i would take a coke, as well.

  85. walt, what is a salted caramel mocha?

  86. Mindy Obenhaus: It's nice to find a non-coffee drinker in the bunch. We'll just sit in our little corner away from everyone and chat.

    Seriously, I'm prone to sinus headaches and the worst triggers are coffee and perfume. They'll turn a headache into a migraine every time. I can tolerate the coffee if it's in an open space, but the perfume is another story. Just being close to someone at ACFW last year triggered a horrible migraine that put me in the bed for hours, causing me to miss classes and appointments. You remember how sick I was, Pepper Basham! You came upstairs and prayed for me. And no, Pepper wasn't wearing the perfume.

  87. Work and sick kiddos have been keeping me away, but I'm so glad I fought my way back to the island today! Great to see you here, Dawn.

    I haven't tackled writing YA yet, though I read a lot of it to help point my girls at church toward some good stuff. Yours will be on my list. :-)

    I'm writing for a market that some say is an even harder sell than YA -- MG. But I love it, like you say about your YA. It's a totally different mindset from writing for adults (which I used to do).

    I met with an agent at a conference earlier this fall and was told, "You can't teach someone voice for MG or YA -- they have it or they don't." It looks like you "have it," so congrats on the new book and I'll be looking for others (and be looking up some of those other YA authors y'all have mentioned).

    Happy Friday!

  88. Dawn! So great to see you here. Congrats on your release, girl! :D Definitely put me in the drawing.

    I have to tell you that I wrote my very first YA love short. It was SO much fun!!! I loved it! I didn't think I'd like writing YA, but it was so fun I'm thinking about experimenting again. Have any advice for me?

  89. This is actually the 10yo's third NaNo :D. The 8yo's first.

    Well, the NaNo Young Writer's Program. You set the word count - they give you a range on the website with the low end for everyone over 2nd grade being their grade in 1000s. Because of our busy month last year, both years she's done 2K or so. This year, in 4th grade, I'm setting her goal for 5K. She's got a great story outlined so... :D

    The 8yo's story is about a dog lost in the big city. Her goal will be... I dunno. She's doing it mostly because we are, not because she loves it. So 1500-2000 most likely. Don't want to set her up to fail just because it's not her 'thing' but am going to push her for 2K. That's like 50 words a day [which is more than I've written a day [on average] since Labor Day weekend :p].

    Okay - 66 words a day. She can do a 75word1HR while I do a 1K1HR ;). The 10yo needs 166/day. They can both do that. I know they can :D!

  90. Dawn, Thanks for the clarification and the great advice.

  91. I thinking writing for the YA market would be hard. It's such a difficult audience to reach and in even higher demand for a story that will keep them focused and not want to picth the book across the room. Kudos to those who make it work and do well with it!

  92. Welcome, Dawn!

    YA is such an interesting genre. I was introduced to it when I wrote reviews. At first I thought it might be out of my comfort zone but I fell in love with it. But it is hard to find Christian YA. I think my girl has read most of them out there.

    I have a story idea for YA speculative from a male perspective. I probably won't ever write it though since my first love is historical romance.

  93. Mary, y'all drove through Waverly?! Did you drive by Williamsburg too? I can't believe you guys were so close.

  94. Carol, I think it's awesome your dd is doing NaNo. My dd tried two years ago. I haven't asked her if she wants to this year. Right now she's reading Rick Riordan's newest and her mind usually hits story mode once she's done.

    Even though I have a supspense plotted, I won't be doing NaNo this year. I have two other stories on the plate that take priority.

  95. Hi Dawn,

    Congratulations on your multi-genre career! I think I needed to read this today because I've been thinking of trying a book outside my normal contemporary genre and have been plagued with doubts.

    But you, and a lot of other authors, seem to have no problem writing in different styles, so maybe it's a sign I should just give it a go!

    Thanks for sharing with us!

    sbmason at sympatico dot ca

  96. Linnette: Congrats on the short! I've tried to write short stories and just can't do it...can't wrap my brain around them for some reason. My advice would be to read YA in order to find your voice. Ask yourself what you like about the YA books you read.

  97. Carol: I didn't realize there were lower word counts for young people taking the NaNo challenge. That's wonderful! They can participate without being overhwhelmed with huge word counts. I love it!

  98. I really enjoy reading YA books myself. Its a change off from what I usually read. I think I need more coffee today, can't seem to get going. Those cinnamon rolls sound pretty good also.


  99. Hi Bridgett:

    I will be doing Nanowrimo this year. I have about a 50% success rate over about 8 tries. This year I have a very clear idea of what I want to write so I have high hopes.

    Give it a try. Sometimes when you don’t think you can make it, you get your best ideas. I’ve finished when I thought I wouldn’t and I didn’t finish when I though I had the best ideas. I just think it is good to see 50,000 words you’ve written. It’s like running your first marathon. Once you realize you can do it, everything else is on how to improve.

    Good luck,


  100. Hi Ruth & Tina:

    Everyone is invited. Mary was the one who was awake and she is the western humorist. Besides, I didn’t think I could be so lucky as to have three Seekers come along!

    This will be great.

    Departure 2:00 pm today!

    Report to follow!


  101. Welcome K. Dawn Bird! I love writing for LIH and hope to do so for a very long time, that said I have this YA rolling around in my head that I know I'll have to squeeze some time in to write one of these days :) It will probably be good to stretch my creative muscles :) Congratulations on all your success!

    Eva Maria Hamilton at gmail dot com

  102. Great post, Dawn. I always wondered how someone made the switch from adult to the YA genre.

    I'll be sure to recommend your books.

    Glad you made it to Seekerville.

  103. Dawn, This Time For Keeps sounds so interesting. I'm sure it's full of conflicts of the heart. The best kind! It's on my TBR list! Thank you for coming by today.

  104. Yes, Julie, BACCONNAISE is not fiction. Really and Truly, Honest to God, I have bacon flavored mayonaise sitting out on the buffet table--but for some reason no one's touching it.

  105. Melissa, here's an Alabama hors d'oeuvres recipe for your Baconaise.

    Mix real bacon bits with mayo spread on a Ritz cracker and top with a slice of grape tomato.

    Viola! BLT crackers. Without the lettuce.

  106. Now I'm back with questions. :-)

    From what I see, Desert Breeze specializes in e-publishing. What have you found works well from a marketing perspective, especially since you're trying to reach teens? Do you think the e-access is an advantage since kids are so tech savvy?

    Looking forward to other questions and advice.


  107. Virginia - I completely agree with your comment about boys not wanting to read books with covers that look too girly. My husband steers clear too, even though I try to convince him that great WWII historical isn't a heavy romance even though there's a beautiful woman on the cover. lol

    Our son is almost 13 and is a voracious reader. He doesn't mind reading about girl characters as long as they're gutsy and the story's good. He's OK with the girl being on the cover if it's something like a scene from the book that looks adventurous (it doesn't hurt if the boy main character is also pictured). But girly foo-foo covers? No way. He's only read those books because of something for school. He's admitted afterwards that some of those books were really good, but he would've never picked them up on his own.


  108. Oooo - WAIT!!!!



    Do we get to meet VINCE?!!?!? AND MRS. VINCE tomorrow?!?!?!?!

    I'll have to make extra cookies.

    Oh boy. Now I'm nervous.

    Cookie making is on this afternoon's agenda. Better not burn them.

  109. No problem Missy! I love YA so I can recommend a ton of great titles. One that's super popular and for good reason are the Hunger Games books by Suzanne Collins. I love that there's a bit of a romantic element but Katniss is a super tough heroine whose life doesn't revolve around a boy. There's some strong violence and I think some very brief strong language but compared to a lot of YA out there it's fairly clean.

    XOXO~ Renee
    p.s. I'll have one of those cinnamon rolls now but only if it's lathered in cream cheese icing. ;-)

  110. Dawn:

    I don't drink coffee either. But I get my caffeine fixes from Classic Coke.


    I've never heard of baconaisse before, but I like Bacon Ranch dressing. It's about the only one I ever touch besides my usual red vinegar.

  111. Vince: Having a clear idea has really helped me with NaNo. There's no way I could finish if I went in as a panster.

  112. Leigh: Desert Breeze started out as an E publisher. Recently, they decided to test the print waters with their top ten authors. I'm honored and humbled that I made the top ten, probably by the skin of my teeth.

    I fought E forever because I've been a book collector for decades. Somehow, E threatened the very existence of my print books, but after I read the first one, I was hooked.

    I don't market an E book any differently than I would a print book. I'm a guest on dozens of blogs and I tweet my new releases and place blurbs on facebook. In addition, I run two blogs. I absolutely hate marketing, but it's a necessary evil. I wish all of it was as fun as appearing on Seekerville.

  113. Hmmm...can I ask who spelled my name wrong? Dear Mary, was it you? Oh, by the way, I can't wait to read your suspense book.

  114. Haha, Dawn. I noticed the name spelling thing, too. I was going to ask earlier, but then wondered if it was against the authorship code... is K. Dawn Byrd a pen name? It just seems way to unique and cool to be a “real” name, like India McGuire…

  115. Dawn, thanks for responding to my question.

    I must say I'm somewhat like you, that I despite e-books and the like because I am an adamant book collector. I have no fears that "real" books will ever be replaced by e-books, but I'm not crazy about them, either.

    I'm wondering how you handle teen romance in your YA books. I know kids can and DO date, but there's a lot of talk of "courting" in the Christian church at times, as well as "waiting" to date until they find that one special person they want to spend the rest of their life with. I like those ideas, but they're very different from what most secular AND Christian teens practice. There's a romance in my novel between two 17-year-olds, but as much as I want them to get married someday, the story doesn't go that far ahead, unless I get a book deal for a series ;) (I can dream!)

    I guess I'm just wondering its OK to have a "happily ever after--for now" in Christian YA fiction.

    Sorry, my thoughts are a little scattered on that one.

  116. That's so funny that Tina, Ruthy and Mary were all being so considerate of each other this morning!! Who would have thunk it?? I mean, can't you imagine Mary and Ruthy trying to aggravate each other and Tina having to referee??

  117. Virginia, I've heard and read a lot lately that publishers are really looking for great books to pull in middle school boys. I'm trying to get my high school son (who's a big sci fi fan) to write one. :)

  118. Hi Dawn! Congratulations on your success. The question of the day for me has been whether I'm a round peg trying to force myself into a square hole. I'm of a mind to write one thing, but no matter what I start with, the story always seems to morph into a related but different genre. Working on letting go enough to just write and see what comes out. I don't mind editing because at least then I have something to work with.

  119. On books for middle school boys...

    Very tough! It was hard to find books my 16yo would enjoy. He liked contemporary stories. No fantasy for him. No girly stuff either. Most of what's published, especially in the CBA arena, didn't meet his needs. He also prefers urban protagonists and settings. Uh, can we make it any harder?

    He wound up reading a good bit of ABA suspense, which was okay because I read it too and we were able to discuss it. I have since introduced him to adult books from the likes of Steven James, J. Mark Bertrand, etc. He can handle them now, but a few years ago, it was really, really tough. We wound up reading stuff like Artemis Fowl, Charlie Bone and Alex Ryder, all YA series but not necessarily with a Christian worldview.

  120. You know, I've heard that about the YA genre- if the character is between 12-18 then it's YA. So, in our children's section of the library there was a great book called, 'The Sweetness At The Bottom Of the Pie by Alan Bradley. It had a 12 year old heroine sleuth... but it was definitely an adult book! It was still pretty tame but there was MURDER, and all sorts of mayhem. So, the character isn't always a good indicator of whether it's YA.
    P.S. It's one of my favorite books EVER. So brilliant. Won the 2007 Debut Dagger Award. And it's a series.

  121. This comment has been removed by the author.

  122. Patricia W! I so hear you! No fantasy and no girly? Wow, that would be tough...
    We've read all those, too but I read them to my younger kids because Alex Ryder had some serious body count toward the end of the series. :( We love Artemis Fowl- have you read that latest, 'The Atlantis Complex'? Mulch is our favorite character. :D
    We own all the Charlie Bone books but I thought those books were really poorly written. Just my opinion.
    Did Percy Jackson Lightening Thief by Riordan? Too funny!!

  123. This comment has been removed by the author.

  124. Patricia, great new photo!! (or maybe I'm just behind on noticing). :)

  125. K. Dawn- I loved hearing about your journey. Because I work with teens everyday I'm ready to leave their mindset behind for a while, but I'm so grateful for writer's like you who put good quality fiction out there that will keep youth engaged in reading. It seems so many I work with everyday are not reading, but you make it clear that there are many who still are picking up those books and connect with the characters. Such a wonderful thing that I would hate for anyone to miss having that experience.

    I hope there are some cinnamon rolls left for late comers like me. I love cinnamon rolls smothered in lovely icing. Great choice for a breakfast food.

  126. Ok, sorry about the double post. I got one deleted but can't get the other off. :( I'm not trying to spam...
    Missy! I have a duaghter into sci-fi and I swear, my brain just doesn't work that way. I can read it, but couldn't write it. I bet he could be the next Paolini! Go for it!
    There's really not much for middle grade boys- but Avi has a great series, starting with Redwall. And the 39 Clues is a fun series, even though it's a bit over advertised. My kids still have them all. Anything with 'collectible cards' sort of puts me off. But it's a fun series with every book written by a different author, usually one of our faves!
    On other news, Patrick Carmen is having a book signing in Walla Walla, near us, on Hallowe'en!! So exciting!! His book, Dark Eden, is coming out. We have 'The Land of Elyon' series but my favorite of his for YA would be 'Thirteen Days to Midnight'.

  127. Hi, Dawn! Congratulations on your new books!!! I'd love to write YA but I think it would be harder than writing for adults. You really need to understand what teenagers are going through these days. My kids are grown up, so I have no idea!

  128. The Zoe Mack series sounds interesting ... I'll be keeping an eye out for more info on your website! =)

  129. YAY!! It's Dawn!!!

    So good to see you here on Seekerville, and I LOVE that your YA is doing so well.

    After brainstorming Zoe Mack with you, I cannot WAIT to meet her on the page.

    Congrats on DB taking Mistaken Identity to print.

    Love ya, Neighbor

  130. Hi Dawn~In the past when I've seen a YA tag on a book, I wondered if I could relate or enjoy it as an adult. Well, this year I've read several YA books and LOVED them! I'm glad that you've had success with yours and I hope I can read one soon! God bless~Stacey

  131. Hey, Dawn!!! Welcome to the YA world. :-) I love writing YA's, and I love the email messages my readers send to me! Young adults are very enthusiastic, and when they love something, they REALLY LOVE IT! I'm sure you've experienced this too. And you absolutely can't talk down to YA's. So it's challenging. Although, I think I still think like a 16-yr-old, so it's that much of a stretch. :-) What can I say? No one's ever accused me of being TOO mature.

    I wish you all the best writing YA, (Kim) Dawn! God bless.

  132. Loves 2 Read Romance - LauraOctober 21, 2011 at 6:09 PM

    Hi K.Dawn! Thanks for sharing with us. I love that there seems to be more and more available for the young adult market. It seems like 10 years ago when I was 15 there wasn't a whole lot available. But maybe I just wasn't looking in the right places.

    I brought some cookies for after dinner!


  133. I've only read a few YA books. I remember reading so much as a kid but sometime around middle school I found there was nothing for me to read. seems like a line of teen romances was available- Silhouette was one publisher seems like - but that was it and I was the oddball who didn't want to read about the fat girl losing weight, becoming a cheerleader, and getting the boy! a romance was ok but I wanted stories with people my age and now it's unbelievable how much is written for YA! wish all this had been avalaible for me, um, a few years ago! ok more than a few years ago..but I was stuck between the kid section and sneaking an adult book - my mom's rule was no racy covers but lemme tell you some of those plain cover books were doozies and I still wish I'd never gotten hold of a few! but even those weren't of interest to me with everyone being adult and too naive to understand all the drama going on.


  134. K Dawn, you said, "Being told what to write just wasn't much fun."

    I can identify with having to do just one thing (though I've not written a book or several books of the same type). I get bored just doing my house stuff. Add a little other adventure/excitement into the mix and it's way better than the same ole', same ole' stuff.

    I just got back and am trying to catch up on everyone's comments so as not to miss out totally on the whole day of fun.

    Pam Williams
    cepjwms (at) wb4me (dot) com

  135. Dawn, thanks for the information on YA fiction. Very interesting!

    Jan K.

  136. a fabulous always :)

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  137. Susanna I don't know how old you are but when I was a teen (around 2002) they had this great series of romances called Avon True Romance for Teens and let me tell you I think I read them all! They covered a whole bunch of periods but they were all historicals. *Blushes* I still have a few on my bookshelf.

    XOXO~ Renee C.

  138. Hi K. Dawn! Loved reading about the YA genre! I've only read a couple. I think they were by Frank Peretti. As soon as I finish Julie's "A Hope Undaunted", I'll be reading Stephanie Collins' "The Underland Chronicles". A ten year old recommended them to me, but his 30-something mom loved them as well. I admit, I was kind of doubtful since they are YA, but you've convinced me that the genre is worth diving into! Thanks for your post!

  139. Oops. I meant Suzanne Collins. lol.

  140. LOVE LOVE LOVE cinnamon rolls!

    And baconnaise??? Never heard of it, but sounds like something my family would get into lol.

  141. Virginia, thanks for the recommendations. For the last couple of years, he's been reading all of Orson Scott Card's books. (not YA as far as I know) He loves them and has been begging me to read them! I'll be sure to tell him about these books you named.

    Me? I'm more into the YA romance. :)

  142. Dawn I appreciate your sharing with us. I have twin girls who love to read. When they are teens your books will be on the list of good books to read.

  143. YA seems like such a fun challenge. Challenging because this genre now has to appeal to adults as well as youths, but fun because it gives you a chance to break into something new and be unique. Thanks for sharing your journey!

  144. Dawn, I've read dear Melanie D's book, The Healer's Apprentice, and loved it! I'll have to think about why.

    Funny about the short! It started out as a writing prompt. Green Beans of all things. As I was writing it I thought - this could be so cute if it were about teens. I turned out awesomely! It might be trash to others, I don't know. But I was so excited about it. Still am! Can you tell? :D I've written enough shorts for Woman's World (and been rejected) that I've had plenty of practice on shorts. :S

    Been a long day for me and will be a short night. Off to bed I go. TTFN! :D

  145. Great post! Thanks for sharing your journey with us!

  146. I have to confess that I'm another adult who enjoys reading YA.

  147. Hey, Whitney! I'm checking back in. I've been at a writing conference all weekend and kind of tied up. K. Dawn Byrd is my real name. Dawn is actually my middle name.