We’ve been the Scribblers since 2015, but in October 2016 we began this blog. Since then we’ve had 25,000 views and 8,000 visitors. Thank you to everyone who has supported us and used our site.
To celebrate a year of going strong, we want to kick off our new quarterly newsletter with an annual one to cover the events of the last 12 months.
So here goes…
13th June 2017 turned out to be one of those magical days in my life, right up there with my Wedding Day and birth of my two daughters, because it was the day my fab agent Chloe Seager (Diane Banks Associates) called me to say she’d secured a trilogy deal with HarperCollins HQ Digital for my debut novel ‘Book of Fire’. And I have to admit, I did cry.
And the last five months have been a complete whirlwind of awesomeness! Book of Fire was launched as HQ’s first YALit title, thanks to the wonderful talents of my editor Hannah Smith, on 25th August and has enjoyed a fantastic response. I really couldn’t have asked for better reviewer and blogger support with comparisons to giants such as:
‘Percy Jackson, The Bone Season, Hunger Games, Da Vinci Code’ Harry Potter and The Island of Doctor Moreau!
All fantastic compliments for any nervous debut. So, what’s it all about?
BoF is a dystopian adventure with the medieval Voynich Manuscript mystery at its heart. It follows the journey of feral twins Eli and Talia,who live in a secret forest idyll ‘Arafel’. They are survivors of biochemical warfare, which has scarred the earth following a Great War of 2025. The War has left its mark: Eli has been born into a world of silence and Talia has inherited a dangerous legacy passed down by her forefathers.
Then an unexpected forest raid forces Talia and Max, her childhood friend, into a desperate mission to rescue her family whilst also protecting the sacred Book of Arafel. While inside the domes, Talia makes some life-changing discoveries, and an ally, in the form of rugged Insider August, who challenges everything.
With the clock ticking, she must decide: why has her Grandfather protected a secret concerning the fabled Voynich Manuscript with his life, and what is she prepared to sacrifice in order to protect her family.
Book of Fire Publisher Blurb:
The Fire Sermon meets Gladiator in this brilliant YA debut. ‘
I’ve been lucky enough to take part in plenty of press and blogger interviews, a new YA box scheme, giveaways, University competitions, live Twitter chats, library FunPalace events, and recently, even got a sneak peek of Exeter’s Underground Passages! And the support of other authors has also been hugely encouraging, the book community is a very warm and welcoming second home.
It is hoped that the second book in the series will be out early next year but meanwhile there is a Book of Fire community on Facebook, at https://www.facebook.com/BookofFireMK/ , Twitter at @mkenneypr, and Book of Fire can be found in many outlets including Amazon at http://bit.ly/BookOfFire
There have been a lot of ups and downs on my writing journey, as almost anyone who writes can say. The highlights of course were finding my agent Sarah, and securing a publishing deal for my debut fantasy novel.
Although things didn’t pan out exactly the way we wanted, every part was a learning experience, and I have now written another novel which is out on submission to publishers at the moment.
So, this past year, I’ve scraped myself up after failing to get representation for my Curtis Brown Creative book and written a whole new one. Following some very helpful advice from Chloe Seager at Diane Banks, I got to work on my plotting through the awesome Plotstormers course at Writers’ HQ. As a direct result of that course, I wrote my YA novel in just three months, and then I ripped it to pieces and put it back together again with Plotstormers II: The Editing Strikes Back. I’ve also entered pretty much every competition going, especially ones that offer feedback: The Exeter Novel Prize, #1st5pagesworkshop and Ink and Insights all deserving a special mention for really helping to point me in the right direction and hone my opening.
Thanks to all that amazing feedback, I’ve been longlisted for the Yeovil Literary Prize (Novel Category) as well as the MsLexia Novel Prize, which I’m still waiting to hear the final results from.
What a year! After the disappointment of a LOT of rejection in 2016, I focussed this year on rewriting and redrafting two of my novels, The Nameless and Storm Rising, while writing the first draft of something new.
And it paid off…first, in March, The Nameless got longlisted for the Spotlight First Novel Prize, then in August, Storm Rising got shortlisted for the New Voices Prize. More good news followed for Storm Rising, as it was selected as a finalist in #PitProm, then got the attention of my now agent, Sharon Belcastro. Oh, yeah, I have an agent now – woohoo! Next up is the real hard part of selling to publishers…hopefully the next newsletter might bring some good news…or silence…you never know in this industry.
Loosely titled…not sure how much writing actually happened but both meet ups, in a cottage near Sheffield, involved much drinking, laughing and getting to know each other in real life. Since we ‘met’ online as part of the CBC Writing for Children Course, meeting in person was extremely good fun and helped bring the group even closer together…
We’ve worked very hard in creating valuable writing content for people to read, learn from or enjoy. We also started a series of writing tips which we will continue to help those writers who are going through the same development that we did.
We started 2016 with the first of our #PeerPitch competitions. Writers gathered on Twitter to give/receive feedback on Twitter pitches for their novels. This was a big success with a large number of entries.
Chris’s feature post about his writing journey, as well as a short extract of his novel, is here.
#PeerPitch II – The Pitch Strikes Back!
The sequel was bigger, better but with no paternal reveal…
Having covered pitches, we wanted a peer contest with openings for novels. This one saw peers critiquing each others first 50 words. The winners were Deb Drick and Oscar Allen (joint 1st), Ellie Lock, Jolie McCarty and Emma Umpleby (joint 3rd), Jeanna Skinner (6th) and Lydia Massiah (7th).
#1st250 (+ 200 word synopsis +pitch)
Our final contest of the year is under way. Writers have done the Twitter share and are now sending in entries for the contest. These have been shared on our site for peers to give feedback. Each entrant must give feedback to 5 others. We will announce the winners soon.
We’ll be back in 2018 with more competitions and peer feedback events!
A final thanks to our judges throughout the year – the Jedi Masters, Jo and Sarah from Writers HQ, Catherine Johnson (the legend!), Chloe Seager and Laura West, the lovely literary agents, who have all helped us judge.
Good luck to all those in #NaNoWriMo this month and have a great festive period when it comes!