News

02 Apr

April Year of Space Goodies — Space Crafts!

In Book Extras by MK England / April 2, 2018 / 0 Comments

Not to be confused with spacecrafts.

🚀🌟🌌 WELCOME TO APRIL! 🚀🌟🌌

New month means new Year of Space goodies, and this is a special month indeed. It’s GLOBAL ASTRONOMY MONTH, and in honor of that my library teens and I have planned a program later this month. At that program, we’ll celebrate all things space, scream about our favorite spacey books and fandoms, and best of all, do spacey crafts! So, what better time to push my love of space on y’all via arts and crafts?

Throughout the month, I’ll be posting photos of the spacey crafts I make over on my instagram. The first one goes up later this afternoon, along with a link to instructions. I’ll admit, I tend to wing it and make up my own methods with crafts, and I’m no crafty superstar, so nothing I share will be overly complicated or difficult. I do find crafts relaxing, though, and I’m a BIG fan of today’s craft, so I hope you’ll check it out! As I complete each one, I’ll be adding the links to the bottom of this post.

Also, don’t forget that my newsletter subscribers have a chance to win a 2018 debut book of their choice this month, which could be a spacey book (or even THE DISASTERS) if you so choose. Your final chance to enter will be in this month’s newsletter, which should go out in the next two weeks or so… with ARC news!

Hope you enjoy these early days of spring, and don’t forget to look up at the night sky!

SPACE CRAFTS:

April 2: DIY Galaxy Umbrella: See it on Instagram, and view tutorials here and here.
April 13: Nebula in a Jar: See it on Instagram, and view a tutorial here.
April 23: Galaxy Sugar Cookies: See it on Instagram, and view a tutorial here.

 

01 Mar

March Year of Space Goods!

In Book Extras,Recs,Short Stories by MK England / March 1, 2018 / 0 Comments

Happy March!

🚀🌟🌌 Okay, March sneaks up on me EVERY YEAR because February is so short and it’s not faaaair. BUT, I am still ready with your March Year of Space Goodies, and I’m featuring one of my favorite things. Here we go!  🚀🌟🌌

Why the Year of Space? Because I love space a lot, and my debut YA space opera is coming out in December, so I’m counting down with goodies on the 1st of every month to help you get more space in your life. Music, books, video games, podcasts, GIVEAWAYS, & more! I’m using #2018isforSpace all year, but no need to go hunting—I’ll be posting all the goodies on my Year of Space page and linking to them in my newsletter each month.

This month, I’m featuring podcasts that will get you both fiction and nonfiction spacey goodness. WAIT, DON’T GO. I know not everyone has jumped on the podcast bandwagon, but I beg you to hang in until the end of this post and consider giving them a shot.

What’s a podcast? They come in so many different varieties, and they can be anything from talk radio shows to radio dramas to audiobooks. There’s a little bit of everything in this list, so no matter what you’re into there should be something that will appeal.

How to listen to podcasts: You have lots of options! Most (if not all) of these shows have audio players built directly into their websites, so you can definitely listen that way if you prefer. I always use my phone, though, because it means I can listen to them in the car, while getting ready for work, while cooking or cleaning—whenever! There are tons of apps out there that let you subscribe to podcasts. I use Apple Podcasts and Overcast, and I definitely recommend Overcast for iOS users. For Android users, there’s a handy list here. It’s super simple. Just dive in and give it a shot! (My favorite non-space-related podcast is Print Run, and I can’t sing its praises enough. Start there if you’re interested in the publishing industry!)

So, without further ado: the list!

I kept this list pretty tightly curated re: the line between science fiction/science nonfiction and SPACE fiction/nonfiction. There are so many excellent podcasts out there about general science topics, or covering science fiction as a whole genre. This is the year of space, though, so I wanted to stick with podcasts that are as directly relevant as possible. (For more sci-fi podcasts, click here.) Starred podcasts are regular listens for me!

Spacey Fiction Podcasts

I always used to wish I had more short fiction in my life, but I never seemed to think of it when looking for something to read. Fortunately, many of the major SF short story markets put out podcasts with audio versions of their stories! Between that and serialized radio dramas and comedies, I’m well set on short fiction these days. 

Clarkesworld Magazine Podcast – In print since 2006, now available for your ears. Short fiction from Clarkesworld Magazine, 6 times per month.

Escape Pod – Founded in 2005 by Serah Eley, and presently co-edited by Mur Lafferty and Divya Breed. A weekly podcast with short stories from some of today’s best science fiction authors..

Lightspeed – Produced by Skyboat Media, and under the direction of Grammy and Audie award-winning narrator and producer Stefan Rudnicki. Features audiobook-style recordings of four of the eight stories published each month in Lightspeed, released more or less on a weekly basis.

StarShipSofa – Actually several podcasts under one umbrella brand: short fiction, author interviews, and sci-fi news.

Uncanny Magazine Podcast – Uncanny Magazine is an online Science Fiction and Fantasy magazine featuring passionate SF/F fiction and poetry, gorgeous prose, provocative nonfiction, and a deep investment in the diverse SF/F culture. This is a monthly podcast featuring a story, a poem, and an interview that is likewise released on the first Tuesday of each month.

MarsCorp – MarsCorp is a 12-part scripted comedy podcast about Station Supervisor E.L. Hob’s first year at MarsCorp, a terraforming colony established on the red planet in 2070. There may be a 12-episode second season… one day.

The Message – A serialized story following the weekly reports and interviews from Nicky Tomalin, who is covering the decoding of a message from outer space received 70 years ago. Over the course of 8 episodes we get an inside ear on how a top team of cryptologists attempt to decipher, decode, and understand the alien message. (complete)

 

Spacey Non-Fiction Podcasts

Between SpaceX, the push for Mars, and the upcoming Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway, there’s a lot going on! These podcasts manage to be full of cheeky humor, real science education, and that breathless wonder that draws humanity to the stars, all at once. 

StarTalk with Neil deGrasse Tyson – It’s space, it’s comedy, it’s celebrity guests, it’s all things to all people. Though it does fall into general science topics fairly often, it’s hosted by America’s beloved astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and often features spacey topics, “Cosmic Q&A” with listener questions from twitter and instagram, and regular visits from Planetary Society CEO Bill Nye the Science Guy. Speaking of the Planetary Society…

Planetary Radio – The Planetary Society’s weekly podcast. Regular updates on what’s going on in the world of space, space policy and advocacy, interviews with scientists and engineers, and more. Each week closes with a random space fact and a summary of what you can see in the night sky that week.

NASA podcasts – Holy spacecows, there are a lot of NASA podcasts. Updates from the International Space Station, “Houston, We Have a Podcast” for news from Johnson Space Center, interviews with experts, This Week @NASA, and much more.

Are We There Yet? The Space Exploration Podcast from NPR – “When it comes to human space exploration, we’re on the brink of something big.” Host Brendan Byrne, a space reporter in Orlando, FL, hosts scientists and engineers who are tackling the big issues of getting to Mars, working on the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway, and otherwise getting humankind out among the stars.

Big Picture Science from the SETI institute – Okay, this really is more of a general science podcast, BUT it’s hosted by the SETI (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) institute. “The Big Picture Science radio show and podcast engages the public with modern science research through lively and intelligent storytelling. Science radio doesn’t have to be dull. The only dry thing about our program is the humor.”

AstronomyCast – Astronomy Cast is “a fact-based journey through the cosmos as it offers listeners weekly discussions on astronomical topics ranging from planets to cosmology. Hosted by Fraser Cain (Universe Today) and Dr. Pamela L. Gay (CosmoQuest), this show brings the questions of an avid astronomy lover direct to an astronomer.”

 

Did I miss any? Recommend your favorites in the comments! I’ll see you on April 1st for more space goodies. Until then—get some space in your life! ☆☆☆

09 Feb

Cover Reveal for THE DISASTERS!

In Uncategorized by MK England / February 9, 2018 / 0 Comments

In case you missed it, the cover for THE DISASTERS has been officially revealed, and my very first ARC giveaway is happening along with it! Yaaaaassss!


Wanna enter that ARC giveaway and see the new cover? Head on over to the reveal post on YABooksCentral and let me know what you think. I think it suits the book so well!

In the meantime, it’s social media hiatus time for me. Gotta finish up my first pass pages for THE DISASTERS, finish the first three chapters of MG Space Book, and dive hardcore into my second book! Catch you in a few days. 

01 Feb

February Year of Space Goodies!

In Book Extras,Reading,Recs by MK England / February 1, 2018 / 0 Comments

Happy February!

🚀🌟🌌 The first month of 2018 is somehow already over, but that’s okay because that means it’s time for your next dose of space goodness! Onward and upward! 🚀🌟🌌


What the hell is this about? As a reminder, last month I declared 2018 the Year of Space, and to celebrate I’m posting goodies on the 1st of every month to help you get more space in your life. Music, books, video games, podcasts, GIVEAWAYS, & more! I’m using #2018isforSpace all year, but no need to go hunting—I’ll be posting all the goodies right here and linking to them in my newsletter each month. (Speaking of which… if you wanna see the cover of THE DISASTERS before the rest of the world, you might wanna sign up for that newsletter in the next 10 hours… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯)

This month I figured, hey, we’ve got 11 months left in this Year of Space, so maybe I should pick something that’ll take you a good long time to consume, right? So, buckle up for an epic list of…

Yep, I went full librarian on your asses. I’ve included books across four age categories of (mostly) fiction here: Young Adult, Adult, Middle Grade/Kids, and Picture Books. But folks, I’m totally serious about this: I really think you should read at least one from each category. Your local public library system should have most of these on hand, so why not give a spacey picture book a try? It’s 32 pages and usually less than 800 words. You can handle that. I believe in you. I’ve also curated this list to ensure it only has books that involve space. That means no Earth-based sci-fi, no time travel, alien invasions, or other sci-fi subgenres.

Just like last month’s Space Tunes playlist, this is a living list, meaning your contributions are always welcome! You have books you want to see on this list? Suggest them in the comments or over on twitter and I’ll look them over to see if they’re a good fit.

Without further ado, you can download the base list as a PDF, or visit the living list here.

Enjoy a year of fabulous space reads, and I’ll be back next month with more space goodies! As they say on StarTalk Radio—don’t forget to look up. 🌟🌟🌟

01 Jan

2018 is the Year of Spaaaaace!

In Book Extras,The Disasters by MK England / January 1, 2018 / 0 Comments

Hello, my friends!

It is a shiny new year, and not just any year, but 2018—my debut year! I can officially say that THE DISASTERS releases this year and I AM EXCITE. So much, in fact, that I gotta do something.

🚀🌟🌌 I am hereby declaring 2018 the Year of Space, and to celebrate I’m posting goodies on the 1st of every month to help you get more space in your life. Music, books, video games, podcasts, GIVEAWAYS, & more! I’m using #2018isforSpace all year, but no need to go hunting—I’ll be posting all the goodies right here and linking to them in my newsletter each month.  🚀🌟🌌

Your space goodies for the month of January: a space-themed playlist for your listening enjoyment!

Click the image above to get your Spotify playlist of space tunes, or just go to bit.ly/spacetunes2018.

Got suggestions to add to the playlist? I’d love to hear them! Tell me your favorite spacey songs below.

Here’s to a fantastic 2018 full of wonder, exploration, and new discoveries.

 

22 Dec

THE DISASTERS Release Date!

In News,The Disasters by MK England / December 22, 2017 / 0 Comments

IT’S FINAL. IT’S REAL. IT’S LESS THAN A YEAR AWAY.

If you want updates, exclusive content, giveaways, and behind-the-scenes peeks until then, subscribe to my monthly Eccentric Orbit newsletter.

Are you ready?

2018 is gonna be the year of space.

09 Oct

THERE’S DISASTERS NEWS + a shiny new newsletter

In Book Extras,News,PR/Marketing,Publishing,The Disasters by MK England / October 9, 2017 / 0 Comments

DISASTERS THINGS ARE HAPPENING. So much has gone on behind the scenes over the past two months and I’m so excited to tell you EVERYTHING! If you want to be the first one to know all the things, I’ve created a shiny new monthly newsletter for you to sign up for:

Subscribers get first dibs on all news and announcements (including release date, cover reveals, tour dates, and more!), exclusive content, early excerpts from THE DISASTERS, subscriber-only giveaways, and more. For the writers out there, each issue will also have Particles, a monthly #writetip where I share some bite-sized knowledge I’ve learned along this publishing crash course.

I’ll only be sending one email per month, so don’t worry about me clogging up your inbox. Click here if you want to sign up! And if you wanna be amazing, you can also help me spread the word by RTing this tweet here or reposting this on IG. THANK YOOOOU!

Sorry for ghosting on y’all lately, but at least now you can have a monthly reminder that I’m not actually dead, right?

Happy October!

 

18 Jul

Pitch Wars 2017 MSWL: M.K. England and Jamie Pacton (YA)

In Pitch Wars by MK England / July 18, 2017 / 0 Comments

We are YA co-mentors M.K. England and Jamie Pacton. We’re Pitch Wars 2015 mentees turned mentors, and we’re here for your YA submissions! What’s Pitch Wars, you ask? Check out the shiny new Pitch Wars website and learn all about it. 

(Make sure you visit Jamie’s site, too!)

We met in the Pitch Wars 2015 mentee facebook group, took a shine to each other, and now we’re awesome friends who support each other through the ups and downs of publishing. We both got so much out of being part of PW that we want to give back to the community and help future generations of mentees. This is our second year mentoring together, we read all the things, and we want YOU to send us your YA manuscript. Jamegan: two mentors for the price of one!

WHY you should submit to us:

Jamie is a college English teacher and is one of the kindest, most supportive coaches you could ever ask for. M.K. is a YA librarian and knows her stuff about the market and YA voice. We’ve both successfully queried agents and have been on submission to publishers. M.K. has a book coming out with a Big 5 publisher next fall. Jamie is awesome at character development, relationships, and spotting opportunities for more detail and worldbuilding. M.K.’s biggest strength is pacing, tension, and the more mechanical stuff: flow, sentence structure, information handling, etc. Together, we fuse into one SUPER MENTOR OF JUSTICE.

WHAT you should submit to us:

Give us: Your absolute best effort. Unstoppable voice, believable characters (who don’t have to be likeable), settings that feel real. ANY GENRE except those listed in the ‘No’ category below.

Yes Please: LGBTQ+ characters, sci-fi/fantasy with fresh twists, historical fantasy/alt history, contemporary fantasy, straight up contemporary with a strong sense of place, fresh retellings (mythology from your own culture, non-fairy tales, etc.), interesting structure, #OwnVoices, science/environmental themes, complex friendships.

Bonus Points: A queer “This Savage Song”; positive representation of poly relationships; anything that makes us laugh out loud; awesome feminist ladies.

No Thanks:  Really intense horror, literary, sicklit, time travel, christian fiction, heavy issue books, anything super slow-paced and quiet or depressing. We’re not the best people to help shape works like these. We’re not wild about getting dystopian unless it has strong Sci-fi/Fantasy elements. We also have to pass on books set at conventions or that have fandom as a central element—Megan has seen a hundred of them on her librarian desk lately and has written one herself, so she’s a bit burned out on them.

Big Nopes: On-screen incest, rape, abuse– no problem if this is part of backstory and handled well, but we aren’t the best mentors for books that dig into these traumas. Bigoted or misogynistic narratives are never okay with us. Also, you don’t have to have LGBTQ+ characters, but we struggle with super heteronormative books where it feels like queer people don’t exist. Violence toward animals is also a pass.

HOW we work:

We start with an edit letter plus a phone call or google hangout meeting for big picture stuff first. Next up will be in-line comments for smaller stuff and style issues. We’ll do several passes through your query, pitch, and synopsis before the agent round to make sure you’re in the best possible shape to utterly rock it. Frequent communication via whatever method you prefer is on offer. If you’re ready to bust your butt, we’re ready to guide you and cheer you on. Revising is a collaboration, and we’re excited to work with you to bring your vision for your book to life!

WHO we are and what we like:

M.K. Writes: Both YA and Adult Space Opera, Fantasy, LGBTQ+, Contemp. And fanfic, because yes.

Jamie Writes: YA Fantasy, Alt History, Dark Fairy Tales. And funny MG books.

Comp Titles We Love: The Raven Cycle, Caraval, And I Darken, Carry On, Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, anything by Leigh Bardugo, Bitch Planet, Rat Queens, Saga, Little Brother, Wolf by Wolf, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, The Spaceship Next Door

Other Stuff We’re Into: Tabletop gaming, video games, Sherlock Holmes, Firefly, Star Wars, hiking, farming, dogs, the Wonder Woman movie, The Magicians, driving too fast on winding mountain roads, space.

More questions?: @Geektasticlib. @JamiePacton.

M.K. England is an author and YA librarian living in the mountainy parts of Virginia. When she’s not writing or librarianing, MK can be found drowning in fandom, going to conventions, rolling dice at the gaming table, climbing on things in the woods, or feeding her video game addiction. She loves Star Wars with a desperate, heedless passion. It’s best if you never speak of Sherlock Holmes in her presence. You’ll regret it. Her debut YA space opera, THE DISASTERS, will be out in Fall 2018 from HarperCollins Children’s. Find her online at www.mkengland.com and on twitter, tumblr, and instagram.

Jamie Pacton is a writer and English teacher living in Wisconsin. She grew up down the road from the National Storytelling Center in East Tennessee; and, as the bossy oldest of ten siblings,  used to make her brothers and sisters act out her writing. These days, she spends her free moments wandering by Lake Michigan, checking out way too many books from her local library, chasing her children, and watching all the things on Netflix. She’s partial to history fun facts, adventure stories, The Magicians, Battlestar Galactica, Project Runway, and staying up way too late. Find her online at www.jamiepacton.com and on twitter.

Look *alive*, future mentees! There’s work to be done, lots to learn, and successes to be gained. We hope to see your submission in our inbox this August!

Check out the other YA mentors below:

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28 Jun

The “Keep in Mind” List

In Drafting,Editing,Writing Process by MK England / June 28, 2017 / 1 Comment

I have a quick little something to share today that’s been helping me tons with both drafting new projects and revising THE DISASTERS:

The “Keep in Mind” List

The idea for this came out of two things. First was something I read on Maggie Stiefvater’s tumblr a long time ago that really struck a chord with me. “…when I wrote The Raven Boys, I had a sticky note affixed to my computer that read: Remember that the worst thing that can happen is that they can stop being friends.

In many ways, that is the guiding principle of the entire series, the most important thing for Maggie to remember as she wrote those books. It’s the thing to write toward, the thing that should be an undercurrent in every scene, a constant touchstone. I loved the idea of keeping something like that close at hand during my writing and revising sessions.

Second, I was going through my edit letter for THE DISASTERS and taking notes on things I wanted to change, and I noticed that there were a lot of subtle tweaks that would carry through the whole book, usually in the form of tiny character traits I needed to make sure were present throughout. I was worried that just leaving them on my revision outline under the “general changes” heading wouldn’t be enough to keep them at the forefront of my mind as I worked.

Hence… the Keep in Mind list. I put it up right next to my computer (okay, it’s currently paperclipped to a lampshade, but it WORKS) so it’s always in my field of vision while I’m working. Whenever I surface from the zone of revising, I look over at that list and check in—am I accomplishing what I set out to do? Are the characters coming through clearly? Have I let the stakes drive my characters’ emotional responses and actions?

A Keep in Mind list (for a totally made up project) might look something like this:

  • Jen is a terrible liar
  • Ana always wears blue (except when she doesn’t) because symbolism
  • Callie would be miserable without her creative outlet
  • John’s daddy issues are at the core of everything
  • Make Raj a bit softer throughout
  • If they don’t succeed, a volcano will explode and the whole world will die

If you decide to give the Keep in Mind list a try, let me know how it goes for you! Do you have any techniques to keep you focused on the important concepts while you write or revise? Let me know in the comments. Happy writing!

16 Jun

The Problem With “Good” Media

In Gaming,Personal,Publishing,Reading by MK England / June 16, 2017 / 0 Comments

Hi folks. I’ve gotta rant for a minute so I can get this out of my brain and focus on drafting today.


I actively put my money toward things I want to support. Books by authors of color, movies directed by women, video games with queer characters, and so on. And yet, when I dare say that I want to see a movie or buy a book because I want to financially support it, I often get this line: “I don’t care about any of that. I just want a good story.”

There’s a problem with this thinking.

It seems fine on the surface, right? Why shouldn’t we just support GOOD media, no matter who makes it? At the end of the day, we all want a good story. Of course we do.

The problem is that it assumes all creators are on equal footing from the start. It assumes all good stories receive the funding, industry support, advertising, and so on that they need to succeed, that good stories don’t get buried in flooded markets and go unnoticed because of who made them or who’s in them. It requires us to live in a society where there’s no racism, sexism, homophobia, islamophobia, etc. influencing the decisions made by industry gatekeepers: producers, casting directors, professional reviewers, literary agents, editors, and ultimately the audience.

An author of color submits a book to a white agent, then gets a rejection letter that says they just couldn’t connect to the story. Sometimes it’s the fault of the story. We’ve all gotten that rejection before. But sometimes it’s that the white agent couldn’t connect to an experience outside their own, thus silencing that voice. A reviewer can’t connect to a movie completely dominated by women, with minimal male characters. Sometimes the story is weak. Sometimes it’s that a male reviewer can’t connect with being in the position women find themselves in every day. (Note, though, that many folks have no problem connecting to elves, wizards, trolls, and animated lions. A Black character in present-day America, though? Suddenly that’s difficult.)


This is not news to any marginalized person who works in a creative field. It’s not (or shouldn’t be, at this point) news to anyone in the YA and children’s publishing world, where the last four years have seen a huge push for better representation, and representation by #ownvoices authors (people with lived experience of whatever they’re representing). And some change can and should come from within, as is slowly happening in publishing. The structure of power within these media industries needs to shift.

Audiences need to change too, though. We vote with our dollars. That’s what we can do to change the industry from the outside.

So yes, if I have a limited pool of cash to spend, I’m going to spend it in a way that gives support to marginalized creators. Because their stories are good, and because they deserve the support that the industry denies them. That might mean I don’t see the latest awesome, critically-acclaimed movie written, directed, and starred in by straight cisgender white dudes. And I feel fine about that. They don’t need my support. I’ll see it on Netflix.

But you’re damn right that I’ve seen Wonder Woman twice, that I pre-ordered The Hate U Give and The Gauntlet, that I played Gone Home and Dragon Age: Inquisition. With the dollars I spend, I tell the industry, “Hey, this thing you did here? I like it, and I’m willing to pay money for it. Please give me some more.”

After all, broader perspectives and more diverse creative teams lead to new ideas and—dare I say it?—good media.

So, if you want good stories, consider being more deliberate with where you place your limited funds. Yes, this may help me in some ways and hurt me in others. If you buy my books because I’m gay*, genderqueer, or mentally ill, awesome. If you don’t buy my books because I’m white and you want to buy something by an author of color instead, also awesome. Either way, you’re shaping the future. High five, you.

And in the meantime, we can dream of a world where everyone’s works are on equal footing in the battle for the title of Good Story.