I Wish: Top 14 Memorable Moments of 2014

#14) 150 pre-release copies sold.

#13) I Wish getting published on May 19. May 19

#12) 11 Book Signings and Appearances.

Winter Wonderland  #11) Reading to elementary school students at a Christmas event.

#10) Drafting the 2nd book in the I Wish series.

#9) Book Signing at Claire’s jewelry store for kids in Shadow Lake.

#8) Book Signing at the high school my daughter graduated from.

Jinn Blue Hair

#7) Appearing in two journal articles.

#6) A very successful Book Signing in my home town.Wish Loud

#5) I Wish Blog tour with 15 stops and interacting with readers online.

#4) Meeting teens at the La Vista library event and getting to critique their writing.

#3) Working with Brian Feinblum, Book Promotion expert.

#2) Giving books to friends and family.

#1) Getting top star reviews from Red City Review and Writer’s Digest.


Writer’s Digest Review: I Wish

Judge 99, 2nd Annual Writer’s Digest eBook Awards

Entry Title I Wish
Author: Susan Tatby
Judge Number: 99
Entry Category: Middle-Grade/Young Adult books

Books are evaluated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning “needs improvement” and 5 meaning “outstanding”.

Structure, Organization, and Pacing: 5
Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: 5
Production Quality and Cover Design: 5
Plot and Story Appeal: 5
Character Appeal and Development: 5
Voice and Writing Style: 5 

Judge’s Commentary:
Great sensory opening – reader gets an immediate sensation and is drawn into the book beautifully. Well done. Gorgeous description of the spirit. We get a great image of her, without getting too many details. Excellent painting of her.

Love Kenza’s name (main character) – very unique and memorable, and author has created a beautifully multi-layered character with different facets of her life, a rich emotional life and youthful questioning and acceptance. Nicely done. Love the exotic elements of her father’s stories and how the author drops in the Moroccan elements. Very transporting, authentic and original.

Love how Kenza starts off as sarcastic and unappreciative with her Dad’s story, even though she asked for one, and her relationship with him evolves over the course of the book when she GETS it. Lovely expansion of her.

Very moving and fun.

Author does a great job of showing, not telling, the plot expansions and the settings. Great use of scenery description, great dialogue throughout. Beautiful work in getting the reader emotionally invested, and we wonder who she is looking for in her kindred spirit. Author places good hooks throughout, keeping us engaged, especially through that 2/3 point where things can drag. They don’t here. That’s good story-building and pacing.

The kiss sensations are terrific for YA, very unique and authentic.

Good element of surprise. Author is always a step ahead of the reader, which is terrific.

Interesting that a teen who typically wants more power is finding out she has tremendous power.

The camp is a neat twist, bringing her into the orbit of other teens and revving up the action. Reader is suspicious the whole time, which is great.

Author gives her interspersed real teen moments, which is fantastic and gives the reader excellent breathers between those action points.

Great ending. We hope there is another book to come, and author has left it enticingly open that there could be. Very satisfying and very original. Kenza is a terrific character, and this book is visual and unique enough to reach a second life as a movie.

What Would You Do?

If your family were in danger, what would you do?

Katniss Everdeen, the Girl on Fire, is famous for this quote, “I volunteer!” There’s so much emotion, so much desperation in her voice. She’s willing to risk her own life to protect her little sister and she doesn’t ever outwardly show regret for her decision.

In I Wish, another strong believable heroine named Kenza Atlas is willing to risk her life to save her loved ones. When a dark spirit, a power-hungry jinn named Mazin, hunts her down and finds he’s no match to the abilities she inherited from her dad’s side of the family, he doesn’t hesitate to attack Kenza’s mom.

As Kenza’s desperation grows, she discovers that a direct response will only make the situation worse so she leaves home and lures him away to follow her. In time, she’s sure she will have to face him so she uses every moment she can to gain allies, grow in knowledge, and develop her innate ability to wish.

What would you do if your family were in real danger? Would you follow in the footsteps of Katniss and Kenza, throwing yourself in harm’s way never to look back?

Doubt: Character Flaw or Signal to Change Perspective?

Have you ever been cruising through life when everything’s going great and, all of a sudden, you do something that completely pulls the rug out from under your sense of self-worth? Maybe you spilled something on yourself at lunch, tripped while carrying a full tray of food, or said something you didn’t mean that really hurt someone you care about. Worse, maybe someone said something to you that made you feel as small as a pea.

All these things have happened to me and every time they did, I felt small and unworthy, even if just for a little while. Why do we see things this way? Why do we let ourselves slip into such negative thinking when there are so many good things to see in ourselves?

Is it because our society has taught us to be humble, shaming anyone on TV who puts themselves on a pedestal? Perhaps. Or maybe it’s because society has taught us to be extremely, overly, unhealthily critical of ourselves.

My wish is to stop that, right here, right now. I wish to see the beauty in myself, and not just in myself, but in others. And I wish to point it out to them – to you – as often as I can.

In I Wish, sixteen-year-old Kenza Atlas doubts herself even though she is strong-willed and beautiful and full of love for her friends and family. It doesn’t help that her dad, someone whose approval means the world to her, constantly shares his disappointment with her.

Kenza’s biggest battle is not with her dad or the stringent rules at summer camp, or even the dark spirit named Mazin who is after her. Her biggest challenge is believing in herself when the world seems like it’s against her.

#IWishx9 – Nebraska, Midwest

Read Local

What if “Divergent”, “Twilight”, “Hunger Games”, or “Harry Potter” took place in Nebraska or the Midwest for that matter? Stop and think about it. What was the last great book you read with a main character from Nebraska?

I Wish we had more local examples.

So why don’t we? (more…)

Ingredients for the Perfect Plot Sandwich

Inspiration can come from the most unexpected places.

When I asked my 11-year old daughter and her friend what I should blog about, they said, “Write about a sandwich.” After wrinkling my nose at them, a light bulb went on. “I’ll do it,” I agreed.


What goes into a sandwich?

In our busy lives, we’ve all had the experiencing of hearing our stomachs growl, wandering into the kitchen and grabbing for some bread only to find that nothing but the crusty bookends are left. Still, in our haste, we grab for those ends and slather them with as much peanut butter and jelly as possible to blot out the bland taste.

This is not the way to write a story that ignites hearts and minds. That kind of story requires different ingredients.

  • Hunger: A big heaping helping of daydreaming is an absolute must. Substitute: Inspiration from unexpected places, such as 11-year olds with uninhibited imaginations.
  • The Meat and Cheese: Make sure you layer your story with a series of events that entice readers to salivate and not put the story down until they have polished off every last bit.
  • The Bread: Envelop the story in a setting that not only describes the scene, but creates a permanent memory that readers can sometimes confuse with reality. In a solid setting, their skin might prickle at the biting wind and snowflakes that land on their eyelashes.
  • The Embellishments (Tomatoes, Sauces, Lettuce): Embellish your story with characters that seem so real readers will feel like they’ve had dinner together many times, they know all of their extended family members by name and just how to push each other’s buttons.

So the next time you reach for a sandwich that is less than savory or a story that is as overdone as a peanut butter and jelly on the stale bookends of the bread, inhale a rich gulp of air. Make sure you have a true hunger for writing something inspirational, bread that sets the stage for a rich tale, meat and cheese that will keep readers eating until the every last piece is devoured, and embellishments that keep them coming back for more.