Wednesday, February 25, 2015

What's Up Wednesday

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly writing check in. See Jaime Morrow's or Erin Funk's blogs for details.

What I've Been Reading

Definitely Maybe by Ophelia London: a contemporary New Adult which spins Pride & Prejudice into a modern college setting pitting an environmental sustainability student against a rich boy with his sights on big biz land development.

First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen: a sweet companion novel to her magical realism cozy debut Garden Spells

Now reading Always Emily by Michaela MacColl about the Bronte sisters as teens solving a mystery!

Also listening to Amy Poehler's Yes Please which is fantastic.

What I've Been Writing

Does staring at screen shuffling words around count? That's about where I'm at. I have organizational issues to sort out before I can finish. This is not NaNoWriMo so I'm not bulldozing through the draft to get it done. Hopefully in the next few days I can get through this hiccup.

What Helps Me

Goals! Reading other people's books! Critique Group! I surround myself with motivating factors and hope something sticks.

What Else I've Been Up To

#PitchMadness is going on right now, and I'm reading through entries with my team over on fizzygirl's blog. The entries will post next week March 2-3, so it's a fast turnaround! If you didn't enter, it can still be helpful to see which pitches and first pages made the final cut.

Check out my post today on author Kai Strand's blog for one of her Three Times a Charm posts.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Book Blitz: The Apollo Academy by Kimberly P. Chase + Giveaway

Hey everybody! 

I'm part of the book blitz for Kimberly P. Chase's debut with Harlequin Australia. I've "known" Kimberly from the blogging world and twitter for a few years now. I even remember this manuscript in a contest! The premise stuck with me. It's so cool to see that her story has made it into publication.

The Apollo Academy by Kimberly P. Chase

(The Apollo Academy #1)
Published by: Harlequin
Publication date: February 22nd 2015
Genres: New Adult, Science Fiction


Welcome to the exclusive Apollo Academy, where Aurora is about to discover that achieving her dream is only the first step towards her future.

As the heiress to Titon Technologies, eighteen-year-old Aurora Titon can have whatever she wants—clothes, expensive gadgets, anything money can buy. But all she really wants is to escape her pampered, paparazzi-infested life for the stars. Becoming the first female pilot to train as an astronaut for the exclusive Apollo Academy is exactly the chance for which she has been waiting.
Flying is everything she ever dreamed, her best friend also got into the Academy, and the paparazzi is banned from campus. Everything would be perfect, but for her unreciprocated crush on a fellow student, the sexy astronaut bent on making her life hell, and the fact that someone keeps trying to kill her.

The most important education doesn’t happen in the classroom…

Early Praise:
"I am obsessed with this book! Suspenseful, sexy, and just a great read!" - Cora Carmack, New York Times Bestselling author of LOSING IT.

And a YouTube book trailer:

Add to your TO READ list here: Goodreads

Purchase: Amazon B&N iTunes Kobo 

Kimberly P. Chase holds a Bachelor's Degree in Aeronautical Science from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, which basically means she's kind of a geek and loves flying airplanes. Naturally, her books tend to include aviation, hot flight instructors, aviator glasses, and—let's not forget—kissing! When Kimberly's not writing or reading, she's hanging out with her husband, five-year-old son, and two dogs in Charleston, SC.

Author links:


Blitz-wide giveaway (INTL) 
  • $50 Amazon Gift Card

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Pitch Madness and YARWA Contest

If you're looking for a literary agent, here are two upcoming opportunities:

Pitch Madness

Brenda Drak'e's Pitch Madness
Contest Queen-extraordinaire Brenda Drake has her Pitch Madness blog contest open for entries Friday February 20. Entries are open to submit through 2/23 with no limit on entries! There is no entry fee.

The entry includes a max 35-word pitch and the first 250 words of a completed novel-length manuscript.

Brenda's pre-selected readers will sort through entries in three rounds, and then will post the finalists to the blog for the agent round. Agents will "bid" on page requests up to Full manuscript.

Yours Truly will be one of the many readers to determine the agent round as part of Summer Heacock's aka fizzygrrl's team!



A separate #PitMad twitter pitch party March 11, 2015. This is where you pitch your book, all genres and age groups, in a twitter-length blurb, and agents (and everybody) scans the tag on twitter. It's kind of a free-for-all, but writers DO get requests. I'm one of them! MORE DETAILS HERE.

YARWA's Rosemary Contest

YA and New Adult writers: The Rosemary contest opens for entries March 1. This is a contest where you submit a partial of your completed manuscript to be peer-judged. Final round entries go to a fantastic panel of judges: 1 lit agent and 2 editors per category.

Entries do not need to have romance as a main theme. There is an entry fee.

For full details and to enter (beginning March 1) click here: YARWA/contest.
Questions, contact:

Check out the list of final round judges!
YA Contemporary:
Agent: Laura Bradford, Bradford Literary
Editor: Aubrey Poole, Sourcebooks
Editor: Elizabeth Tingue, Penguin/RH
YA Historical:
Agent: Kathleen Rushall, Marsal Lyon Literary
Editor: Jessica MacLeish, Harper Teen
Editor: Robin Haseltine, Entangled Publishing
YA Paranormal:
Agent: Holly Root, Waxman Leavell Literary
Editor: Kristin Daly Rens, Balzer & Bray
Editor: Natashya Wilson, Harlequin Teen
YA Speculative:
Agent: Nicole Resciniti, The Seymour Agency
Editor: Meredith Rich, Bloomsbury Spark
Editor: Vicki Lame, St. Martin’s Press
New Adult:
Agent: Cate Hart, Corvisiero Literary
Editor: Amy Stapp, Tor Forge
Editor: Angela James, Carina Press
Paranormal has been split into two categories this year: speculative includes sci-fi, fantasy, and stories that encompass other-worldly elements that may not fit into Paranormal. For questions on genre, see the full details on the site, or contact the contest coordinator. 

Have you found contests useful? Any others upcoming you want to add to the list?
(Let me know if you have any Q's on these two contests and I'll either answer or direct you!)

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Book Review: Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Keanneally

image: Goodreads
Breathe, Annie, Breathe
Miranda Keanneally
YA Contemporary
Published: July 2014

I gave this book 5 stars on Goodreads. From page one, Annie has a goal: complete training to run a marathon in the fall. The marathon her boyfriend was supposed to run before he suddenly passed away.

Annie's journey is not an easy one. First, she doesn't have a lot of money, and the author does a wonderful job of showing just how hard it is when even a $25 entrance fee for a 5k race can be a drain on a family who doesn't have much. Second, Annie does not like running. It doesn't come easy to her, so each leg of her training is a struggle. Even once she improves her conditioning, minor injuries and pains evolve into painful setbacks that threaten her ability to finish the race. If it were just for herself, that's one thing, but she's running in honor of someone else--and everyone knows it. People are counting on her.

The grief Annie experiences is also portrayed heartbreakingly honest without becoming schmaltzy. It's easy to forget Annie is still young given she's going through so much. When Annie meets fellow runner Jeremiah in her training group, she's protective of herself--she's still mourning her boyfriend and not ready to move on, despite how cute and friendly he is. Beyond that, Jeremiah is a daredevil who throws himself into extreme sports with little regard to his own safety. Exactly the type of guy Annie wants to steer clear from. Which makes this a great set-up for a romance :)

I consider this the author's best book since her debut Catching Jordan.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

What's Up Wednesday

What's Up Wednesday, started by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funkis a weekly blog hop for readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what's up.


I've been on a reading craze lately! I most recently finished Lisa Brown Roberts' debut contemporary How Not to Fall in Love. Recommended for fans of Morgan Matson, Jessi Kirby, and Sarah Dessen. I'll post a review soon!

My library came through with a bunch of holds all at once: Rick Yancey's The Infinite Sea, book two of The 5th Wave. It was a little disorienting at first, and sort of oddly structured, but so much action! It reminds me of The Walking Dead only with an alien threat instead of zombies.

I also read Neil Patrick Harris' Choose Your Own Autobiography, a fun read with the Go to Page X theme for a customized adventure :), and I'm Glad I Did by Cynthia Weil, a debut YA book by a former songwriter writing about a fictionalized 1960s record company and a teen girl trying to make it as a songwriter.

Now I have Sarah Addison Allen's First Frost. I'm so glad I got myself on the hold list at the library early since the book just came out.


I finished a rather quick revision in record time, which made me feel all kinds of awesome. Now I'm back to the other WIP I'm pulling apart where my progress is far more slow. I've never gutted an entire story and changed the plot before. I'm essentially rewriting the whole thing. My goal is to get 5k more written in the next week. 


Group bloggers The Ruby Slippered Sisterhood have their winter writing accountability fest going on now, which has helped with motivation. 


New hair! It's hard to get a good angle, but the panel of color is VERY purple.

I signed up for the RWA National conference in NYC. One thousand people registered the first day! I'm glad I booked early since the initial block of rooms are all booked and they're already working with waiting lists and an overflow hotel. I've had a few people contact me about potentially going 3-4 in the room, so this could get interesting! :)

I binged through all of Scandal and I'm mostly caught up. Just in time to be geeked for the next Scandal-inspired clothing collection at The Limited. Too bad I work from home now or I'd buy mysel an Olivia Pope wardrobe. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Hidden Deep by Amy Patrick Cover Reveal

Today, I'm glad to be part of author and YARWA member Amy Patrick's latest cover reveal! Here's the scoop on her upcoming Young Adult release:

Hidden Deep (Book 1 of the Hidden Trilogy)
Release Date: 03/23/15
Summary from Goodreads:

Give in to the Glamour…

Sixteen-year-old Ryann Carroll has just run into the guy who saved her life ten years ago. You might think she'd be happy to see him again. Not exactly. She's a bit underdressed (as in skinny-dipping) and he's not supposed to exist.

After her father's affair, all Ryann wants is to escape the family implosion fallout and find a little peace. She also wouldn't mind a first date that didn't suck, but she's determined not to end up like her mom: vulnerable, betrayed, destroyed. Ryann's recently moved back to her childhood home in rural Mississippi, the same place where ten years earlier she became lost in the woods overnight and nearly died.

She's still irresistibly drawn to those woods. There she encounters the boy who kept her from freezing to death that long ago winter night and was nowhere to be seen when rescuers arrived. He's still mysterious, but now all grown-up and gorgeous, too. And the more she's with him, the greater the threat he poses to Ryann's strict policy-- never want someone more than he wants you.

Seventeen-year-old Lad knows the law of his people all too well: Don't get careless and Don't get caught. It's allowed his race to live undetected in this world for thousands of years, mentioned only in flawed and fading folklore…

Lad's never been able to forget about Ryann since that night ten years ago. When he sees her again, his fascination re-ignites and becomes a growing desire that tempts him to break all the rules. He's not even supposed to talk to a human, much less fall in love with one.

And the timing is atrocious. The Assemblage is coming, the rift between the Light and Dark is widening, and mysterious celebrity fan pods are becoming more and more widespread and influential. Lad may have to trade his own chance at happiness to keep the humans, especially Ryann, blissfully unaware and safe.

And here is the cover:

About the Author:

Amy Patrick is a two-time Golden Heart finalist (2013 and 2014) who writes Contemporary Romance and Young Adult fantasy/paranormal. Her books have won and finaled in many RWA chapter contests, and she is the author of the 20 SOMETHING series. She lives in Rhode Island with her husband and two sons and actually craves the heat and humidity of Mississippi, where she grew up. She's been a professional singer and news anchor and currently narrates audio books as well as working as a station host for a Boston TV station.

Author Links:

Friday, February 6, 2015

Book Review: The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey

image: Goodreads
The Infinite Sea (The Fifth Wave #2)
Rick Yancey
YA Sci-Fi
Published: September 2014

The second volume of this young adult sci-fi series starts off with immediate action following a group of teenagers who survived the fifth wave of the current alien invasion. Highly recommended to read the first book or you'll be a bit lost. Also, The Fifth Wave has a film release set for 2016, so read now to be in the know!

The strengths in this series is almost non-stop action, which still manages to show depth of characters. Though one drawback, is the action starts so immediately in this book, I had a little trouble remembering all the characters. After events from the last book, Cassie, Ringer and the others have separated from Evan, the mysterious boy who took Cassie in when her survivor's camp was destroyed.

Trust is a huge theme in this book. No one is safe, as aliens have "occupied" human forms. This post-apocalyptic type environment conjures images of the wastelands from The Walking Dead and other disaster movies and TV shows. Each chapter, which are short for maximum page turning, is a challenge in survival over the harsh Midwestern winter elements. This is a world changed, and not only are they surviving day to day, but there is no one left to trust. Perhaps not even each other.