Thursday, April 16, 2015

Announcement: Book News!

Pausing from watching the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens teaser trailer to share ... I'll be publishing with Bloomsbury Spark!

My Young Adult Contemporary manuscript ALTERATIONS was picked up for the Bloomsbury imprint with an estimated pub date of early 2016!

Here's the announcement from Wednesday's Publisher's Marketplace:
And the link here in Publisher's Weekly Children's Bookshelf (a great free resource with newsletters!)

You can even add the book To Read on Goodreads!
Note: I'm in the process of connecting my author profile to the book and separating from another author named Stephanie Scott (who will be rebranding her books under her romance author name Stephanie Julian: check her out!)

I wrote the first draft of this Sabrina-inspired story in the summer of 2013 during downtime while another manuscript was being edited and shopped. It had a lighter, funnier (I hope) approach than the other manuscript I'd been writing, but it's still surprising how many themes of empowerment and finding oneself can emerge from a "light" book.

And while the Sabrina of the movies (and the original play) is set in upstate New York, mine takes place in sunny, vibrant Miami, and includes lots of tech we use daily in mobile apps and fashion. I had so much fun writing this (well, most of the time), and super happy this story will be out in the world ... soon!

Thank yous go to my agent Sarah LaPolla, my critique group J. Leigh Bailey (her debut releases this month!), K.D. Atkins, and Vanessa Knight (who has a new adult series coming soon) from Windy City RWA, my YARWA chapter, and several beta readers I will for sure thank in the final copy, including Valerie Cole! Many more thank-yous to come. And to my husband for never once doubting I'd get to this day :)

Monday, April 13, 2015

Top Ten Debut Lessons from Young Adult Author Lisa Brown Roberts

Happy Monday! Today I'm so glad to host Young Adult author Lisa Brown Roberts who just debuted with Entangled Teen this spring, with the heartfelt contemporary How (Not) To Fall in Love.

Here's Lisa's top lessons she's learned (so far!) as a debut author.

Top Ten Debut Lessons 

1. One day, a box will arrive with copies of your shiny, new, beautiful book. You will squeal. You will cry. You will drink champagne. Your dog will be very excited for you and jump around with you. Your family and friends will be happy, too, but not as happy as you and your dog.

2. You will absolutely do that dorky selfie photo in the bookstore with your book because, come on…why wouldn’t you?

3. Your son will be very proud of you, but will respectfully request that you not write any more romances until he goes away to college. You will respectfully decline this request.

4. You will receive unintentionally hilarious backhanded compliments, such as, “You really are a good writer. I had no idea.” Or “I was surprised that I liked your book. I thought it would be boring.”

5. Lots of people will read your first book because they’re excited to know a “real author.” I mean lots. Your day-job boss. Your parents’ elderly neighbors. Your significant other’s coworkers. Your kids’ teachers. If you write romance, this is particularly….entertaining.

6. You will get bad reviews. Intellectually, you will think you’re prepared for this. All your author pals have warned you, given you sage advice, offered to screen-read for you. But you will shrug this off and dive into the one-star snarky GIF-iness that is the internet and your heart will break…but only for a bit…

7. Because you’ll reach out to your published friends who will talk you off the ledge. You’ll call your agent, who is reasonable and reassuring, and makes you laugh.  And your son will cook you an awesome dinner and your beloved will buy more wine and all will be right in the world.

8. You will also get lovely reviews. People might even squee. They will tell you that you’re now on their auto-buy list and you will be in awe. They will ask about your next book. They will tell you there should have been more kissing in this book, and you will agree.

9. You’ll be very, very glad that you completed more manuscripts after this one, because you’re able to tell readers when your next release is.

10. Your days will become more and more packed with writerly tasks, and there will be days you’ll feel overwhelmed at all you’re juggling. But then you’ll stop for a moment to breathe, to be grateful that your lifelong dream is coming true. You’ll embrace the roller-coaster world that is publishing,
grateful that your stories and your readers are finally finding each other.

Thanks, Lisa!

You can buy How (Not) To Fall In Love now available here: Amazon  B&N Indiebound iBooks

Or add to Goodreads here.

Lisa Brown Roberts still hasn't recovered from the teenage trauma of nearly tweezing off both eyebrows and having to pencil them in for an entire school year. This and other angst-filled memories inspire her to write YA books about navigating life's painful and funny dramas, and falling in love along the way.

Her almost forever home is Colorado, though she occasionally pines for the days when she lived within walking distance of the Pacific Ocean. Her house is full of books, boys, several four-legged prima donnas, and lots of laughter.\

Find and follow her here:  twitter  Facebook  Tumblr 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Cover Reveal: Letting Go by Jessica Ruddick

Today, I'm excited to share writer and fellow YARWA member Jessica Ruddick's cover reveal for her debut with Entangled! True story: I read a partial of this Golden Heart-nominated manuscript as part of my home RWA chapter's Four Seasons contest.

Letting Go
by Jessica Ruddick
Release Date: 5/26/15

How long do you hold on? Cori Elliott likes order. Her schedule, her social life...even her GPA is perfect. Then she finds out her high school boyfriend's death wasn't an accident—it was suicide. The devastating revelation is enough to fracture her perfectly structured life, sending Cori in a downward spiral of self-doubt and impulsive decisions.

And right into the arms of Luke Evans.

But Cori's life isn't perfect anymore. In fact, it's all coming apart. The only way she can save herself is to let go of everythingincluding the girl she used to be. Even if it means losing the one guy who might just be perfect for her in the process...

And, here is the cover:

Show your support and add to Goodreads here

Jessica Ruddick is a 2014 Golden Heart finalist for her new adult novel, Letting Go, which was inspired by her own college experiences. She lives in Virginia and is married to her college sweetheart—their first date was a fraternity toga party (and nothing inspires love like a toga, right?). When she doesn’t have her nose in a book or her hands on a keyboard, she can be found wrangling her two rambunctious sons, taming two rowdy but lovable rescue dogs, and battling the herd of dust bunnies that has taken up residence in her home. To learn more about Jessica, please visit her website at

Author Links:

Website  │  Twitter  │  Facebook  │  Goodreads

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Insecure Writers Support Group (IWSG) April

Welcome to Insecure Writers Support Group, a monthly blog hop for writers across all genres to encourage one another. Check out the #IWSG tag on twitter, or the Facebook group.

I saw this quote on the IWSG blog today and it struck me:

All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know. 
– Ernest Hemingway

I attended a writing workshop a few weeks ago with longtime literary agent and writer Donald Maass where he said essentially the same thing. What impacts you as a reader? What books are unforgettable? Which characters resonate with you? Likely they aren't generic stories with bland characters and little emotion. Even a plot-driven thriller novel that doesn't delve into character development still evokes a feeling in the reader. It may not be the character's "gut twisting with anticipation," but YOUR gut twists because the words on the page evoke that terror, or apprehension from you. It's fiction that transports you and leaves a lasting impression.

Image: Goodreads
So um, how do you do that? Writing from a place of truth is a good place to start. What do YOU care about? What makes you angry? What is the greatest injustice you see in the world? How can you translate that into a story, or add that feeling or attitude to your characters? 

What I like about Maass' approach is how he agrees there are many avenues to writing fiction that excels. There is no one formula or magic answer that will sell your books. 

Writing what you care about is a huge start. Even if you're writing a fantasy world on another planet, by bringing universal themes and real-world parallels into your fiction brings writing to another level. Playing on fears, desires, longings, all of these things can shape memorable characters and emotional journeys for the reader.

What makes a book or character memorable to you?

Thanks for stopping by! Please visit a few of the other participating blogs here IWSG List

Monday, March 23, 2015

Cover Reveal: Sweet Madness by Tricia Leaver and Lindsay Currie

Today I'm happy to be a part of fellow Pitch Wars mentees Tricia Leaver and Lindsay Currie's next cover reveal! To see my review of their first YA horror release Creed go here.

Coming September 18, 2015 from Merit Press

Lizzie Borden took an axe,
And gave her mother forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty one.

Who was Lizzie Borden? A confused young woman, or a cold-hearted killer? For generations, people all over the world have wondered how Andrew Borden and his second wife, Abby, met their gruesome deaths. Lizzie, Andrew’s younger daughter, was charged, but a jury took only 90 minutes to find her not guilty. In this retelling, the family maid, Bridget Sullivan, shines a compassionate light on a young woman oppressed by her cheap father and her ambitious stepmother. Was Lizzie mad, or was she driven to madness?

Mark it to read on Goodreads
Preorder Sweet Madness:


Trisha Leaver lives on Cape Cod with her husband, three children, and one rather irreverent black lab. She is a chronic daydreamer who prefers the cozy confines of her own imagination to the mundane routine of everyday life.  She writes Young Adult Contemporary fiction, Psychological Horror and Science Fiction and is published with FSG/ Macmillan, Flux/Llewellyn and Merit Press. To learn more about Trisha’s books, upcoming shenanigans, and her quest to reel in the perfect tuna, please visit her website:

Lindsay Currie lives in Chicago with her three awesome children, husband, and a one hundred and sixty pound lap dog named Sam. She has an unnatural fondness for coffee, chocolate and things that go bump in the night. She spends her days curled up in the comfortable confines of her writing nook, penning young adult psychological horror, contemporary fiction and science-fiction and is published with Flux/Llewellyn, Merit Press and Spencer Hill Contemporary. Learn more about her at Twitter Instagram Facebook

To celebrate, we are giving away four AMAZING books from our publisher Merit Press. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Book Review: Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee

image: Goodreads

Under a Painted Sky
Stacey Lee
YA Historical
Published: March 17, 2015

I'm so excited to share a review of this book, which releases today! I got to know Stacey through the Pitch Wars blog contest last year, and was lucky enough to get passed an early copy of the book. I read this through in about two sittings. It's exactly the kind of book I like, and I'm glad it's finally out to the world!

The story involves Samantha, a Chinese American girl living in the Midwest in the 1840s. When a tragic accident leaves her homeless, parentless, and sought after by the law, she and runaway slave Annamae take off for the Oregon Trail, disguising themselves as boys.

There's all kinds of danger here--the rough trails, untrustworthy strangers, and authorities on the hunt for two girls they believe are criminals. The two meet a band of cowboys along the way (still disguised as boys), and the group pursues westward together, enduring snake bites, wild horses, and bandits.

I loved how accessible the history is within the story, and how every scene is couched in looming tension, threats, and adventure. Sam and Annamae's cultural backgrounds factor into every aspect of their journey given racial prejudices of the time. This is one of those books that for entire chapters I forgot everything else going on and just immersed myself in the story.

To add this book to Goodreads Go Here

To buy:
Amazon / B&N / Indiebound

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

What's Up Wednesday

While snow still covers the ground where I live, it's melting, so I'm going with the spring image this week! For more on the What's Up Wednesday blog hop, go here.


You guys, I'm FINALLY reading Jane Eyre! This has been on my list for ages, and lately I've been feeling some author shame that I haven't red such an important classic. I meant to just read a chapter or two, but read through the first 100 pages Sunday afternoon.

What kicked this off was the YA book Always Emily, a fictional account of the lives of Emily and Charlotte Bronte--and they solve a mystery!


I see the light ... the light at the end of the manuscript. I keep thinking it's near, and then I go back and nitpick before moving forward. My goal this week is to either write to the end OR at least make progress by filling in what's needed. Of course I'm going to need to go back, but right now, I need to move forward. For my own sanity. 


If you're looking for writing inspiration, hop over to #PitMad on twitter today (3/11). You will either be inspired by the ideas writers are pitching to prospective agents and editors, or it will light the fire beneath you to finish a project so you can pitch. Add me to the latter. OK, to both.


My RWA chapter is hosting a workshop this Friday and Saturday--we're bringing in agent and author Donald Maass for Writing 21st Century Fiction. His book Writing the Breakout Novel was one of the first writing craft books I read, and the sage advice to get characters out of the car and out of the kitchen is one I regularly apply and pass on (it's painfully true). I've heard one of his speaking engagements from an RWA conference recording, and he has some really interesting writing exercises to pull as much emotion out of your characters and plot as possible. I'm looking forward to it, plus it's a chance to hang out with writer buddies :)

Please share what's going on with you this week!