Friday, July 25, 2014

GUEST POST: 10 Things Publication Has Taught Me by Brenda St John Brown

Today I get the pleasure of hosting the lovely Brenda St. John Brown, author of the New Adult Contemporary Romance SWIMMING TO TOKYO. Cards on the table, I absolutely adore Brenda, who is charming and funny and a hell of a writer and gal. I had the opportunity to read STT early and y'all. Y'ALL. Listen. Stop. Go pre-order it right now. Trust me on this one, okay? We're talking gorgeously well-developed characters, killer chemistry, a voice that caught my attention on the first page, and a setting that just -- sigh. So so good. You will not regret doing this thing, I promise.

I'll wait.

Back? Pre-ordered? Awesome. In that case: onward to Brenda!

10 Things Pursuing Publication Has Taught Me

1. Being an author and being a published (or to-be-published, contract-in-hand) author are very different! Writing the story in your head/heart is uplifting, challenging, amazing. Knowing other people are reading it (including, in no particular order, your mother, 5th teacher and random strangers) is terrifying!

2. Twitter is an amazing way to connect with the writing community. Yay! Look how much my writer friends are actually writing while posting pics of cute cats. Yay! Look at my writer friends announcing their new agent/pub deal/movie option.

3. Twitter can make you feel like you’re the ONLY one without agent, pub deal or movie news. When this happens, close your browser, turn off wireless, do what you have to do to re-energize yourself. You are NOT the only one without agent, pub or movie news. It’s just that no one else is tweeting their non-news either.

4. I thought I read my book a lot during the writing process. It’s nothing compared to the number of times I read it during the editing process.

5. Copyeditors are amazing. I am forever in awe of – and in debt to – the copyeditor who turned my wonky grammar into proper English.

6. Self-promotion will probably make your little introvert heart go pitter-patter and not in a good way. BUT think of the stress calories you’re burning while you worry about walking the fine line between too much and not enough promo!

7. Being offline for a whole day – or better yet, a whole weekend – is good for you. Really. When I first started trying to be “out there” more, I was on social media to the point that it felt like a chore instead of an opportunity to interact. Once I scaled back, I enjoyed it a lot more.

8. I’m not really missing much on TV. I have my must-see shows (Who loves Suits? How about Nashville?) but post-kid bedtime is prime writing time.

9. Having an “elevator pitch” for your novel saves you a lot of uncomfortable stammering when people ask you what it’s about. 

10. And people will ask! Everyone – from your neighbour, to your kid’s teacher, to the librarian – will ask what your book is about. It helps to be prepared, although I have found that the deer-in-the-headlights response at least stops them from asking further.

See? Told you she was good people. Also she spells neighbor with a "u" and that's just the most freaking adorable thing ever. Now, seriously, if you haven't already: GO GET HER BOOK.

July 28, 2014
From Spencer Hill Contemporary

The rules for swimming are simple:
Rule #1: There is no lifeguard on duty.
Since her mom died three years ago, nineteen-year-old Zosia Easton’s been treading water. Living at home. Community college. Same old Saturday nights. So when her father breaks the news he’s taken a job transfer—and by the way, it means renting out the house that’s been her refuge—a summer in Tokyo feels like it just might be a chance to start swimming again.
Rule #2: Beware of unexpected currents.
Finn O’Leary has spent God knows how many years trying to drown out his past. Juvenile detention. Bad decisions. Worse choices. He’s managed to turn it around – MIT, Dean’s List, a sexier-than-thou body with a smile to match – at least on the surface. When his mom asks him to spend the summer with her, Tokyo seems as good a place as any to float through the summer.
Rule #3: Swim at your own risk.

Brenda St John Brown is a displaced New Yorker living in the English countryside. She hasn't quite adapted to the idea of fireworks in November (despite now being a dual US/UK citizen), but she knows not to call trousers pants and often finds herself saying things are lovely...a word that never crossed her lips until she passed through UK immigration. She writes YA and NA fiction. When she's not writing, Brenda loves running, reading and traveling, and talking about Greek mythology with her son.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

A picsplosion of summer.

I've been relatively quiet lately, unless, of course, you follow me on Twitter. In which case, you're probably thinking, "actually, I wish you'd maybe think about shutting up." My boys and I are currently at my parents's house, an annual summer thing we've been doing since, well, I moved away from home because I'm a girl who wanders but keeps her people in sight. Last summer, during those weeks when we probably wear out our welcome, we were surrounded by the Smoky Mountains while I paced their halls and hid in closets stressing over my very first deadline. This summer, we're in the woods in a state shaped like a mitten and while I haven't yet hid in any closets yet, I've been pacing the halls here and there. I, stupidly, imagined I'd be cooler when it came time for my second release, but with it breathing down my neck and a Waiting Place so weird Dr. Seuss wrote about it, I'm the same twitchy girl I was when I was still wet behind the ears. The more things change, I suppose. At least I'm consistent.

But big things have happened this summer, and that's the reason I've mostly been quiet. I got a brand new nephew and a new print book:

I'm a girl blessed with ridiculously good-looking friends.

Want your own copy? You can get it here: 

My boys swam in their first Great Lake and we've been on adventures:

Mine and Kayla's #kidvision challenge is still going strong, and while I'm not sure we've found magic, we've made some memories and that's worth something:

And now we're moving into August. Where The Boy Child will get a pack of new teachers and The Baby and I will spend our last year together at home and hey. Maybe I'll get out of this Waiting Place. Maybe I'll have things to talk about.

But even if I don't, it's been a hell of a summer. And we still have a few weeks left to soak it in.

And I'm going to enjoy every blissful second.

.....Then probably hide in a closet.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Attack of the Fangirl: Review + Release Day Blitz for LONDON FALLING by Chanel Cleeton

I've really slacked when it comes to writing reviews for the books I read. Mostly because my first instinct is to go Level 12 Fangirl and post a gif-laden write up expressing my every emotion. While fun, that's not exactly professional nor is it constructive.

And yet, that's exactly what I want to do for LONDON FALLING.

I really enjoyed the chemistry between Maggie and Samir in I SEE LONDON and I rooted for this unlikely couple from the first page. The end was a knife in my gut as well as a breathy sigh because the pain. The angst. The yes. Finally. IT HURTS. IT HURTS SO GOOD.

Getting to come back to the International School in LONDON FALLING, back to Maya and Fleur and Michael and, yes, Samir, was like coming home. Watching Maggie and Samir dance around each other only to come together so spectacularly was the sweetest kind of relief. I cheered. I sighed. I clutched my Kindle to my chest and tried to will the clock to stop for them.

And the end? Blessed assurance, the end was a breathless sigh and a whooping cheer and a rush of hope for this couple who found themselves and each other on foreign soil they'd made their own.

For me, the International School books are New Adult must reads. They perfectly represent the category, in my opinion. They combine all the elements we're familiar with, where we came from, and where we, authors, readers, and believers, want to see it go. I love Samir and Maggie together. I love the diverse cast of characters. I love the party--er--study abroad experience and Samir. Have I mentioned Samir? Because, really. SAMIR.

To conclude:

Come on. I had to get in one.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Letters to the past.

​​Dearest Teenage Me,

Oh, girlfriend. Having the time of your life over there, aren't you? Of course you are. You're young. You're free. You're mostly independent. A little lost sometimes, maybe, not always quite sure of your next step, but you have ideas and dreams and that's enough for now, isn't it?

It is.

People are gonna try to tell you that it's not. They'll get on your case for being a dreamer and a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pantser. They're gonna tell you that you need plans and not maybes, because maybes won't pay the bills and dreaming isn't a career. They will beat you down with their good intentions then they'll try to drag your aching bones on to the straight and narrow. They mean well. They honestly and truly do. They love you. Well. Most of them love you. Some of them are sadists. But most just want you to be successful and they see success as a set thing. Your dreaming worries them. Not because you dream but because, in their eyes, you do it too much.

But in the end, your dreaming will pay off.

I know that's hard to believe right now, as a fresh faced girl who wants to make magic. I know you've heard, time and time again, that what you want to do just isn't possible. And you know, right now, the days you're living in, they're probably not. Oh, but they will be. Doors will be kicked in, windows will be busted out, and you are gonna grin and climb through them. You're gonna create worlds and people, you see. You're gonna create a lot of them. At times it'll feel as if you're throwing crap at the wall hoping it will stick. You'll think it never will. Until it does. Then it's gonna catch fire and it's gonna burn and you'll have soot lining your face. It'll be glorious.

Keep dreaming, darlin. From those dreams a speakeasy will be born. A wild waitress will serve drinks and meet a brooding boxer boy there. Their relationship will be loud and messy and it'll spill over onto a bar-lined street you'll make your home on.  Let the others tell you to get your head out of the clouds. It's okay. Because between me and you? The clouds are the best place for your head to be. Magic is waiting there. The others just don't see it yet. But they will. Promise.

We'll see you in a few years.

Future You.

PS: You're gonna marry that boy. You'll have babies with his eyes and your dimples your story together will be a lovely chaos. And he will never quite learn to pick up his socks. 

Wild Ones is now officially available in paperback:

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

COVER REVEAL: Stina Lindenblatt's LET ME KNOW.

Today we have the cover reveal for Stina Lindenblatt’s LET ME KNOW. This is the gorgeous sequel to TELL ME WHEN.

Title: Let Me Know
Author: Stina Lindenblatt
Release Date: September 1st  2014
Publisher: Carina Press

About the Book:

This shouldn’t be happening again...

Amber Scott thought her screaming nightmares would end now that her stalker is locked up and awaiting trial. But they return when her slam-dunk case starts to fall apart. Explicit letters she allegedly wrote surface, suggesting she was the mastermind behind her assault, a willing victim.

Amber only feels safe in the arms of her boyfriend Marcus, the one person she can lean on. Until damning evidence from Marcus’s past collides with the case and the media circus drags them both down. To protect Amber’s reputation, Marcus has only one option: end their relationship. He won’t risk further damage to her case, even if it means breaking her heart.

Amber has to find the strength to step into the spotlight and bring awareness to victims’ rights before she’s convicted in the court of public opinion. And she’s really not sure what’s worse—that her kidnapper could walk free, or that the seemingly endless attention and speculation will drive Marcus away permanently...

See how it all began for Amber and Marcus in Tell Me When.

Preorder LET ME KNOW now: Nook | Amazon | Kobo | iBooks

Born in England, Stina loves to travel, and has lived in England, the US, Canada, and Finland. She spent a semester in graduate school living in central Finland, and a summer during her undergrad degree working in Helsinki. She has a Master’s of Science degree in exercise physiology and has worked with elite athletes. In her free time, Stina is a photographer, mother of three adorable kids, and devoted wife. She currently lives in Calgary, Canada.

About Tell Me When:

Amber Scott should be enjoying life as a college freshman. She should be pursuing her dream of becoming a veterinarian. She should be working hard to make sense of her precalculus math class.

She shouldn't be waking up her college roommate with screaming nightmares. She shouldn't be flashing back, reliving the three weeks of hell she barely survived last year. And she definitely shouldn't be spending time with sexy player Marcus Reid.

But engineering student Marcus is the only one keeping Amber from failing her math course, so she grudgingly lets him into her life. She never expects the king of hookups will share his painful past. Or that she'll tell him her secrets in return, opening up and trusting him in a way she thought she'd never be able to again.

When their fragile future together is threatened by a stalker Amber thought was locked away for good, Marcus is determined to protect her—and Amber is determined to protect Marcus...even if that means pushing him away.

Tell Me When Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble


When I was younger, and believed in Santa, I would wake up at four every Christmas morning. I would then sneak into Michael’s room, and we would tiptoe downstairs to check out the presents Santa had left while we slept. I never had to wake my brother. He was always waiting for me.

Like the little girl I used to be, I wake to find my alarm clock glowing 4:00 a.m. While I’m no longer the girl with the brother eagerly waiting for her, I’m still the girl who sneaks downstairs to peek at her gifts. 

And in this case, Marcus.

We haven’t had a chance to be intimate since he arrived less than forty-eight hours ago, beyond small, chaste kisses or hugs. After almost losing him, I’m happy we can have even those. But they haven’t been enough to stop my nightmares. 

The only sound greeting me as I creep downstairs is the soft thud of my bare feet against carpeted steps, and the slight rustle of my pink satin robe. Underneath is one of my gifts to Marcus: matching pink satin panties and bra. 

The soles of my feet touch the cold tile floor and I pause. Once I’m positive Mom’s mom senses haven’t kicked in, and she’s realized what I’m up to, I tiptoe toward the guest room and inch the door open. The room is dark, other than the faint glow from the Christmas lights next door.

As my eyes adjust to the darkness, I spot Marcus sleeping. I stand in the doorway, wondering how I got so lucky. If I hadn’t been failing my math class last term, I might never have given him a chance. A chance to prove he’s more than the sexed-up guy everyone assumes he is. While I might not be thrilled that so many girls on campus are intimately familiar with his body, a warmth floods through me at the thought that he’s mine

“Are you planning to stand there staring at me,” Marcus murmurs, “or did you have something else in mind?” His tone is teasing and edged with a desire to do things to my body. Things that will leave me beyond satisfied. My breath hitches and I struggle not to melt away.