Chasing my crazy dream in the writing world…

W.O.W. – Writer Odyssey Wednesday with A.G. Howard July 31, 2013






I’m very excited for today’s W.O.W. for many reasons. First, this is my 200th POST!! Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would have the tenacity to get to this point. But, I’m thrilled that I have because this blog has allowed me to share my own writing journey, as well as meet some amazing writers and agents along the way.  At the end of this post, I give details about a special giveaway to celebrate this milestone. Don’t miss it!


Second reason for the excitement is today’s W.O.W. features the spectacular Young Adult writer, A.G. Howard.


Every once in a while you read a book that grabs you by the  throat and won’t let go.  A novel so incredibly vivid and well-written you almost hold your breath until the last page.  That’s how I felt when I read A.G. Howard’s debut, SPLINTERED.  After devouring the last page, I knew I had to reach out to her and ask  about her journey to publication.  I had to postpone the interview for a few months while she finished up, UNHINGED, book 2 in the series, but her answers, as you’ll see below, were worth the wait.


Many thanks to A.G. for sharing her odyssey today…



What inspired you to write SPLINTERED, and why did you choose to make it a Young Adult story?


I’ve always been a fan of Lewis Carroll’s whimsical and slightly disturbing tales, so I’ll watch or read almost any adaptation that comes along. When I saw Tim Burton’s Alice in 2010, it appealed not only to my love of Alice in Wonderland but to my passion for visual aesthetics. The settings inspired me to imagine a different Wonderland tale—psychedelic and funky and contemporary with a gothic/creepy edge. When I saw the book Alice I have Been by Melanie Benjamin, it gave me the idea to have my heroine descended from the real Alice who inspired Carroll’s tales, Alice Liddell. This way I could bridge the generation gap and also have it still be a tribute to the originals. Deciding to make it a YA was actually kind of a no brainer… the premise just lent itself to a young adult audience, but at the same time would appeal to older adults/fans of AiW.



How many completed manuscripts did you query before one garnered agent interest?





Did you have critique partners or beta readers that helped you polish SPLINTERED? What did they add to the process?


Yes! I have six critique pals (2 who are online—Bethany Crandell and Jessica Nelson), but locally I meet with four authors every Wednesday evening—2 who are published and 2 who are on their way. They probably had the most input in SPLINTERED’s beginning phases.  We call ourselves “The Divas” and each of us writes something different, so we use our individual fields of expertise to help one another craft more well-rounded and layered books.


Linda Castillo writes thrillers, and is our pacing and tension expert; she keeps the story moving along at a clipped speed and excels at finding ways to insert more tension or suspense into a scene.


Marcy McKay writes mainstream literary, and is a voice queen. She has a way of honing in on each of our unique voices and keeping us on track. Plus she’s a motivational speaker on the side and keeps us positive and upbeat about our WIPs and publishing journey.


April Redmon writes romance, so of course she’s awesome at sexual tension and internal conflicts. She’s also a particularly exceptional grammar and line editor.


Then there’s Jennifer Archer. Like me she writes YA, but hers are a little less fantastical and more on the light paranormal side. She has a very literary voice and rocks at characterization, helping us inject emotional depth into our characters. She’s also super-imaginative and is good at brainstorming when someone needs to come up with a unique twist.



How long did it take to write the query for SPLINTERED?  Did it come easily or did it go through many drafts?


One draft, and it didn’t take very long. Maybe an hour or so. By that time I had already written and queried other books, so I’d learned the process. Once you can figure out how to sum up your book in blurb form, writing a query becomes second nature.



About how many query letters did you send out for this book?


I sent out 26 e-queries which resulted in:


7 full requests (4 rejections/3 offers)


5 partial requests (2 rejections / 1 closed no response / 2 bowed out after offers received)


12 rejections on query alone


3 closed/unanswered



Did you receive instantaneous response or did you have to wait for the requests/rejections?


I had a fast turnaround via passes and requests (within a day or so I started getting requests). I think the premise of an urbanized gothic Alice in Wonderland spinoff was high concept and different enough that it intrigued a lot of agents to at least want a peek at the MS.



Can you give us a short summary of your call with your agent, Jenny Bent? How did you know she was a good fit for you?


Jenny called and said she loved it. At the time I had two other agents offering so I’d had them all read one of my earlier MSS that I wanted to try to get published down the line. This way, I could hear what each agent’s game plan for both books would be. Jenny was the most eclectic of the three. She had many six figure deals to her name in genres ranging from non-fiction to YA to adult and literary. I knew that she would be the best fit for me long-term because I like to spread my writer’s wings and try different genres.



Was there ever a time you thought about giving up on your publishing dream? If so, what motivated you to keep writing?


I’m ashamed to say it, but yes. I received four rejections in a row on SPLINTERED fulls not long ago after leaving my first agent on the grounds I wasn’t willing to change the fantasy part of my book. I was at the lowest I’d ever been. One afternoon, I threw my hands up and said, “That’s it.  I quit. No one’s ever going to get me.  No one’s ever going to love my stuff.  It’s TOO DIFFERENT.” My voice blurs the lines between commercial and literary / urban and epic fantasy.  Not an easy thing to ascribe a genre to. Much less find an agent who will GET you. But I didn’t quit because my family is super supportive of my writing career, as are my wonderful writing friends (including the awesome support group over on QueryTracker). That’s what kept me going; that and the fact that I honestly couldn’t stop writing if I tried. I have too many stories and characters inside me who want to live and breathe.


The writing process is grueling and querying even more difficult.  What one piece of advice can you impart to aspiring writers to encourage them to keep working towards their dream?


The most important piece of advice I can offer (this applies to critiquer, agent, and editor feedback) is to know the difference between pride and vision. In other words, if people are telling you to change something in your book that you love, stand back and ask yourself why you love it. Is it personal to you? Something that other people, including your readers one day, are likely not to connect with? Or is it something integral to the characters or your story’s foundation? That’s the difference between pride and vision. Pride applies to the glory it brings you. Vision applies to the glory it brings your characters/story. Never make changes that will compromise your character’s voices / plot which ultimately IS your book’s vision. But be humble enough to let go of pride if it will make your character’s voice stronger and your book a more solid read. The very elements in my story that caused me to part ways with my first agent and caused four other agents to turn me down, are the ones that caught the eyes of three agents who offered representation and then later my publisher. I knew all along I didn’t want to compromise the fantasy part of SPLINTERED. It was integral to the book. So I didn’t bend on it. I’m glad I listened to my gut, even if it was hard and scary at the time.







Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.

When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.








Alyssa Gardner has been down the rabbit hole and faced the bandersnatch. She saved the life of Jeb, the guy she loves, and escaped the machinations of the disturbingly seductive Morpheus and the vindictive Queen Red. Now all she has to do is graduate high school and make it through prom so she can attend the prestigious art school in London she’s always dreamed of.


That would be easier without her mother, freshly released from an asylum, acting overly protective and suspicious. And it would be much simpler if the mysterious Morpheus didn’t show up for school one day to tempt her with another dangerous quest in the dark, challenging Wonderland—where she (partly) belongs.


As prom and graduation creep closer, Alyssa juggles Morpheus’s unsettling presence in her real world with trying to tell Jeb the truth about a past he’s forgotten. Glimpses of Wonderland start to bleed through her art and into her world in very disturbing ways, and Morpheus warns that Queen Red won’t be far behind.


If Alyssa stays in the human realm, she could endanger Jeb, her parents, and everyone she loves. But if she steps through the rabbit hole again, she’ll face a deadly battle that could cost more than just her head.



A.G. Howard was inspired to write SPLINTERED while working at a school library. She always wondered what would’ve happened had the subtle creepiness of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland taken center stage, and she hopes her darker and funkier tribute to Carroll will inspire readers to seek out the stories that won her heart as a child.


When she’s not writing, A.G.’s pastimes are reading, rollerblading, gardening, and family vacations which often include impromptu side trips to 18th century graveyards or condemned schoolhouses to appease her overactive muse. For more on A.G. , check out her website or follow her on Twitter.






Want to win a copy of A.G. Howard’s SPLINTERED, as well as a $25 Amazon gift card to purchase the sequel, UNHINGED (releasing January, 2014)? If so, leave a comment about what has been your favorite W.O.W. so far and why.  Please also include contact info (Twitter handle or email).  Giveaway ends Tuesday, August 6 at 5pm/Eastern time.  Open to U.S. residents only.


A BIG THANK YOU to all of you for reading my blog and following me on this journey.  I promise there is more excitement in the future with incredible author and agent interviews to come!


The Good, Bad, and Spectacularly Evil Critique July 29, 2013



Critiques are a necessary part of becoming a writer.  In fact, I look forward to getting a manuscript or short story done just so I can share it with some of my trusty CPS and get their feedback.  I know I’m too close to the material, and will never catch  things like passive voice, plot holes, dialogue issues like they will.


But lately, the critiques I’ve received have been REALLY brutal, honest and mostly correct, but still brutal.


Now, don’t take this the wrong way, I’m NOT in any way angry about the critique ( or with my CP). I asked for truthful feedback and I got it.


My point is that not all the work you churn out is going to be top-notch the first time out of the gate.  You may think you’ve got a good handle on this “writing gig,” but there is always more to be learned.  Yes, I’m published, but I still can’t get away from filter words or over the top description sometimes. I’m still learning and that’s okay.


But let’s be honest, the harshness of the feedback still punched a whole in me for a while.  Self-doubt crept in for a few moments, and I wondered if I really knew what I was doing.  Maybe I was fooling myself about being able to write something an audience would enjoy.  This response is TOTALLY normal.  It is usually followed by the “maybe I’m going to stop for a while” phase, which then usually (at least for me) turns into the “I’ll show them” response, where I sit down and write something I know will prove them wrong.


Here’s the thing, it’s normal to be down when you get a rough critique, but you can’t let it eat you alive.  Step back from it for a few days.  Think about what your CP said and weed out the comments you can and can’t use.  Digest the words, and then go back to your work and see if you can apply what you have learned. Your writing can only get better if you work at it and push through the rough moments.


One thing that helped me through this recent rough patch was an article posted on Tumblr.  It brought to light so much of what my trusty CPs were telling me about my writing.  I want to share it with you, in hopes you will see where you can make your writing better, stronger –


And don’t be afraid of the tough critique – it’s only through these moments can we learn as a writer to improve our craft. It’s what may keep us from being an “almost published” writer to a New York Times Bestseller!


How do you deal with tough feedback from your CP? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.


FIRST FIVE FRENZY with Molly Jaffa of Folio Literary Management July 26, 2013

FFF SideWords




If you’re like me, you toil for hours editing and fine-tuning the first pages of your manuscript.  You look at the first lines to make sure they are compelling and tight.  You examine the next few paragraphs, hoping your MC’s voice is already taking hold of the reader.


The First Five Frenzy is all about getting an agent’s perspective on what works, and what fails, in those first pages of a manuscript.  By reading each agent’s comments, I hope you’ll learn how to make your manuscript a shining gem that will be requested time and time again.


Today, I am proud to share Literary Agent, Molly Jaffa’s perspective on what’s important in those critical first pages.



Amy: Many writers have the impression that a great first line is imperative to drawing in the reader. How important is a first line to you as an agent?


Molly: It’s extremely important, though I’d ascribe a lot of importance to the opening paragraph as a whole. A few sentences are all I need to see before deciding if a particular writing style resonates with me. I probably receive two or three queries a week that pique my interest enough to read past the first paragraph.


That said, sometimes I see writers go a bit overboard with the “great first line” advice. They’ll try a little too hard to shock the reader (using a curse word or being overtly explicit in a way that doesn’t feel necessary, for example) or get a little too purple with their prose. Your first sentence doesn’t need to be crazy to stand out from the pack – it just needs to be authentic and intriguing.



Amy: Many times a writer is told to stay away from common openings like dreams, eating breakfast, riding in a car, etc. What are some common openings you recommend writers stay away from?


Molly: The first day of school or the first day after a protagonist’s move to a new town are also common. I’ll never say “never”, though. Sometimes that might really be the best place to start your novel. With any opening, common or not, authors should ask themselves: Why did I choose to start the novel here? Am I hanging on to this opening for sentimental reasons or out of fear of writing a new one? Or does it really need to begin right here?



Amy: When you’ve responded to a writer to request a partial or full manuscript, what was it about their first pages that piqued your interest?


Molly: It’s usually equal parts great concept and good writing. At that point, I’ve read the author’s query and thought the concept sounded fresh, then moved on to their sample pages and found the writing to be strong as well. If the concept sounds like something I’ve read many times before, I’m not going to scroll down and read the writing sample.



Amy: What are some common mistakes writers make in their first five pages?


Molly: Not setting the stakes is a big one for me. If I can’t tell what’s at stake for your protagonist – what they stand to lose or gain, emotionally or physically – then I’m probably not going to be invested in his or her story.



Amy: What resonates with you most in those first pages? Voice? Pacing? Unique concept?


Molly All of the above! In an ideal world, a manuscript would have the perfect mix of all three. That said, it’s much easier to help a great writer develop a stronger concept than it is to help someone with an exciting concept develop a good voice. If I’m reading a requested manuscript and love the writing but find that the concept ultimately doesn’t work for me, I’ll often email the author and ask to see whatever they write next.



Molly Jaffa has been at Folio Literary Management since 2008, and is an Associate Member of the Association of Authors’ Representatives (AAR). In addition to building her selective but growing list of Middle Grade and Young Adult authors, Molly is Folio’s Co-Director of International Rights. Her clients include Lana Krumwiede (author of the Psi Chronicles series, Candlewick), Julie Murphy (SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY, HarperCollins/Balzer & Bray, 2014), Kristen Lippert-Martin (TABULA RASA, Egmont, 2014), and Bryan Chick (author of the Secret Zoo series, HarperCollins/Greenwillow). You can follow her on Twitter @molly_jaffa and read her blog at



If you’re interested in submitting to Molly, please make sure to check the Folio Literary Management website for their guidelines.


“Departures” for the The Memory Project July 23, 2013

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Just a quick note to let you all know I have a story debuting today as part of Carey Torgesen’s The Memory Project.  I previously wrote about the inspiration and challenge I undertook to pen “Departures” here.


Today I hope you’ll take a moment to read my piece, and then go back to the beginning of this amazing project, and read each and every story included.  Each tale is beautiful, poignant and compelling in its own way. I am honored to have my story showcased among so many talented writers.


To read “Departures” click here.


Have a great day and as always THANK YOU for visiting my blog 🙂


Learning from another writer: An important post from Michelle Mason July 17, 2013


Uggh! I know, three posts in three days from me.  This isn’t typical, and I promise this is my last one of the week,  but when I read the following post from fellow writer and blogger, Michelle Mason, I knew I had to share it.


In the year and a half I’ve had this blog I’ve NEVER asked another writer if I could repost their work.  Sure, I’ve read a ton of blogs, and “liked” many, but one has never struck me as much as the following post written by Michelle.


The reason I’m reposting is simple: this type of honesty needs to be shared. Too many times I’ve talked to aspiring writers at conferences or critique groups and they are convinced if they can only finish their novel it will get published.  I never correct their line of thinking. Maybe they will sell that first work right away, but honestly, the odds are against them.


As Michelle shares below, the query trenches are brutal.  We, as writers, must don heavy body armor (aka thick skin) and be ready for the long haul when it comes to getting our novel published.





I really hoped I wouldn’t have to write this post, but here we are. It’s officially been two years since I sent my first round of queries. During that time, I’ve queried two manuscripts, one of which underwent a major revision before restarting the querying process. I posted last year on what I’d learned in one year of querying, so I won’t repeat any of those points. In any case, I have learned many new things the past year.



Just because an agent requested one of your manuscripts doesn’t mean they’ll request the next one.


Agents always say it comes down to the writing, so I assumed if they liked my writing once, they’d like it again. But they still have to be interested in the premise, and it seems I write vastly different things. I went from MG adventure with a boy protagonist to MG magical realism with a girl protagonist (later aged up to YA). Only one agent who requested the first MS requested the second one. My current project is MG science fiction with two girl protagonists, although it’s definitely not girly. So even though I’m up to about 30 agents who have requested my work in the past, there’s no guarantee they’ll be interested in this one. Even if they loved my writing before, maybe they don’t like sci-fi. Or aliens. Or girls who do Tae Kwon Do. Or books about twins. Who knows?



Just because an agent takes a long time to respond doesn’t mean they aren’t interested.


When you see an agent tweeting about signing a client within a week of submission and that agent has had your manuscript for nearly a year, it’s pretty disheartening. Thoughts like, “They must not be that interested in mine,” go through your head. Or my head. Whatever. But as with everything else, there are a lot of factors involved. Some agents don’t read in order, especially if something they have in their to-read pile has another offer on the table. I assumed an agent who’d had my MS that long wasn’t interested, and I was wrong. The agent upgraded me from a partial to a full after nine months. So a long wait doesn’t necessarily equal a lack of interest.



Getting a lot of requests does not mean you’ll get an agent.


This one is tough to accept. I didn’t get many requests for my first manuscript and rightly so. But my second one was different. I had a great request rate, and I thought, “Finally! This is it!” Well, it still could be. I have a couple of submissions still out there. But it wasn’t the speedy success story my early requests made me anticipate.



Neither does a revise and resubmit.


I was very hopeful when I received the R&R for DUET. I knew there were no guarantees, but here was an agent who really loved my premise and my writing. Unfortunately, that agent had a life of her own, and her writing career took off in spectacular fashion right around the time she requested the R&R. I waited. And waited. And finally heard confirmation last week that she’d decided to no longer agent. I could be upset that I put in so much effort to change DUET from middle grade to young adult, but I’m not. It was the right thing to do for the story, plus I learned I could write YA. That’s a good thing since my next idea is YA. So thank you to that former agent for challenging me to go beyond what I thought I could do.



There’s a lot more competition for YA than MG.


When I aged DUET up to YA, I’d already burned through a good number of agents, but there also were a lot of agents still out there who hadn’t seen it. I updated my agent list with statistics from QueryTracker and was excited to see agents requested a lot more YA than MG. After all, I’d had a great request rate for the MG version, so if agents requested more YA, I’d get even more requests for the YA version. Nope. My request rate was way lower. Now some of that may be because I’d already queried the agents I thought were the best fit for my premise, but I think the bigger factor is that there’s so much YA out there. You see a lot more people querying YA than MG, and I think that’s why individual agents request more YA than MG rather than a preference for YA over MG.



Test out your submission materials as many ways as you can.


The query letter and opening pages are so important. When I started querying DUET, I focused mainly on the query letter, and I received a lot of requests from agents whose guidelines called for the query letter only. I had a bit less success with agents who wanted pages as well. I didn’t pay enough attention to that. If I had, it would have clued me in earlier that my character should have been older. But maybe not. Sometimes the feedback you get doesn’t click until later. I’m being more cautious this time. One way I plan to test it all out is by targeting agents who request a partial before a full. Assuming they do request, I can get a feel for how well those early pages are performing. If they ask for more, that’s a good sign!



Trust your gut … but recognize things you might have to change later.


I used to be one of those writers who incorporated 99 percent of the suggestions from my critique partners. To be honest, with that first manuscript I probably needed to, and even quite a bit of it on the second one. I’ve gotten to the point where I trust my own writing better than I ever have in the past. My CPs still catch a lot of issues, both major and minor, but I have much more confidence in myself if I don’t agree with a comment. This is particularly important in my current manuscript, as I have some risky elements that a couple of readers have been iffy about. It’s another reason I’m being cautious with querying–so I can feel out whether these risks are going to turn off agents or not.



So that’s where I am after two years. I really hope I won’t have to write a “what I’ve learned in three years of querying post” next year, but if I do, I’m sure I’ll have even more knowledge to impart.


Again a special thank you to Michelle for letting me share her words today!  I learned a lot from her honesty and hope you will too!




Michelle Mason



After 10 years as a PR manager promoting everything from forklift rodeos to the Hotel Olympics, Michelle Mason decided to stay home and write full-time. She’s completed three novels and currently is seeking an agent for her middle grade science fiction manuscript, THE DEXELON TWINCIDENT. In her free time, she reads, watches too much TV, cross-stitches, bakes amazing brownies, and plays the violin in her church orchestra. You can visit her blog at or follow her on Twitter @michelleimason.



summer edgesummer double edge















Today I’m celebrating the release of two new anthologies from Elephant’s Bookshelf Press: Summer’s Edge and Summer’s Double Edge.  These two collections feature stories of a changing or evolving relationship of some kind.


I’m proud to have a story included in Summer’s Double Edge. “Unearthed”  follows two archaeologists, with a tumultuous past, who are assigned to a new dig and discover a long hidden secret that unearths feelings they’ve both kept buried for years. It proved to be a welcome challenge for me as it made me stretch my writing chops in many ways.


As part of today’s celebration, I’m participating in a blog hop with three other extraordinary writers also featured in these anthologies:  Jean Oram, MarcyKate Connolly & Michelle Hauck.


In this fun endeavor we’ve swapped questions about the anthology or about short story writing in general. As you travel from blog to blog you will see each of our answers. As I love music and film, I asked the following questions:



If you could give your characters a theme song, what would it be?



Jean:  I think the main character (she’s unnamed!) in my story, “Gown For Sale,” would definitely be listening to something angsty. Alanis Morissette’s “You Oughta Know” came to mind immediately as her theme song. Oh boy! Look out world! There is NOTHING like a woman scorned. 😉


MarcyKate: “Don’t Fear the Reaper.”


Michelle: The song that immediately popped into my head was an old eighties song, “Working for a Livin’” by Huey Lewis and the News. It does a great job of expressing the working-man situation my main character faces. He’s an average Joe, trying to scrape by, until a not so ordinary event confronts him.


Amy: “Distance” from Christina Perri is the perfect song for “Unearthed.” The lyrics really play up the pain and angst between two people and my main characters have a ton of pain and angst!



If your short story was made into a film, who would you choose to play the main characters?



Jean: I am so out the movie loop–the last time I made it to a theatre was over 2 1/2 years ago and that was to watch ‘Tangled,’ but thanks to my good buddy Google, I came up with this as my cast: Katherine Heigl (27 Dresses) for the main character. She a kind, younger sister. Her big sister who knows best but can be slightly evil and pushy: Isla Fisher (Confessions of a Shopaholic). And the man (can’t give too much away as my story quite short… so we’ll just leave him as ‘man.’): Zac Efron (High School Musical)–you could see him as both the good guy you fall for *and* the man who breaks your heart.


Marcy Kate: Well, the main POV character is a ghost, so that’s a tricky one! But I could picture the girl being played by Georgie Henley (the girl who played Lucy in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe) but with her hair dyed black.


Michelle: Liev Schreiber would be my pick for the main character Curtus. He’s got that everyday Joe kind of look while still being sexy. I could see him in a physical job. Plus, there is something unflappable about him. For short, bald and ballistic Squint, I’d have to say Michael Ironside would be the sort of character actor that could do him justice.


Amy: Without a doubt my choices would be Jeremy Renner for Simon and Emily Blunt (minus the English accent) for Cressida.  I actually saw the two of them in my head as I was creating my character profiles.



Jean Oram’s story, “Gown for Sale” is a story about love and betrayal and the struggle to move on and find peace with oneself and the ones you love–even when they break your heart.


Jean Oram loves to write women’s fiction and romance and is currently giving her first novel, Champagne and Lemon Drops, away for free as an ebook (online everywhere!). She will be releasing book two Fall 2013 and has also been known to write short stories such as “Gown For Sale” which can be found in Summer’s Double Edge. You can find her at



MarcyKate Connolly’s, “Don’t Pet the Ghosts,” is a short story about a ghost and a girl who cross paths in a graveyard, and how that changes their lives in unexpected ways.


MarcyKate Connolly is an author who lives in New England with her husband and pugs and writes weird little books. She’s also a coffee addict, voracious reader, and recurring commuter. She blogs about all those things and more at, and can often be found on Twitter. Her work is represented by Suzie Townsend of New Leaf Literary & Media, and her debut upper middle grade fantasy novel, MONSTROUS, will be published by HarperCollins Children’s Books in Winter 2015.



“Frost and Fog” is a story about lumberjacks trying to eke out a living, and instead finding something that changes their lives forever.


Michelle Hauck lives in the bustling metropolis of northern Indiana with her hubby and two teenagers. Besides working with special needs children by day, she writes all sorts of fantasy, giving her imagination free range. A book worm, she passes up the darker vices in favor of chocolate and looks for any excuse to reward herself. Bio finished? Time for a sweet snack. Her epic fantasy, KINDAR’S CURE, is to be published by Divertir Publishing in 2013. Find her at her blog: It’s in the Details or on twitter.



All the stories as a whole are filled with pain, joy, laughter and sometimes even fear.  It is an amazing collection that has something for every reader. Both anthologies are available for purchase on Amazon (Summer’s Edge) & (Summer’s Double Edge) as well as Smashwords (Summer’s Edge) & (Summer’s Double Edge).


Be sure to check out my fellow authors’ blogs : Jean Oram’s The Helpful Writer , & Michelle’s It’s in the Details for  more questions and answers on the creation and inspiration behind each of our stories.


1K Follower Blowout Celebration and Giveaway! July 15, 2013








Yes, today I feel I need to boogey just like good ol’ Vector because my blog just hit 1,000 followers! I’m super excited and feel like celebrating with everyone by doing a HUGE giveaway!


So here’s what’s up – I’ve got five, count them FIVE, critiques to giveaway from some amazing authors featured on my blog.  Each of them will take a look at the first FIVE pages of a manuscript (see a pattern here???) and then give the author big picture comments.


These are the authors kind enough to donate their brilliant feedback:




MarcyKate Connolly is an author who lives in New England with her husband and pugs and writes weird little books. She’s also a coffee addict, voracious reader, and recurring commuter. She blogs about all those things and more at, and can often be found on Twitter. Her work is represented by Suzie Townsend of New Leaf Literary & Media, and her debut upper middle grade fantasy novel, MONSTROUS, will be published by HarperCollins Children’s Books in Winter 2015.




Bethany Crandall and her husband Terry live in San Diego with their two daughters and a chocolate Labrador who has no consideration for personal space. She writes Young Adult novels because the feelings that come with life’s ‘first’ times are too good not to relive again and again. Bethany eats too much guacamole, thrives on tear-inducing laughter, and is still waiting for Jake Ryan to show up at her door. For more information on Bethany check out her website, or follow her on Twitter – @rookieriter.



Liz Fichera is an author living in the American Southwest by way of Chicago. Her YA debut HOOKED released in January 2013 from HarlequinTEEN. Its companion, PLAYED, releases in 2014. You can learn more by visiting or follow her on Twitter @LizFichera.



michelle_h_(3)Michelle Hauck lives in the bustling metropolis of northern Indiana with her hubby and two teenagers. Besides working with special needs children by day, she writes all sorts of fantasy, giving her imagination free range. A book worm, she passes up the darker vices in favor of chocolate and looks for any excuse to reward herself. Bio finished? Time for a sweet snack. Her epic fantasy, KINDAR’S CURE, is to be published by Divertir Publishing in 2013. Find her at her blog: It’s in the Details or on twitter.



???????????????????????????????Sara Raasch has known she was destined for bookish things since the age of five, when her friends had a lemonade stand and she tagged along to sell her hand-drawn picture books too. Not much has changed since then — her friends still cock concerned eyebrows when she attempts to draw things and her enthusiasm for the written word still drives her to extreme measures. Her debut YA fantasy, SNOW LIKE ASHES, is coming out Fall 2014 from Balzer + Bray. It does not feature her hand-drawn pictures. For more info on Sara, check out her blog or follow her on Twitter.



In addition, I am giving away a copy of these books that have either been reviewed or in some way discussed on this blog.  The titles include:



UNDER THE NEVER SKY By Veronica Rossi (Chasing A Good Read – May 2012)
Never Sky









TEN By Gretchen McNeil (W.O.W. series interview – October, 2012)





ten HC c hirez










ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD By Kendare Blake (W.O.W. series interview –  August, 2012)





2012-07-22 10.57.54









SHADOW AND BONE By Leigh Bardugo (Chasing A Good Read – October, 2012)













THE FAULT IN OUR STARS By John Green (Chasing A Good Read – January, 2013)













THE SCORPIO RACES  By Maggie Stiefvater (It’s All About The First Chapter – June, 2013)













CLOCKWORK PRINCESS By Cassandra Clare (Chasing A Good Read – April, 2013)














THE MADMAN’S DAUGHTER By Megan Shepherd (W.O.W. series interview – January, 2013)
















How do you enter this fabulous giveaway? Simply reply in the comments with your name and best way to contact you (email or Twitter handle) between today and Friday, July 19 at 5pm/eastern (US residents ONLY please). Please note in your comments  if you are NOT a writer and I will only enter you into the drawing for the books. All drawings will be random and I will notify the winners within 72 hours of the end of the giveaway.


Thank you and it goes without saying how much I love writing this blog and how grateful I am for everyone who stops by to read my thoughts on writing, reading and the crazy world of publishing!




Good luck and what’s a celebration without a dancing Yoda gif?  Woot! Woot!


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