chasingthecrazies

Chasing my crazy dream in the writing world…

Introducing the 2017 TEAM SUN Mentors!!! January 6, 2017

Filed under: Blog,contest,Publishing,Query,writing craft — chasingthecrazies @ 7:07 am
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This is one of my most favorite times of the year! Sun vs Snow is really a labor of love and Michelle and I could NOT pull it off without the help of our incredible mentors.

 

This year we have some familiar faces returning as well as new writers jumping in to help the selected entries. Please give them a warm welcome in the comments and let them know how happy you are to have them participating this year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Brooks Benjamin lives in Tennessee with his wife and their incredibly spoiled dog. MY SEVENTH-GRADE LIFE IN TIGHTS (Delacorte/Random House) is his first novel.

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/brooksbenjamin

Website: http://www.brooksbenjamin.com/

 

 

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Dance studios are for sell-outs. Or at least that’s what Dillon’s dance crew keeps saying. But when a chance to compete at the biggest dance academy in the state falls in his lap, he has to decide what’s more important: sticking to his crew’s rules or freestyling his way into solo greatness.

 

Buy links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Seventh-Grade-Life-Tights-Brooks-Benjamin/dp/0553512501

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/my-seventh-grade-life-in-tights-brooks-benjamin/1122342052

Indie Bound: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780553512502

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A third generation native Arizonan, Kelly deVos can tell you everything you’ve ever wanted to know about cactus, cattle and climate. She holds a B.A. in Creative Writing from Arizona State University. Her debut novel, FAT GIRL ON A PLANE, will be published in August 2017 by Harlequin Teen and her work has been featured in Normal Noise and 202 Magazine.

 

Links:

Blog: http://insanity.today

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KdeVosAuthor

Tumblr: http://kellydevosauthor.tumblr.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kellydevos/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31123268-fat-girl-on-a-plane

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jody Holford lives in British Columbia with her family. She’s unintentionally funny and rarely on time for anything. She writes multiple genres but her favorite is romance. Her most recent release, More than Friends from Entangled Publishing, is the first in a three book series. To read the first chapter you can check out http://entangledpublishing.com/more-than-friends/ Book 2 will be out in March 2017.

 

 

 

 

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Website: www.jodyholford.weebly.com

https://www.facebook.com/Authorjodyholford/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7370077.Jody_Holford

https://www.pinterest.com/jholford/

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jody-holford

https://twitter.com/1prncs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Kip Wilson is a YA writer represented by Roseanne Wells of the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency. Her work has been published in the TIMELESS and SPAIN FROM A BACKPACK anthologies as well as several magazines for children. She is the Poetry Editor and acting Editor in Chief at YARN: The YA Review Network, publishing new teen writers alongside superstars like Jacqueline Woodson.

 

 

 

Website: http://www.kipwilsonwrites.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kiperoo

YARN: http://yareview.net/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Summer Spence is a YA author represented by Heather Flaherty at The Bent Agency. She lives in Utah with her husband and four kids, but still calls California home and wears flip flops year-round, no matter the weather. A classically trained actress with degrees in English Literature and Theatre, she fell in love with storytelling on stage, but discovered that the costumes for writers were much more comfortable, and happily tells stories in her pajamas now. While she uses the perspective of a dramatic performer to create her imagined characters and worlds, she’s not dramatic at all in real life. You can find her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/summywins or on her website at www.summerspence.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Katy Upperman is a graduate of Washington State University, a former elementary school teacher, and an insatiable reader. When not writing for young adults, Katy can be found whipping up batches of chocolate chip cookies or exploring the country with her husband and daughter. KISSING MAX HOLDEN is her debut novel.

 

 

 

SOCIAL – Website  ::  Facebook  ::  Twitter  ::  Instagram  ::  Goodreads  ::  Tumblr

 

 

 

 

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After his father has a life-altering stroke, Max Holden isn’t himself. As his long-time friend, Jillian Eldridge wants to help him, but she doesn’t know how. When Max climbs through her window one night, Jill knows that she shouldn’t let him kiss her. But she can’t resist, and when they’re caught in the act by her dad, Jill swears it’ll never happen again. Because kissing Max Holden is a terrible idea. With a new baby sibling on the way, her parents fighting all the time, and her dream of culinary school up in the air, Jill starts spending more and more time with Max. And even though her father disapproves and Max still has a girlfriend, not kissing Max is easier said than done. Will Jill follow her heart and allow their friendship to blossom into something more, or will she listen to her head and stop kissing Max Holden once and for all?

 

BOOK LINKS – Mark Kissing Max Holden T0-Read on Goodreads

Preorder Kissing Max Holden from Amazon

Preorder Kissing Max Holden from Indie Bound

Preorder Kissing Max Holden from Barnes and Noble

 

 

 

Want to check out who TEAM SNOW has recruited to mentor this year? Stop by Michelle’s blog to see her list of amazing writers!

 

Again, many thanks to all these writers for agreeing to mentor this year. Want to ask them questions or have a general contest or writing question? Drop into our annual Sun vs. Snow Twitter chat on Thursday, January 19. We will have two sessions. The first will begin at 4pm EST and the second will start at 8pm EST. We hope you’ll stop by and chat with us using the #SvSChat hashtag.

 

Keep a lookout next week for details about the TEAM SUN FREE PASS as well as our agent reveal. You won’t believe the list of agents participating this year!!

 

 

Here’s to 2017! December 31, 2016

 

 

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Wanted to share a quick note to say THANK YOU for an AMAZING year.

 

This blog continues to bring me so much joy because it connects me to each and every one of you. Your comments and words of encouragement buoy me in both happy and sad times.

 

In 2017 I promise to keep bringing you original content. The W.O.W., FIRST FIVE FRENZY, and QUITE THE QUERY posts will continue, as will my new series, FIRED UP FRIDAY!

 

I’ll also be sharing all the craziness that comes with diving back into the query trenches and looking for new ways to get my words out into the wonderful world of readers.

 

Please know that I appreciate you following this blog, and that in 2017 I hope you will share both your triumphs and tribulations in the publishing world. The only real way to succeed in this business is to keep trying and to rely on your friends who understand your struggles.

 

Here’s wishing you health, happiness, love, and laughter in the NEW YEAR!

 

 

Hugs,

Amy

 

 

 

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Cover Reveal: Jennifer Blackwood’s THE RULE MAKER December 16, 2016

Filed under: Blog,Cover reveal — chasingthecrazies @ 7:11 am
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Super excited to share the cover reveal for Jennifer Blackwood’s latest release, THE RULE MAKER. This book is a companion to Jen’s USA TODAY Bestseller, THE RULE BOOK.

 

 

Here’s a quick peek at Zoey’s story…

 

 

 

Ten Steps to Surviving a New Job:

 

  1.  Don’t sleep with the client. It’ll get you fired. (Sounds easy enough.)

 

  1.  Don’t blink when new client turns out to be former one-night stand.

 

  1. Don’t call same client a jerk for never texting you back.

 

  1. Don’t believe client when he says he really, really wanted to call.

 

  1. Remember, the client is always right—so you can’t junk punch him when he demands new design after new design.

 

  1.  Ignore accelerated heartbeat every time sexy client walks into room.

 

  1. Definitely ignore client’s large hands. They just mean he wears big gloves.

 

  1. Don’t let client’s charm wear you down. Be strong.

 

  1. Whatever you do, don’t fall for the client. You’ll lose more than your job—maybe even your heart.

 

  1. If all else fails, see rule number one again.

 

 

And here is the gorgeous cover…

 

 

 

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Cover Design : L.J. Anderson / Mayhem Designs

Model: Kamil Nizinski

Release Date: January 16, 2017

Check out more details on Goodreads

 

 

 

 

 

About the Author

 

Jen Blackwood author photoJennifer Blackwood is an English teacher and contemporary romance author. She lives in Oregon with her husband, son, and poorly behaved black lab puppy. When she isn’t writing or teaching, she’s binging on Veronica Mars episodes and white cheddar popcorn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Connect with Jennifer

 

Newsletter:  http://jenniferblackwood.us8.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=4a45cb91f52cd5f90e2162e5d&id=f6c3a79cd3

 

Facebook Author Page:  https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJenniferBlackwood

 

Facebook Reader Group:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/1541291366201625/

 

Goodreads Author Page:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8532549.Jennifer_Blackwood?from_search=true

 

Goodreads Reader Group:  https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/186113-jennifer-blackwood-books

 

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/jen_blackwood

 

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/jenblackwoodauthor/?hl=en

 

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Jennifer-Blackwood/e/B00OPXL0VG/ref=la_B00OPXL0VG_ntt_srch_lnk_2?qid=1481596906&sr=1-2

 

 

 

 

MONDAY MUSINGS: Daring to Dream BIG!! December 5, 2016

Filed under: Blog,Publishing,writing craft — chasingthecrazies @ 9:50 am
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It’s funny how people in our lives teach us big and small lessons every single day. I’ve been doing this writing thing seriously for five years now and I’ve never really allowed myself to think beyond getting the next book finished.

 

 

When it’s come to querying, or even being on submission, I’ve never thought about what would really happen if my big dream came true. Maybe it was to keep my sanity, never allowing myself to believe that something I’d been hoping for since I was a child would actually become a reality.

 

 

Even though I’ve had some ups and downs this year, I’ve never thought beyond the next step. My focus has always been on the next word, sentence, chapter. And perhaps because of this, it’s put a damper on allowing myself to contemplate that really BIG success.

 

 

It wasn’t until recently that I came to this epiphany, and the lesson I learned came from someone in my own family. For years, this person has focused on a single dream. They’ve been knocked down more times than I can count, but somehow they’ve found the resolve to get back into the fray and keep fighting. Their singular wish has never changed, and they’ve kept their head down and focused on that dream. A little over a month ago, this person finally achieved that reality. Now at the end of this week, this cherished love in my life will step into a national arena and finally realize that goal.  You think being a writer I could put into words how proud I am, but at this moment words truly fail me.

 

 

For everyone in my family this moment seems surreal. The family member has talked about this dream since they were very small, and to know their wish will come true is almost incomprehensible.

 

 

I’m in awe over what this person has taught me at such a young age, but I’m also very inspired. Inspired to keep working. Keep writing. Where once I felt very defeated by the process, I’m now encouraged to find a new path. To take control of my own writing future, and to finally allow myself to DREAM BIG!

 

 

So today, I’d ask you to think about all the people in your life who inspire you. Who have set a goal and then worked to achieve it. I encourage you to let their success motivate you. To think about new paths to reach your own dreams. Hopefully, this will make 2017 an incredible year for you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Giving Thanks for “small wins” in a Difficult Season November 23, 2016

Filed under: Blog,Publishing,writing,writing craft — chasingthecrazies @ 8:34 am
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I’ll be honest, I’ve kind of sworn off the internet. Every time I log onto Twitter or Facebook, I can actually feel my blood pressure rising. Unless I’ve been promoting my posts, or answering DMs, I’ve managed to stay off social media. I have to admit it’s been nice to be out of the fray for a while. It’s allowed me to write 20,000 words and plan an entire new series. The time away has allowed me to find the joy in writing again.

 

 

This quiet reflection has also brought to light one other thing in my life-the resurgence of the love of family and the small blessings that come with being present in the moment. Too often over the last year I’ve been so focused on the “end game” in publishing that I’ve forgotten about the small joys. A quiet dinner with my family. A bike ride on a sunny, seventy-degree day. The smell of baking pumpkin bread. The comforting hug of a child.  All things that only months ago I took for granted in my quest to reach my dream.

 

 

My break has also afforded me the chance to reflect on all the “wins” I’ve had this year:

 

Writing a book in a new category, genre, and POV!

 

Helping create a local YA/MG writing group that’s built many new friendships and is growing by the month

 

Being a PitchWars mentor and watching a writer flourish

 

Having this blog go over 5,000 followers (THANK YOU!) and introducing a new query series that seems to be helping writers

 

 

In a long year these may not seem like major accomplishments, but for me it’s meant learning and growing. Taking stock of what I put into this world and its effect on others. It may only be a small contribution, but to me it feels HUGE.

 

 

So this holiday season, I ask that you think not about what you haven’t accomplished this year, rather focus on your small victories. The moments that have brought you joy and laughter. The times that have made you think. Reflect. Smile.

 

 

It’s true, it has been a rough year, but perhaps we can all make it a little less dark by remembering who we are and what we love. What fills us up and makes us work for that dream.

 

 

If you’re so inclined, I’d love you to share in the comments one small victory from this year. Whether it be in writing, or your publishing journey, I hope you’ll share a little light today and allow others to rejoice in your small “wins.”

 

 

 

 

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Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Hugs,

 

Amy

 

 

 

 

 

FIRED UP FRIDAY: An incredible publishing journey from Laura Heffernan November 11, 2016

 

In a Monday Musings post a few weeks ago I talked about how too often we see negativity in the writing community. I’m tired of opening social media and seeing authors tear each other down when we should really be building one another up. Supporting each other.

 

With that idea in mind, I reached out to some friends who have had AMAZING publishing journeys and asked that they share (in their own words!) what they went through before they saw their publishing dream realized.

 

My hope is that these posts will light a fire in each and every writer who may be struggling. Who wonder if they can take another month in the query trenches. Or those feeling low from being on submission for what feels like forever. Each post will be proof that if you hold onto that dream, it CAN and WILL come true.

 

 

 

Fired Up Friday – A Post By Laura Heffernan

 

 

Publishing is a roller coaster. Sometimes it feels like there are more downs than ups. Sometimes it feels like you’re stuck, waiting for everyone else to get on or off before you can move at all. Compared to some people, my journey may look like riding It’s a Small World After All. Compared to others, it was a race through Space Mountain. Sometimes I felt like I was spinning on the teacups (and trying not to throw up). And that is one reason everyone will tell you not to compare yourself to other writers. It doesn’t help.

 

 

In October 2013, I started to write the manuscript that would become AMERICA’S NEXT REALITY STAR. My book debuts on March 7, 2017 – three and a half years after I wrote the first words (which have long since been deleted and replaced).

 

 

I’m a fast writer. I started querying in December 2013. Little did I realize that this was a terrible idea, because everyone was querying their unedited NaNoWriMo projects, and while I’d read through my manuscript a couple of times, I didn’t know what a critique partner was. I didn’t have beta readers. No one else read it. And, shockingly – none of the agents I sent it to wanted to read it, either. But, I started researching. I joined Twitter. I met other writers, and that’s where I found out there were contests for writers who were looking for agents. One of the writers I met in that very first contest is a dear friend and critique partner today. One of them is an agent sister.

 

 

Anyway, by some miracle, when I entered Sun vs. Snow that January, Michelle Hauck picked me as an alternate and decided to host a query critique workshop on her blog. This was where–while hanging off a balcony to read my email in Mexico at my sister’s wedding–I learned that I needed to swap with people, get opinions, grow. That was also how I learned how to write. Not just through getting critiques, but from reading and critiquing other people’s work.

 

 

People didn’t like my main character, so I revised. I scrapped the beginning, swapped with a new critique partner…and got an email three days later that it was so boring, she couldn’t read it. That was it. No suggestions on how to fix it. No commentary on the scene beyond the one she objected to. Nothing. Back to the drawing board. I did #CPMatch and I found someone to help me. In March, I entered another query contest. Like the first contest, I sat glued to Twitter while slush readers tweeted out hints. One of them mentioned my plot and said they didn’t like it. Ouch. Even though there were multiple readers choosing for multiple blogs, it hurt. My critique partner got in, but I didn’t. After the picks went up, another reader told me that my main character–who I’d spent many, many hours editing to make nicer and more likeable–was a doormat. Oops. Apparently, I went too far in trying to make her likeable. The most frustrating part was that I knew once people got into the story, it was good. I just couldn’t manage to get to the part people wanted to read.

 

 

Finally, finally, finally, I got a beginning that seemed to work. In April 2014, I was chosen for NestPitch. I got no agent requests. But I had a decent query and a better beginning, and I finally started getting requests from regular queries. I started to feel pretty good. Then I entered Query Kombat, where I was wiped out 7-0 in Round 2. I still haven’t gotten over the judge who said she liked my book, would prefer to read it over the other one – but she was voting for the other entry. No, I don’t know why.

 

 

Not so much a nice ride on the Monorail, is it? (At some point in this blog, I decided I was publishing at Disneyland. Sorry. Just go with it.)

 

 

Anyway, I got some great feedback from Query Kombat, and in July, I got not one, but two agent offers. That was awesome. Savor those small victories. (Side note: I later made a spreadsheet so I could check off the little things as I achieved them. Sometimes we need the reminder of how far we’ve come.) It wasn’t that I queried for an excessively long time, but there were a lot more downs than ups on that road. Over the course of about 7 months, I sent 67 queries.

 

 

Finding an agent gave me newfound faith in myself. Things were great. I was the first person in my small group of writing friends to get an agent. Once we did some revisions, I was so jazzed up, I was certain we’d get a quick sale to a Big 5 publisher – maybe even at auction! Yeah… not so much. Rejections trickled in, most of them the same. Editors liked the book, but didn’t want to buy it. It wasn’t big enough. (I still don’t know what that means, and I’ve heard it about a quadrillion times.) No feedback.

 

 

And then, around the time my critique partners started getting offers from agents, my agent stepped down, and I was transferred within the agency. I was thrilled to work with the other agent (who gets me in ways I never dreamed, even when I’m being weird), but at the same time, I wondered – if my book were better, if it had sold faster, if it had been something editors wanted to read, would my first agent have stayed? (Yes, I know this is stupid but it came on the heels of someone I queried with getting a three book deal despite going on sub after me and another friend getting buckets of money thrown at him after less than a week after his book went out so I was just a swirl of nasty emotions. Plus, it was January. It was dark, it was gross outside, I work from home, and I basically was miserable.) I found out around the same time that every editor who had my book during the first round of sub had turned it down. It had been out several months at that point, so I kind of figured, but – it hurt.

 

 

Anyway, I started working with my new agent. My poor, wonderful agent who had to deal with the stress ball I’d turned into when she hadn’t even subbed my book yet. I spent probably 4 months wondering if someone made her sign me, or if she only took me because she felt sorry for me. (My agent is lovely and wonderful and did nothing to cause any of these feelings. I was just really down, and nothing was picking me up.) We did more revisions, the book went out again and… we waited. We waited and waited and waited. Waiting is agony. Still, we got no useful rejections. No useable feedback. Nothing.

 

 

All this time, in the background, I kept writing. An entire manuscript while querying. A third right after my book went out on submission. A fourth started in January, much darker than any of the others. A fifth started in the summer. A sixth, two weeks after my one-year anniversary on sub. That last one…. doesn’t even make any sense. I wouldn’t begin to know how to fix it, and it’s not even worth trying. I was just in the wrong place to write it.

 

 

Finally, in January 2016, we decided it was time to call it. My agent nudged the editors reading for the last time, and we turned to editing what I thought was the most marketable book I’d finished during the last year and a half (I write fast. We had too many options). While my agent was compiling a sub list–seventeen months after the first submission went out, only days before we planned to start trying to sell something else–she got an offer. When I got an email from her, I actually checked to see if it was April Fool’s Day.

 

 

But it wasn’t! We had an offer. Finally. Then I had to be quiet and keep it all a secret for almost three months until I was allowed to announce it. But now I can happily say that AMERICA’S NEXT REALITY STAR will be the first book in a three-book series, coming from Kensington’s Lyrical Shine on March 7, 2017, with SWEET REALITY and an untitled book to follow. Sometimes I still pinch myself when I get an email from my editor. I’m thrilled with the way things worked out.

 

 

 

AMERICA’S NEXT REALITY STAR

 

SEEKING THE SMART ONE

 

Twenty-four-year-old Jen Reid had her life in good shape: an okay job, a tiny-cute Seattle apartment, and a great boyfriend almost ready to get serious. In a flash, it all came apart. Single, unemployed, and holding an eviction notice, who has time to remember trying out for a reality show? Then the call comes, and Jen sees her chance to start over—by spending her summer on national TV.

 

Luckily The Fishbowl is all about puzzles and games, the kind of thing Jen would love even if she wasn’t desperate. The cast checks all the boxes: cheerful, quirky Birdie speaks in hashtags; vicious Ariana knows just how to pout for the cameras; and corn-fed “J-dawg” plays the cartoon villain of the house. Then there’s Justin, the green-eyed law student who always seems a breath away from kissing her. Is their attraction real, or a trick to get him closer to the $250,000 grand prize? Romance or showmance, suddenly Jen has a lot more to lose than a summer . . .

 

 

 

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AMERICA’S NEXT REALITY STAR is forthcoming from Kensington/Lyrical Shine on March 7, 2017.

Pre-order today!

AmazonBarnes & Noble | Kobo | Google Play | Apple iBooks

 

 

 

44vc7pg3_400x400Laura Heffernan is living proof that watching too much TV can pay off: AMERICA’S NEXT REALITY STAR, the first book in the REALITY STAR series, is coming from Kensington’s Lyrical Press in March 2017. When not watching total strangers participate in arranged marriages, drag racing queens, or cooking competitions, Laura enjoys travel, baking, board games, helping with writing contests, and seeking new experiences. She lives in the northeast with her amazing husband and two furry little beasts.

 

 

Some of Laura’s favorite things include goat cheese, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Battlestar Galactica, the Oxford comma, and ice cream. Not all together. The best place to find her is usually on Twitter, where she spends far too much time tweeting about writing, Canadian chocolate, and reality TV. Follow her @LH_Writes or visit her website, http://www.lauraheffernan.com/

 

 

Laura is represented by Michelle Richter at Fuse Literary.

 

 

COVER REVEAL: RUINED IN RETRIBUTION by Valia Lind November 7, 2016

Filed under: Blog,Cover reveal,Publishing — chasingthecrazies @ 10:42 am
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Thrilled and excited to share the cover today for Valia Lind’s RUINED IN RETRIBUTION.

 

 

 

Gone. Gone. Gone.

 

For the past two months, it has taken all of Logan’s determination to just keep going. Losing Tasia to Kallos Enterprises shattered his world, but he is not about to give up on what she had started.

 

Together with her family, Logan works to destroy the company that ruined their lives. The corporation is growing bigger and stronger by the minute, weaponizing the drug and selling it to the highest bidder. But that’s not the only hurdle to overcome. Logan’s past is catching up to him, and the time has come to pay. His family’s secrets are unraveling everything he has built for himself and now, Logan is fighting on multiple fronts.

 

Save Tasia. Destroy Kallos Enterprises. Stay alive.

 

Such a simple list, such an impossible mission.

 

Time is running out and Logan is left with one question: can he save them all?

 

 

 

RUINED IN RETRIBUTION is Book Three in the Titanium Series.

 

 

 

 

Now for the cover….

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Release date is December 7, but you can pre-order now via Amazon https://amzn.com/B01N00SZRB

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interested in reading the series from the beginning? PIECES OF REVENGE is now FREE via these sites:

 

Amazon: https://amzn.com/B00PVQEXHY

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/pieces-of-revenge-valia-lind/1120818358?ean=2940046584172

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/520411

 

 

 

 

 

agqnfjfg_400x400Author. Photographer. Artist. Born and raised in St. Petersburg, Russia, Valia Lind has always had a love for the written word. She wrote her first full book on the bathroom floor of her dormitory, while procrastinating to study for her college classes. Upon graduation, she has moved her writing to more respectable places, and have found her voice in Young Adult fiction. You can visit her online at http://valialind.wordpress.com or follow her on twitter, where she spends way too much time, @ValiaLind.

 

 

 

 
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