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Official blog of Kelly Hashway, young adult and middle grade author.
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1. Writer Wednesday: How to Land in an Editor's "No Way!" Pile

Today's topic came from Sherry Alexander, who wanted to know what lands and author in an editor's "No Way!" pile. These are things that I've seen that got the author's automatic rejections or caused me to delete their submission without reading it.

Beginning your query with "I know you're not open to unagented submissions, but I'm hoping you'll make an exception for me."
This one really gets me, and here's why. You are making it clear that you believe you're somehow better than all the other authors who want to query me. Grr. Don't ever disrespect another author in front of me. Just don't do it. I hate to see any author putting another author down. And if you think you deserve an exception to the rule but others don't, that's exactly what you're doing. Automatic delete without even reading the query.

Claiming you met me at a conference and that I welcomed you to submit your book.
This was a bad year for me, in that I didn't get to attend any conferences. However, I've gotten queries from people claiming they met me at conferences. Now maybe it's a simple case of mistaken identity. Maybe the editor you met has a similar name. (There are no other Kelly Hashways. I've checked.) But, I'm kind of thinking this person decided to gamble and assume I was at a big SCBWI conference and was busy meeting so many authors I wouldn't remember them all by name. Don't start a relationship off on a lie. Just don't. I don't like liars. Automatic delete without even reading the query.

Forgetting to tell me about your book in your query.
This is your big chance to wow me. You get one page to grab my attention. Why on earth wouldn't you tell me about your book? Editors are very busy. I won't tell you how many books are sitting on my Kindle waiting for me to read them. I'm embarrassed by it. But we are so busy! Your query is what tells me if I'm interested enough in your story to read some of it. Form letter rejection.

Saying your book is better than "Insert Best-seller Title Here"
Again, do NOT put down another author in front of me. I don't care if you're the best writer in the world. Don't do it! Form letter rejection.

I'm sure I'll come across other things the longer I edit, but please for the love of books do not do any of these things when you query. Editors WANT to find books they love in their query inboxes. We do. We want to love you and your book, but our time is very limited. Don't get yourself rejected before we even get to chapter one.

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2. Monday Mishmash: 8/31/15


Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. First Day of School  My daughter went back to school today. :( I miss her already.
  2. Editing  It's probably no shock that my plate is full with edits this week.
  3. Recovering From Knee Injury  In case you didn't see my posts on FB and Twitter last week, I fell on the treadmill and now both knees look like I'm trying to audition for The Walking Dead—as a zombie of course. They're healing now, but ouch!
  4. Our Little Secret  I'm SO excited for this release on September 15. Like SO excited. I love this book, and it's gorgeous thanks to the amazing team at Limitless Publishing. I have a lot planned for the month of September to celebrate, so stay tuned.
  5. Writer Wednesday Topics  My posts from the other side of the submissions desk seem to be popular, so I thought I'd ask you if there's anything you'd like me to talk about in my Wednesday posts. What do you want to know about as far as submitting to editors?
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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3. Friday Feature: Summer's Sweet Embrace "Truly Paradise"


Summer's Sweet Embrace

Truly Paradise by Michelle Ziegler 

Waiting for the right one can be torture. Too bad for Hailey, impatience got the best of her. Finding Mr. Right in time for a destination wedding couldn’t happen fast enough. Instead of listening to reason, or rather her friends, she’s stuck in paradise alone, again. Nothing ruins a tropical paradise faster than catching your date with another woman.   Justin’s ready for a change. He’s been caught up in his own success for too long and is looking to finally settle down. Timing is everything and his cousins wedding is the perfect start of his new life. His luck is changing with the captivating mystery woman on the beach. Now all he has to do is find her, before he agrees to his family’s match making plot.   

Excerpt: “This is paradise, though, or so the brochure said. I’m fairly certain a woman like you could find someone better in the matter of a few hours.” He glanced back to her. His gaze sent heat coursing through her in a way she’d never experienced, let alone expected. She couldn’t be certain the sudden wriggling in her stomach was something she’d eaten, or a good thing invoked by Mr. Beach-God. A hot burn seemed to claim her neck and kiss her cheeks. There was no suppressing the grin that spread ear to ear. No one had ever made her feel like she was an object of desire. Tossing her head, she took it in. Feminism aside, it was nice to be wanted. He smiled back at her, a full smile that reached his eyes. “Then again, it isn’t exactly bad to have morals. I respect the fact you didn’t head straight for a bar to try and pick up on someone new. I know my roommate certainly could use a few morals for the love of my sanity.” Is he hitting on me? “This is Mexico. Are you implying there are a lot of desperate men here?” She leaned into him, bumping his shoulder with hers. The bit of contact sent a new sizzling flash racing over her. The stranger’s brow knit together. “What? No. That’s not at all what I meant. I suppose it’s true though, unless there are a lot of cold showers to be had around here. Men are pretty useless around woman in bathing suits.”   

About the Author: Michelle’s imagination started spilling out onto paper the second she could scribble. Her drawing never improved, but her love affair with words continued and evolved as she became infatuated with one story after another. If life could be written, Michelle would write everyone’s ending as a happily ever after. Michelle grew up in Chicago and later moved to Colorado. Her husband still makes fun of her Midwest accent. By day, she is an engineer, wife, and mother to two kids and two dogs. Her sanity survives on the pages she writes, even if her toddler is trying to drive her to the edge one temper tantrum at a time. 
Website: http://www.michellezieglerauthor.com 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MichelleZieglerAuthor 
Twitter: http://twitter.com/MZiegler_Writer  
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Check out Michelle's story and the others in this anthology.

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4. Writer Wednesday: Getting Back Into the Swing of Things

Summer is always tough for me. My daughter is home, which means being Mom takes up most of my days. My new job as an acquisitions editor added more work to my already full plate. On top of that, I'm booked solid with my own editing clients for the rest of 2015. So yeah, I haven't been writing as much. But things are going to change soon.

School begins on Monday, and that means I'll be working full days again. My plan is to devote mornings to me and afternoons to Seek. Splitting my day up will allow me time to edit for my clients and write for me, while still handling my duties for Leap Books. Or at least that's the plan. ;)

I'm going to miss my daughter though. She's my buddy. There's nothing I love more than being with her, but I know she is excited to start a new school year (Third grade already? How did she get so big?) and see all of her friends again. So here's to a great start to the school year and life getting back to a routine.

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5. Monday Mishmash 8/24/15


Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Editing  Surprise, surprise, I'm editing this week. ;) I have client edits and Seek edits to work on.
  2. Writing  I didn't get back to work on my novella last week. :( Maybe this week? Hopefully.
  3. Happy birthday to my mom!  My mom's birthday is tomorrow. It's also my cat's birthday on the same day. Happy day before your birthday, Mom! (She reads these posts, so feel free to wish her a great day.)
  4. Our Little Secret Blitz sign-up  Sign ups are open for the Our Little Secret Release blitz. No blog needed. Sign up here.
  5. First Seek Acquisitions  I acquired my first two titles for Leap Books Seek. I loved these books. Here is the announcement in Publisher's Weekly. 
  6. Fish Detectives is now available!  My newest picture book, Fish Detectives, is now available. 

When a treasure chest mysteriously shows up in the goldfish tank, it's a case for Horatio and Alexander, Fish Detectives. But a diver is guarding the treasure, and he's not talking. Horatio and Alexander will need all their comet goldfish speed and know how to crack this case. Suggested age range for readers: 4-8. Get it on Amazon.

That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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6. Friday Feature: Hot Pink in the City


HOT PINK IN THE CITY, Prizm Books/Torquere Press
Release Date: August 19, 2015
Ebook
Purchase from PrizmAmazon (vendor links will be updated on the author's site)

Asma Bashir wants two things: a summer fling and her favorite '80s songs. During a trip to New York City to stay with relatives, she messes up in her pursuit of both. She loses track of the hunk she met on her airplane ride, and she does the most terrible thing she could possibly do to her strict uncle... ruin his most prized possession, a rare cassette tape.

A wild goose chase around Manhattan and Brooklyn to find a replacement tape yields many adventures -- blackmail, theft, a chance to be a TV star, and so much more. Amid all this turmoil, Asma just might be able to find her crush in the busiest, most exciting city in the world.

Find Medeia – YA and MG Author

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7. Writer Wednesday: Dos and Don'ts of Submitting to Editors

Now that Seek's open submissions period is over, I wanted to share some things I saw on the other side of the submissions desk. I hope you find this helpful.

First, let's start with the negative—things I saw that I wish I hadn't. These are things I beg you not to do when querying. 
  • Queries that didn't follow submission guidelines  I get that every publisher (and agent) tends to have specific submission guidelines and it can be overwhelming for authors, but please take the time to follow them. If you don't, it shows us you don't value our time or our preferences. That's no way to start a relationship with someone.
  • Queries that aren't at all what I'm looking for  I received queries for young adult books and early readers, yet my submission guidelines specifically say I'm looking for middle grade books. Querying with a book that isn't what an editor is looking for is wasting everyone's time, including your own. Besides, who wants an unnecessary rejection?
  • Misspelling the editor's name.  I understand Kelly is both a girl's name and a boy's name; however, a simple Google search brings up only one Kelly Hashway—me. And I have my picture all over the place. I'm not Mr. Hashway. I also got a lot of "Dear Ms. Hathaway" queries. I'm not related to Anne Hathaway or any other Hathaways. If you can't take the time to proofread to ensure you're spelling an editor's name correctly, you're telling me you don't care. That doesn't make me care much in return. :(
  • Replies asking if the author can revise and resubmit  If an editor loves your writing and concept but thinks the book needs work, he/she will tell you to revise and resubmit. Please don't email me and ask if you can—or worse, just assume you can. If I took the time to give you helpful feedback, use it to move forward and get ready for your next submission.
  • Forget to include a query  I kid you not. I received more than one query that didn't have a query letter. They were simply "here's my attached manuscript" messages. I didn't even know what the books were called. If you can't care enough to describe your book to me or even tell me the title, I'm not going to be the least bit excited to read your pages.
Okay, enough negativity. Let's move on to the positives—things I saw and loved. These are the things you should do when querying:
  • Be professional  I had several people who know me from this blog or other social media sites query me and they still addressed me as Ms. Hashway or Mrs. Hashway instead of Kelly. Kudos to you, because even though I was thinking, "Oh yay, INSERT NAME HERE is querying me" I still handle all query letters equally. Yes, I had to pass on queries from people I know, and yes it made me sad. But this is a business and we have to remember that.
  • Appreciate any feedback you get, because it's rare  I got the nicest response from a pass. I didn't know this person at all, but they responded to my pass to thank me for getting back to them in such a timely manner and for offering helpful feedback. I'm not going to lie. I got a few others like this one and they kept me going when my inbox was spilling over. This showed me these people get it. They get how busy editors are and appreciate that an editor took the time to offer feedback when it's not mandatory. These are people I'll remember if they cross my inbox again.
Okay, there are other things you should do, but I think you can figure them out from my list of things you shouldn't do. Do you have any query tips to add to my list? Feel free to share in the comments.

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8. Monday Mishmash 8/17/15


Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Our Little Secret Is Up for Pre-Order!  Guys, I'm SO excited for this book. You have no idea. The pre-order went up last Friday and it's only $3.99, which makes me happy. You can pre-order your copy here
  2. Seek's Open Submissions Period Is Over  My open submissions period has ended. I want to thank everyone who queried me. I have two acquisitions I'll be sharing soon and I have four full manuscripts on my Kindle waiting for me to make decisions on. On Wednesday, I'll share some tips from what I saw in my query inbox. Be sure to come back for that.
  3. Editing  With life getting back to normal after open submissions, I'll be editing for clients again this week.
  4. Writing  Finding writing time has been tricky lately. I had to stop working on a novella, but I'm hoping to get back to it by the end of the week. Fingers crossed.
  5. Vacations  This summer we didn't get to go on the vacation we wanted, so we are planning a trip to Aruba for next summer. I know it's a long time from now, but I'm already excited.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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9. Friday Feature: Love, Lattes and Danger




It’s a dirty job, but some mutant’s got to do it…

Joel Eisler is a mutant with special talents. He can detect an oil leak in the ocean simply by tasting the water. Because of this unique ability, he’s been purchased by a large oil company, along with his dolph sister, Amy. The upside of spending his days and nights in the ocean is that it gives him the opportunity to save the lives of his brother dolphins. The downsides are life as a closely monitored slave—and that he can’t be with Piper, the dolph-girl he loves…

To make matters worse, Joel discovers the lab he grew up in has extracted his sperm and Piper’s egg and created a baby, and his handler, Craven, is plotting to kidnap Amy for more experiments. Now Joel must rescue the infant, bring her to Piper, and find a way to save Amy. And if that’s not enough of a challenge, he needs to convince Piper she belongs with him instead of her all-too-human boyfriend—if Craven doesn’t get to them first…


Multi-published author Sandra Cox writes YA Fantasy, Paranormal and Historical Romance, and Metaphysical Nonfiction. She lives in sunny North Carolina with her husband, a brood of critters and an occasional foster cat. Although shopping is high on the list, her greatest pleasure is sitting on her screened in porch, listening to the birds, sipping coffee and enjoying a good book. She's a vegetarian and a Muay Thai enthusiast.



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10. Writer Wednesday: The Other Side of the Submissions Desk

While my time on the other side of the submissions desk has been brief so far, I've already learned a lot. And since it's taught me more about being an author on submission, I want to share something very important with you all. Here it is. You don't just want a book contract. You want an editor who LOVES your book every bit as much as you do.

When I first started writing, I had this illusion that all I needed was a contract. Someone who would put my book in print. I was wrong. Obviously, we all strive for book deals, but you shouldn't JUST want a contract. You should want an editor who loves your book so much they have to have it.

I've gotten a lot of submissions during my open submissions period at Seek. I'm talking flooded inbox. I've seen a lot of good manuscripts. Notice I said good. The problem is, I can't offer a contract on a good manuscript. I have to wish I wrote your book because it's that amazing. I have to not be able to get your book out of my mind. I have to keep checking my email to see if you've responded to my offer yet. That's how much I need to love your book.

Why, you ask? I've gotten to work on books at Seek that were acquired before I came on board. Let me tell you how many times I read each book. Oh wait, I lost count. It's a lot. A LOT. If I can't get excited to read your book over and over again, I'm not the right editor for your book. Luckily, the books I've worked on have been books I love. I look forward to reading them countless times, and I love the stories more each time I read them.

Think of your personal book collection. We all have those books we reread time and time again because they hold special places in our hearts and our memories. They're written in, dog-eared, and filled with Post-It notes. Those are the book I offer on. So if I offer on your book, know I will champion it with all I have. That's the editor you want for the book you've poured your heart and soul into. Don't accept anything else, because you don't deserve anything less than that.

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11. Monday Mishmash 8/10/15


Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Our Little Secret Cover Reveal  Last Thursday was the cover and blurb reveal for Our Little Secret, which releases September 15 through Limitless Publishing. This is a YA contemporary romance under my pen name Ashelyn Drake. 
    Becca Daniels needs to get a passing grade in Trig. Becca Daniels wants to spend more time with her best friend Tori’s twin brother Toby. What she has is a brain that refuses to understand math and a best friend with a strict “No dating the brother” rule. When her grade hits rock bottom, Becca has no choice but to get a tutor. Lucky for her, Toby is a math genius and more than willing to help her out. Turns out Becca isn’t the only one who hates Tori’s dating rule. What starts out as an innocent tutoring session quickly evolves into late night texts and hidden kisses. But the closer Becca gets to Toby, the greater the risk that she’ll lose her best friend. When their secret relationship threatens to destroy more than just her friendship with Tori, Becca will have to figure out how much she’s willing to risk to keep the guy of her dreams. 

     Add the book on Goodreads
  2. Piper Morgan Joins the Circus Cover Reveal  Stephanie Faris has a cover reveal today for Piper Morgan Joins the Circus. How adorable is this cover? 
    When Piper Morgan has to move to a new town, she is sad to leave behind her friends, but excited for a new adventure. She is determined to have fun, be brave and find new friends.
    And after learning her mom’s new job will be with the Big Top Circus, Piper can’t wait to learn all about life under the big top, see all the cool animals, and meet the Little Explorers, the other kids who travel with the show. She’s even more excited to learn that she gets to be a part of the Little Explorers and help them end each show with a routine to get the audience on their feet and dancing along!
    But during Piper’s grand debut, her high kicks and pointed toes don't go quite as planned. After causing a dance disaster, she has to prove to everyone--especially queen of the Little Explorers, Lexie--that she belongs in the spotlight.
  3. Leap Books Seek Submissions  Since Seek is open to unagented submissions, my inbox has been flooded! lol I'm blown away by how many submissions I've received. Guess what I'll be busy reading this week. I'll be announcing my first acquisitions soon too. :)
  4. Galley Proofs  The galley of Our Little Secret has been proofed. Eeeee! I'm so excited for this book. I just loved this story so much.
  5. Ashelyn Drake Blog Has Moved  After a run-in with Wordpress on my cover reveal day (AHHH!!!) last week, I decided to move Ashelyn's blog to Blogspot. I'm much more comfortable on Blogspot. Ashelyn's website will remain on Wordpress and there is a link to the new blog in the menu bar there now. If you'd like to follow Ashelyn's blog, you can find it here.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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12. Friday Feature: KR Yaddof Giveaway!


Today I'm featuring three great books by KR Yaddof. I can vouch for this series. It's amazing. And one lucky commenter will win ebooks of ALL 3 books!

About the books:

BLOOD MAGE (Book #1)
All Alexis Richmond wants is for life to be somewhat normal again. What she gets is trapped in the girls' restroom by a knife-wielding classmate, who blames her for being forced to go to school in a lovely prison-like setting for national security reasons. But Alexis can't help that her father was catapulted into the presidency when the U.S. Capitol was annihilated during the State of the Union Address. Or that he still hasn't found the terrorists responsible for blowing every major city on the planet into a post-apocalyptic state. All Alexis can do is to try to defend herself from this crazy girl. Then her late mother's locket starts glowing and sending waves of energy coursing down her arms, and she nearly launches her attacker through the puke pink wall of the school bathroom.

Fantasy becomes alarmingly real in Alexis's already shattered world when she learns from her aunt that she is descended from a family of powerful mages and warned to trust no one. Thrust into Alexis's life through school and for those annoying security reasons, the vice president's playboy son, Zachary Godard, claims to have the answers about the magical legacies their families don't want them to know. Alexis tries to fight her dangerous attraction to Zachary but knows that he understands her as only another mage can. Leaping down the rabbit hole hand in hand, together they overhear a secret society of sorcerers, the Blood Mage Order, plotting to take over the globe. As the two young mages struggle to stop the Order and save their country, they discover just how deep the world domination conspiracy goes. And Alexis will realize that nothing is black and white. Especially not magic.



DYNASTY MAGE (Book #2)
Zachary Godard’s life isn’t lacking in beautiful women, fast cars, and unlimited wealth. Or in people with reasons to kill him. As the recently inherited owner of the largest oil company in the world and the sole financier of the newly formed United Countries of America, militant political activist groups and regimes bent on world domination alike would benefit from his demise. Then there is his four-minute younger brother, who fell victim to their deceased father’s old world mentality that a second son is merely the spare. And finally his mother, vice president of the United Countries of America, second only to the man who blew the world into its current post-apocalyptic state to give rise to his Blood Mage Order, destroying Zachary’s life in the process.
With bullets whizzing by at any given moment as he tries to secretly fund a rebellion against this new supernatural world order, Zachary knows his magic isn’t enough to defend himself and is forced to hire protection. Her name is Lauren Trinidad, and she hates everything for which he stands. But he doesn’t have time to prove her wrong before he must trust her to help him find out who is trying to kill him. All he can do is hope that either his charm or the fat paycheck will convince her he’s worth saving.


MAGE ASSASSIN (Book #3) Coming Tuesday, August 11th, 2015!
Lauren Trinidad is the best private security money in the League of European Nations can buy. She's been trained by her father for her entire life to protect the good guys from the bad. But when the good guys seem to be working for the mad man responsible for blowing the world into chaos and her family is suddenly the bad, she is forced to choose between what she is taught to do and what she thinks is right. 

Captain David Trinidad is the best soldier the New Republic of Texas can find to pull off a secret mission that will decide the fate of the small country. He’s been raised in his military family to do anything to help his homeland. But when he discovers he is the only chance at saving someone he loves, he has to choose between the only two things in his life that he's never doubted. 


Meagan Trinidad is the best assassin the United Countries of America has for hire. She has walked the tightrope between making her father proud and protecting those she cares about for a while. But when her work threatens to destroy her friends, she must choose between the familial loyalty that has guided her whole life and the promise of being loved for who she is and not what she does.


Excerpts:

Lauren
“I told you I was working.” Lauren tried not to snap. Zachary obviously wanted to forget their earlier fight about whether or not it was too dangerous for her to protect the new prime minister. But Zachary didn’t give up that easily. “I was doing my job.”
“I thought you only had to stay through the prime minister’s speech.”
“I did, but I saw a few suspicious characters before I left, so I stopped them from killing everyone.”
“Oh, you did, huh?” He smiled that charming grin that made her forgive him for anything.
“Yeah, because I’m smooth like that.” She couldn’t help but smile back.
“Sure you are.” He laughed and crossed the room to her. “You’re hurt.”
“It’s nothing,” she lied. Even her teeth hurt.
“Here.” He gently took her face in his hand. He blew a thick lock of her chestnut hair back. He ran his finger over the bruise and whispered, “Curatio.”
White-hot magic radiated from his thumb into the center of the pain and slowly flowed over her face, leaving cool relief in its wake. Her hand joined his as she felt her healed face. Her skin was smooth and no longer sore.
“Thanks.” She kissed him softly. His lips felt warm, soft, and familiar. His hands immediately pulled her to him. She stopped him by putting her hands on his chest. “I need a shower.”
“Shall I join you?” He cocked a platinum eyebrow.


David
“I could never be cold when I’m near you, Abigail.” David wanted to kiss her right then. He wanted to take her in his arms and not let her go. To carry her off into the night and never have to worry about anyone coming between them again. “You are my fire. You are my reason for livin’. You are my life.”
“Oh, David.” She blushed and looked down. “I love you, too.”
“It is more than love.” He knelt down and looked up into her surprised face. He reached into his pocket and pulled out the box. Enveloping her left hand in his, he said, “Abigail Evelyn Lattimore, will you marry me?”
“Oh, my God, David!” Her hands flew to her mouth, eyes wide. She stared down at him, tears forming in her eyes. She glanced at the ring and exclaimed, “Yes! Yes, of course, I will!”
And then she was in his arms. He spun her around in elation, only stopping to kiss her. Her hands went to his face as he held her against him, and he kissed her harder than he ever had in his life. Pure joy surrounded them, and he could feel the aquamarine in the necklace she wore warming against his chest. He pulled away only to slip the diamond ring on her finger. She admired it as it also started to glow.
“Your magic approves,” he said, kissing her again. She was a white mage and had fantastical healing powers. He could feel her happiness vibrating between them and even lighting the coral in his own boar’s head ring his father had given him when he joined the service. He sighed and added, “Even if your father doesn’t.”


Meagan
“We both know you’re not going to college.” Jacob moved his mouth closer to her ear. “Why are you going to New Haven? To kill my sister?”
“What?” Meagan jerked back to see his face, but he held her too tightly.
“I know what you are, darling.” His voice was so quiet she barely could hear him. “An assassin.”
“That’s not true!” She swallowed, her head spinning. How had he figured it out? Her father was going to be pissed. “I would never hurt Kayla.”
“That may be true, but you have been hunting my brother for years.” Jacob’s hands crept up her body. They stopped on either side of her throat. He pressed harder against her. “Why do you think I’ve been keeping you so close?”
Meagan didn’t say anything. Sliding a hand behind her back, she glared at him. She went for the knife hidden in her waistband.
“I don’t think so, darling.” He grabbed her wrist and twisted it along with the other one above her head, pinning them against the door. She refused to cry out in pain. She wouldn’t give him the satisfaction. “I kept you so close I know all of your little tricks. Didn’t you wonder why I cared? You should know by now that I don’t fuck the same girl more than once. I was keeping an eye on you instead of ending you.”
She brought up her knee in a swift movement and hit him in the crotch. He grunted and doubled over in pain. She punched him in the face and pushed him off her. Spinning, she kicked him in the head and knocked him to the floor. She drove her boot into his stomach for good measure.
“Don’t ever threaten me, Jacob Godard,” she whispered in his ear, kneeling over him. “Next time I’ll slit your arrogant throat.”

Bio:
KR Yaddof was lucky enough to take a few writing classes at the University of Iowa Writer's Workshop when she was there as an undergrad getting her degree in cinema. Now she lives in Denver, CO with her husband, two kids, and one fat cat.

KR is currently finds time to write while staying home with her two small children. If you want more MAGES, cross your fingers for her children to start sleeping through the night!

Learn more about Mages & KR at: http://www.kryaddof.com/

**Don't forget to comment below to enter to win ALL 3 ebooks! Winner will be chosen at random on August 14th.**

Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.

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13. Writer Wednesday: Merriam-Webster and Chicago Manual of Style Are Your Friends

If you subscribe to my newsletter, then you'll remember that last month I mentioned being mindful of different spellings of words depending on how they are being used. Yes, I'm talking about the same word being spelled differently if it's used as a noun, verb, adjective, etc. Crazy, right? That's the English language for you. ;)

Grammar geeks like me, thrive on this stuff, but the typical writer does not. My suggestion is to make Merriam-Webster and Chicago Manual of Style your best friends. I always have a tab open to Merriam-Webster to make sure I'm using the proper spelling for words. I also refer to Chicago manual of Style's hyphenation table quite frequently. As an editor, I have to do this because I don't want errors in my clients' books. But all authors should do this. Here's an example of what I mean:

speed dial — This is the noun form. I hit four on my speed dial.
speed-dial — This is the verb form. I speed-dial Trish.

Spell check (Ugh, don't get me started on spell check!) won't catch these mistakes. (Spell check is stupid. It often suggests changes that are incorrect! Oops, there I go again.)

So, if you're unsure of a word—whether to hyphenate it, write it as one word, or write it as two—check Merriam-Webster and Chicago Manual of Style. (Seriously, bookmark both of those pages!) Your editor will love you for it. ;)

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14. Monday Mishmash 8/3/15


Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Our Little Secret Cover Reveal  I'm having a cover reveal this Thursday, August 6th. It's going to be a social media blitz, which means you don't need a blog to join in. You can share the cover on any social media site. If you'd like to be part of it, you can sign up here.
  2. Open Submissions For Leap Books Seek  I'm open to unagented submissions until August 14th. If you have a middle grade book between 30,000 and 40,000 words, you can submit your query (in the body of the email) along with your synopsis and first 3 chapters (as Word attachments) to kellyhashway.leapbooks@gmail.com. Your subject line should read OPEN SUBMISSIONS: TITLE OF YOUR BOOK.
  3. Editing  Somehow, I'm booked through the rest of the year with edits, so I'm editing all the time. LOL 
  4. Drafting  I'm trying to draft a novella in between editing. It's going very slowly, which isn't like me at all. I need some help from my muse on this one.
  5. Free Monthly Newsletter  My FREE monthly newsletter goes out this evening. If you aren't signed up to receive it, but would like to click here.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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15. Friday Feature: Trail of Secrets Cover Reveal


This week the cover of Trail of Secrets by Laura Wolfe was revealed. Check it out:

Trail of Secrets, by Laura Wolfe
Fire and Ice YA (Coming August/September 2015)

Spending three weeks of her summer at the elite Foxwoode Riding Academy in northern Michigan should have been one of the happiest times of sixteen year-old Brynlei’s life. But from the moment Brynlei arrives at Foxwoode, she can’t shake the feeling she’s being watched. Then she hears the story of a girl who vanished on a trail ride four years earlier. While the other girls laugh over the story of the dead girl who haunts Foxwoode, Brynlei senses that the girl—or her ghost—may be lurking in the shadows.

Brynlei’s quest to reveal the truth interferes with her plan to keep her head down and win Foxwoode’s coveted “Top Rider” award. To make things worse, someone discovers Brynlei’s search for answers and will go to any length to stop her. As Brynlei begins to unravel the facts surrounding the missing girl’s disappearance, she is faced with an impossible choice. Will she protect a valuable secret? Or save a life?

Age level:  13-18
www.AuthorLauraWolfe.com

Check out the trailer:


Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.

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16. Writer Wednesday: Open Submissions Approaching!

If you read last Wednesday's post, then you know that I'm now the acquisitions editor for Leap Books' middle grade line, Seek. I also mentioned that while Seek is only open to agented submissions I'd be holding an open submissions period in August. Well…

From August 1 to August 14, I'll be accepting unagented submissions. If you have a middle grade title (geared toward tweens) you can query me at kellyhashway.leapbooks@gmail.com. Please make sure your query includes the 
following:

  • Subject line: Open Submission: TITLE OF YOUR BOOK
  • Query in the body of the email
  • synopsis and first three (3) chapters of your book (as Word attachments)

That's it! Please only query me at the Leap Books address above. Queries sent to 
my regular email will be deleted unread.

Not sure if your book is a good fit for Seek? Here's what I'm looking for:

I am looking for immersive middle grade fiction stories of approximately 30-40,000 words, in all genres, with characters that LEAP off the page. Submissions should demonstrate:

  • strong, polished writing

  • engaging and age-appropriate storytelling that will appeal to the target audience

  • solid character development

  • powerful world building

  • an exciting plot

***Preference for mystery, contemporary, and fantasy at this time.***
Good luck!

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17. Monday Mishmash 7/27/15


Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. I'm the New Acquisitions Editor For Leap Books Seek  In case you missed my announcement last week, I'm the new acquisitions editor for Leap Books' middle grade line, Seek. I'm so happy about this. I've also decided to open to unagented submissions for a brief time in August, so stay tuned for that announcement.
  2. Our Little Secret Has a Cover  I got to see the cover for Our Little Secret (releasing September 15 through Limitless Publishing). I'm SO happy with it. Can't wait to share it soon.
  3. Pepe Maurice Pierre, Poodle Extraordinaire is Now Available!  You can grab your copy of my newest picture book here
  4. Falling For You is Available and FREE!  My secret Ashelyn Drake title isn't a secret anymore, and it's doing really well on Amazon. Check this out. 
  5. Signing at Books-A-Million  I want to thank everyone who came out to see me this past Saturday for my book signing. I had an amazing time and got to see returning fans, which is always great.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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18. Friday Feature: A Whispered Darkness



When Claire Mallory's father leaves, her mom moves them to a new town and into a dilapidated Victorian house. 

The old house creaks and whistles, and smells well -- like it's been abandoned for years. But as the nights grow longer and the shadows take on substance, Claire wonders if the strange sounds and occurrences might be more than the house showing its age. 

Just as things start to pick up in Claire's love life, her mother becomes possessed. In an attempt to save her mother and their new home, Claire enlists the help of two boys, each of whom is interested in Claire for different reasons. As she chooses one boy over the other, something dangerous is unleashed, and the spirits make their move. 

They aren’t content to moan and scream inside Claire’s house, or even control her mom. They want a taste of freedom, and she’s their key to getting it. But is Claire strong enough to fight off the evil spirits, or will they claim her and her mom before it's all over?


Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.

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19. Writer Wednesday: Amazon's New Review Policy

I'm sure most of you have seen or heard about how Amazon is removing reviews and not allowing people to review certain books because they believe the reviewer knows the author. If you haven't seen this yet, here is how the notice to the reviewer begins:
“We removed your Customer Reviews because you know the author personally.”
There's another message that says something to the effect of: You are ineligible to review this book...

Authors and reviewers seem to be in an uproar about this. Today, I want to share my feelings on it. As an author, I love reaching out to readers. I have my FB group, Kelly's Coven, and I interact with readers on my FB author page, FB profile page, Twitter, my website, Goodreads, you name it! So does this mean all those people I interact with will no longer be able to post reviews? I highly doubt Amazon will be able to keep track of them all, but I'm sure the number of reviews I have per book will decrease.

So what does this mean? Personally, I don't plan to change anything. Not one thing, because I LOVE talking to readers. Sure, I want reviews because they are important to a book's success. But more than that, I want to have a genuine relationship with my readers. So if I have to sacrifice reviews to keep my readers happy, I will.

I'm not going to stop interacting with anyone who wants to discuss my books with me. I love you all and talking to you is one of my favorite things about being an author.

What do you think about Amazon's new policy?

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20. Friday Feature: Travelers by Meradeth Houston Cover Reveal


Today, I'm excited to share the cover of Travelers by Meradeth Houston! It's gorgeous!


Sienna Crenshaw knows the rules: 1) no time traveling beyond your natural lifetime, 2) no screwing with death, and 3) no changing the past. Ever. Sienna doesn’t love being stuck in the present, but she’s not the type to break the rules. That is, she wasn’t the type until her best friend broke every one of those rules to keep Henry, her twin brother and Sienna’s ex-boyfriend, alive.

Suddenly, Sienna is caught in an unfamiliar reality. The upside? Henry is still alive. The downside? Sienna’s old life, including the people in it, has been erased. Now, Sienna and Henry must untangle the giant knot in time, or her parents and all the rest of the Travelers, will be lost forever. One problem: the only way to be successful is for Henry to die.

Release Date: August 4th, 2015

About Meradeth:

I’ve never been a big fan of talking about myself, but if you really want to know, here are some random tidbits about me:

I'm a California girl. This generally means I talk too fast and use "like" a lot. Since I now live in Montana, sometimes this is a problem.

I have my doctorate in molecular anthropology. Translation: I sequence dead people's DNA and spend a whole lot of time in a lab, which I love.

I've been writing since I was 11 years old. It's my hobby, my passion, and I'm so happy to get to share my work!

My other passion is teaching. There's nothing more fun than getting a classroom of college kids fired up about anthropology! This is probably a good thing, since my day job requires me to teach at the local university.

If I could have a super-power, it would totally be flying. Which is a little strange, because I'm terrified of heights.


Find Meradeth Houston online at: www.MeradethHouston.com

FacebookTwitterInstagramTumblrAmazonGoodreads, and of course her blog!

That's not all. There's a giveaway too!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.

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21. Monday Mishmash 7/13/15


Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Editing  My editing schedule is getting crazy—in a good way. I'm almost booked through the rest of the year.
  2. Release dates and cover reveals  I can't wait until I can share more, but let's just say that August and September are going to bring great things. I can't wait.
  3. Secret Project  So, my street team (Kelly's Coven) and my newsletter subscribers know what my secret project is. No one else will know about it until it's revealed on release day. ;) It's all in the works though, so keep an eye out.
  4. Mini-vacation  I'll be spending a few days in Mystic, CT. It's been years since I've been there, and I'm looking forward to checking out the aquarium and seaport.
  5. Day planners  Last week I had the dreaded experience of finding out my day planner was running out. The horror! I can't live without one. Luckily, that was remedied right away, and I'm already writing in my new turquoise day planner. Anyone else need a planner to survive?
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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22. Writer Wednesday: Grammar Lovers Unite

It's no secret I love grammar. Yes, I'm one of those weird people who enjoys grammar rules—following them and reciting them for others. ;) I grew up with my mother correcting my grammar. I think I had an edge in school because I was so familiar with grammar rules from hearing them at home. So thanks, Mom!

In college I took a grammar course and was probably the only one in my class who actually enjoyed it. My professor even asked me to teach the other students when they had trouble understanding how to convert passive voice to active voice. My trick with grammar is that I come up with my own ways to remember the rules and tricks to correcting common grammatical errors.

Does that mean my manuscripts are free of grammatical errors? I wish! As a writer and editor, I can tell you that editing your own work is impossible. You simply can't catch all your own mistakes. Being that I'm a fast drafter, I make a lot of errors in my first drafts because my fingers are faster than my grammar. ;) But, while some dread revision and fixing their grammar, I love it. Break out the red, purple, and green pens. (Yes, I really do edit in those colors when I'm editing on paper.) Bring on the delete key.

But do you know what I love the most about grammar? Breaking the rules. I know, I know. You're probably thinking, "But, Kelly, you just said you love grammar rules. Why would you break them?" The answer is simple. I write in the first person, which means my narration takes on the MC's voice, just like dialogue takes on the voice of the speaker. And let's be honest. Most people do not speak with perfect grammar. Not even me, a grammar lover. So I get to break the rules while still embracing them. Ah, the beauty of being a writer.

Are there any grammar rules you love to break? Or are there any that you really can't stand?

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23. Friday Feature: Avian



Avian Blurb:
What kind of power is lurking inside him?

After a year of training to become a dragonrider, Jaevid Broadfeather has been sent home to rest during a three-month interlude. But when he returns to find the king drake has chosen Beckah Derrick as his new rider, Jaevid realizes something big is about to happen. Every fiber of his being is pushed to the breaking point as Jaevid battles through his avian year, preparing for the final graduation test of the battle scenario. But there is more standing in his way than a few pushups and fancy sword moves.

Jaevid must face a new fear as he is tormented by a gruesome nightmare of a mysterious gray elf warrior murdering the royal family of Maldobar. It seems obvious to him that this is some kind of message about how the war started long ago—until Felix assures him the king is very much alive. With his strange powers growing stronger by the day, and that violent dream replaying in his mind every night, Jaevid no longer wonders if he will pass his avian year or not . . . he wonders if he will even survive it.

The truth will soon be set loose.


Buy Links:

FLEDGLING: http://www.amazon.com/Fledgling-The-Dragonrider-Chronicles-Volume/dp/1939765684

AVIAN: http://www.amazon.com/Avian-Dragonrider-Chronicles-Nicole-Conway/dp/1939765714

Nicole is sharing her playlist for book three in the series with us all today, so please welcome her.

My TRAITOR Playlist

I have to have music when I write. It is a must. It’s not that I necessarily am listening to it, but rather that it blocks out everything else going on around me. It drives my husband bonkers because I will listen to the same song on repeat for hours without even realizing it. Although, there are some songs that inspire me more than others, so here is a list of the songs I listened to while working on the next installment of the Dragonrider Chronicles, TRAITOR:

I Will Show You by From Ashes to New
Shadows by Red
Shatter Me (feat. Lzzy Hale) by Lindsey Stirling
Shut Up and Dance by Walk the Moon
Soldiers by Otherwise
Bad Company by Five Finger Death Punch
Good Feeling by Flo Rida
Panama by Van Halen
Who I Am by Blanca
Juke Box Hero by Foreigner
Centuries by Fallout Boy
… and pretty much every track on the Pacific Rim and Tron Soundtrack.


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24. Monday Mishmash 7/20/15


Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Signing at Books-A-Million  I'll be at Books-A-Million in the Stroud Mall in Stroudsburg, PA on Saturday from noon to 3:00 p.m. If you're in the area, come see me. I'll be signing copies of The Monster Within and The Darkness Within.
  2. News!  I'm most likely going to have news to share with you this week. Stay tuned!
  3. Pepe Maurice Pierre, Poodle Extraordinaire  I got to see the cover and illustrations for my upcoming picture book, Pepe Maurice Pierre, Poodle Extraordinaire this past weekend. Wow! I was blown away. I can't wait to share this book with you soon. (My street team, Kelly's Coven, has already seen it.)
  4. Our Little Secret  I've been busy with edits for my upcoming Ashelyn Drake title, Our Little Secret. I love this story and can't wait for the release, which is happening in September! Tomorrow, I'll be sharing the blurb and tag line all over social media, so stay tuned for that.
  5. Hot Pink in the City Cover Reveal  Check out the cover of Medeia Sharif's upcoming YA title, Hot Pink in the City:
    HOT PINK IN THE CITY, Prizm Books, 2015
Release date: August 19, 2015

Asma Bashir wants two things: a summer fling and her favorite '80s songs. During a trip to New York City to stay with relatives, she messes up in her pursuit of both. She loses track of the hunk she met on her airplane ride, and she does the most terrible thing she could possibly do to her strict uncle…ruin his most prized possession, a rare cassette tape. A wild goose chase around Manhattan and Brooklyn to find a replacement tape yields many adventures—blackmail, theft, a chance to be a TV star, and so much more. Amid all this turmoil, Asma just might be able to find her crush in the busiest, most exciting city in the world.

Find Medeia – YA and MG Author

Blog   |   Twitter   |   Goodreads   |   Instagram   |   Amazon

That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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25. Writer Wednesday: Big Announcement and Opportunity for Writers

I've been mentioning that I have news to share, and I can finally tell you what it is. I am now an acquisitions editor for Leap Books, Seek. This is the middle grade line for Leap. You can read the announcement on Leap's blog here.

As many of you probably know, I've been working as a copy editor for Leap for about a year now. That means I've had the privilege to work on some great titles from all of Leap's lines—Surge (YA), Shine (YA/NA novellas), and the newly renamed Seek (MG). Seek was formerly known as Frolic, but since the characters in the books seek adventure and don't actually frolic, the name was changed. ;)

Now the news that's good for you. Yes, YOU! I see you. In August, I'm opening up to unagented submissions for a very short period of time. Of course, if you have an agent, you are welcome to submit too. But this is an opportunity for those without representation at the moment, since Seek is usually only open to agented submissions.

So get ready! I'm looking for adventure, mystery, fantasy, and contemporary. And remember, it must be a middle grade title. If you don't want to miss my announcement of when the open submission will take place and where to send your query, follow me on Facebook and/or Twitter where I'll be sure to post the details.

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