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Official blog of Kelly Hashway, young adult and middle grade author.
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26. Writer Wednesday: Drafting vs Revising/Editing

I've been kind of hard on myself lately. Why? Because I'm used to writing about six books a year, but this year, edits are getting in the way. Edits are important and have to take precedent since they are for contracted books, but sometimes I just want to write. I want to draft a new book from start to finish and not have to stop in order to edit an upcoming release. 

There, I said it. Don't get me wrong though. I LOVE to revise and I love getting editorial feedback. The problem is that I've become a fast drafter of insane proportions. Earlier this year I wrote a book at a crazy pace, getting 18K in one day. I actually felt hungover the next day. lol I don't advise keeping that pace, nor am I looking to duplicate it. But I seem to always get to a certain point in a new draft when I'm pulled out to either revise one of my contracted books or edit for a client. 

Again, I'm not complaining. I just miss drafting. I had to put aside a book that was surprising me left and right in a very good way. The characters had taken over. And now…I have another idea. See my problem? I have two books fighting to be written and I'm busy editing and revising. 

What's a girl to do?

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27. Monday Mishmash 5/26/14

Happy Monday! Here's my mishmash of thoughts:

  1. BEA!!!!  I'm heading to BEA Thursday morning! Here's my schedule if you're going to be there and want to find me: Thursday-3pm signing at the Spencer Hill Press booth (2567) for The Monster Within. Friday-7:30am author breakfast. Friday-4pm signing at the Swoon Romance (PDZ638) for Perfect For You (writing as Ashelyn Drake).
  2. Memorial Day  Happy Memorial Day! We're spending the day packing up our house for an addition that is going to take place right after BEA, weather permitting.
  3. The Monster Within Monster Giveaway  Don't forget to enter the MONSTER giveaway for The Monster Within. The giveaway is open until June 17th when The Monster Within releases and you can tweet each day for additional entries. Enter here!
  4. Deadlines  I'm trying to meet the last deadline I have before BEA. It's been another crazy month for me with deadlines, but BEA will be a great reward when I'm finished. :)
  5. New teaser for The Monster Within  Check out the latest teaser for The Monster Within. This one focuses on Sam and Ethan.

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

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28. Friday Feature: Snip, Snip Revenge (Review)

Genre: Contemporary Romance  Word Count: 64, 185  ISBN: 978-1-77130-816-8  Editor: JC Chute  Cover Artist: Sour Cherry Designs

Beautiful, confident Tabby Karim has plans for the winter: nab a role in her school’s dramatic production, make the new boy Michael hers, and keep bigoted Heather—with her relentless Ay-rab comments—at bay. When a teacher’s lie and her father’s hastiness rob her of her beautiful hair, her dreams are dashed. The fastest barber in Miami Beach has made her look practically bald. 

With all her pretty hair gone, Tabby doesn’t believe she fits the feminine role she’s auditioning for. Michael is still interested in her, but he’s playing it cool. Heather has taken to bullying her online, which is easier to do with Tabby’s ugly haircut. Tabby spearheads Operation Revenge, which proves satisfying until all of her problems deepen. After messing up, she sets to make things right.

My thoughts:
This book has an array of emotions. At first, Tabby is full of confidence. She thinks her long hair, which is the envy of most girls in her school and catches the eyes of most boys, makes her a beauty that can't be ignored. But when a lice outbreak hits her school and Tabby's least favorite teacher diagnoses her with lice, everything changes. Her father takes her to a barber and has all her hair chopped off. I felt terrible for Tabby because she didn't even have lice. Tabby's emotions roller coaster after this. I won't give spoilers, but Sharif shows us all sides of Tabby as she tries to figure out who she is without her beautiful hair.

I really enjoyed seeing Tabby grow in this story. There were times when I wanted to reach into my Kindle and shake her, but at the same time I felt bad for her and understood where her anger was coming from. Sharif really handles the emotional aspects of this story well, and because of that I read this book very quickly. I think Sharif has a winner here.

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29. Writer Wednesday: Tell Me What You Want

Did the title of this post make anyone else break out into a Spice Girls' song? No? Just me? Okay, then. Moving on… I've been thinking about goals a lot lately. I've mentioned that I really want to be a NYT Best Seller, but there are a lot of other things I want too. Things that will most likely happen first. 

So here's my list:
  • To sell foreign rights for one of my books
  • To have one of my books optioned for film
  • To sign with a big name publisher
  • To get an advance that makes me so blown away I cry and start planning a vacation
Okay, so that's my dream list, but do you know what? There will always be something that comes before all of those. Something that will mean more to me than all of them combined, even hitting the NYT list. And that's hearing from someone who loved my books. Nothing makes me happier than getting a letter from a fan telling me how much my story touched them or how they couldn't put it down. I read because I want to become immersed in another world and feel what the characters feel. I'm so thankful to all the authors who have allowed me to do that, and hearing that I did that for a reader is the best feeling ever.

So, yes, I want to be a NYT Best Selling Author. I do, but I want to connect with readers more.

What about you? Tell me what you want, what you really, really want. (Sorry, I couldn't resist.)

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30. Monday Mishmash 5/19/14

Happy Monday! Here's my mishmash of thoughts:

  1. The Monster Within MONSTER Giveaway  If you missed my post last Friday, I'm giving away a copy of The Monster Within, SWAG, two other YA novels, and a $10 Amazon or B&N gift card. Enter here. And here's another teaser quote for you.
  2. Website Updates  I've become obsessed with updating my website. I just added a pretty rotating banner to it as well as redesigning the entire site. Feel free to check it out here.
  3. BEA  I can't wait for BEA. I'm such a little kid. I have two signings (Thursday and Friday) and an author breakfast panel (Friday). Yay!
  4. Proofreading, Editing, and Drafting  This week I'm proofreading Into the Fire, editing for a new client, and continuing to draft a new book. 
  5. The Devil Made Me Do It Cover Reveal  My fellow Darkly Delicious YA author Shawna Romkey has a new book coming out. Check out this great cover.

Lily is working with the angels to stifle the last of the demon outbreaks and to figure out how to stop the Silence of God, so life can get back to boring normality. But all hell breaks loose when she’s stolen from school and brought face to face with the devil himself. Lily has to find her way back home to Luc, crack the prophecy that breaks the curse silencing God, and figure out how she and Luc can ever really be together; but Lucifer has other plans for her that don’t include her ever getting out of Hell in tact.

Coming July 1, 2014

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

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31. Friday Feature: The Monster Within MONSTER Giveaway!

Squee! There's one month until the release of The Monster Within! That means it's time to celebrate! And what better way to celebrate than by having a giveaway? But before we get to the giveaway, check out the cover and blurb for The Monster Within.

The moment seventeen-year-old Samantha Thompson crawls out of her grave, her second chance at life begins. She died of cancer with her long-time boyfriend, Ethan, by her side—a completely unfair shot at life. But Ethan found a way to bring her back, like he promised he would. Only Sam came back wrong.

She's now a monster that drains others' lives to survive. And after she kills, she’s tortured by visions—glimpses into her victims would-have-been futures had she not killed them. Barely able to live with herself and trying to make things right, Sam ends up a pawn in a vicious game of payback within the local coven of witches.

But when the game reveals what Ethan had to do to save Sam, she must make a choice that will change all their lives forever.

Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
ISBN:  978-1-937053-85-7
Release Date: 6/17/2014
Formats: Paper, e-book 

Add it on Goodreads.
Pre-order on B&N or Amazon. 

So, what can you win? 

  • 1 signed copy of The Monster Within
  • The Monster Within bookmarks
  • a mask (winner's choice of purple, green, or gold)
  • a mood ring (winner's choice of small, medium, or large)
  • a triquetra necklace (not shown in picture)
  • a paperback ARC of Cold Call, a YA thriller by Charles Benoit
  • a hard cover copy of The Magnolia League, a witchy YA by Katie Crouch
  • a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card (winner's choice; gift card not shown in picture)

Sound good? Enter by filling out the rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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32. Writer Wednesday: Review Pledge

Lately, I've seen a lot of writers online talking about why readers don't always leave reviews. Honestly, if you love books and want to support the industry, then you should review those books online. It doesn't take long to write a review, and you can copy and paste it on Amazon, Goodreads, and Barnes & Noble. So why don't more readers do it?

I don't know, but I've decided that since I want others to leave reviews for my books, I'm going to make a real effort to post reviews for the books I read. I'm good at posting reviews on my blog, but sometimes I forget to post to Amazon, etc. Not anymore. I'm going to make sure my reviews go up all over. Why? Because reviews help authors. Because reviews don't have to be really long or take up too much time to write. Because I love books.

So today I'm asking you to join me in pledging to review the books you read. Even if your review is a brief paragraph, you're helping authors and potential readers. It's worth it. Who's with me?

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33. Monday Mishmash 5/12/14

Happy Monday! Here's my mishmash of thoughts:
  1. Back to the eye doctor  I picked up my new glasses on Friday and when I brought them home, I found out one of the lenses is not the correct prescription. *sigh* So I'm going back again today. 
  2. The Monster Within Monster Giveaway  The big giveaway I'm planning for The Monster Within begins this Friday. Want to join me? Sign up here.
  3. Mother's Day  I hope everyone had a nice Mother's Day. I had a great day with my family.
  4. Editing  I'm playing catch-up this week with client edits since my eye drama last week made it very painful to sit in front of the computer screen for very long.
  5. Curse of the Granville Fortune  I had a cover reveal on Friday for my debut middle grade novel, Curse of the Granville Fortune, which releases October 22, 2014 through Tantrum Books. Check it out!

Find the fortune, break the curse!

The hunt is on for an ancient treasure tied to nine-year-old J.B.'s family history. He's been having visions that make him sweaty, lightheaded, and certain he’s turning into some kind of freak—or worse, going insane. But things are worse than he imagined. The visions stem from a family curse. An ancient ancestor was accused of stealing the massive Granville fortune, and now J.B.’s entire family will suffer.

To break the curse, J.B. must find and return the Granville’s stolen property. But he's not the only one searching for the treasure. As he sets out on his journey through a dark and foreboding forest, he'll battle his worst fears and fight terrifying creatures along the way. And when he meets two others who share the missing pieces of his visions and suffer from the same curse, the three soon realize they need to work together to break the curse before it's too late.

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

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34. Friday Feature: Who R U Really?

To celebrate the cover reveal for Who R U Really? Margo Kelly is giving away TWO Advance Reader Copies of the book! Visit www.margokelly.net to enter by Sunday, May 11, 2014!

by Margo Kelly
Merit Press -- September 18, 2014

Thea's overprotective parents are driving her insane. They invade her privacy, ask too many questions, and restrict her online time so severely that Thea feels she has no life at all. When she discovers a new role-playing game online, Thea breaks the rules by staying up late to play. She's living a double life: on one hand, the obedient daughter; on the other, a girl slipping deeper into darkness. In the world of the game, Thea falls under the spell of Kit, an older boy whose smarts and savvy can't defeat his loneliness and near-suicidal despair. As Kit draws soft-hearted Thea into his drama, she creates a full plate of cover stories for her parents and then even her friends.

Soon, Thea is all alone in the dark world with Kit, who worries her more and more, but also seems to be the only person who really "gets" her. Is he frightening, the way he seems sometimes, or only terribly sad? Should Thea fear Kit, or pity him? And now, Kit wants to come out of the screen and bring Thea into his real-life world. As much as she suspects that this is wrong, Thea is powerless to resist Kit's allure, and hurtles toward the same dark fate her parents feared most. Ripped from a real-life story of Internet stalking, Who R U Really? will excite you and scare you, as Thea's life spins out of control.

About the Author:
Margo Kelly is a native of the Northwest and currently resides in Idaho. A veteran public speaker, Margo is now actively pursuing her love of writing. Who R U Really? is her debut novel and will be published by Merit Press in September 2014. Margo welcomes opportunities to speak to youth groups, library groups, and book clubs.


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35. Writer Wednesday: Battling Nerves at Author Events

Today's topic came by request from Taurean Watkins after last week's Writer Wednesday post about enthusiasm. Taurean wanted some tips for how to handle author events if you are shy or if you get extremely nervous talking about your books. So, here are my tips for you all.

If you get nervous talking about your own books or approaching potential readers, bring a friend or family member along who has read your book and is willing to talk you up. The advantage of doing this is that someone else is enthusiastically promoting you and your work, so you won't come off as the author who loves to talk about him/herself. This person can greet people as they come into the store, library, or wherever you are holding your event. They can invite people to come meet you and check out your books. 

Now, what do you do when people come up to you if you're shy or nervous? If you're hands shake, then I suggest holding something. Got a stack of business cards, bookmarks, or other SWAG? (You should!) Hold it and hand the SWAG to whoever stops by your table. That will give your hands something to do to keep from shaking and to keep you from fidgeting.

Next, ask people what kind of books they like to read. This takes the focus off you and gets the potential reader talking. Feel free to discuss books you love, too. It doesn't and shouldn't just be about your book that you're selling. Make a connection and have a real conversation. That should put you more at ease and get you talking. Don't like talking about your book and feeling like a salesman? That's fine. Encourage people to pick up your book, to read the blurb, and to flip through the pages. Some readers prefer to read the back cover than to ask you what the book is about.

Too nervous to ask people to sign up for your newsletter/mailing list? That's fine, too. Have a sign-up sheet front and center so it's visible. Want to offer more but fear you're too shy? How about making a YouTube video ahead of time and then bringing a laptop so people can view the video? When you make a video, it's just you talking to your computer. The pressure of face-to-face interaction isn't there. But…by playing the video for people, you are giving them that interaction they want without having the in-the-moment pressure.

I hope these tips are helpful, and if you have any to add, please leave them in the comments.

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36. Monday Mishmash 5/5/14

Happy Monday! Here's my mishmash of thoughts:
  1. Beth Fred's Blurb Writing Course  My friend Beth Fred is teaching another blurb writing course in June. This is the method she used when she queried and it got her a 50% full request rate. If you want to sign up, you can do so here.
  2. Free Monthly Newsletter  My free monthly newsletter goes out this evening. If you aren't signed up but would like to receive one, click here.
  3. New Manuscript  My latest YA manuscript is off to betas and will be in the hands of my CPs soon too. I'm so excited about this story and these characters.
  4. Curse of the Granville Fortune  The cover of my upcoming MG fantasy, Curse of the Granville Fortune will be revealed on May 9th! I'm so excited! It's awesome guys. Really awesome!
  5. Editing, eye doctor, and lunch dates  This week I have client edits to attend to, an eye doctor appointment, and lunch dates with friends. I'll enjoy all but the eye doctor visit. ;)
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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37. Friday Feature: Son of Set by Kelsey Ketch

Son of Set (Descendants of Isis #2) 
By Kelsey Ketch
Release Date: May 2nd, 2014
Upper Young Adult Fantasy

Summary from Goodreads:

“. . . the Sons would never just let him go—alive.”
Seth O’Keefe has broken the laws of his god. He never thought he would sacrifice his own future to protect a Daughter of Isis. But when the Sons of Set discovered Natti is the Secret Keeper, he had no choice. Now, Seth and Natti are on the run from his father, who wants nothing more than to see Seth dead. With no allies, Seth turns to the Daughters of Isis for help, hoping they would protect Natti. But when they meet the Daughters, he discovers a secret that puts both their lives in more danger. Low on options, Seth sees only one possibility for survival. He must help Natti solve an ancient puzzle and find the secret name of Ra.
Natara “Natti” Stone is having a hard time swallowing the truth. She can’t believe what she has learned in the past twenty-four hours: Seth is a Son of Set blessed with charm; she is a Daughter of Isis blessed with a sliver of Ma ‘at; the locket her grandmother gave her holds an ancient Egyptian secret linking to Osiris and Isis. That along with being tortured and brutalized by the Sons of Set, she can hardly hold herself together. Thank God for Seth’s touch! That warm, tingling sensation that drowns it all out. Yet her heart struggles to stay focused. She must quickly embrace her destiny before the secret name of Ra falls into the wrong hands.
*Note: Content for Upper YA*
Available at:
 photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg  photo 111AD205-AA04-4F9E-A0F4-C1264C4E9F30-1855-000001A1E8CEB6D7_zps9b730b94.jpg  photo KoboIcon_zps515cdc1a.jpg  photo smashwordsicon_zps931b0409.jpg
Book One:
(Linked to Goodreads)
***Daughter of Isis is Free for Today Only at:***
 photo KoboIcon_zps515cdc1a.jpg  photo smashwordsicon_zps931b0409.jpg
***Some Praise for Daughter of Isis***
"Daughter of Isis is an addicting and enthralling read brimming with Egyptian mythology. Readers will be pulled into the story after simply reading a page!" —Emily, Reader Rising
“I always enjoy a good book about Mythology and Daughter of Isis brings a thrilling modern day spin to one of the tales. Kelsey Ketch wove the story perfectly and sucked me right into her magnificent world.” —Naomi, Nomi's Paranormal Palace
***Excerpt From Son of Set***
***Warning: Excerpt May Contain Spoilers***
Chapter 1
Seth wrung a blood-soaked hand towel until the fabric pinched the flesh of his aching palms. Droplets of Natti’s diluted blood trickled into the running water. When the cotton began to dry, he drowned it again and wrung it out even tighter. Yet, no matter how sore his hands were, the haunting bloodstains on the towel wouldn’t wash away. Exhausted and frustrated, he tossed the towel into the basin. He slammed the faucet off, leaned over the counter, and stared at his reflection. Dark circles and black kohl accented his turquoise eyes. Large, swollen bruises coated his lightly tanned skin, each screaming with the slightest movement. Dry blood encrusted his wrists. His back ached and his knees were coated with grime. Even so, his injuries carried little pain compared to the memories he was still trying to process: his own father, Sean, drawing Seth’s Glock 38 on him at the hospital; being chained down in Set’s Temple and listening to Natti’s screams while his father dosed her with synthetic scorpion venom; watching Sean enslave her essence; seeing the ceremonial dagger poised over her breast. Seth shoved his fingers through his copper hair, trying to force the images out of his mind.
A soft moan, a harsh groan, and then a scream echoed from the next room. Seth’s overwhelmed system surged with adrenaline. He raced into the bedroom of the hotel room. Natti had her back pressed against the pillows and headboard as she manically swiped at the old, floral bedcover. She abruptly withdrew her hand with another scream and began to cower, her knees brought up to her chest.
“I don’t know,” she bellowed. “I don’t know.”
“Natti?” Seth rushed to her side. He stared at the bedcover, trying to determine who or what she was shouting at.
Natti turned her glassy eyes to him with a gasp. She scrambled sideways, and Seth had to catch her before she fell over the edge of the king-sized bed. Her panicky screams transformed into desperate cries for help. Afraid someone would hear her, Seth quickly covered her mouth. She struggled against him for a brief moment before she finally went limp in his arms. Her silver-violet eyes were filled with fear.
“Shh,” Seth cooed, trying to keep his own heart from leaping out of his chest. He stared into the eyes that had bewitched him on the first day they met. When she looked back at him, it was like she was gazing at a stranger. He swallowed a lump that formed in his throat and slowly raised his fingers from her lips.
“I don’t know,” she whimpered. “I don’t know. I swear, I don’t know.”
“Natti, it’s me,” Seth whispered, mentally begging the gods to help her. “It’s Seth. We met at school in mid-September. I rescued you at the festival. I helped you escape from the temple. Don’t you remember?”
Her body tensed under his hold, and her gaze went wild while she scanned the room. “Oh God, please. . . . I don’t know.”
She wasn’t paying any attention to him. Her eyes were beginning to dilate, and her body vibrated with fear. Seth finally called on his blessing from Set, his magical charm, to try to calm her, but her mind was too wired and her veins throbbed under his touch. She suddenly screeched and thrashed violently in his arms.
“No. No, stop. I don’t know.” Her anxiety was building. Grabbing hold of her flying fists, Seth pinned her down on the bed. Her back arched and her legs kicked while she attempted to wrench herself from his grasp.
“Natti, stop,” he ordered. “Stop!”
Daughter of Isis Journal and Natti Swag Pack (INT)
a Rafflecopter giveaway
During her high school years, Kelsey Ketch could always be found tucked away in a little corner of the hall or classroom, writing her fantasy worlds and creating illustrations and maps. Today is no different, except now she’s writing in the break room at her office building or at the tables of the Barnes and Noble Café in Cary, North Carolina. She is also an avid reader, a part-time book blogger at Ketch’s Book Nook, and lives with her two orange tabbies and awesome and humorous flat-mate.
For more information, please visit her site at kelseyketch.com.
    photo iconfacebook-32x32_zps64a79d4a.png

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38. Writer Wednesday: Enthusiasm Goes a Long Way

You know those authors who spam you with buy links all the time? Well, I think most of us know that's not the best route to take when you want to get the word out about your books. But you don't want to go in the complete opposite direction either, where you don't even tell people you're a writer. First, you should be proud of what you do, because writing a book is a great accomplishment. And second, you should be enthusiastic about what you do, because that will make other people excited, too.

I went to an author signing this month and met a very young author. She self-published her novel and while she knew that this wouldn't be her best book ever because it was the first novel she ever wrote, she had this enthusiasm that made people stop at her table and talk to her. She greeted everyone who walked by and told them all that she's a teenage writer. She was proud of that fact. She wasn't trying to push her book on them. She was simply sharing her love of writing with those around her. Because of this, people listened to her, asked her questions, and even told others about her. Before the event was over, she was interviewed by the local TV station because she stood out for both her age and her enthusiasm.

I think we all can learn something from this young girl. Author events are about making connections and sharing our love of books and writing. If we focus on that, people will be drawn to our enthusiasm, and we just might sell more books in the process.

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39. Monday Mishmash 4/28/14

1. Monroe County Book Expo  Thanks to everyone who came out for the Monroe County Book Expo. I had a great time. This was my third and final author appearance this month and it was a great way to close out April.

2. The Monster Within Goodreads Giveaway  Spencer Hill Press is giving away TWO copies of The Monster Within on Goodreads. Enter here.

3.  The Monster Within Monster Giveaway  To celebrate the upcoming release of The Monster Within, I'm hosting a Monster Giveaway! Want to be part of it? The giveaway will run from May 16th to June 17th and you can post anywhere within those dates. Sign up in the form below.

4. Stone of Destiny by Laura Howard  Congrats to Laura Howard on her newest release, Stone of Destiny. Isn't this cover gorgeous?

Allison thought it was crazy enough when she found out her father, Liam, wasn't entirely human. But now she has to join his magical allies to unravel his former mistress's plans. Aoife wants to keep Allison's parents apart forever.

Despite Allison's efforts to keep Ethan, the only guy she's ever cared about, out of this supernatural mess, fate keeps throwing him back into the mix.

Will Allison be able to find the amulet that holds the enchantment Aoife placed on Liam and destroy it? Are Ethan' s feelings for Allison strong enough to endure the magic of the Tuatha De Danaan?

5.  Snip, Snip Revenge by Medeia Sharif  Congrats to Medeia on the release of her latest YA novel!
Beautiful, confident Tabby Karim has plans for the winter: nab a role in her school’s dramatic production, make the new boy Michael hers, and keep bigoted Heather—with her relentless Ay-rab comments—at bay. When a teacher’s lie and her father’s hastiness rob her of her beautiful hair, her dreams are dashed. The fastest barber in Miami Beach has made her look practically bald. 

With all her pretty hair gone, Tabby doesn’t believe she fits the feminine role she’s auditioning for. Michael is still interested in her, but he’s playing it cool. Heather has taken to bullying her online, which is easier to do with Tabby’s ugly haircut. Tabby spearheads Operation Revenge, which proves satisfying until all of her problems deepen. After messing up, she sets to make things right.

Join Medeia's giveaway to celebrate the release of her latest novel.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

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40. Friday Feature: Don't Even Think About It by Sarah Mlynowski

Don't Even Think About ItWe weren't always like this. We used to be average New York City high school sophomores. Until our homeroom went for flu shots. We were prepared for some side effects. Maybe a headache. Maybe a sore arm. We definitely didn't expect to get telepathic powers. But suddenly we could hear what everyone was thinking. Our friends. Our parents. Our crushes. Now we all know that Tess is in love with her best friend, Teddy. That Mackenzie cheated on Cooper. That, um, Nurse Carmichael used to be a stripper.

Since we've kept our freakish skill a secret, we can sit next to the class brainiac and ace our tests. We can dump our boyfriends right before they dump us. We know what our friends really think of our jeans, our breath, our new bangs. We always know what's coming. Some of us will thrive. Some of us will crack. None of us will ever be the same.
So stop obsessing about your ex. We're always listening.

My thoughts:
*I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

I loved the premise of this book. First, since the characters wind up with ESP (and call themselves the Espies), they ALL narrate the story, together. I loved that. It's not each character taking designated chapters. They tell it together as "we" and name each character they are talking about. I've never read a book told in this format and it was amazing.

The story begins with a homeroom of teens who are scheduled to get their flu shots that day. All but two get the shots and after that, everything changes. They begin hearing the thoughts of people around them and their eyes take on a purplish tint. At first they are freaked out about this, but some of them soon learn they can use this new ability to their advantage. The problem is, they hear things they don't want to hear, and secrets don't exist between them anymore. All their inner-most thoughts are now public knowledge for this group and that will destroy some of them.

This book reads like contemporary even though it has a fantasy element to it. It's sort of the best of both worlds. There's not a lot of action, but there didn't need to be because it unraveled the characters from the inside out in a way that made me keep turning the pages. I definitely recommend this book and hope there will be a book two.

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41. Writer Wednesday: Tips for Author Signings

Since I have three author events and another (BEA) next month, I thought I'd share a few tips for author signings. I hope you find them helpful.

  • Don't just sit behind a table.  If you have to be behind a table (which I had to be at YA Fest), then stand. One, you're more visible—especially if you are short like I am and you don't clear your books by much when you sit. Two, you're more approachable because you appear closer to the people in attendance. Third, sitting can make you appear bored, which is not a message you want to send.
  • Smile and talk to everyone.  No one wants to approach an author who is blank-faced. Smile and be personable. Ask people where they're from. Ask  how there day is going. Ask what kind of books they like to read. 
  • Talk about more than just your book.  Yes, you are there to sell your books, but you're a human being too. Let people see that. Comment on a clever saying on a T-shirt someone is wearing or a cool color nail polish. Show that you aren't just a salesman. You're a person who cares about more than just making money.
  • Sit when you sign.  Yes, I know I told you to stand, and you should, but when it comes to signing the book, sit down. Your handwriting will be neater. I was so nervous for my first signing that my hand shook. Sitting down helps with that nervous shaking that can make your signature look like an elementary-school student wrote it. Once you're finished signing, stand back up and engage the reader again.
  • Offer to take a picture.  This one I learned from the very awesome Jennifer Armentrout. She offered to take pictures with everyone, which was great because sometimes fans are too shy or nervous to ask you for a picture. This takes the pressure off them.
  • Bring SWAG.  Offering something extra to readers, whether it's a bookmark, candy, stickers, tattoos, etc, goes a long way. I went through two huge bags of zombie limb candy at YA Fest. And... it brought people to my table because they wanted to know what it was. Also, those who liked zombies, then asked me what my books were about. See how that worked? ;)
  • Have a sign-up sheet for your newsletter.  This is one I forgot to do, but will definitely do in the future. Business cards get lost (or put through the wash if people leave them in their pockets), so even if people take them, you don't know that they'll use them. However, if they leave their email address, you can sign them up for your newsletters and know that they are getting the info about your books.

Those are my top tips for author signings. Do you have any other tips you want to mention?

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42. Monday Mishmash 4/21/14

Happy Monday! Here's my mishmash of thoughts:

1. YA Fest  On Saturday, I attended YA Fest with 49 other authors. It was crazy awesome. I got to meet my Month9Books family who I've talked to online but never met in person before.
Pab Sungenis, Jackie Kessler, Me, Jen McConnel, Janice Bashman, and Donna Gallanti

I also finally met Jennifer Armentrout in person, which was awesome since she blurbed my Touch of Death series for me.

Kate Kaynak photo bombed a picture, giving Lisa Amowitz bunny ears. ;)

So, I took a picture with Kate.

The lovely Kimberly Miller was nice enough to take a picture of me at my table.

I got a nice surprise when my friend and fellow author, Beth Consugar, showed up. We'd never met in person before.

Here's me with YA Fest founder, Jennifer Murgia, who happened to blurb The Monster Within for me.

And here I am with the totally sweet Jen McConnel. Seriously, what a sweetheart!

And that's probably way more pictures than you wanted to see, but I had an absolute blast and had to share. 

2.  Monroe County Book Expo  I'll be at the Hughes branch of the Eastern Monroe County Library on Saturday from 10am-3pm signing copies of all my books, PB through YA, and my Ashelyn Drake title, Campus Crush.

3.  Editing  I'm editing for clients this week along with working on revisions for two of my books. April has been such a busy month for me.

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

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43. Friday Feature: A Whisper in Time by Elizabeth Langston

"I have never been useless in my life…"

Rescued from a life of servitude by the boy she loves, Susanna Marsh escapes across two centuries, only to be plunged into a world she's ill-prepared to face. Unable to work or go to school, Susanna finds herself dependent on others to survive.

Immersed in the fun and demands of his senior year of high school, Mark Lewis longs to share his world with the girl who's captured his heart. But first he must tackle government bureaucracy to prove Susanna's identity.

Overwhelmed by her new home, Susanna seeks refuge in history and in news of the people she left behind. But when she learns that danger stalks her sister, Susanna must weigh whether to risk her own future in order to save Phoebe's happiness.

If you haven't read Whisper Falls yet, the first book in this series, you should. I loved it. Mark and Susanna are from different times, yet that doesn't stop them from falling for each other and their story is both touching and exciting to read. Elizabeth was nice enough to share a scene from A Whisper In Time, which releases April 8, 2014 through Spencer Hill Press. I'm really looking forward to it.

Setting up the scene: A Whisper In Time begins five weeks after Whisper Falls ends.  Susanna has immigrated across two centuries and doesn't understand how modern America works. One weekday, left alone at Mark's house, she finds herself locked out.

It took very few moments to discover that every door at Mark's house was locked.

I tried the garage last. It had a keypad that could raise the garage door, if only I could remember the correct numbers.

Mark said that the numbers changed each month and reflected a special occasion. What was the holiday for September? Had it not occurred this Sunday?

9-1-1. Yes, that had to be it. I pressed the three buttons.

Nothing happened. 

I tried again. There was no difference. Perhaps I should abandon the keypad and seek an open window instead.

I walked to the driveway and then assessed the distance from the ground to the window of the studio apartment over the garage.

A vehicle rolled behind me on the lane and stopped. A car door shut slowly with a deep ker-thunk. I glanced over my shoulder. A man in a dark uniform approached. He must be a member of law enforcement. An unfortunate circumstance.

"Hello," I said, clasping my hands before me. "Are you a police officer?"

"I am," he said, his voice clipped. "Who are you?"

"Susanna. How may I help you?"

"I was about to ask you the same thing."

Were there not crimes to manage in this city? My problem seemed entirely too mundane to concern the police. "I cannot get into the house."

"Why not?"

"It ís locked, and the keypad doesn't work."

"Ah. Do you know the combination?"

"Apparently not, else I should be inside now."

His eyes narrowed. "Is this your house?"

"No, indeed. It belongs to the Lewis family, but I do sleep here."

"Where do you sleep?"

"In the space over the garage."

"Miss, Iíll need to see some ID."

"I do not have any."

"Is your ID in the space over the garage too?"

Had he not heard me? "I have no identification card. The government will not give me one." I shook my head. America was far too concerned with identification.

"Miss, why don't you come with me?" He caught my elbow and tried to tug me down the driveway.

"Pardon me, sir," I said, pulling my arm from his grasp. "It isn't proper for you to touch me so."

He reached for me again. "Okay, that ís enough."

Have you read Whisper Falls yet? What do you think of this excerpt?

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44. Writer Wednesday: Author Events Where You Can't Sell Books

I have an author event this Sunday that I've gone to for the past few years. It's not an event where I can sell books. (It's not even an event that focuses on books. The focus is local businesses.) I have a table to display my books, business cards, and SWAG to giveaway, but I am not allowed to sell anything. Why do I do this? Simple. Being an author isn't just about selling books. It's about sharing what we do and making people into readers.

At this event, I talk to people about writing in general—how I went from idea to book, how I found my agent, how I got published, and what I do on a daily basis. The amazing thing is that most of the people in attendance are non-readers, and yet they find authors interesting. I think it's because authors genuinely love what we do. Sharing my writing career with strangers is so much fun for me. Sure, some of these people take my business cards and order my books. I know because they come back the following year and tell me they bought one of my books and what they thought of it. That's great because of course I love getting sales, but it's not why I go to this event.

It's about making connections with readers and/or turning people into readers. I've also gotten invites to other author appearances each year from the people I speak with at this event. 

So marketing isn't just about selling copies of your books. Keep that in mind when you book your next event.

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45. Friday Feature: Finding Me by Dawn Brazil

Sixteen-year-old Chloe Carmichael’s perfect world is in chaos.

It’s not because she has a vision of her boyfriend murdered. And then he’s found dead exactly as she saw. It’s not because she suddenly has the ability to move objects when she’s upset. It’s kinda cool to close a door without touching it. It’s not her overbearing mother who only cares about appearances. Chloe’s grown accustomed to her family’s distance. 

So what has Chloe cringing in fear?
It’s a love that defies reason.  It’s a love that speaks to the heart. It demands attention. But Chloe struggles with a love that exposes the soul. What will her family think? What will her friends think? And is she worthy of his love.

And it’s having to become another person for a new group of people. Chloe knows she’s not perfect but apparently she was when she was Amanda in another life. Her new friends won’t let her forget. It’s the stench of death that hoovers over her every move. It’s the threat of finality as she tries to acclimate to a life of super human proportions. It’s an enemy she can’t see, doesn’t remember, and can be anyone she’s ever known. But her enemy knows her well. She’s the lone person with the knowledge to destroy him. But she doesn’t remember.

And it’s never discovering who she really is before finality meets reality.


I forced my eyes upward. My mind cascaded over all the things I could say. I knew I shouldn’t allow him to bully me. My thoughts scattered, the right words slipped away. “I…no…you are not–”

My head jerked back suddenly, casting a dozen sparkling stars across my eyes, and a bolt of electricity shot up my spine. The zap was so intense, I stumbled, face-first to the floor. The fall should have thrown me to the smooth, dry surface of the wood floor of the school hallway.

It didn’t.

My hands met moisture. My eyes bulged as I took in what lay beneath them: grass.

I lifted my head to scan the area, stunned to silence. A sea of green enveloped me. The urge to scream overpowered everything, but I fought it. I clasped my hands to my mouth to muffle the sound that escaped anyway.  
The football field stretched before me.                
How can I be here? This isn’t possible. I scrambled to my feet, spun around, and gazed at the school I’d been in moments ago. I shut my eyes tight. “Please let me be back in the school, about to have the biggest fight with Zack,” I said aloud.  

My heart thrummed at my chest, but my eyes remained shut, afraid of what I might find once I dared a peek. But standing with them closed wasn’t an option. A crow cawed overhead to urge me on. My eyes sprang open. 

Confusion twisted away at my insides. Why was I still on the field? I swallowed back the lump in my throat and ran a shaky hand through my thick hair that continually blew into my face, obstructing my vision.    
Straining against the glare of the midday sun, I tripped, my feet two cinderblocks in my boots. For late August, the Manhattan wind that kicked up seemed to scream winter and not fall. I tucked the unruly strands of hair, tossed about by the rebel wind, behind my ear and took another reluctant step forward. That was when I saw it. The crimson red thrust against the emerald green of the field. The colors blended, reminding me of Freddy Krueger’s sweater in A Nightmare on Elm Street. There was a lot of blood in that movie. And I was pretty certain blood was the red part I saw on the field.

I gasped. My breath caught in my throat and the stench of copper invaded my nostrils. I fought against the urge to vomit, yet couldn’t contain the desire to move closer.

I’d never seen a dead body before.

After a few steps, my feet refused their forward motion. Fear raced slick and hot up my spine. The familiar face taunted me. It should; I knew it well. It belonged to Zack.  
I fell to the ground near his body. Confused, emotions swirled. My heart raced and my stomach flipped. I leaned forward to grasp the rigid turf as a wave of nausea rocked my body. But I refused to look away.

I searched his open eyes, as dark and bleak as night, unable to comprehend what I saw. His gaze was blank. Two holes that lead to nothing but emptiness. I extended my hand to close them. Tears fell over my outstretched arm as I inched my hand toward him. Fear pierced my resolve. I tried to choke back the fear. It lingered.                                                                                   

*Finding Me is free for five days, starting on the official release date, April 2!!!*
About the Author:
Dawn Brazil writes books for Young Adults. Her debut novel, Finding Me, is an Urban fantasy and is releasing officially on April 2, 2014. She also writes science fiction and romance but will read anything with great characters. She is currently writing a novella titled, Finding Her, from her character Chris's point of view from Finding Me. She lives in South Texas with her husband, three kids, and her great big imagination. For more useless information about Dawn check out her Blog @ http://dawnbrazil.blogspot.com or Facebook page - www.facebook.com/authordawnbrazil- where she is the most annoyingly random person in America. Or find her on Twitter @dawnbrazil, where her randomness can be quite annoying but thankfully is restrained to 140 characters.

Find Dawn online:

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46. Monday Mishmash 4/7/14

  1. Revising  I'm working on revisions for Perfect For You and Out of the Ashes this week. The first is off of editorial notes, and the second is a sequel under contract that I have to submit to my editor by the 15th.
  2. Editing  I'm also editing for clients, which always makes me happy.
  3. Family Expo  I had a blast at the Family Expo yesterday. It's always fun to talk to people about what I do for a living.
  4. Home Improvements  We are prepping for an addition and buying lighting and other fun stuff. I'm dreading the construction but really excited to have it finished.
  5. Prepping a Giveaway for The Monster Within  We're almost two months away from the release of The Monster Within. I'm planning a giveaway with a gift card and lots of goodies. :) Stay tuned!
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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47. Writer Wednesday: My Writing Process Blog Tour

I've been tagged by the lovely Fiona Phillips to talk about my writing process. So, here I go!

I primarily write young adult speculative fiction, but I also write middle grade and picture books because I love children's books in general. I'm the author of the Touch of Death series through Spencer Hill Press, which can be found here.

What am I working on?
Lots of stuff, as always. I'm revising three sequels right now, all set to come out in 2015. I'm also writing a new book that is so top secret I can't talk about it yet. ;) And I'm getting ready for the release of The Monster Within in June.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I love to find ways to twist plots so they aren't just more of what's already been done. So far I've written about descendants of Medusa, psychic vampires, and Phoenixes. I love anything out of the ordinary and that helps as far as making sure my work is unique.

Why do I write what I do?
I've always felt that paranormal and fantasy are like the real world only better. I find writing this genre is a great way to escape from life for a little while and step into something a little more interesting.

How does my writing process work?
I spend a lot of time plotting books before I start drafting, but then I typically let my characters take over and throw out my original planning because my characters are much smarter than I am. I also like to fast draft, writing as much as 18K in one day. I find the story flows better when I write that quickly.

Here's who's up next week for the My Writing Process Blog Hop:

Beth Fred: Beth Fred is the author of Fate of a Marlowe Girl, The Other Marlowe Girl, and A Missing Peace.

Kym BrunnerKym Brunner dreams entire books in her head, but then needs about a year to write the whole thing down. She wishes there was an app for this. When she's not writing, she's teaching 7th grade or watching movies, reality TV, or scoping out the social media scene. Friend her at Author Kym Brunner or find her on Goodreads.

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48. Friday Feature: Cheers, Chocolate, and Other Disasters

My name is Alyson Joanne Devlin, but everyone calls me AJ. I have two best friends, Julie and Jaime, a champion mare, and a great family. Then Celine Carroll came to town, and brought disaster with her. Celine took over my life. Celine took over Julie and Jaime, who aren’t my BFFs any more. Celine caused me to get hurt in cheerleading. 

Speaking of cheerleading, my new partners are Lisa and Amberley, (thanks to Celine), who are the most disliked girls in school. And that’s not all. My parents are divorcing. My mare got hurt. There’s a new woman in my dad’s life. My whole world is upside down. I mean, you’d think Celine was some kind of evil omen, wouldn’t you? Although, Amberley becomes the one bright light in…well, I guess you’ll have to read my story to learn about Amberley, and what happens to her, to me, and to Celine.

Cheers, Chocolate, and Other Disasters by Mikki Sadil
Genre Tween Contemporary Fiction
Pages  231

Celine led us into the open kitchen/family room. A large gold-framed painting of Celine sitting astride a Thoroughbred and holding a silver trophy hung over the fireplace. Other framed paintings of horses, some with Celine, hung all over the walls. Most of them had blue ribbons next to them. I looked over at Julie, and she mouthed silently, “Wow!”
None of my friends’ family rooms looked like this. Ours always looked lived in, with dust on the coffee table, a few books lying around, and one of the twins’ games left forgotten on the floor. We had pictures of the twins and Andrew on their horses, and several of Sunni and me, but none of them were in gold frames. Ours was a real family room, not an art gallery like this. And it sure didn’t smell like fresh roses, either; more like…well, horses and whatever we had for dinner the night before.
Celine said, “Come on into the kitchen. You can sit at the bar, and I’ll get some snacks.”
A few minutes later, Julie, Jaime, and Celine were laughing and talking like they’d been friends forever, while I nibbled on chips and sipped my soda. I licked my lips, savoring the salty rim the chips left. The soda was cold and crisp going down my sore throat, but I almost choked on it when I heard some of the things Celine told the Js. The way they ate up all the stuff she told them about her very rich life in New York made them look as if they were hypnotized. I wasn’t buying it.
I felt neglected and angry. The Js and I were best friends. Now this Celine chick popped up out of nowhere, and they were acting like I wasn’t even in the same room.
I slipped off the stool and looked at the horse pictures. Across the hall was an open door leading to another large room. Since no one had even noticed I wasn’t at the bar, I walked over and peered inside. There were two big desks covered with computers, monitors, and more telephones than we had in our whole house.
Suddenly a hand reached out and grabbed my shoulder. It hurt so bad I thought someone had put me in a vice.
A rough voice said, “Who are you and what are you doing snooping around? Answer me!”
I struggled to turn around and wished I hadn’t. The woman holding me looked positively evil. She was tall and skinny, with blunt cut black hair that barely touched her shoulders, and the meanest eyes I’d ever seen. Her face was broad and covered by acne pits. A long scar ran from the corner of her left eye, across her nose, down her right cheek and disappeared somewhere under her shoulder-length hair.
For the first time in my life, I knew exactly what that old cliché meant about something “making your skin crawl.”
She grabbed my other shoulder and shook me. Her hands were big, almost like a man’s, and they felt like steel.
I cleared my throat and tried not to sound as scared as I felt. “Uh, my friends and I…we…uh…we’re here with Celine. I was just looking at all the horse pictures and saw this room. I’m sorry if I did anything wrong.”
The woman looked me over from head to toe, then gave me a hard push. “Go back to your friends, and don’t ever let me catch you anywhere near this room again. You hear me?”
I felt like saying, “Or what?” but figured that might not be such a good idea. I nodded and backed away. Still scowling, she went into the room and slammed the door.
I walked back to where the Js and Celine were sitting. They were still laughing and talking. Obviously, they hadn’t even noticed I’d been gone.
“Hey,” I said abruptly, “it’s been fun, but I have homework and barn chores to do. Julie and Jaime, we still have more work to do on the history project. What time do you want to come over tonight so we can work on it?”
The Js looked at each other. “Um, AJ, since Celine is new and doesn’t have a science partner, she’s going to work with us. We’re coming back here tonight. That way we can show her what we are doing, so she can catch up.” Julie didn’t look at me.
It got real quiet all of a sudden. The Js had funny little half-smiles on their faces, but Celine definitely had a smirk on hers. Yeah, they were hypnotized all right.
“Fine, do what you want. I have to go.” I strolled out of the kitchen, deliberately brushing some chip crumbs from my shirt on the snowy white carpet. I slammed the front door, pulled on my shoes,, and ran down the driveway.

Find Mikki on Facebook and Twitter.

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49. Monday Mishmash 4/14/14

Happy Monday! Here's my mishmash of thoughts:
  1. YA Fest  I'll be at YA Fest this Saturday (April 19th) signing copies of Touch of Death, Stalked by Death, and Face of Death. I'll also have plenty of SWAG including bookmarks, zombie limb candy, and buttons. I'm excited.
  2. Revisions  I'm currently revising three of my novels all on deadlines ranging from tomorrow to May 15th. I love revising. It's when I really get attached to my characters.
  3. Client edits  I'm also editing for clients. I have several edits scheduled through this month and May, which always makes me happy.
  4. Spring pictures  I'm working at my daughter's school on Wednesday for spring pictures. It's always fun to see the kids dressed up.
  5. Happy Holidays!  I wish you all a very happy Easter and Passover. 

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

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50. Writer Wednesday: Beware the Repetition

If you read my Monday Mishmash, then you know I've been busy with my own revisions and editing for clients. Something that came up in both is repetition. Sometimes you want repetition for emphasis or to offer a new insight, like when your MC makes a big revelation. But in most cases, repetition needs to be cut. Here's why.

Repetition just tells the reader what they already know. You're almost insulting the reader's intelligence by assuming they can't remember certain details. Consider if the reminder is necessary or if that space on the page is better spent offering the reader something new. Most of the time, you should be offering new information that moves the story forward.

Repetition slows down the pace of your story. If you want tension to be high, don't backtrack by reminding us of details you've already mentioned. I know it's tough sometimes to hit that delete key because you spent countless hours pouring over those words and they're brilliant. The problem is, those words were brilliant when you said them the first time. After that...you see where I'm going with this.

Most repetition comes from drafting or revising in stages. How many times have you gotten a great idea for something to add during revisions only to find you said the exact same thing (or just about) a few paragraphs later? I do this all the time, and I have to then edit one of those out. My tip is to try to revise in the least sittings possible because that will allow you to catch more instances of repetition.

I challenge you to find repetition in your own work and see if it's really needed.

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