Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Best of #NILtribe

It's the very last day of 2013. Whaatttttt? How….? I can't even. Because if today is New Year's Eve, that means 2014 is almost here. Like just a few hours away. Which means . . .


AHHHH! *flails*


I'm so excited for y'all to meet Charley & Thad in a few weeks! Like, beyond stoked excited.:) But I thought I'd close out 2013 with a quick #NILtribe wrap-up. Ready?

Ok, here goes!

The #NILtribe officially launched this month. Check out the tab at the top of the page for more #NILtribe deets or this post at Mac Teen Books:) So far we've got torches, tigers, coconut cups, chanting, island bling, awkward tribal dancing, poufy grass skirts that would never fly on Nil (WAY too hard to run in!:D), and of course, BOOKS.  We've already had one #NILtribe giveaway and more to come!

In the meantime, two other giveaways with a chance to win a copy of NIL are still wide open: one over at Icey Books (it ends tonight at midnight!), and the other over at Badass Bookie. And the second giveaway is INTERNATIONAL (woot!) so go enter! I'll wait. ;) *waits* *shares cupcakes* Oh, you're back! Yay! The clock is ticking…;)

Other #NILtribe scoop:

NIL has a new cover!!!!!! And an epic new tagline: How do you escape from an island that doesn't exist?   I totally, absolutely LOVE the new cover. Check it out on the sidebar and let me know what you think in the comments below.

Sneak peeks! I shared a glimpse of Charley's Day One on Twitter…. and the inspiration behind Black Bay and Nil City. ICYMI, here's one of the sneak peeks:
Charley's Day One on Nil

I also shared a sneak peek into Thad's life before Nil. ICYMI, here you go:

VERY different from Thad's life on Nil… *runs away before I spill ALL THE SEKRITS*;)

I talked NIL inspiration with Jessica at Read My Breath Away and shared how NIL was born. That post (with more pics!) is here.  And right now I'm over at Badass Bookie talking with Lisa and sharing sekrit NIL scoop as part of the 2014 Debutante Event. Click here to find out the original title of NIL and other cool NIL scoop.:) (And see the dress I love…worn by JLaw, of course.:D #sherocks)

Remember to follow the hashtag #NILtribe on Twitter for more NIL scoop and sekrits. I've got more interviews in the works, and more giveaways. Soon I'll announce January's #NILtribe prize pack, which includes a copy of NIL, NIL swag, and loads of other books you want (pinky swear).:)

The #NILtribe party is ON! So glad you're in the tribe! :) A quick shout-out to all the #NILtribe members: THANKS FOR ALL THE NIL LOVE. We're gonna have a blast these next few months!!!!!


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

And we have a winner!

The first #NILtribe giveaway is over, and the Rafflecopter gods have spoken.

But before we get to a winner, let's review the loot:

Awesome swag!
On the count of three, let's all tilt our heads together to look at it…
One, two, three…lol

A galley of NIL!
Books by Erin Bowman, Leila Sales, and Jamie Grey!
NIL swag! 
And Jamie threw in a super cute UVC bracelet too--thank you Jamie!!!


(An email is on its way to you right now with all the deets.:D)

And a HUGE thank you to the #NILtribe! 
For entering…
for spreading the #NILtribe love…for being so enthusiastic!

It's gonna be an awesome few months ahead.:)

Quick #NILtribe update:
Tomorrow NIL's brand-new-so-awesome-OMG-I-Love-IT-cover will be revealed over at Icey Books.
And Friday I'll have the Best of #NILtribe wrap up here on the blog.

*tribal fist bump*

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The #NILtribe is Live!

Today is December 4, 2013.

NIL's release date is March 4, 2014. That means . . .

NIL comes out in 90 days.

*crazy happy dance freakout* *breathes*

90 days!

Of course I’m counting the days!!! :) I can’t wait for you to meet Charley and Thad and the rest of the NIL cast, including the island itself--a mysterious place, where days are so important that each one is counted. Where some days are celebrated, others are mourned--but ALL are tallied. Because life depends on it. Charley's life, and Thad's, and the life of everyone else who winds up on Nil.


Before I spill ALL THE NIL SEKRITS, here’s the book synopsis:

On the island of Nil, the rules are set. You have one year. Exactly 365 days--to escape, or you die. 
Seventeen-year-old Charley doesn’t know the rules. She doesn’t even know where she is. The last thing Charley remembers is blacking out, and when she wakes up, she’s lying naked in an empty rock field. 
Lost and alone, Charley hunts for a way out. She discovers desolate beaches and human remains, but no sign of civilization--until she meets Thad, the gorgeous leader of a clan of teenage refugees. Soon Charley learns that leaving the island is harder than she thought . . . and so is falling in love. With Thad’s time running out, Charley realizes that to save their future, Charley must first save him. And on an island rife with hidden dangers, their greatest threat is time.
They can’t stop the clock. They can only hope to beat it. 

Think SURVIVOR meets LOST and THE MAZE RUNNER, plus lots of feels.:)

So….back to the days. In 90 days you'll find out Charley and Thad’s fate. Ahhh! 90 days! So far away, right?

But since I can’t stop the clock--or rush it!—in the meantime, you can join the #NILtribe.

What is the #NILtribe you ask?


But first, a definition.:)

tribe: noun \ˈtrīb\*: a group of people who have the same job or interest

If you love books, especially thrillers, packed with mysteries, islands, secrets and ALL THE FEELS, then #NILtribe may be for you!

All you have to do is tweet . . . or post to Facebook . . . or post on your blog . . . or comment on my blog: “I joined the tribe!” and add the #NILtribe hashtag. And that’s it! You’re in.:)

Over the three months, follow the #NILtribe hashtag on Twitter and Facebook for chances to win galleys of NIL, copies of other YA books I love and sweet NIL swag . . . and to discover NIL sekrits. Each day I’ll tweet using the #NILtribe hashtag. I’ll share cool facts about the characters, island sekrits, author interviews, giveaway links, etc. Each week I'll share new goodies that will be up for grabs by members of the #NILtribe in upcoming giveaways (spoiler: creepy bone cuff bracelet anyone?!) Each month will bring more opportunities to win NIL galleys, NIL swag, and after NIL’s release, signed hardbacks.:) And in the last month before release, all #NILtribe members will get swag-to-be-revealed… just by joining the #NILtribe.:)

And to all those readers-who-love-thrillers-and-islands-and-sekrits-and swoon? Feel free to use the #NILtribe hashtag as often as you like! Post anytime using the hashtag! You can countdown to Nil’s release, repost any of my posts, or post about why you're excited for NIL, Waiting on Wednesday style. Just remember to use the #NILtribe hashtag, and you’re golden. Welcome to the tribe.:) And feel free to grab the #NILtribe button on the sidebar of my blog!

A quick shout out to Melody Simpson…an honorary #NILtribe member from Day One. Melody was the first reader to comment on my blog and to share my excitement for NIL. *GIANT HUGS MELODY*

So join the tribe! The first #NILtribe giveaway is LIVE. Up for grabs? A perfect holiday prize pack!

One lucky tribe member will win . . .

a signed galley of NIL

Eep! The clock is ticking…:)

And some sweet island bling: hemp twine shell bracelets . . . one to keep and one to share

Or keep both! I won't tell.:) Aren't they so fun?

Plus this awesome trio of 2013 YA debuts I loved!

TAKEN by Erin Bowman

Welcome to the tribe, sweet readers! And not just ANY tribe… the #NILtribe. Where the bling is island fresh and all readers make it back alive. :)

Books make the best presents, don’t you think?

* Thank you Merriam-Webster free on-line dictionary.:)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Less than 24 hours until #NILtribe

As y'all know, time is critical on Nil, a place where you have exactly 365 days to escape--or die.

I'm counting the days too!

91 days until NIL's book birthday…

and one day until the start of #NILtribe. Eep!

#NILtribe deets in less than 24 hours…here, and over at Mac Teen Books.

See you tomorrow! *runs away before I spill ALL THE SEKRITS*:)

Monday, December 2, 2013

The clock is ticking...

Happy Monday y'all!

So much book goodness in the works this week!:)

Here's a clue:

365: days you have on Nil to escape--or die

92: days until NIL's release

2: days until the launch of #NIL tribe

That's right. TWO DAYS.

In TWO DAYS, you can join the tribe. If you love thrillers, islands, mysteries and ALL THE FEELS, not to mention chances to win ARCs of NIL, copies of my favorites books, NIL swag, and find out NIL sekrits.:) Cool, right?


The clock is ticking…

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Yeah, I know, I'm one day early. But who cares? Let's make up our own rules today! Let's talk turkey, and pie, and what-we're-thankful-for. Time to count our blessings.:) Because seriously, I feel so blessed that I want to do this:

But yeah, Jimmy does it better. :) (FTR, I LOVE Jimmy Fallon. And am so thankful for his skits with Justin Timberlake I can't even stand it. They are just that awesome.) 

So talking thankfulness here. I've got SO much to be thankful for. Like...

My husband, who is my first reader, my love-at-first-sight, and my wingman for life.

My boys, who make me laugh and cry and make each day more fun than the last.

My friends and family, who fill my world with love and shenanigans.

My fellow writers, critique partners, and sweet YA Valentines, who make my writing journey so much richer and keep me sane.

All the authors who write books that inspire me and give me all the feels.

Bloggers and readers, who love books and make ALL THE WRITERLY THINGS worthwhile.

My amazing editor and agent, who made my debut not only possible, but better.

Good music and great artists (Imagine Dragons, Blondfire, Snow Patrol, John Coltrane, BareNaked Ladies, U2, Muse, Jack Johnson, Jack's Mannequin, Arcade Fire, etc.) who fuel my creative muse.

My health, my home, my country, and my freedom.

Yummy Thanksgiving Day food--like sweet potato casserole and pie. ALL THE PIE.:)

And my dad, who handed me my first Anne McCaffrey novel when I was a teenager and opened my eyes to a whole new world of reading. I miss you Dad, and am so thankful I'm your daughter. I think you'd like NIL if you could read it.

*breathes through my tears*

Okay! *wipes eyes*  I'm also thankful for chocolate, wine, Girl Scout cookies, the beach, the sweet sound of waves breaking onshore, sunny days, rainy afternoons, ALL THE BOOKS, pie, good movies, the smell in the air after a good rain, blank canvases and fresh paint, the rush of starting a new novel, the burn in my legs after a good run, the sloppy kisses my 6yo gives me, phone calls from friends when I need them the most, and the fresh possibilities each new day brings.:)

What are you thankful for?

*shares pie*

Monday, November 11, 2013

How to Not Suck at Social Media :)

This summer when we sent our 11 year-old off to summer camp, my husband hugged him, knelt down, and gave him some very simple advice.

"Be kind. Be brave. Be You."

I love that advice. The thing is, our 11 yo IS sweet. He's kind, compassionate, and gentle. It's his nature. He had a great camp experience, probably not because of our advice, but because it's how he lives anyway.

We should all live that way.:)

My blog posts tend to be about books. Books I loved reading, books I'm working on, or NIL, my debut that I'm SO excited for you to read in '14! But I rarely give advice, because I don't feel very qualified to give it. So today is a big ole exception.:) (Not that I feel all that qualified...I just feel compelled to talk. LOL) Lately I've seen harsh comments on Twitter and/or Goodreads that made me cringe...and too much spam. Lots of noise, I guess.:) There is always noise on the internet, but you can choose how much to hear and when to walk away. And when to chime in with something meaningful that is not just--noise. The beautiful thing is, it's all up to YOU.:)

Here's my basic guide to social media.* Because for me, it's not about the number of followers or hits, it's about connections. :) So here goes...

7 Ways to Survive Enjoy Social Media:

Be Kind. To others on Twitter, to the agent who passed on your query or MS. To the writer who put her soul into her MS and asked for your feedback. To the author who's book you read but didn't love. Remember words are powerful, and can sting. Use them wisely.:) And for goodness sake, resist the urge to publicly rant. Never use the internet (Twitter, FB, blog, etc.) to vent.

Be Considerate. To the agent or writer who has your query or MS. To the writer you offered to beta-read for. Remember they are sharing their time or precious work with you. Honor that. Give them the time they need, and use your own time wisely as well. Communication is key. Again, no public rants. EVER.

Be Present. If you join Twitter, reach out and connect. If you read a blog post that hits home, leave a (kind) comment. If you read a book that touches you, share your joy with the author. We all ninja-lurk from time to time, but if you only lurk, no one will know you're there.

Be Consistent. If you blog, try to post on a regular basis. (Guilty.... still working on this one.:D)  If you tweet, or use Tumblr, or Facebook, do it regularly. I'm not talking 24/7. Social media can be a timesuck too, but it's hard to forge connections with people if you're never there, or worse, only occasionally there. Find a balance that works for you and stick with it.

Be Brave. Join. Start. Send that query, join Twitter, jump into Goodreads, create a blog, whatever. It might be scary, or overwhelming, or intimidating, or all of the above, but be brave. If you write a 300 page novel, you can craft a 140 character tweet.:) (And incidentally, Twitter is awesome for encouraging brevity.:D) And it just takes one tweet to start.

Be Real. It's not a popularity contest, it's about connections. How can you really connect with anyone if you're trying to be someone you're not? So what if you're not blessed with Will Ferrell's wit? No worries, there's already one Will Ferrell. He's got that Ferrell mojo covered. :) Just like a writer must find his or her own voice, you've got to figure out what to blog about or tweet about that might interest/engage others. But you've got to be authentic, or what's the point?:)

Be You.  The most important one of all. I'll leave this one to you.:)

That's it.**

Did I miss anything? Oh, and if I had to leave you with a top three?

Be Kind. Be Brave. Be You. :)

*Although this post is geared toward writers--writers starting out, writers in the trenches, writers seeking publication, writers reaching out--I think it can work for anyone. :) 

**Of course, it was a list. You know how I love lists! As always, feel feel to ignore anything that doesn't work for you.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Shameless Plug for NIL on Goodreads...plus a call to vote for your faves! :)

Happy November everyone!

November means fall, leaves changing (unless you're in Florida, where everything seems to be evergreen :D), Thanksgiving, and--if you're a writer--the annual NaNoWriMo challenge. It's National Novel Writing Month, where heaps of writers hunker down to write a novel in one month.

Yup, you read that right. ONE MONTH. It's doable, but tough. For deets on NaNoWriMo, go here for the official site.

November also means it's time for the annual Goodreads Choice Awards! It's a Goodreads award picked by YOU, the reader.:) Go to the Goodreads link to vote for your favorite books of 2013! Some of the books I loved this year were nominated: like Kasie West's THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US, Gayle Forman's JUST ONE DAY, and Erin Bowman's TAKEN. All were so good! What were your faves?

And as I was surfing through Goodreads, I found NIL on several lists! Like YA Debuts of 2014 and Can't Wait Books of 2014. And if you want to, you can vote for NIL on those lists! (See I told you, shameless plug. :D #guilty). Anyway, no pressure, but here's the link if you want to check out the lists where NIL is hanging out.:)

Ok, I'm off to revise a manuscript I love.:)

But I'll leave you with this: the official video for the Bare Naked Ladies song "Odds Are." Love BNL, love this song. It's my new fave. So glad they stayed together!


Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Today over at the YA Valentines, we're spilling book sekrits about our main characters. JUICY sekrits. SCARY skerits. :) BUT THE BEST PART? It's like a book sneak peek!

So, if you head over to the YA Valentines' blog, you'll find our what Charley, one of my main characters in NIL, is most afraid of.:) Go ahead and peek...I'll wait.

*noms Kit Kats* 

Great! You're back! :)

Did you read all the other great scoop on the other Valentines MC's? I'll bet you found some sweet books to add to your 2014 TBR list.:)

But today--it's Halloween! As soon as my boys are home from school, we're going to carve our pumpkins, then dress up and do some trick-or-treating in our neighborhood.

Pumpkin carving is one of my favorite things. Every year we do something different...and I love surfing the internet for inspirations.

Like these:

What's your favorite pumpkin design? I tend to go more fun than creepy.

Whatever you're carving or doing, have a safe and happy night! 

Happy Halloween everyone!


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Hot YA Reads & other cool YA stuff

Hi y'all!

Ok, so NIL comes out in less than five months. So crazy exciting! I've got heaps of fun stuff planned in the coming months...lots of fun posts, NIL trivia, the launch of #NILtribe, and of course, giveaways! The first big giveaway happens in December. I promise to give you plenty of notice and lots of chances to enter. :)

So, starting in December, THE GIVEAWAYS. What can you win, you ask? Lots of NIL galleys to be won, plus loads of cool swag. Bookmarks! Buttons! Bling! (Bone cuff bracelet anyone?!)

In the meantime, lots of 2014 book goodness is in the works. Check out this new FB page for Florida authors...the HOT YA Reads page. Click here for the scoop. Isn't it cool?! (Or hawt?! lol)

The sweet Christina Farley (author of GILDED) got the Florida authors together, and I have to say, it's awesome. Next year we'll have group signings and lots of Florida-based YA book epicness ALL IN ONE PLACE! :)

So check out the Hot YA Reads...and check back here for NIL sekrits and scoop.

Info on how to join the #NILtribe coming soon! :)



Monday, September 30, 2013

NIL Sneak Peek!

Happy Monday, y'all!

For the first time, there's a tiny chill in the Jacksonville air. It feels like fall, and we passed the pumpkin patch on the way to school--and it had pumpkins! Yay!

Our pumpkin sighting means two very important things:

(1) October is one day away, and

(2) NIL comes out in 157 days.

157 days.


March 4 will be here before we know it . . . and, right now, bloggers and reviewers have NIL galleys IN THEIR HANDS!!!! Eeep! Exciting, and a little scary.

Anyway! A ways back, I promised you a sneak peek of Thad's POV, didn't I? You're so right. I totally did. :)

So here you go!

The start of Chapter 2, and the first chapter from Thad's point of view.:)

More NIL sneak peeks and sekrit scoop coming soon . . . including deets on how to join the #NILtribe.:)

In the meantime, Happy Monday!


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

On Finishing

Today feels strange.

I'm totally in-between projects, without a deadline in front of me for the first time in months. I finished my second pass pages for NIL, and my agent has my latest project in her expert hands (a project I ADORE and can't wait to share!). But the strangest part is that NIL is done.

I've been working on NIL since February 2010, when the story burst into my head. I wrote, revised (and revised :D), queried, revised for my amazing agent, and then went on submission. Then I revised for my awesome editor, went through copyedits, first pass pages, proofreading queries, and then finally, second pass pages. And now I'm done.

As of this week, NIL is in production. I won't see NIL again until it comes out in hardback.

Like I said, NIL is done.

And it feels both right and strange. To know I will never touch those words again is a little scary, because NIL is no longer just mine. It belongs to you, the reader. Which is how it should be, but as a debut author, it's still a weird--and rather scary--feeling. :) Especially because, as written, NIL is a stand-alone, so my time with those characters is over.*

The perfect word for how this feels? Bittersweet.:)

So now, as far as NIL goes, I'll be doing lots of fun stuff building up to NIL's March 4, 2014 release. Giveaways are coming, packed with cool swag and NIL trivia, and I'm so excited for the months to come. :) It's going to be AWESOME, and I can't wait to share NIL sekrits and scoop with you.

But this week, I'm just going to chill. I'm going to finish some long-overdue beta reading for sweet CP's that I'm woefully behind on... read some killer books on my TBR list that I've been longing to read... and go for some long runs and listen to new tunes and let my brain wander to new stories. And then I'm gonna write something fun and new and just let the words flow, which feels both liberating and exciting.:)

What do you have planned this week? And have you ever finished a project, or job, or something big that took months--or years--of work? Awesome, but weird, right?


*Lately I've been pondering a companion novel, from a different character's POV. Not sure if I'l write it, but some ideas are floating around in my brain. But Charley & Thad's story is done.:)

Thursday, August 29, 2013

A quick NIL Linkapalooza :)

Sorry I've been absent lately. It's been the end-of-summer-back-to-school crazies.:) But today, a post!

I thought I'd give you a quick round-up of NIL links floating around the web.:)

1. Crazies. :)

Wasn't I just talking about crazies...? Thought so. :) Well, speaking of crazies (and chasing them!) Amy Trueblood had me over at her blog, Chasing the Crazies, to chat yesterday about NIL. If you have a minute, pop over to Amy's Writer Odyssey Wednesday post to read about where NIL was born, my love of alt music, and other writerly stuff.:)

2. A Top Ten List!

My sweet friend Natalie Whipple guest posted on the Hot Key Books blog and shared her Top Ten Sci-fi reads...and NIL was on her list!!!!! Natalie's shout-out blew me away, because the company she included me in is hands-down amazing. Books like DUNE, THE GIVER, PIVOT POINT and more are also on the list--which are some of my faves too. Natalie's a talented author in her own right--check out her debut YA novel, TRANSPARENT if you haven't done so already.:)

3. Tunes

If you missed it, you can check out NIL's playlist on the All The Write Notes blog.

4. Cover love

Mac Teen Books did a Winter '14 Cover Reveal Roundup. So fun to see NIL with its publisher siblings! :)

5. Cover Reveal

Icey Books hosted NIL's cover reveal.  I'm so grateful to Hafsah for doing such a terrific job, and I LOVED reading all the comments! I'm a *little* bit in love with my cover myself.:)

Last but not least, several bloggers have picked NIL as their Waiting on Wednesday pick, and I'm SO grateful. I'm so excited for y'all to read NIL, and the fact that people are waiting for it's release makes me crazy happy. Book bloggers amaze me in all the best ways.:)

And the craziest thought today?

NIL comes out in 187 days.

AHHHHHHH! I can't wait for y'all to read it!!!

I leave you with this...which is how I feel when every time I see my cover and think about March 4, 2014.:)


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Eeeep! NIL galleys are here!

Look what came in the mail yesterday!

Aren't they GORGEOUS?! *stares*

To hold my book IN MY HAND was so crazy cool, I think I smiled non-stop for HOURS. And of course I showed my husband . . . my boys . . . the Twitterverse . . . the mailman . . . and basically anyone who came near the house.:) 

Things I love about my cover?
 The font.
 The colors.
 The tally marks (oh my land--I LOVE the tally marks!) and how they swirl around like a clock--
or a wormhole.
 The island graphics.
 The silhouettes.

Now check this out: THE SPINE.

How cool is that?! I love how the title runs vertical, so when you stand it up like this:

the title is oh-so-easy to read! LOVE. THAT. :)
And I love the block font.

And remember how much I love the tally marks on the front cover? 
Check this out: it's the title page inside....

Sweet, right? The tally mark graphics! I can't get enough of them.:)

Want one more peek at the inside?

Okay, you twisted my arm! (Not really--I'm dying to show you! :D) Here's a sneak peek at page one:

I LOVE the font. I mean, really love it. The chapter title fonts are PERFECT, and I love the crisp sense of the regular typeface. 

I'm so happy I want to hug EVERY SINGLE PERSON at Macmillan/Henry Holt. 

So, while this edition is an uncorrected proof -- it says so right on the back, and on the front it says "Advance Reader's Edition-Not For Sale"--
NIL is finally a book.

And I can't wait for you to read it!

Warning: shameless plus ahead :)

You can pre-order NIL below and I'll love you forever! :)

Seriously, I'm plotting a NIL-ish giveaway open to readers who pre-order. Deets soon...after I figure them out.:)

Happy day and happy reading!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Music Monday & NIL scoop

Good morning blogging and book sweethearts!

Ok, it's Monday, August 5th. Whoa . . . HOW IS IT ALREADY AUGUST?! But it totally is. And it even feels like August. A back-to-school vibe is in the air, but I'm clinging to the last few weeks of summer with my boys.:)

But back to the fact that it's August 5th.

August 5, 2013. Which means . . .

NIL comes out in less than seven months! March 4, 2014 to be exact.:)

So, a few NIL links this happy August morning:

*You have one day left to win an advance copy of NIL over at Icey Books. Plus, you can check out NIL's gorgeous cover too.:)

*You can discover the tunes behind the words over at All The Write Notes. I've posted both Thad and Charleys playlists over there. Check them out, and let me know what tunes fuel your writing and your imagination! 

Oh--one last thing. You know what else August means for my family? This:

Last night Shark Week started on the Discovery Channel and we're all in.:)

So what's new with you?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

NIL has a cover!!!!!!!!!!

Eeep! It's official NIL has a cover!!!!!!

And I LOVE it. I mean, really love it. The picture is on my desktop and each time I look at it, I find something new.:) Because it's so full of awesome--it's all I could want in a cover and then some. The entire Macmillan/Holt design team (thank you, Anita!:D) did a brilliant job. :)

Ready to see it? Yay! Hop over to the Icey Books blog to see NIL's cover...and you can enter to win a galley of NIL! Yup, that's right--there are TWO advance reader copies (ARC's, or galleys) up for grabs and you could win one!

So hop over and take a peek. And let me know what you think!:)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Cover shout out for DAUGHTER OF CHAOS

Ok, so over at the YA Valentines blog today, my fellow Valentine, Jen McConnel had a BIG reveal: the cover of her YA debut, DAUGHTER OF CHAOS!


So gorgeous, in fact, that I'm going to give it a shout-out here! I can't help it; it's just so pretty.

But first, the book blurb from Goodreads:

Witches must choose the path they will follow, and Darlena Agara is no exception. She’s been putting it off long enough, and in her case, ignoring it has not made it go away. In a moment of frustration, Darlena chooses to follow Red Magic, figuring she had outsmarted the powers that be, since there’s no such thing as Red Magic. But alas, Darlena’s wrong (again) and she becomes a newly declared Red Witch.

Her friends are shocked and her parents horrified by the choice Darlena has made. As a Red Witch, she now governs one third of the world’s chaos. She is the walking personification of pandemonium, turmoil, and bedlam, just as the patrons of Red Magic would have it to be.

But Darlena believes there must be more to Red Magic than chaos and destruction, and she sets out on a journey to achieve balance. Only doing so puts her at odds with the dark goddess Hecate, who simply will not allow Darlena to quit. She encourages Darlena to embrace who and what she is and to leave good magic to the good witches. If only Darlena could, life would be simple, and she would not be the Daughter of Chaos.

Cool huh? :) And FYI: DAUGHTER OF CHAOS is the first in a YA paranormal trilogy.

And even though you have to wait until 2014 to read it, you can swoon over the cover now:



Congratulations Jen! Go head over to the cover reveal party happening RIGHT NOW at the YA Valentine blog and you can enter to win two sweet YA books! 

And don't forget to enter to win 2 awesome YA summer reads on me--just check out my previous post.:)

*throws YA book love all over the blogosphere*

In the meantime, want to know more about Jen? Here's the links:

Website: http://www.jenmcconnel.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Jen_McConnel
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18106165-daughter-of-chaos
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jenmcconnelauthor

Happy reading!!!!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Friday Five -- Summer Book Style

Happy Friday sweet readers!

One of my favorite parts of summer is reading. The extra down time tucked inside each day . . . reading on the beach as the ocean rumbles in the background . . . staying up late to finish a great book because you can sleep in--no school is calling. (Or in my case, no school for my boys, which means no getting up early to pack lunches! Woot! And sleeping in? Not so much. Not yet anyway. Maybe when my littles aren't so little.:D)

Back to the books. Oh, the books!

Today's Friday Five! It's a shout-out to my favorite YA books of the summer so far. To be honest, these are some of my favorite books of the year, too. I loved each for slightly different reasons.

So here we go, in no particular order:

5. THE FIFTH WAVE by Rick Yancey

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

Pitched as THE PASSAGE (a book I enjoyed but didn't love) meets ENDER'S GAME (on of my all-time favorite books) this book had me at pre-order.

For me, THE FIFTH WAVE lived up to the hype. The premise was frighteningly realistic and Yancey executed it like a master. The twists were plentiful and unexpected. Plus, in a sci-fi setting, I love the exploration of the qualities that we, as humans, possess that both set us apart and hold the key to our survival. Well-done all around. It's the kind of book that will linger with you, long after you finish it.

I leave you with the quote Yancey chose to start the book: a snippet from the brilliant Stephen Hawking: "If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn't turn out very well for the Native Americans."

Chilling, don't you think? So was THE FIFTH WAVE.:)

4. REBOOT by Amy Tintera

Five years ago, Wren Connolly was shot three times in the chest. After 178 minutes she came back as a Reboot: stronger, faster, able to heal, and less emotional. The longer Reboots are dead, the less human they are when they return. Wren 178 is the deadliest Reboot in the Republic of Texas. Now seventeen years old, she serves as a soldier for HARC (Human Advancement and Repopulation Corporation).

Wren’s favorite part of the job is training new Reboots, but her latest newbie is the worst she’s ever seen. As a 22, Callum Reyes is practically human. His reflexes are too slow, he’s always asking questions, and his ever-present smile is freaking her out. Yet there’s something about him she can’t ignore. When Callum refuses to follow an order, Wren is given one last chance to get him in line—or she’ll have to eliminate him. Wren has never disobeyed before and knows if she does, she’ll be eliminated, too. But she has also never felt as alive as she does around Callum.

The perfect soldier is done taking orders.

Another great sci-fi summer read for me. I went into REBOOT with high hopes, and like THE FIFTH WAVE, REBOOT delivered. Tintera never uses the word zombie, yet part of couldn't help thinking it was a fresh twist on the "died-and-came-back-to-life" thing that permeates most zombie books.

Because in Tintera's capable hands, no moaning, mindless walking dead here.

Instead, Tintera crafts lightning fast soldiers, and even better, she creates characters that have depth, internal conflict, and character arcs that keep you turning the pages late into the night. Wren and Callum were FANTASTIC, for different reasons. *sits on hands to not spoil a minute of your reading* I'd say more, but I want you to discover Tintera's brilliance for yourself. Read REBOOT and you'll see exactly what I mean. I just learned that Tintera has a sequel out next year, which makes me happy, happy, happy.:)

3. TORCHED by Andrea Lynn Colt

Cheerleader Rose Whitfield's senior year goes up in smoke when she's framed for arson. Sure that the culprit is her neighbor Paxton, with whom she's been feuding since middle school, she sets out to clear her name and take Paxton down hard--not necessarily in that order.

TORCHED was recommended to me by Caroline Richmond, and wow--what a great rec! A super fun, super fast YA contemporary, with interesting characters and a superbly-plotted mystery that will hook you from page one. Rose was well-crafted, same for Paxton, and I loved figuring out the villain along with Rose--as well as figuring out Rose herself. :)

If you loved Robin Mellum's DITCHED (which I did!), grab a copy of TORCHED. You'll love it, and I'm not blowing smoke.:)

2. TRANSPARENT by Natalie Whipple

An invisible girl is a priceless weapon. Fiona’s own father has been forcing her to do his dirty work for years—everything from spying on people to stealing cars to breaking into bank vaults.

After sixteen years, Fiona’s had enough. She and her mother flee to a small town, and for the first time in her life, Fiona feels like a normal life is within reach. But Fiona’s father isn’t giving up that easily.

Of course, he should know better than anyone: never underestimate an invisible girl.

Let me start by saying I love Natalie Whipple. I think she's amazing--kind and giving and talented, and she was a great CP for NIL. So of course I read TRANSPARENT as soon as I could get my grabby hands on it, and I prayed I loved it as much as I wanted to.

And you know what? I LOVED IT MORE. :)

Mutants, mobsters and an invisible girl that is fighting to see herself--including the girl she is inside, and the girl she wants to be. Fiona is a fascinating character, and I was blown away at how well how Natalie wove Fiona's story from page one, giving Fiona a fantastic cast of friends and family to reflect and encourage Fiona's own growth. There were also plenty of twists, both big and small, and reveals at the perfect moment--all constant reminders that I was in the hands of an excellent storyteller. :)

Last but not least, I also loved that, among the many YA series out there (and I'm a series girl, don't get me wrong), TRANSPARENT stands tall as a stand-alone. Take it to the beach, take it on your vacay--you're in for a treat!

1. ONE by Leigh Ann Kopans

When having two powers makes you a Super and having none makes you a Normal, having only one makes you a sad half-superpowered freak.

It makes you a One.

Sixteen-year-old Merrin Grey would love to be able to fly – too bad all she can do is hover.

If she could just land an internship at the Biotech Hub, she might finally figure out how to fix herself. She busts her butt in AP Chem and salivates over the Hub’s research on the manifestation of superpowers, all in hopes of boosting her chances.

Then she meets Elias VanDyne, another One, and all her carefully crafted plans fly out the window. Literally. When the two of them touch, their Ones combine to make them fly, and when they’re not soaring over the Nebraska cornfields, they’re busy falling for each other.

Merrin's mad chemistry skills land her a spot on the Hub's internship short list, but as she gets closer to the life she always wanted, she discovers that the Hub’s purpose is more sinister than it has always seemed. Now it’s up to her to decide if it's more important to fly solo, or to save everything - and everyone - she loves.

Oh how I loved this book. I ordered a copy of ONE based on the description (X-men vibes were strong for me) and in the meantime, I'd gotten to know Leigh Ann through Twitter. And I REALLY wanted to like ONE when I read it, just because I thought so much of Leigh Ann. Well, turns out I didn't just like ONE; I LOVED IT.

Here's why:



And the whole notion of only having one superpower when every other Super has two. How can you fit in when you don't seem to belong anywhere: Super, or Normal? Merrin's frustrations and hopes are so honest, and Merrin's growth was stellar. Her relationship with Elias was sweet and real, yet I loved how Merrin stood on her own as a character. The ending left me wanting more but not frustrated--the perfect way to end the first of a series. Well-done. The sequel, TWO, comes out in October and I'm all over it.:)

So there you have it. My five faves of summer so far. . . and to celebrate I'm giving two of them away!

Up for grabs? My own personal copy of TRANSPARENT *sniff* *so hard to part with* and a signed copy of ONE.

All you have to do is enter below! May the Rafflecopter odds be ever in your favor :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What's your favorite summer read so far?

**Update: Thank you to the awesome Jay C. Spencer who pointed out that I , ahem, had numbering issues. Apparently I can't count. (I always DID like English better.:D) Thanks Spence for the heads up. :)

UPDATE (7/15): Contest is closed. Congratulations to the winner, Heather Nielsen, as picked by the Rafflecopter pixies.:) Heather, I'm emailing you now!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Cover Love for BURN OUT

Eeeep! Fellow Valentine Kristi Helvig's debut BURN OUT has a cover . . . and it's AMAZING!!!

But before I show you the awesomeness-that-is-Kristi's cover, here's BURN OUT's description:

Most people want to save the world; seventeen-year-old Tora Reynolds just wants to get the hell off of it. One of the last survivors in Earth's final years, Tora yearns to escape the wasteland her planet has become after the sun turns "red giant," but discovers her fellow survivors are even deadlier than the hostile environment.

Earth's last survivors? Hostile environment? And escape?


BURN OUT releases April 8, 2014.


I know, I know--the wait is l-o-n-g.:) But until then, you can swoon over Kristi's cover:

*stares at the pretty cover*

My favorite part? The tagline: The last girl on Earth . . . just got company.

Oh, snap. I can't wait for BURN OUT to hit the shelves. :)

To help held you over until then, the YA Valentines are sharing the YA book love and hosting another epic cover-reveal giveaway! Hop over to the YA Valentines blog, join the BURN OUT cover party, and you could win 2 sweet YA reads.

Happy Tuesday!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

NIL is available for pre-order! A timeline! And a contest alert...:)

I just learned a few days ago that NIL is available for pre-order on Amazon!

It's book birthday is March 4, 2014, so it's still almost nine months away. I know, nine months is forever, right? But it's not. Especially in publishing. So here's my sekrit: I can't help clicking this link now and then, because it makes the whole I'm-getting-published-thing so much more real.

That probably sounds weird. But here's the thing:

I began writing NIL in February 2010 . . .

drafted and revised . . .

went to a writer's conference in May 2011 . . .

revised even more . . .

queried NIL in the fall of 2011 . . .

signed with Jennifer in February 2012 . . .

Jennifer sold the book in May 2012 . . .

and NIL is coming out on March, 4, 2014.

That's essentially four years from the time the idea popped into my head to the day NIL hit shelves. And this is totally normal in traditional publishing.

Four years.

So can you see why I'm crazy-excited that NIL is available for pre-order, even though March 4 is almost nine months away? I can't wait for readers to discover Charley and Thad's story, and get swept up in the world of NIL. That's the dream every author has--to touch a reader, and make them feel.:) I hope y'all will love NIL as much as I do!

I'm so excited that I'm going to come up with some kind of giveaway for readers who pre-order the book. I haven't figured the giveaway out yet, but it'll be some kind of cool NIL swag.:)

So if you pre-order NIL (I will love you forever! :D), please check back for a pre-order contest announcement! :)

Happy Tuesday!

P.S. Little fun Tuesday fact--did you know that all books are released on Tuesdays? Yup, NIL releases on Tuesday, March 4, 2014. It's sekrit publishing stuff....and now you know.:)

Friday, June 14, 2013


Ok, y'all, I'm SO EXCITED. Like beyond-crazy excited.

Because Sara B. Larson's DEFY cover is just that awesome.

And today YOU get to see it.

Amazing, I know, right?!

But before I show you the gorgeous cover of DEFY, here's a little more about the book itself:

A warrior and a protector, the prince's best guard is also a girl in hiding. No one knows who she really is--or so she thought. But when her world suddenly changes, and two men begin vying for her heart, one girl must stand up against a terrible evil or risk losing everything.

DEFY will hit stores on January 1, 2014. That's right: January, 1, 2014.  New Years Day. It's be the first sweet YA release of 2014! :)

Ok, y'all have waited long enough.

So here it is...

the epic cover of DEFY...

wait for it...

wait for it...


The amazing cover of Sara B. Larson's novel DEFY:

Isn't it amazing?

To celebrate the epicness of DEFY's cover, the YA Valentines are hosting a sweet giveaway of two books that rock: GRACELING and SHADOW AND BONE. Why those books? Because if you love those books, you will swoon over DEFY.:)  To check out the The Valentines giveaway, go here.

And to make the DEFY-epic-cover-reveal-celebration even more fun, I'm giving away my copy of BITTERBLUE, the sequel to GRACELING. I figure that now that we've made you drool over DEFY and forced you to wait, I could send you something to ease the pain.:)

To enter to win BITTERBLUE, just leave a comment about the DEFY cover below. Using the random number generator, I'll pick a random comment to win.:)  Contest* closes Thursday, June 20 at midnight, EST. Winner announced next Friday (June 21st)

*Contest open to North American residents only. Sorry y'all. Got to keep my shipping costs low...it's a hardback copy too.:)

***UPDATE: The contest is closed and WE HAVE A WINNER!!!! Thanks to the random number generator, lucky comment #3 was the winner! Congratulations Winterfaerie! Winterfaerie...shoot me an email or tweet or leave another comment to get your copy of BITTERBLUE. Thanks to all who stopped by to give Sara some cover love.:)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


My sweet friend Natalie Whipple's debut novel, TRANSPARENT, hits shelves today. Woohoo!

I'M SO STOKED FOR HER! Natalie's such a sweetheart, always giving her time and support and encouragement to other writers. One Twitter, on her blog, in contests. And she's truly as sweet and kind and giving as she seems on her blog.

And I've been dying to spread the TRANSPARENT birthday love!

Here's the fantastic cover:

Awesome, right?!

Want more? Thought so.:)

Here's the blurb:

Plenty of teenagers feel invisible. Fiona McClean actually is.

An invisible girl is a priceless weapon. Fiona’s own father has been forcing her to do his dirty work for years—everything from spying on people to stealing cars to breaking into bank vaults.

After sixteen years, Fiona’s had enough. She and her mother flee to a small town, and for the first time in her life, Fiona feels like a normal life is within reach. But Fiona’s father isn’t giving up that easily.

Of course, he should know better than anyone: never underestimate an invisible girl.


I get shivers every time I read it.:)

Curious to know what readers have said? Here you go....

"Fast-paced, fun, and so original I was downright giddy, TRANSPARENT is a truly awesome debut from an author destined to be on my auto-buy list." —Rachel Hawkins, owner of best awkward foreign cover EVER. (And NYT Bestseller)

“Debut author Natalie Whipple deftly explores painfully real teen experience through delightfully unreal stories. Transparent is a smart, funny, tense gem of a book, and Fiona claims a spot as one of my favorite heroines.” Kiersten White, New York Times bestselling author of the Paranormalcy trilogy.

Yay! A fun, fresh YA read has hit the wild! Happy book birthday, Natalie! :)


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Shout out to Robin Mellom, author of DITCHED

Hey sweet YA readers!

YA contemporary is so hot right now, and so fun. Lots of great reads out there, like . . .

JUST ONE DAY by Gayle Forman
(and a sequel is coming soon!)

LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR by Stephanie Perkins
(companion novel to ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS . . . so good!)

BODY AND SOUL by Stacey Kade
(the finale of THE GHOST AND THE GOTH series--just love!)

But here's one you definitely shouldn't miss:

I know Robin personally (we actually went to high school together, can you believe it?!) and she's as sweet as she is talented. Crazy thing is, I read DITCHED (and LOVED it!) before I realized this Robin was the same Robin I went to high school with. It was that whole maiden-name-changed-to-married-name thing that threw me off. 

So let me say it again--I LOVED THIS BOOK, even before I realized I loved the author.  

Here's the blurb from Goodreads:

There's a girl.
Justina Griffith was never the girl who dreamed of going to prom. Designer dresses and strappy heels? Not her thing. That said, she never expected her best friend, Ian Clark, to ask her.

And there's a boy.
Ian, who always passed her the baseball bat, handle first.
Ian, who knew exactly when she needed red licorice.
Ian, who promised her the most amazing night at prom.

Then there's a ditch.
But when Justina is ditched, figuratively and literally, she must piece together--stain-by-stain on her thrift store dress--exactly how she ended up dateless...with only the help of some opinionated ladies at the 7-Eleven.

To get the whole store, Justina will have to face the boy who ditched her. Can losing out at her prom ultimately lead to finding true love?

Doesn't it sound amazing? *nods* It really is.:)

I'm over at the YA Valentine blog today getting the full scoop from Robin. Pop over if you can, find out Robin's favorite scene, and say hi.:) 

Plus, if you've got middle-grade readers, Robin had a new MG book coming out next month from Disney-Hyperion! Woot!

Happy Tuesday y'all!

Thursday, May 2, 2013


Hey y'all! Today I'm excited be be part of debut-author Eliza Tilton's Choose-Your-Own-Adventure blog hop to celebrate the release of her YA fantasy, BROKEN FOREST.

If you’ve landed here during your adventure, skip all this and go below.
If you’re wondering what’s going on, go here to start your own adventure! 
And may The Creator bless you on your journey.

Going east is the dangerous choice, and even though you want to run in the other direction, you don’t.
The village is running low on nectar and if the hunts aren’t successful in collecting vast amounts, you risk going through the winter season with none. You remind yourself of how important this is as the trees’ crowded branches begin to close off the moonlight.
Silence fills the forest, and there’s nothing but the cold air to comfort you. You search for water, knowing the flowers tend to grow nearby. It isn’t long before a small stream crosses your pathway.
You hop across and follow the stream deeper into the forest.
A thunderous noise replaces the silence.
You sneak behind the next tree and search the area. In front of you is a small waterfall, not large. The clear water plunges into a pool, and around the pools edge are black flowers.
The wolves are known to roam this area, yet you don’t see any. Could it be luck? You think so, and
slowly walk to the water. You manage to collect all the nectar you can find without incident. It’s a victorious night!
With a bounce in your step, you head back to the clearing, thinking of all the ways you can brag about your bravery until you spot a wolf print.The wolf print doesn’t look fresh, but maybe you should be careful, or start running!

A)    Running sounds like a fantastic idea. Go here
B)     No need to fret. It’s only one print and winter wolves hunt in packs. Go here


Want more? I thought so! :)

How about a giveaway? Eliza has BROKEN FOREST awesomeness up for grabs. Check out the Rafflecopter giveaway below:

And in case you missed it, here's the BROKEN FOREST blurb from Goodreads:

Hopeless he'll never be more than the boy who didn't save his brother, 17-year-old Avikar accepts his life as the family stable boy, trying to forget the past. But when his sister, Jeslyn, is kidnapped, the thought of losing another sibling catapults him on a desperate quest. With his best friend by his side, and using the tracking skills he learned from his father, he discovers Jeslyn has been taken, kidnapped by one Lucino, the young lord of Daath, a mystical place thought only to exist in fables.

And Lucino has plans for Jeslyn.

Last but not least, here's a bit about Eliza...

Eliza graduated from Dowling College with a BS in Visual Communications. When she’s not arguing with excel at her day job, or playing Dragon Age 2, again, she’s writing. Her stories hold a bit of the fantastical and there’s always a romance. She resides on Long Island with her husband, two kids and one very snuggly pit bull.

You can stalk Eliza on Twitter, Tumblr, her website, Pinterest and Facebook.:)

Congratulations, Eliza, and happy blog-hopping everyone! :)