Monday, April 29, 2013

Insomnia Book Trailer Reveal & Giveaway!

Today is...awesome. Not just a little awesome, VERY awesome.

Why is that, you ask? 

Because over on Pub Crawl today, Leigh Bardugo author of the amazing, Shadow and Bone, is posting an interview with me, a swag pack giveaway, and the exclusive reveal of the

That's right, I know exactly how you feel about that...

Okay, maybe not like that...maybe more like this:

Or, just like this:

Either way, nothing Leigh Bardugo does is wrong. And everyone loves to win you should go check it out

Friday, April 26, 2013

Forging Fridays - The Dos and the Do Nots

Today is our fourteenth Forging Fridays Query! Wow...fourteen, this year is flying by. Yay! We love volunteers! As stated before, I won't be revealing the identities of the volunteers for Forging Fridays unless otherwise requested. If you feel like unmasking yourselves in the comments, be my guest. But, I won't mention anyone by name.

Here is our next volunteer! *applause* *cheers* *confetti*


Dear Agent, per our email I know the writer has a "why I queried you section" so we're good here. :)
WATERS OF OBLIVION is about a young woman whose life was finally on track  . . . or so she believed, until an unexpected meeting too vague here, a meeting with a person? an ancient artifact? a stargate? Tell us more. Side note: I'd switch this paragraph to present tense. It feels more immediate for a query and the first sentence of the next paragraph is present, so the change is a bit jarring. Also, I'd include the main character's name in the first paragraph. forced her to revisit the past. A past she thought she had left behind 500 years ago.
Reine Baldwin is a graduate student with a secret. She drowned in the Venetian lagoon on her honeymoon in 1498, having slipped from her husband Massimo’s grip into the cold, dark water. The next day she awoke stronger than ever. For over half a millennium she has lived on the run, keeping a low profile and moving on before anyone could notice her remarkable healing abilities and propensity against aging. Was she forced to do this? It seems odd that she survives drowning and then abruptly decides to run and escape her...husband that tried to save her?
During a freak D.C. We need a transition to when this is... and also, eye color shouldn't be mentioned in a query unless it is part of the plot snowstorm, Reine meets Gabe Moran – a handsome young journalist with arresting blue eyes – and she momentarily lets her guard down. We've seen no reason why she should run from her husband and have this constant guard up so far. What's she afraid of? What's the threat? In order to sympathize, we must know what she's up against. After a disastrous first date, she ends their budding relationship, but Gabe is persistent and she reluctantly gives him another chance. When someone subsequently breaks into her office, a busted pipe floods her classroom, and shadowy figures begin to pursue her, she finally When you put finally here, it makes it sound like she should've wondered this a long time ago and that you, the author, think she's dumb. That's never a good thing. wonders if meeting him hadn’t been coincidental.
Reine’s instincts prove to be correct when Gabe follows her to Venice and she mysteriously ...does she know how she ended up dead? As in, hit over the head...or whatever? Is this normal for her to forget? Mysterious sounds a bit...weak of a term for someone trying to kill you. And also, she's not really dead, right? She heals. The phrasing here makes her sound like a vampire... ends up dead – again.  Her only clues about what happened are a pounding headache and an ochre this detail isn't important to the query and is a little distracting, I'd take it out ball gown. But this time, dying will ultimately reunite her with the person she had once passionately loved and thought was long gone: Massimo – now known as Max. 
Caught between two men who at one point had both let her down, Reine needs to decide whether to reexamine her dormant feelings for her former beloved or to trust her heart to someone she will eventually lose to his mortality.  Her best friend Noor’s unlikely betrayal and the threat from an unknown enemy complicate her story of love and loss that has been centuries in the making. This last line feels out of place and is too vague. I'd lose it entirely and rework this. I wouldn't recommend introducing new characters in the last sentence.

Okay, let's focus on the story portion of this query before moving on. You have interesting details and a good voice here, but you don't have enough of the right answers and you have a lot of things that aren't necessary. You could boil down the entire Reine - Gabe paragraphs to something like - During a freak D.C. snowstorm, Reine meets Gabe Moran – a young journalist whose charm keeps forcing it's way through crevices in the walls she's built to protect herself and threatening to blast them wide open. When they end up in Venice and Reine nearly dies again, she begins to suspect Gabe may want to bring down more than just her walls. He may be after her healing as well... (or whatever...I have no idea where the story goes from here, but you get what I'm saying)

Choose your words and sentences with impact. Tell us why running from people she cares about and keeping them at bay is the answer. What is she afraid of? Why is that her first instinct? Is the main conflict about her picking a guy? Or is it about who is trying to kill her? Focus on that one, make it clear which is the primary plot and which is secondary. What does she lose if she chooses wrong/fails? We need consequences. We need to know what it all boils down to and understand her motivations. Also, we need to know more about this unknown nemesis. You don't have to say who it is, but you need to tell us what their goal is and what Reine has to overcome from them in order to succeed.

WATERS OF OBLIVION is a completed Paranormal Romance with 80K words and the first novel in THE BELOVED series, which will contain not only a trilogy I'd recommend against this. To have the best chance at finding a home, your first novel should stand on it's own and then if they want more, you're ready. I'd say, "WATERS OF OBLIVION is a Paranormal Romance complete at 80k words. It's a stand-alone with series potential OR a stand-alone that I have planned out as a potential series. All this other stuff makes it sound like you've decided where it's going and it's an all or none proposition. That makes you a MUCH bigger investment and makes it sound like you're not flexible. Neither are good things. that explores the evolving relationships between Reine, Gabe, and Max, but also could potentially take up any one of the other immortal characters’ back stories throughout history in their own spin-offs.
This is my first novel and it was a quarter-finalist (top 100 out of 2,000 entries) in the 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards contest in the Romance category. In my day job, I am a senior university administrator; however, like my protagonist, I have a graduate degree in visual culture from Georgetown University where I wrote my thesis on Venetian mosaics in Victorian England. This paragraph is good, if you ever need to trim, you could lose some of this, but there is nothing wrong with it and some agents/editors like to know these things. 
Thank you for your consideration. If you have a minute, please take a look at the short teaser trailer that I’ve made: *LINK REDACTED* Okay, I wouldn't do this at all. If you want it in the email, put the link down in your signature. This is a perfect stranger and you're asking them to click on a link. Doing so is not smart e-security and it's the main reason most agents prefer pages in the body of the email instead of as attachments. I'm not saying there is anything malicious about the link, I'm saying it's a risk you shouldn't ask them to take. I'd lose this.

Here is the deal. I know this sounds like a lot, but it's really not. You just need to hone in on the things that are crucial, tell us with impact and leave the rest out. What is this book really about? The romance or the healing/killing attempts side of it. Focus your energy and details around that then use the other half to fill it out and make us care. You can totally do this. :) Good luck!


Okay, that's it for today and this query. Thank you so much for volunteering, oh mystery writer! :) I really hope this helped you. It takes guts to send in a query, to me or an agent. Go you! You have awesome guts! :)

So, what do you guys think? Agree or disagree with my assessments? Discuss! May we all be tougher and stronger thanks to our days in the fire.


I'm officially calling for more query volunteers! Anyone feeling brave? Read here for more details and send them in!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Calling All Interested Blog Tour Peoples!

It is about 6 weeks until Insomnia's release and I'm feeling pretty freaking excited. This is pretty much what I look like all the time lately...

And what's the best thing to do when you're really excited? Um...hang out with other excited people, of course...

So, if you're a reader-blogger-tumblr-writer-human and you've read Insomnia and you're excited about it ~OR~ if you haven't read it yet, but you're excited to do so---we should totally hang out...

On my Book Release/Giveaway Blog Tour! 

Drop me an email with your:
~ site address that you'd like to host a stop at
~ any cool ideas you have for the stop
~ why you'd like to participate
~ whether you like long walks on the beach
~ your favorite color
~ or whatever you'd like me to know 

and we'll see what we can set up.

Thank you for sharing my excitement and tune in next Monday when I'll be posting a link to the exclusive reveal of my Insomnia book trailer/interview/giveaway hosted by the ever-awesome Leigh Bardugo over on Pub Crawl

Monday, April 22, 2013

Forging Fridays...on Monday - Query Necessities

Today is our thirteenth Forging Fridays Query! Yay! We love volunteers! As stated before, I won't be revealing the identities of the volunteers for Forging Fridays unless otherwise requested. If you feel like unmasking yourselves in the comments, be my guest. But, I won't mention anyone by name.

Here is our next volunteer! *applause* *cheers* *confetti*


Dear (agent),

It was just a stupid rock. An amber-colored stone the size of Tish’s small human thumbnail that looked as innocent and benign as a rock should. Until it launched itself at Tish’s chest like a missile, separating into glowing energy and merging with her very being before she could blink. This is story narrative and doesn't really belong in a query. If you want to talk about this stone, in your query, I'd recommend having it be a single line, maybe two. A rock shouldn't be the focus of an entire paragraph of your query. The only thing that should get that much attention is your main character or your plot. Of course alien rocks weren’t going to just sit still like earth rocks, how silly of her to assume such things. Now she’d become a carrying case for Her Lady’s world stone as well as being her body guard. And here where we're getting a bit more of the plot, it isn't clear enough. what is a world stone? What does it do? If it's alien, does that mean she's on another planet? Is this Sci-fi? Fantasy? We need a lot more grounding in the world, the character and the inciting incident instead of the narrative bits. Those will work great in the book...just not in the query. As if guarding Her Lady’s body hadn’t been difficult enough already, she could have just painted a target on her back if she’d wanted a harder job. You are nailing the voice here though, which is great. Focus your query on the right details and this will work much better. 

When the royal family decided to officially declare Her Lady unfit for ruling, Tish knew they’d want their stone back, but was quite unwilling to hand over her life to return it. This is more on the right track, it feels a bit jumpy, so maybe streamline a bit, but it's not like the above narration, so that's good. Feeling as if all the gods in that corner of the universe were conspiring against her, Tish is sent off-planet in the care of a mercenary. So far everything going on in this query is about things acting on Tish, first a stone enters her body and now even with her life on the line, it sounds like she's not doing anything. She's being 'sent off' meaning this isn't her idea. A proactive character is much more likeable. Tell us a bit about what SHE is doing. Not just any mercenary, though, oh no. Her Lady had found Ethan, one of Tish’s old human ship-mates, and bonded them to ensure the security of the world stone. What do you mean bonded? Using this word isn't necessary if you aren't going to tell us what it does/why it matters.

Chased by bounty hunters and wanted by the galactic police, Tish discovers her flight is about much more than the political upheaval of one planet. How so? Give us specifics. She must learn how to use the relic inside her, learn how to trust Ethan, and maybe, just maybe, fall in love. This last line kind of fizzles. Partly because we have no idea what happens if she fails. And partly because we have a lot happening and a lot of action and then the final segment switches to focus on a romantic subplot. The last thing you mention needs to pack a this point all the punch you've got lends itself to plot and action, so that's going to be your area of impact to focus on. If these are your main conflicts I'd recommend something more like: Running the risk of losing both her heart and her life, Tish much learn to trust Ethan and use the relic within her before... BAD CONSEQUENCE HAPPENS. Make sense?

Catch the Sun is complete at 95,000 words and is soft sci-fi similar to Julie Czerneda’s Thousand Words for a Stranger. I would be pleased to send you more pages upon request. Not necessary to say your willing to send. It's a given upon querying, I'd take this line out. Thank you so much for your time and consideration.

This premise is interesting and you have the voice, which is honestly the hardest thing to learn. You need to re-focus on the information you need to have in this query and revamp. Who, what, when, where, inciting incident, main conflict, main goal and consequences of failure. Anything other than those points isn't needed. You can answer these questions, start there, add the voice and pull it all together with impact. You can do it! Good luck!


Okay, that's it for today and this query. Thank you so much for volunteering, oh mystery writer! :) I really hope this helped you. It takes guts to send in a query, to me or an agent. Go you! You have awesome guts! :)

So, what do you guys think? Agree or disagree with my assessments? Discuss! May we all be tougher and stronger thanks to our days in the fire.


I'm officially calling for more query volunteers! Anyone feeling brave? Read here for more details and send them in!

Friday, April 19, 2013

A Moment for Boston

I'm moving my Forging Friday post to Monday this week.

My thoughts are with everyone in Boston and I just don't feel like anything I can post today would be appropriate. The pictures and video of empty streets in a bustling American city, of military personnel sprawled across someone's front lawn with guns raised, of Blackhawk helicopters landing on a city's disturbing in ways I can't find words to describe.

Military, Police, SWAT and all officials involved - 

Thank you for going in to fight when everyone else is told to run or hunker down for safety. You are ever heroic. We owe everything we have to you.

For those in Boston - 

Stay inside. Be safe. The country is with you.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Happy Book Birthday, TAKEN!

Today is the release day for my friend, and fellow Friday the Thirteener, Erin Bowman and her debut novel, TAKEN!

I had the opportunity to read this awesome book while it was on ARC tour and I loved it! I mean, first of all...look at that cover! I love the colors and the tree is so freaking cool. The plot takes some very unexpected twists & turns to really keep you on your toes. Plus, it's a male POV book, which I love seeing more of in the YA genre. Here is the description from Goodreads:


There are no men in Claysoot. There are boys—but every one of them vanishes at midnight on his eighteenth birthday. The ground shakes, the wind howls, a blinding light descends…and he’s gone.

They call it the Heist.

Gray Weathersby’s eighteenth birthday is mere months away, and he’s prepared to meet his fate–until he finds a strange note from his mother and starts to question everything he’s been raised to accept: the Council leaders and their obvious secrets. The Heist itself. And what lies beyond the Wall that surrounds Claysoot–a structure that no one can cross and survive.

Climbing the Wall is suicide, but what comes after the Heist could be worse. Should he sit back and wait to be taken–or risk everything on the hope of the other side?


Awesome, right? So, stop by and order it today! And...

Happy Book Birthday, Erin!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Forging Fridays - Knowing Where to Stop

Today is our twelfth Forging Fridays Query! Yay! We love volunteers! As stated before, I won't be revealing the identities of the volunteers for Forging Fridays unless otherwise requested. If you feel like unmasking yourselves in the comments, be my guest. But, I won't mention anyone by name.

Here is our next volunteer! *applause* *cheers* *confetti*


Seventeen year-old Angelica Savage can't be a killer. It's not her fault that seven of her best friends have died. Great hook! Very interesting. At least she thinks it's not her fault. Her doctors call her lost memories amnesia (seriously?) I like the voice here, just be cautious because it can be easy to go overboard with, especially in a thriller where we need to convey a creepy vibe. Also, this acts like amnesia may be a new concept. Maybe rephrase to something like: Dr White Coat and the other doctors say it's amnesia and her brain is doing it to protect her from what happened. Angelica is afraid not knowing could be more like a death sentence for those closest to her...or something along those lines. , Dr. White Coat calls it protection, Angelica calls it a death sentence for those closest to her.   

Angelica decides to keep everyone safe by hiding in the socially suicidal shadows until death gets bored with her. Then Aiden shows up at her school and she can't help remembering I'd rework this section a bit for more impact. maybe "at her school and memories start creeping back up, like their last kiss. Like how his sister... it adds this nice contrast between the two memories. I'm liking this a lot so far. their last kiss. Or how his sister died. 

With the help of Aiden, Angelica makes plans to visit the dead friends families awkward here...rephrase? in the hopes of finding clues to her lost memories but some psycho threatens how so? Does she receive an actual letter or something? Be specific here. her family if she keeps digging into the past. 

Only three months is this because she is turning 18? make sure we know why there is this timeline--and evidence--stand between a padded cell with Angelica's name on it and freedom. Can her memories show who the real killer is? If she is responsible, will Aiden be next on the Angelica Death Row? I like it! Very intriguing. and good hook. Maybe rephrase so they aren't rhetorical questions, but other than that... :)

Now Angelica must chose whether to unlock her damaged mind and try to find redemption--risking the lives of her family, or spend the rest of her life on the edge of insanity. Okay, while I like what you've done here, you don't need more at this point. Maybe merge this bit with the two rhetorical questions ending the paragraph above. End with impact and don't go on too long past that or they'll lose that gut "GIVE IT TO ME NOW" response you're going for. 

IT’S NOT ME is a YA psychological thriller at 78,000 words.

Very, very good. These are tiny adjustments and will make this query ready to go! Well done and good luck!


Okay, that's it for today and this query. Thank you so much for volunteering, oh mystery writer! :) I really hope this helped you. It takes guts to send in a query, to me or an agent. Go you! You have awesome guts! :)

So, what do you guys think? Agree or disagree with my assessments? Discuss! Also, happy Forging Fridays! May we all be tougher and stronger thanks to our days in the fire. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Kirkus Review for INSOMNIA + Giveaway

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty reviewness, I wanted to let you know that there is a signed Insomnia ARC giveaway going on over at the Nawanda Files starting today! Becca is even giving a sneak peek at her review that won't be posted in full until June. Stop by, check it out and enter to win--

after you read the rest of the post, of course...

So last week, I got my very first trade review and it was from Kirkus. On their site, they call themselves "The World’s Toughest Book Critics" -- so yeah, I was shaking in my proverbial boots. And I was driving somewhere in my car when it dinged across the screen of my phone and I proceeded to try very hard not to hyperventilate. To be honest, just like most debut authors, I was completely terrified to even open the email. And since I was driving, I couldn't safely open it anyway--but I knew that whatever it said, I'd have to face it sooner or later. So I had my son open it and read it to me...

And I'm SO glad I did. 


Author: J.R. Johansson

Review Issue Date: May 1, 2013
Online Publish Date: April 10, 2013
Pages: 360
Price ( Paperback ): $9.99
Publication Date: June 8, 2013
ISBN ( Paperback ): 978-0-7387-3593-1
Category: Fiction
Series: Night Walkers
Volume: 1

Parker has been unable to sleep for three years, ever since he began to inhabit the dreams of other people.

At age 16, Parker believes that his lack of sleep will kill him soon, after it drives him into psychosis. Parker calls himself a “Watcher.” Every night he believes that he sees the dreams of the last person with whom he had eye contact that day. While trapped in these dreams, he cannot sleep. One night, he meets new-student Mia and finds that her dreams are so simple that he can lie down within them and get some real sleep while she’s dreaming. Desperate for more sleep, he begins stalking her. Meanwhile, Mia receives threatening emails that appear to come from Parker and grows terrified of him. Parker convinces his friends that his paranormal ability is real, and they agree to help him with Mia—but Parker begins to suspect that he may have entered the psychosis he has feared. Is the stalker real, or is he really Parker? Johansson, writing from Parker’s point of view, scatters clues and red herrings about. Parker’s plight will convince readers, although they will not know if he’s innocent or psychotic until the final pages. The ending sets up the sequel in what promises to be an interesting new series.

The premise combines with the tension resulting from Parker’s psychological quandary to keep pulses pounding(Suspense. 12 & up)


WOW! I just want to read that last sentence over and over and over and over and...

you get the idea. Anyway, if you have a Kirkus subscription you can see the review on their site here. If not, then...just read the one above with me again. :) I mean, I wrote the book and it even makes ME want to read it! 

Happy Wednesday! How is your week going? Mine is pretty freaking splendiferous. And don't forget to go enter the new giveaway!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Winning and Happy Things!

There is much excitement and craziness happening...and new developments will be revealed soon (like tomorrow or Wednesday)! I can't wait! I'm sitting around looking like this:

But enough about me...let's talk about the WINNER!

*insert drumroll here*

We had SO many entries to my YA Scavenger Hunt Bonus Giveaway. Thanks to everyone who stopped by and participated! You guys rock! :) The winners of the entire hunt will be announced this week also, so stay tuned.

The winner of my bonus giveaway is:

Kim V.

Congratulations, Kim! :) In case you're wondering, your response should look something like this:

Thanks to everyone who participated. And those that didn't win, stick around. I have many giveaways coming up. Some as soon as this week and there will be a big pre-order giveaway in May! :)

Huzzah for Winning and Happy Monday!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

YA Scavenger Hunt - Kendare Blake!

Welcome to YA Scavenger Hunt! This tri-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors...and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize--one lucky winner will receive one signed book from each author on the hunt in my team! We'll be giving away OVER 50 BOOKSBut play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 72 hours!

Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are TWO contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the RED TEAM--but there is also a blue team for a chance to win a whole different set of twenty-five signed books!

If you'd like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt homepage.


Directions: Below, you'll notice that I've listed my favorite number somewhere below in RED. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the red team, and then add them up (don't worry, you can use a calculator!). 

Entry Form: Once you've added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.

Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian's permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by Sunday, April 7th at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.


Today, I'm thrilled to be hosting the uber-amazing Kendare Blake for the YA Scavenger Hunt! 

Kendare lives and writes in Lynnwood, Washington, usually with the Food Network on in the background. Comedy Central proves far too distracting.

I'm a huge fan of Kendare's work. I plan to read her books a minimum of 247 times in the near future. In case you haven't heard of the awesomeness that is Anna Dressed in Blood or Girl of Nightmares, you can read more about it on Kendare's site or you can buy Girl of Nightmares and witness it yourself!


Cas Lowood kills the dead. On a hunt in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn't expect anything outside of the ordinary: move, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he's never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, but now stained red and dripping blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.And she, for whatever reason, spares his life.

Kendare's intro for her exclusive content:

Here's one more story Cas had to tell. It's how he, Thomas and Carmel spent their spring break, before Girl of Nightmares happened and made them all stop speaking to me. This is the story of The Water Bride. Native American spirit? Or just some crazy dead girl drowning people in Florida? Cas had to find out, and Carmel had to rent a swanky lakefront cabin with a jacuzzi, because hell if she's going to spend her whole break roughing it in the bunk of an abandoned summer camp.

I know what you're thinking - sounds incredible, right?! It is!

And without further ado...The Water Bride!

The Water Bride

Thank you so much for this one last creeptastic peek into Cas's life, Kendare!

Now on with the hunt! Don't forget to enter the contest for the chance to win a ton of signed books by me, Kendare Blake and so many more! Now hunt around and add up all the favorite numbers on the Red Team and you'll have the secret code to enter for the Grand Prize!


You're here anyway and obviously in a winning mood. Let's do AN ADDITIONAL GIVEAWAY! :) Enter using the Rafflecopter below to win a signed ARC of my debut novel, INSOMNIA!

Here is a bit more about it:

Parker spends every night trapped in the dreams of the last person he made eye contact with, and it's killing him...until he meets Mia. In her dreams, Parker can finally get real sleep, but finding ways to make eye contact every night isn't easy. When Mia starts receiving threatening emails, her dreams transform into scenes of a horror movie--with Parker cast as the villain. 

He must discover who is truly tormenting her, and clear his name, before the real stalker makes good on his threats to end her dreams forever.


So...yeah, enter here to win! I'll announce the winner in a post by noon PST on Monday. And look down below the rafflecopter to continue the hunt!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Next stop: Brenna Yovanoff!

And tell us how the hunt is going by tweeting using hashtag #YASH

Happy Hunting!

Awesome Stuffs!

Hi Peoples!

So in a couple hours, my YA Scavenger Hunt post will go live and the fun will begin. :) I've got Kendare Blake's exclusive content geared up and ready to go. You NEED to come back for that. I'll be giving away a signed ARC of Insomnia as part of the hunt, plus a bonus signed ARC here on the blog.


With all this awesomeness, I won't be posting my regular Forging Fridays post this week. Instead of being can win stuff. 

I feel like you win in this situation...

Have a happy day!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Scenes From A Life: Guest Post by Liz Coley

Today I'm happy to be hosting my fellow Lucky 13 and author of Pretty Girl-13, Liz Coley. She's sharing with us about some real life wisdom. And you know how much I love me some wisdom. So, without further ado...


Scenes From a Life by Liz Coley
Felix the Cat

When we’re little, sometimes we embarrass our parents with public whining, grocery story tantrums, primitive restaurant manners, and obnoxious airplane behavior. But they get the ultimate revenge by embarrassing us in front of our friends when we’re teenagers, and sometimes they need not even be present to win.

One day in sixth grade I discovered that my Dad was a total dork. It rebounded very painfully upon me, and ever after, I carefully weighed my reaction to anything he said.

We used to watch morning cartoons before school on a 13-inch black and white TV on the end of the breakfast table. We sat at a standard rectangular redwood picnic table with a vinyl tablecloth because of the way it fit both the kitchen niche and a family of six. Breakfast cereal was eaten in a daze while “Underdog” or “The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show” or something else early seventies-era entertained us. Those were the pre-cable days when your set got four channels plus public broadcasting if you had a UHF antenna.

One ill-fated morning, the truly ancient cartoon “Felix the Cat” began a syndicated run. It was full-on nostalgia time for my Dad, who forgot all about his wilting rice krispies and was instantly transfixed by this character from his own childhood. “Wow. Felix the Cat’s back on!” he exclaimed. Clearly this was something wonderful, a miracle in our time. We were privileged
to be alive at such a juncture.

Caught up in the glorious moment, as soon as I arrived at school, I announced to one of the cool blond girls in my class, “Guess what? Felix the Cat’s back on!”

She stared me down for a moment, like I’d announced I’d had worms for breakfast. Then she spun on one tanned leg, advanced on the rest of the class working their locker combinations, and passed on my news in a mocking tone that left no room for interpretation.

Do I blame her? Not really. If I’d thought for one second about how likely it was that anyone else found a thirties cartoon a cause for celebration, I would have filtered. I usually wasn’t so careless with words, and I vowed never to be so again. Exit innocent childhood stage left, enter painful adolescent self-consciousness stage right.

Do you remember the first time your parent fell from grace?


Ah the mocking 6th grade girls. I remember them not-so-fondly. I feel your pain, Liz, I feel your pain. Thanks so much for stopping by. I love this post and loved your book. Pretty Girl-13 is incredible! Here is the great cover and a bit about it.

Reminiscent of the Elizabeth Smart case, Pretty Girl-13 is a disturbing and powerful psychological mystery about a girl who must piece together the story of her kidnapping and captivity.

Angie Chapman was thirteen years old when she ventured into the woods alone on a Girl Scouts camping trip. Now she's returned home…only to find that it's three years later and she's sixteen-or at least that's what everyone tells her.

What happened to the past three years of her life?

Angie doesn't know.

But there are people who do — people who could tell Angie every detail of her forgotten time, if only they weren't locked inside her mind. With a tremendous amount of courage, Angie embarks on a journey to discover the fragments of her personality, otherwise known as her "alters." As she unearths more and more about her past, she discovers a terrifying secret and must decide: When you remember things you wish you could forget, do you destroy the parts of yourself that are responsible?

Liz Coley's alarming and fascinating psychological mystery is a disturbing - and ultimately empowering page-turner about accepting our whole selves, and the healing power of courage, hope, and love.

Doesn't that sound awesome? That's because it is. :) 

And a little more about Liz:

As a preteen, Liz Coley was hooked on science fiction thanks to alien Tripods, space-time warping tesseracts, and a Martian maid named Thuvia. Her science fiction short stories appear in Cosmos Magazine and several print anthologies. While self-publishing the time travel/alternate history/Mayan end of the world novel OUT OF XIBALBA, Liz received “The Call” that all aspiring novelists dream of.

PRETTY GIRL-13, her debut novel with HarperCollins, will be published in the US and in nine translations on five continents in print, ebook, and audiobook formats.

Liz lives in Cincinnati, OH with her husband, her teenaged daughter, and an elderly orange tabby by the fire. The older two boys have moved on to college and graduate school. When she isn't writing, Liz enjoys singing, photography, tennis, and cooking.

More places you can find Liz

More places you can find PRETTY GIRL-13