Thursday, December 15, 2016

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE CHEESE WHEEL

Today is sparkly and shiny and awesome! Why? Because I finally get to share the cover of my debut novel, CHEESUS WAS HERE, with you! And, if you head on over to YA Books Central, you can enter for a chance to win a signed ARC and some gouda cheese wedge jewelry I made especially for the cover reveal. I’ve been dying to share the cover since I first saw initial comps and through every step of the process. The design team at Sky Pony Press worked so hard and they’ve done an amazing job. I couldn’t be more in love with this fabulous cover. Without further ado, here it is:

Cheesus Was Here Cover

Isn’t it perfect? I can’t help smiling every time I see it. It’s a bit cheeky, much like the book and very much like me. In just a few short months CHEESUS will be out in the world! Eeeee!

So what’s this book with the ridiculous title all about? I’m so glad you asked! Here’s the official description:

Sixteen-year-old Delaney Delgado knows miracles aren’t real—if they were, her kid sister wouldn’t be dead. So when the image of baby Jesus appears on a Babybel cheese wheel, she’s not buying the idea that God’s got a dairy obsession. Soon, religious signs begin turning up all over Del’s hometown, tiny Clemency, Texas. Overnight, news vans fill the streets and religious pilgrims start searching for God in the discount aisle of the grocery store.

Hell-bent on proving the so-called miracles are fake, Del convinces her best friend, Gabe, to help her find the truth. While Gabe’s willing to play detective, as a preacher’s son he’s more interested in finding evidence that supports the miracles. But when the whole town becomes caught up in religious fervor and even the late night talk show hosts have stopped laughing and started to believe, finding the truth might cause more trouble than Del can handle. This novel is neither pro nor anti-religion, and will appeal to fans of contemporary YA novels that explore deep themes with an element of humor. The voice and characters are funny, strong, and full of heart. This is a book for anyone who loved Saved!

Did you know pre-orders are critically important to authors and publishers? They help a publisher gauge how much interest a book has and can affect initial print runs and other super important stuff. If you’d like to pre-order CHEESUS WAS HERE, please visit one of the pre-order links below.

Pre-order from:
Amazon | Powells | Books A Million | Barnes & Noble | Indie Bound

Don’t forget to head on over to YA Books Central to enter the CWH Giveaway!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Twice The Mentors = Twice The Awesome


I'm back mentoring Middle Grade for Pitch Wars and I couldn't be more excited! But this year, I've got a special surprise for y'all. I somehow convinced my friend and CP, Addie Thorley, to co-mentor with me! That means you get two mentors with one entry.



Now I happen to know that Addie is made of pure amazingness and dear lord that woman can write! Seriously, she's ridiculously talented. But more important for you guys, Addie is a fantastic critique partner. She's great at catching issues and molding stories into something wonderful.

"But wait, slow down", you say. "Tell me a bit more about this Pitch Wars thing." Pitch Wars is a writing contest that matches unagented writers up with published and/or agented mentors to help polish up a novel for submission. There's an agent round at the end of the contest where agents can request subs from the Pitch Wars entries. You can find all the details here. Basically, Pitch Wars is sunshine, rainbows and puppy kisses all rolled into one.



So WHY should you choose me and Addie as your mentors? I'm so glad you asked.

1. I write YA, MG and picture books and I'm represented by the amazing Mandy Hubbard of the Emerald City Literary Agency. My debut novel, a YA contemporary called CHEESUS WAS HERE, will be released spring 2017 by Sky Pony Press. Addie is represented by the utterly fabulous Kathleen Rushall of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency.

2. Addie and I have both spent a long time in the query trenches before landing our dream agents. We have a great eye for queries, know the pitfalls to avoid and how to catch an agent's attention.

3. This is my 2nd year mentoring and I was a Pitch Wars entrant in 2015, though didn't end up being picked. Addie, on the other hand, was picked as a mentee in 2014. She racked up 12 requests in the agent round and had her first offer of rep five days later! Those are some serious chops. Point is, we know the stress, excitement and sheer insanity you're going through.


4. Addie & I kick-ass at critiques. Seriously, we've got references. I'm a details kind of girl and I will leave your manuscript bleeding red - no plot hole or awkward phrase shall be missed. Addie is amazing at big picture, plot structure, pacing and asking the right questions to get your story in shape. Together we are a dynamic duo of critique-slinging awesomeness.

5. Addie owns a wolf. Okay, he's part wolf, but seriously he looks like he needs his own Animal Planet show. I own two hedgehogs. Neither of these two things has anything to do with writing. But it shows we have great taste in pets, so clearly we must have great taste in other things.

6. If you pick us as your mentors, the three of us will work together to make your novel sparkly and awesome. Your query will send all other queries running away in tears because they're consumed with envy.



7. We made a video just for you! No seriously, we sang and everything. We're putting it all out there in our efforts to woo you to our side.



What we're looking for:

To see our wish list, favorite books, and pick up your mystery letter for Brenda's quote challenge, you'll need to head over to Addie's blog. Just think of the cool things she could be hiding over there. There might even be outtakes from our PitchWars Commandments video... but I refuse to either confirm or deny that fact.

Make sure to check out all the awesome Middle Grade mentors helping out with Pitch Wars this year:

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Saturday, July 2, 2016

Balance

One of the things I struggle most with is finding balance between my writing life and my non-writing life. I have two kids, a full time job and run a large meetup group. Finding writing time can be tough and having the energy to write when I do find the time is always a challenge.

Balanced....

I admire those writers who wake up at 5am and knock out a ton of words before heading off to work or taking care of their families. I love sleep and hate mornings far too much for that! But the concept is what's important more than actual time of day. If you want to be a writer, you write. It's that simple. Routine helps a lot.

For me that means writing on the train during my morning commute. I'm assured a 40 minute writing block every morning I'm on the train. If I'm lucky I can find a seat on the train home and grab another 40 minutes.

By writing in the same place and at the same time, I'm letting my brain know the moment I sit down that it's writing time.

Sounds fab, doesn't it? Of course sometimes I'm so exhausted in the mornings that I can't string two words together. Sometimes I need to spend that commute time critiquing a MS for a friend, or reading an ARC I only have seven days to finish and send on to the next person in the ARC tour.

But if I want to be a writer, if I want to tattoo that label on my forehead in invisible ink and wear it on my heart, then I have to find more balance and guard my writing time. I have to write even when the words suck. Even when I'm lost. Even when I'm hung over with a sleep coma.

I'm still trying to find that perfect mix which lets me churn out amazing words. Until then, like Dory, I'll just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming. Or writing in this case.

It can start small. One sentence. My new goal is to write at least one sentence per day. Even on the weekends. Time to go work on that sentence! And maybe try some yoga while I do. Balance!