Monday, December 14, 2015

NEW: Reader Facebook Group

Okay, so I have a new idea for this coming year. 2016 is going to be amazing! I have a TON of stuff coming out next year, and I'm happy about that. But I've decided that I'd like to have a group of readers to interact with and give my books to for reviews.

I have 4 full-length novels scheduled to come out in 2016, two self-published and two traditionally published.

3 of them are romance novels: A contemporary from Cleis Press in July 2016, and two more of my western inspirational romances under my pen name, Liz Isaacson, coming in February and May 2016.

My last novel is RIFT, a YA time travel thriller coming from Jolly Fish Press in the fall.

I also have 6 anthology collections coming out in 2016. All 6 of them are romance anthologies.
1. Sweet & Sassy Beach anthology (sweet and sassy romance): April 2016
2. Western romance anthology: April 2016
3. Hot & Haunted romance anthology: October 2016
4. City Christmas anthology (all written by me, contemporary romance under Elana Johnson): November 2016
5. Country Christmas anthology (all written by me, western inspirational romance under Liz Isaacson): November 2016
6. The Knight Before Christmas anthology (Knight Brothers contemporary romance, under Elana Johnson): November 2016


So here's how things will run -- in my head, it's this perfect system, much like Santa's workshop. Haha! 

I'm setting up a private FB group where you can get these new releases for FREE! It'll run like a "book of the month" club, where a forthcoming title will be available each month. You can read as many of my books (for free!) as you wish, even if it's not their assigned month. I have a pretty large backlist. :)

What I need from you: Reviews!


Reviews are an author's best friend. They determine if advertising newsletters (like BookBub) will run ads for titles, if other people will buy the book, etc.

So for every book I give you, I'd love to have a review listed on Amazon. (I'm specifically looking for reviews on Amazon for 2016, not Goodreads.) If the book is a new release, I'd like the review to be listed during the first 5 days of the book's release. I will give you lots of reminders, of course, via the private FB group when the books are releasing. You'll have plenty of time to read the titles in advance.

You decide which books you want. You structure your reading around your life, vacations, etc. I'm excited to have more direct contact with my readers, and I'm willing to give my books away in order to get reviews.

If you're interested, please sign up in this form, and I'll add you to the private Facebook group!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

ELEVATED is free this week!

Four more days of free YA contemporary romance. 





Monday, December 7, 2015

Hickory Dickory Dock Cover Reveal!

Okay, so I'm here to help reveal the amazing cover of Lee Strauss's next New Adult Romantic Suspense! Hickory Dickory Dock is the third of her nursery rhyme suspenses, and they're fantastic!!

About HICKORY DICKORY DOCK: After a tumultuous freshman year at Detroit University, Marlow Henry and Sage Farrell look forward to a calm, uneventful summer break.

Not gonna happen.

Before Marlow can even make his blossoming relationship with Dakota official, Sage has pulled him into her new discovery – a math equation that opens a window in time and space. Then they witness a murder.

Fate pulls them into a war-torn and deserted version of Marlow’s neighbourhood where they are forced to help a rebel group counterattack. The group’s ethics are questionable and Marlow has a personal reason to distrust the leader. Plus, members of their small community keep dying.

The situation is more dire and twisted than Marlow and Sage can imagine. No one is safe. No one can be trusted. They don’t even trust each other. How can they save the world, if they can’t save themselves?


Find on Goodreads | Purchase Gingerbread Man (Book 1) | Purchase Life is But a Dream (Book 2)

Check out the cover!!



Isn't it GORGEOUS??!

I love the creepy colors of gray and black. And that house! Stunningly suspenseful!

About Lee: Lee Strauss is the international bestselling author of A Nursery Rhyme Suspense Series (Mystery Sci-fi Romantic Suspense), The Perception Series (young adult dystopian),The Minstrel Series (contemporary romance), and young adult historical fiction. She is the married mother of four grown children, three boys and a girl, and divides her time between British Columbia, Canada and Dresden, Germany. When she's not writing or reading she likes to cycle, hike and practice yoga. She enjoys traveling (but not jet lag :0), soy lattes, red wine and dark chocolate.

She also writes younger YA fantasy as Elle Strauss.

Goodreads | Blog | Facebook | Twitter

Lee is running a giveaway with this amazing cover reveal! Enter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 30, 2015

SECOND CHANCE RANCH is #free!

Well, with the birth of another book, it's time to celebrate! Two weeks of par-tays, in fact.

This week, until Friday, December 4, you can get SECOND CHANCE RANCH for free.

Click the cover to download for FREE.


Tomorrow, THIRD TIME'S THE CHARM releases! So be sure to get that too, while the first book is free.

Click the cover to buy.


Next week, ELEVATED will be free! 

Free next week, December 7!

So gear up to gift these titles to your friends and family -- books make great gifts, even before Christmas. And gifting a FREE book is free for you and helps spread the word about the book. So even if you already have a copy, you can gift the book to someone who doesn't. 

It's easy! Look on the right side below the price and buy buttons to find the GIVE AS A GIFT button. All you need from there is an email address, and viola! The free book gets delivered to your loved one. 





Monday, November 23, 2015

THIRD TIME'S THE CHARM is coming soon!

Okay, so my inspirational romance series is getting another book! I'm excited to share this book with the world, especially since the first book has been getting some good reviews and feedback. 

(By the way, you can read SECOND CHANCE RANCH, the first book in the Three Rivers Ranch Romance series for free if you have Kindle Unlimited. And it'll be FREE from November 30 - December 4 to celebrate the release of THIRD TIME'S THE CHARM, so if you don't have Kindle Unlimited, be sure to get a copy next week!)


About THIRD TIME'S THE CHARM: Can Chelsea put aside her past to see what's standing right in front of her?

First Lieutenant Peter Marshall has never felt as safe and whole as he does at Three Rivers Ranch. With massive scars covering most of his upper body, he's self-conscious and searching for his life's purpose. He thinks he's found it in Courage Reins, an equine therapy program for veterans he's starting out at the ranch. He didn't plan on the beautiful Chelsea Ackerman looking at his deformities with admiration.

After her second failed engagement, Chelsea vows she'll never wear another diamond ring. But as she and Pete work together to train the horses and launch Courage Reins, she heals faster than she thought possible. Pete has a truckload of debt and no way to provide for a family, but Chelsea helps him see past all the obstacles, all the scars. With so many unknowns, Pete and Chelsea will have to develop the love, acceptance, and faith needed to find their happily ever after.





And look for the third book in the Three Rivers Ranch Romance series, FOURTH AND LONG, to come in February! I'm currently trying to finish my time travel that's under contract so I can start the fourth book in this series.



FOURTH AND LONG comes out February 16, 2016, but you can pre-order it now tooCan one summer together make up for eight years of separation?


Happy Thanksgiving this week!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Cover Reveal: THE UNDEAD ROAD by David Powers King

Dude, I am so excited to be sharing this cover with you today, for a book by my good friend DPK has coming out on January 1. It's called THE UNDEAD ROAD: My Zombie Summer, and oh my heck! It looks amazing! I can't wait to read it!!

About THE UNDEAD ROAD: Nothing brings the family together like a zombie apocalypse …

Fifteen-year-old Jeremy Barnes would rather watch a zombie movie than shoot a real one, but he has no choice if his family wants to survive the end of the world. Their plan? Drive across the infected United States to a cabin in the Colorado Rockies without a scratch, but their trip takes a complicated detour in the middle of Nebraska when they find Kaylynn, a girl who can handle a baseball bat better than Jeremy can hold a .45 Berretta. And when they stumble into a sanctuary, Jeremy soon learns that Kaylynn is stronger than she looks—a deadly secret lies inside her.

After the radio picks up a distress call from Kansas City about a possible cure, Jeremy’s parents go with a team to investigate. They never return. The only way to find their parents is for Jeremy and his sister Jewel to rely on a dangerous girl who might just turn on them at any moment.

Look at this amazing cover, which Steven Novak (who also makes my covers!) did.




Isn't that the most fantastic thing you've ever seen? I love the colors, the weapons in the silhouettes, the gorgeous font on the title, and that zombie at the top?! Dude, I'm scared already.

And there's a contest!!


A while ago, David invited the blogosphere to let him turn one unfortunate lucky contestant into a zombie for The Undead Road. The winner was Ilima Todd, who is now the awesome author of Remake. The next installment of My Zombie Summer is underway, and David wants to do this contest again. Want to be in a zombie book? Not only is this your chance, but it is your choice!


Between now and next Wednesday, send an email to dpowersking [at] gmail [dot] com, with the subject line: Zombify Me! Contest. In your email, David wants you to tell him three things:

1: The name you will be identified as (example: your first name).
2: A description of yourself—the more detailed you are, the better.
3: How would you like the survivors to put you out of your misery?

Four casualties contestants will be chosen on Wednesday, November 25th. The most inventive or interesting entry will be zombified! The other three who are unlucky fortunate enough to survive will be given special honors. Winners will be announced on December 2nd on David’s blog.

Prizes? The winner will be zombified in the pages of My Zombie Summer: Part Two, receive a signed proof of the novel (when it’s ready), and a $20 Barnes and Noble gift card. The runner ups will receive a free ebook of The Undead Road for their Kindle (other platforms TBA).


About David: David Powers King was born in beautiful downtown Burbank, California where his love for film inspired him to be a writer. He is the co-author of the YA fantasy novel WOVEN, published by Scholastic. An avid fan of science fiction and fantasy, David also has a soft spot for zombies and the paranormal. He currently lives deep in the mountain West with his wife and three children.

Find David online:
Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Newsletter

Monday, November 16, 2015

Another Story Behind Another Sale

So you may have seen my new YA sci-fi announcement. I sort of wrote up a little story behind the sale for that book, because it's had a Journey.

This story is different. I thought it would be fun to showcase both stories, simply because they are different, and every journey toward publication is unique, even for a single person.

So here's the deal:




Yes, it's a romance deal. Yes, it's adult. My debut, in fact, into the full-length adult romance genre (I have a novella in an anthology right now, and 3 more coming next year).

The book is called UNTIL SUMMER ENDS, and it begins the Redwood Bay series, which will have at least 3 books.

These past two book deals -- this one and my YA sci-fi one -- are big firsts for me, because they're multiple book deals, something I've never gotten before. It's both exciting and terrifying. I've never had to write a book under contract, and that pressure is intense.

Anyway, I wrote Until Summer Ends only a year ago. That's right. I started it in November 2014, and I finished it at the beginning of December. It was the second romance novel I'd attempted (the first was horrific!).

Over the next couple of months, I wrote a few more romance novels, but Until Summer Ends was the one I was preparing to shop. I sent the first few chapters to critique group, and then I had a professional editor work on the whole thing.

With their feedback -- which was mostly positive -- I felt encouraged to start querying. So I did, to both literary agents and publishers that accepted unagented submissions. On April 1, no less. No April Fool's Day here!

I got quite a few requests, mostly because I did my homework. I researched the agents and publishers, looked at the things they'd sold or published, and tailored my queries to them. I went wide, don't get me wrong, but I still did my homework. And in romance, there are quite a few publishers you can submit directly to.

I went to a local conference and pitched my book to an editor at St. Martin's Press. She requested it. Things were looking up!

Especially when I got an offer on the book the second week of May, from one of the publisher's I'd submitted to. That spurred me to let other pubs and all the agents considering the full know about the offer.

A couple of weeks later, I got another offer, from another publisher. The day after that, I got an offer from a literary agent. She was one of the top ten dealmakers in romance on Publisher's Marketplace. Even if she couldn't sell the book (hey, I'm realistic -- I've had several books on submission through an agent in New York that didn't sell), I figured I had the two publisher offers to choose from.

So we submitted, and we actually ended up getting several offers. I was sort of shocked. Ha! We ended up going with Cleis Press, because the editor there, Karen Thomas, was incredibly enthusiastic about the project, and after speaking with her on the phone, I knew it was the right place to be.

So that's how I went from the drafting of a novel in November 2014, to querying only 5 months later, to an offer just a month after that. It was fast. MUCH faster than any of my other book deals, that's for sure!

But it just shows that the journey is different for each book, and each person! And UNTIL SUMMER ENDS will be out in July 2016! Which is also fast! Meanwhile, I have two more novels to write, so... I better get doing that!


Monday, November 9, 2015

Fall For Young Adult Reads!

Okay, so it's finally getting pretty chilly around these parts. And a bunch of us YA authors got together with Kelly Hashway to bring you an amazing YA giveaway! It runs from November 9 - November 15.


You could win one of the following:

  • 2 $40 gift cards
  • eBook of PERFECT FOR YOU by Ashelyn Drake
  • eBook of FINE ART OF PRETENDING by Rachel Harris
  • eBook of SOMETHING ABOUT LOVE by Elana Johnson
  • eBook of ELEVATED by Elana Johnson
  • eBook of PLAYING WITH FIRE by Sherry Ficklin
  • One of the GUARDIANS OF GALAXY books by Ednah Walters
  • RITE OF REJECTION by Sarah Negovetich
  • 4 copies of THE TROUBLE WITH DESTINY by Lauren Morrill
  • eBook set of THE DARK BETRAYAL Trilogy by Nichole Chase
  • eBook of TOUCHING SMOKE by Airicka Phoenix


So there will be a lot of winners! And it's open internationally! You can win one of my YA novels-in-verse, either ELEVATED or SOMETHING ABOUT LOVE. So get entering!

a Rafflecop-ter giveaway

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

PAPER HEARTS by Beth Revis

Today, I'm super-thrilled to host Beth Revis and her newest release, PAPER HEARTS!! Beth and I go way back, and I've read a lot of this book. Beth's going to answer a few questions, and then we're going to give away a copy!!


About PAPER HEARTS: Fight the blank page.

When it comes to writing, there’s no wrong way to get words on paper. But it’s not always easy to make the ink flow. Paper Hearts: Some Writing Advice won’t make writing any simpler, but it may help spark your imagination and get your hands back on the keyboard.

Practical Advice Meets Real Experience

With information that takes you from common mistakes in grammar to detailed charts on story structure, Paper Hearts describes:

-How to Develop Character, Plot, & World
-What Common Advice You Should Ignore
-What Advice Actually Helps
-How to Develop a Novel
-The Basics of Grammar, Style, & Tone
-Four Practical Methods of Charting Story Structure
-How to Get Critiques and Revise Your Novel
-How to Deal with Failure
…And much more!

BONUS! More than 25 “What to do if…” scenarios to help writers navigate problems in writing from a NY Times Bestselling author who’s written more than 2 million words of fiction.


BUY!


What prompted you to write and publish PAPER HEARTS? Tell us everything!
Honestly, I’ve been writing Paper Hearts for ages, even before I was published. I used to be a teacher, so story structure, grammar, literary criticism—these are things I love. And I love teaching. I started with blog posts, often in answer to questions. When I had a lot of blog posts on writing done, I realized it was a little unwieldy, so I moved it to WattPad. After the posts there starting reaching more than 100k reads and people asked me for print copies, I began to seriously look into what it would take to get this book to my readers.

This isn’t going to be a good book for everyone. But it’s exactly the kind of book I wish I had before I was published, so I’m very happy with it.

Writers are always looking for advice, and there’s a lot out there. What’s different about yours?
My favorite chapter in the book is called “All Writing Advice Books Suck, Including This One.” I really hate it when advice books that deal with something subjective like art or writing present an attitude that “this is the only way to do it.” That’s very damaging to authors, and honestly just terrible advice. But by its nature, writing advice books do present solutions and give practical methods to do things, including mine. But I wanted to make it extraordinarily clear that there is no one right way to write, and that it’s entirely possible that my advice is the wrong advice for you. I just present the methods that have helped me, and try to point people in the direction of methods that can help them.

What’s a piece of your advice that you constantly take yourself?
Live. Growing up, I was very much a Hermione Granger type person. I studied hard and often. And I approached writing that way, too. I locked myself in my room and wrote until my fingers ached.

But that often meant that I was missing out. Missing out on family and friends time, missing out on the latest movies, missing out on adventures. It took me a long time to realize that practice is important, but discovering the stories in your life is more important. Go out. Have adventures. Try something new. Discover new ideas. Yes, you absolutely have to write at some point. But don’t forget to live.

PAPER HEARTS is part of a fun and fascinating publishing journey. Give us a glimpse of your path so far, and where you’re going next.
I wrote my first novel as a sophomore in college. It was horrible. Basically fan fiction, derivative and not very well done. I sent it out to agents because of course I thought it was brilliant. Surprise, it was rejected soundly.

So I wrote another novel and sent it out too. And then another. And another. I wrote ten novels over ten years, and none of them got me an agent, much less a book deal.

And then I wrote one more. It was weird. I never thought it had a chance. But I loved the idea.

That book was Across the Universe. It got me an agent—my dream agent, actually. And it got me a book deal for the entire trilogy, the kind of deal that changed my life. I was able to quit my job and making writing my career. So I was an overnight, decades long success.

Since then, I’ve been diversifying my career. I self published a book that wasn’t a good fit for Penguin’s catalogue but was something that I felt my fans wanted. The Body Electric came out last year, and it was so eye-opening to self publish. Since then, I’ve put out some short stories, in both traditional and self publishing format, and I’ve written another novel for Penguin, A World Without You, which will come out in July 2016. I’ve got another book contracted through Penguin, plans for another self published book, and I’m putting out three books in the Paper Hearts series over the next three months.

Oh, yeah, and I had a baby ☺

When you're looking to decompress by reading, what book do you reach for?
I go through moods. If I’m working really hard on prose and drafting, I tend to read what I call “candy books”—usually really trashy romances. I don’t want to think too hard, I want to escape. If I’ve been in a reading funk, I try out something new, something that’s just beautiful and strange. I recently read The Nest, and it was perfect for this—a short read that was just so weird.

If you could be a contestant on Survivor, what's the one item you'd take with you?
Haha, I’d get kicked off pretty quickly, so I wouldn’t need anything too crucial. Maybe a boxed set of the Harry Potter books?

A guilty pleasure?
Put Lindt chocolate truffles in the freezer. Trust me.

Bacon or chocolate?
Chocolate covered bacon. With salt on top.

About Beth: Beth Revis is the NY Times bestselling author of the Across the Universe series. The complete trilogy is now available in more than 20 languages. Beth is also the author of The Body Electric and several short stories. Her nonfiction books, the Paper Hearts series, gives writers advice on craft, publishing, and more. A native of North Carolina, Beth is currently working on a new novel for teens, tentatively scheduled for 2016. She lives in rural NC with her boys: one husband, one son, and two massive dogs.

Find Beth online: 
Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr | Instagram

Monday, October 19, 2015

On Hope

Okay, so I've been lurking in the blogosphere a bit more lately. I read a ton of posts on Facebook, public and in a plethora of groups I belong to. Reading Facebook is like a full-time job! Am I right, or what?

Anyway, I've noticed a few things these past few weeks, and I wanted to touch on one: Hope.



I know what it's like to hope for something that happens. I know what it's like to hope for something that doesn't happen. And honestly, the word hope can be equated to anxiety. Ha!

But I don't think hope is a bad thing, and often we think of anxiety in a negative way. But hope is well, hopeful. Sometimes things work out the way we'd like. More often than not, they don't. We might get a book deal, but not with the publisher we really wanted, for the amount of money we hoped for, etc. Sometimes we hope for things that never come to fruition.

Does that mean we should stop hoping? I don't think it does. I think having hope is a good thing, a strong motivator for us to keep doing the best we can. That could be that we hope today is going to be a better day than yesterday as far as parenting goes. Maybe tonight I won't burn the chicken (one can hope!). And maybe, just maybe, today will be the day I lay down 1000 words in a book that will one day be published.

Having these hopes in various aspects of our lives motivates us to keep trying. Don't give up. Try something different.

And none of that is bad.

How hopeful are you right now?

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Ideas and Ideas!

Okay, so I've gone through periods of my writing life where I don't seem to have a single idea. I think I blogged about it once, but I can't find it. Ha! 

But it's an overwhelming feeling to think you'll never have another worthwhile idea again!

But almost as overwhelming -- or maybe MORE overwhelming -- is the writer who has so many ideas s/he can't write them all.

That's where I'm finding myself right now. I have a FLOOD of story ideas, series ideas, self-publishing release ideas, collaboration ideas, and then more IDEAS.

I feel like I'll never have enough time to write all these ideas, polish them, submit them, and/or self-publish them. With my day job, my family, my real life, AND writing, I sat down to make a production schedule. And I'm booked through May. That means no more ideas can be started until then. And that makes me sad, because I just thumb-typed an email to myself last night for three new ideas!!

When will I ever be able to write them??

Are you in an Idea Drought or an Idea Flood right now? Which do you think is worse?

Monday, October 12, 2015

Book Spotlight: Snow Like Ashes

Okay, so I'm a spurter. That's right. I'm either in a writing spurt or a reading spurt. And for the past couple of weeks, I've been laying down thousands of words as I prepare for my edits on RIFT to come. See, I have a production schedule, and I wanted to get a few things drafted before I had to put them on hold when the edits came.

But then I get a little burnt out, and I need a break. That's typically when I go on a reading spurt. And that's what I've been doing these past few days.

One of the books I read was one I've had on my Kindle for a while, but well, when I'm in a writing spurt, there's no reading going on.

I read SNOW LIKE ASHES by Sara Raasch. Here's a bit about it.

SNOW LIKE ASHES: Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now the Winterians' only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter's magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter's defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee. Training to be a warrior and desperately in love with her best friend, Winter's future king she would do anything to help Winter rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter's magic, Meira decides to go after it herself only to find herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

You should pick up a copy of this fantastic YA fantasy now, because it's only $1.99! The second book, ICE LIKE FIRE, comes out tomorrow, and I've already got my copy pre-ordered. If you like YA fantasy like The Girl of Fire and Thorns or Defy, you'll like this.

Snow Like Ashes has great tension on the page, with a compelling plot and a smart heroine. I really enjoyed it!

What kind of spurt are you in right now? Read anything awesome lately?

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Writing in Multiple Genres

Okay, so I've long been a proponent of writing what I want to write. I'm published in YA/NA science fiction, YA contemporary romance, and most recently I've branched out into adult romance, both contemporary, paranormal, and inspirational.



I've also written YA fantasy (which I hope will be published one day), and I continue to want to write what I want to write.

I think there are some good things about this, but there's also a downside. For the most part, I think traditional publishers want to fit their authors into certain molds, and that seems to work well. For example, when I pick up a Brandon Sanderson novel, I know what kind of novel I'm going to get, in both genre and writing. I think that's a very good thing. It's a branding thing.

But I don't want to only write and publish YA science fiction. So I've struggled over the past couple of years. Should I write under pen names? Why can't I write adult romance and YA science fiction? Can't readers look at covers and back cover copy and know what kind of book they're going to get?

I've never really been sure what the right answer is. Do you have any ideas? Do you typically write in the same genre, or have you been exploring in different genres?

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Story Behind the Sale

Okay, so you may have seen my Facebook post last week about a new book deal. It went something like this: So I sold two YA novels to Jolly Fish Press! RIFT will be out in the fall next year, and MEND in the Spring of 2017. ‪#‎booknews‬ ‪#‎JFP‬ ‪#‎timetravel‬ ‪#‎RiftWalkersseries‬ 

You can read the entire press release here.



Yes, I'm super-excited about it. I can't wait to see the awesome cover JFP will make, and hold the book in my hands. That's all awesome.

But really, you want to know which emotion was the most prevalent when I signed the contract? Relief. I think I probably wept.

See, this book has A Story, as most do. And this Story was HARD. And I wanted to quit about a million times, and no one ever gets to read That Story. I'll make it brief.

So I started writing this YA time travel novel at the end of 2011. I must've been certifiably insane. Because who writes a time travel novel? Oh, yes, someone who enjoys torture. Apparently, that's me.

I had an agent, and she liked the premise. So we revised. And revised. And revised. We gave the shiny new manuscript to my editor at Simon & Schuster.

And they said no.

I broke up with that agent, and decided a few months later to query using RIFT. Success! I got another agent with the manuscript. She wanted revisions. Times two.

Once those were done, we went out on submission. Lots of bites. Lots of rejections. Some close calls.

No offers.

I didn't quite know what "it" was in the book that didn't work for people. There had to be something, though, you know?

I broke up with Agent #2, and sat on RIFT. I thought it was a good book. Both of my agents thought so too. So I decided to submit to smaller houses myself. And I got an offer. I wasn't super-satisfied with the house, so I kept it in my back pocket while I continued to explore.

At this time, I was unagented and writing in another genre. I'd self-published some of my work -- I still do. But a time travel novel? No way I was self-pubbing that. I really wanted to have a clever, savvy editor for it, because again, I felt like it was missing something.

I had my finger on the pulse of all the query contests, the Pitch Wars, etc. I had created a dedicated column in my Tweetdeck just for #MSWL.

And that's when I saw this tweet:



And I thought, I have a time travel novel. Could be a good fit. So I went to Jolly Fish Press's website, and I liked what I saw. I should! They're right here in Utah, and I've sat on panels with the owner, Christopher! I don't know why I didn't think to submit to them.

But based on that #MSWL tweet and my research, I did. A few days later, they requested the full manuscript.

And just a few days after that, I got this tweet:



It took about another month to get the official offer, and bit more time to get things going from there. By the time I signed the contract, I just wanted the heck off this RIFT Rollercoaster. So many ups and downs and yeah. The tears. They were of relief that I didn't have to keep riding.

And now you'll get to read RIFT next fall! And now I have to write ANOTHER FREAKING TIME TRAVEL NOVEL. What was I thinking? Ha! Thankfully, I started on MEND during NaNo in 2013, so I have about 55,000 words. They might all need to be deleted and rewritten, but whatever.

And that's The Story. I know I'm not the only one on this crazy writing, querying, submitting, publishing roller coaster. How's your journey going? 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Manic Pixel Scavenger Hunt!

And we're back today to reveal one of the nine pixels for the Manic Pixel Scavenger Hunt!!



You can win an ARC of Cure for the Common Universe and an embroidery of ‘Nobody Puts Princess in a Castle’ from The Cotton Floozy!

Oo. Aah.

If you participate in the Manic Pixel Scavenger hunt, your odds of winning will be greatly increased.

Oh, look, here’s a pixel now!




What do you see?

Write down your findings from this and the other pixels at any or all of the other blogs (listed below) and email them to Christian at cmheidicker(at)gmail(dot)com.

For every three things you send, he’ll put your name in the hat (or my jeans pocket) again and again and again, and then he’ll draw five names out of the hat (pocket) and send prize packages to those people.

Go! Get started! Win it! Win it all!

Participating Blogs:
Valynne Maetani
Carol Lynch Williams
Christian Trimmer
John Cusick
Brooke Lark
The Cotton Floozy

Jennifer Bardsley

#cureforthecommonuniverse #manicpixel

Tune in tomorrow to find out if you’ve won!

Happy Scavenging!

Go check out the book on Goodreads!

Prepare to be CURED June 2016.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

CURE FOR THE COMMON UNIVERSE Cover Reveal and Scavenger Hunt

Okay, so I'm taking part in a pretty cool cover reveal that will take place over the next few days. Author Christian McKay Heidicker is here to tell us all about how YOU can participate and enter to win a copy of his forthcoming book, CURE FOR THE COMMON UNIVERSE, and other prizes! Take it away, Christian!

---




Hello, everyone. My name is Christian McKay Heidicker.

WELCOME TO THE CURE FOR THE COMMON UNIVERSE COVER REVEAL AND SCAVENGER HUNT!

Whew. That’s a mouthful. Let’s try . . .

MANIC PIXEL SCAVENGER HUNT!

There. Better.

You may be asking yourself, where’s the cover? I came here to see a cover.

Okay, first, have I told you how nice your hair is looking today?

And second, the cover isn’t here.

CURE’s cover art is a little intense to take in all at once, so for everyone’s safety, I’ve divided it into nine pieces (er, pixels) and spread them across the Internet.

WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS TO US?

To make a scavenger hunt, of course. What’s the use of a book about a kid going to video game rehab if there isn’t some gaming first?!

Also, this will be your chance to take in all of the juicy (potentially scandalous) details of the cover before it’s fully revealed.

The art is reminiscent of books like I Spy or Where’s Waldo, so this scavenger hunt will work just like that . . . except instead of finding a cats eye marble or some seemingly friendless chump in a red and white striped sweater, you’ll receive ACTUAL PRIZES.




Five lucky winners will receive a signed ARC (advanced reading copy) of CURE FOR THE COMMON UNIVERSE (cover obscured for obvious reasons) AND an embroidery of one of the phrases from the book, hand stitched by the extremely talented Cotton Floozy.

GAH! I WANT THAT. HOW DO I WIN?

For every three things you discover hidden in the nine pixels and email to cmheidicker(at)gmail(dot)com or message me on Facebook, I’ll enter your name again . . . and again . . . and again. (There’s a lotta stuff on that cover.)

EXAMPLE:

Subject: Manic Pixel Scavenger Hunt

Dearest Christian,

I found:

1. A puppy made of garlic cloves
2. A bottomless bowl of undercooked breadsticks
3. A Christmas tree wearing lipstick
4. Amelia Earheart’s monocle
5. A bottomless bowl of overcooked breadsticks
6. A Who*

*(Objects not actually on cover, but no less interesting than what’s really on there.)

THAT’S IT!

So, no, the cover is not here. But fear not! Tomorrow, I’ll be posting their whereabouts on this blog and at www.cmheidicker.com. (You can also follow them with #cureforthecommonuniverse and #manicpixel.)

Tomorrow, the Manic Pixel Scavenger Hunt begins!

In the meantime, go check out the book on Goodreads!

Again, the cover is exquisitely complex, and in my personal opinion, AMAZING. It was designed by Greg Stadnyk with art by eboy (that of Miley Cyrus.

Prepare to be CURED, June 2016.

---

Fun, right? So tomorrow, I'll get to reveal one of the nine pixels and you can come check it out to email Chrisitan things you see. So come on back tomorrow to see it!!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Writing on Empty

Okay, so this has been one of the roughest starts to a school year I've had. For a few weeks there, I literally came home and stared at a screen. TV. Kindle. Didn't matter. I had no creative juices inside. I was literally empty.


I didn't write. I have things I wanted to write, but I couldn't force myself to do it. I shouldn't have to force myself to do it.

Well, about a month into school, I started to feel human again. And that's when I realized that I can't write on empty. I also realized that I could write on nearly empty, and the more I did that, the fuller my tank became.

It was weird. I would think that the more I expend, the less I have, but with writing, it's the opposite for me. Writing rejuvenates me, but I have to be in a certain place to even get the document open. I'm happy to be back writing again, being able to manage my time and my stress to be able to do that.

Do you get filled when you write? Are you empty or full right now?

Monday, September 21, 2015

SOMETHING ABOUT LOVE is free!



Dude, today and tomorrow, my YA contemporary romance novel, SOMETHING ABOUT LOVE, is free! F-R-E-E. No money whatsoever. 

Head over to Amazon and get your free copy!!


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Second Chance Ranch!

Dude, okay, so my first foray into the Christian romance market is happening today! I'm super-excited about it, but also a little nervous. It's not my first book, but it is a completely different genre (thus the pen name), and I'm just not sure how it will be received.

But I need something to keep my mind off the fact that my agent is submitting my contemporary romance, and that the edits I'm expecting aren't here yet. This is the first time I'll be working with this editor, and I have little shivers in my stomach as I wait. What will the edits be like? Will I be able to do them? You know, the typical angst.

Anyway, I've enjoyed my little jaunts into the self-publishing world, and this time has been no exception. I hope you'll get a copy of Second Chance Ranch this week so it'll land on your Kindle on September 15.

Pre-order now!

Ever done something a little new and a little scary? How did it go?

Friday, September 4, 2015

Fitting Work Into Life

Okay, so I've been MIA around the blog and blogosphere for a few weeks. Can I just say that teaching is really kicking my trash this year? I don't know if it's because I'm getting older (cough, cough). Or because I'm teaching an extra class this year. Or because all my classes are pretty large (35+).

But when I get home from work, I am T-I-R-E-D. I basically stare at the TV, or lose myself in mindless Kindle games until I'm completely zoned out. I might be able to get on Instagram and double-tap a few times. Sometimes I run through my Facebook groups and hit like. But there's no way to stay caught up, and I barely have the energy to make dinner let alone all this other stuff.

It has been hard fitting work into my life! I feel like this at the end of every summer, so I know I'll survive, but this feels like it's taking longer to settle into a routine. My creativity is completely shot, and I haven't been able to work much on my writing, and I'd like that to change too.

Any tips for how to avoid the staring and mindless games?? I'm all ears.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Free and Discounted YA Science Fiction and Fantasy!

Okay, so for the next five days, you can load your e-reader with some of the best YA science fiction and fantasy out there.

My book, ELEMENTAL HUNGER, is part of the sale. It is only 99-cents for the next five days. I hope you'll go get it!



About ELEMENTAL HUNGER: Sixteen-year-old Gabriella Kilpatrick can shoot fire from her hands, which would be great if she didn’t get blamed for a blazing inferno that kills 17 schoolmates. When Gabby is commanded to Manifest her Element, everyone knows what she is: a genetic abnormality. Not to mention guilty.

So she does two logical things to survive.
1. She runs.
2. She hacks off her hair to assume a new role—that of “Gabe”, because in her world, only boys are Firemakers.

Not only does she have to act like a guy, she has to pretend to know everything a Firemaker should know. When Gabby meets Airmaster Adam Gillman, he believes her act and pledges to serve on “Gabe’s” Council. But Adam has the mark of a sentry and spent years obeying Alex, the Supreme Elemental. And Alex wants Gabby-the-genetic-freak dead and gone before she can gather the magical protection of a full Council.

With Adam’s lies that sound like truths and rumors that Alex isn’t really a Firemaker—or a man—Gabby sets out to charter a Council of her own. In order to uncover the truth, Gabby will have to learn who she can trust, how to control her own power, and most of all, how to lead a Council of Elementals, most of whom have more control over their power than she does. If she can’t, she’ll find herself just like those 17 schoolmates: burned and six feet under.




Go to the YAASFF site: Your Adventure Awaits: Summer Fun and Freebies. You can see all the books that are 99-cents and free, and enter to win one of 5 amazing prize packages! 

5 days. Tons of free and discounted books. 5 prize packages. Now until Friday, August 21. Your adventure awaits!

Go now by clicking the banner below!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

All Hallows' Eve Timeless Romance Collection

Dude, I am so excited to be included in the thirteenth Timeless Romance Collection! Halloween has never been my favorite holiday, but I think this year it will be.

Because Heather Moore, Sarah M. Eden, Annette Lyon, Jordan McCollum, Lisa Mangum, and I have six romance novellas centered around the paranormal!


ALL HALLOW'S EVE is not to be missed. Romance, thrills & chills. Need we say more?

In Sarah M. Eden’s mysterious novella OF GHOSTS AND GARDENS, if Enid Pryce has one downfall, it’s that she talks to the ghost in her garden, which doesn’t make her too popular among society’s elite. In fact, she returns to her home in Wales after a Season in Bath with not one offer of marriage. Deeming herself a failure at the nearly-spinster age of nineteen, she is pleasantly surprised when an English gentleman shows up in her garden, apparently intent on finding out more about the ghost. Burke Kennard, grandson of an English marquess, quickly becomes utterly charmed by the young Welsh woman, but the ghost in the garden is more likely to push them apart than pull them together.

In Annette Lyon’s enthralling story IT’S YOU, when Charlie and Anna both see the ghost of Nanny Mae, they think they’re losing their minds. Anna tries to find out more about the ghost and uncovers a decades’ old family secret. One that separated two people in love. Now, the ghost of Nanny Mae must set her wrongs to right. As Charlie and Anna explore the past, and the truth of what happened, they discover that the mistakes of the past might lead to love of the future.

In SOPHIA’S CURSE, a suspenseful novella by Heather B. Moore, Joan grows up in an abbey in France, believing that she is an orphan. A chance encounter with the foreboding owner of a neighboring estate, alters everything she’s understood about her parents. She discovers she’s an integral part of changing a decades-old curse, and that her life, as well as the handsome and intriguing Simon Rousseau’s life, are both in danger unless she makes an enormous sacrifice that will change the course of her dreams.

In Lisa Mangum’s haunting story THE SIRENS’ SONG, we meet recently widowed Oliver, the lead physician on a luxury cruise liner traveling to Greece. He hopes that the change of scenery will help ease his grief over his deceased wife, Cate. After falling overboard, though, he is captured by a siren and taken to a mystical island. Through the sirens' song, Oliver is able to relive his memories of Cate—both the good and the bad—as long as he gives away his memories of her. But can he sacrifice his best memory in exchange for one last chance to say good-bye?

In Jordan McCollum’s thrilling novella THE MAN OF HER DREAMS, homicide detective Alexandra Steen dreams about real murders before they happen, seeing the crime through the eyes of the killers. But the dreams never contain enough clues to save the victim before it's too late. Then one dream ends before a murder occurs—in a place she knows. She finds herself racing against time to prevent the deadly act, only to discover that the intended victim is a man she thought she’d never see again. Seven years might have passed since her breakup with Nick, but the years haven’t changed her feelings for him. Now, she must convince Nick that her dreams are real and find a way to prevent his death.

In Elana Johnson’s chilling story THE GHOST OF MILLHOUSE MANSION, Naomi knows her crush on Colt Jennings is unreasonable. When he invites her to his reclusive mansion to restore an old wooden rocking horse, Naomi can’t resist accepting the job. The more time Naomi spends touring his home, the more interested she becomes in Colt. Until she sees a man in the library who vanishes into thin air. She thinks she’s losing her mind until Colt tells her about the ghosts he’s been seeing for years.

GHOSTS, you guys! I got to write about GHOSTS in the Rocky Mountains! The very first novel I wrote years and years ago was a ghost story. (It was terrible, but we won't dwell on that.) Almost thirty books later, and I get to share some ghosts with you. Completely different ones, in a completely different place, in a completely new genre, but still. GHOSTS.

I hope you'll pick up the anthology, which releases this Friday, August 14. All the novellas are clean romances with a paranormal twist. I can't wait to read them all!



What are you excited about this week?

Monday, August 10, 2015

Exciting News-ish Items!

Wow, this summer has FLOWN by! F-L-O-W-N. I swear it was just barely the last day of school, and next week I'll be starting a new school year. Cray-zy.

Anyway, there have been things happening, as I'm sure there have been for you as well. I had some lofty summer goals for my writing, and I'm happy to report on them.

1. Write the sequel to my adult romance. Check. I drafted the book in June--the same month I got two offers from publishers on the first book. The same month I signed with a new literary agent for that adult romance. So yeah, maybe writing that sequel was done on a high.

2. Edit the inspirational romance I'd written earlier this year. Check. I actually bought several of Margie Lawson's writing packets, and used her Deep EDITS system. I can't recommend it enough. I worked with highlighters and pen on a hard copy of the book, putting in about 10 hours each day for a solid week. Double check. Then I entered all the handwritten changes into the computer for another week. Triple check. More news about this book below.

3. Write the sequel to the inspirational romance. Check. My goal was to write 5000 words each day for 12 days in July, before my big dance trip to Vegas and my family reunion. I ended up drafting the 50,000-word book in only 7 days. Yes, it has holes. Things that need to be fixed, And 10,000 more words. But it's drafted!

So naturally, after my vacations and whatnot, I made myself a list of writing goals for the fall--my busiest time of the year what with school starting and everything. My son's a senior this year too, which means scholarship apps and all that. (I love paperwork, so I'm super excited about this!)

And I decided to publish my inspirational romance under a pen name. I've never been a fan of pen names, but I have all my YA and New Adult stuff under Elana Johnson, and my adult contemporary romance as well. This is inspirational--religious. I decided it needed to be delineated.

So I'll be releasing the first book in the series, SECOND CHANCE RANCH, on September 8. (You can pre-order here.) The second book is in edits right now, and it'll be out on December 1.  I'm writing this series under the name of Liz Isaacson, and you can follow happenings for it on twitter, Facebook, and my blog.


About SECOND CHANCE RANCH: After his deployment, injured and discharged Major Squire Ackerman returns to Three Rivers Ranch, anxious to prove himself capable of running the cattle operation so his parents can retire. Things would be easier if the ranch wasn’t missing 1.6 million dollars, which forces Squire to hire Kelly, the girl who rejected his high school prom invitation, as his accountant.

She’s back in town with her four-year-old son, living in her parent’s basement until she can get her life back together. With fresh ink on her divorce papers and open gashes on her heart, she’s not ready for much beyond her new job on the ranch.

Squire wants to forgive Kelly for ignoring him a decade ago. He’d like to provide the stable life she needs, but with old wounds opening and a ranch on the brink of financial collapse, it will take patience and faith to make their second chance possible.

I'm toying with publishing my YA fantasy, but I also got an offer on one of my YA sci-fi novels from a publisher, and I'm thinking they might be interested in it. So I might wait on that. Either way, it's been an eventful summer!!

How has your summer been??

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Release Day! CHAMELEON by KT Hanna

Okay, so I'm super excited to be coming off my blog hiatus for this. There couldn't be a better way! See, a new book is out today. Yes, this happens a lot. But this book is awesome. I got to read an early copy, and I loved it.

It's CHAMELEON by KT Hanna, and it's the first in her Domino Project series.

About CHAMELEON: When Sai's newly awoken psionic powers accidentally destroy her apartment complex, she’s thrown into an intensive training program. Her only options are pass or die.

Surviving means proving her continued existence isn't a mistake--a task her new mentor, Bastian, takes personally. Her abilities place her in the GNW Enforcer division, and partners her with Domino 12, who is eerily human for an alien-parasite psionic hybrid.

After eliminating an Exiled scientist, she discovers someone is manipulating both sides of the conflict. With each mission more perilous, Sai must figure out who to trust before her next assignment becomes her last.

I enjoyed the book so much, I blurbed it for KT. I thought everything about it was well-done, and I could see why it had garnered an agent's attention. But we all know the market for dystopian and science fiction (two of my favorite genres!) isn't super-hot right now. I'm so glad KT decided to publish this book, because it deserves to be read!

And it's out today! So go order it. If you like well-written stories, with beautifully developed characters with flaws and strengths and everything in between, coupled with phenomenal writing, you'll like CHAMELEON.




Me




About the Author: KT Hanna has a love for words so extreme, a single word can spark entire worlds.

Born in Australia, she met her husband in a computer game, moved to the U.S.A. and went into culture shock. Bonus? Not as many creatures specifically out to kill you.

When she's not writing, she freelance edits for Chimera Editing, interns for a NYC Agency, and chases her daughter, husband, corgi, and cat. No, she doesn't sleep. She is entirely powered by the number 2, caffeine, and beef jerky.

Note: Still searching for her Tardis.

CELEBRATION!
We're having a blog hop, and an e-card & mega swag Rafflecopter giveaway!

The blog hop stops are noted below. Each day has a different theme and you can find out about the process, the idea, and the evolution of Chameleon, and even a bit about K.T. by visiting each blog, when their posts go live.

4-Aug 5-Aug 6-Aug 7-Aug 10-Aug
Fun facts about the book What I learned writing Chameleon Author Interviews The world of Chameleon The Evolution of Chameleon
Manuel Soto Marlo Berliner Leatrice McKinney Rebecca Enzor Patricia Lynn
J Elizabeth Hill Stacey Trombley Dawn Allen Sharon Johnston Bex Montgomery
E.L. Wicker JC Davis Suzanne van Rooyen Mandy Baxter Madelyn Dyer
Jessie Mullins Andrew Patterson Heather Rebel Jessica Therrien Carissa Taylor
Emma Adams Lady Jai Elayna Noreme Kendra Young

We're giving away e-cards of your choice from B&N, iTunes, & Amazon – one to the value of $25, and three to the value of $10! Each prize includes a swag pack of a magnet, sticker, bookmark, postcard, and mousepad!

Just follow the options listed on the giveaway and you'll be entered!

full swag pack

Friday, June 12, 2015

Cover Reveal: CHAMELEON by KT Hanna

Okay, so I'm super-excited for my friend and fellow blogger, KT Hanna. She's revealing her cover today, for her debut novel, CHAMELEON. It's the first in a new YA futuristic series, The Domino Project.

Chameleon (The Domino Project #1) is a YA futuristic science fiction story. It's set in the wasteland of earth after a meteor shower devastates landmasses, makes seas rise, introduces the psionic gene into the human race, damages the atmosphere, and gives the gift of an alien parasite to the world.

About CHAMELEON: After Sai's newly awoken psionic power accidentally destroys her apartment complex, she’s thrown into an intensive training program. The only grades are pass or die.

Surviving means proving her continued existence isn't a mistake--a task her new mentor, Bastian, takes personally. Her abilities place her in the GNW Enforcer division, which partners her with Domino 12, who is eerily human for an alien-parasite and psionic hybrid. When her assassination duties are revealed, Sai understands the real reason for her training.

On a mission to dispatch a dangerous Exiled scientist, she uncovers truths she never thought possible. Sai is unsure who to trust as her next mission might be her last, and a double agent seems to be manipulating both sides.

Without further ado - here is the cover, by the amazingly talented S.P. McConnell.


CHAMELEON Domino Project Front with Text 2

Isn't it GORGEOUS!?!?!

I love the total sci-fi-ness (totally a word!) of it. And I love YA sci-fi, so I can't wait to read it.


It's available for preorder for a special price of $2.99!

Amazon Link


MeAbout the Author: KT Hanna has a love for words so extreme, a single word can spark entire worlds.

Born in Australia, she met her husband in a computer game, moved to the U.S.A. and went into culture shock. Bonus? Not as many creatures specifically out to kill you.

When she's not writing, she freelance edits for Chimera Editing, interns for a NYC Agency, and chases her daughter, husband, corgi, and cat. No, she doesn't sleep. She is entirely powered by the number 2, caffeine, and beef jerky.

Note: Still searching for her Tardis.


To celebrate, we're giving away 2 x $10 Amazon e-gift cards (open to anyone who can receive and use an Amazon e-card) Just click on as many options as you like and enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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