Thursday, October 1, 2015

YA Scavenger Hunt

Welcome to YA Scavenger Hunt! This bi-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! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 72 hours!

Go to the YA Scavenger Huntpage to find out all about the hunt. There are eight contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the ORANGE TEAMbut there is also a blue team, a red team, a gold team, a green team, a pink team, a purple team and a teal team for a chance to win a whole different set of 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 page.


Directions: Below, you'll notice that I've listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the blue 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 October 4th, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.


Today, I am hosting DEIRDRE RIORDAN HALL for the YA Scavenger Hunt! Deirdre Riordan Hall is the author of young adult and new adult fiction. When she's not writing, she's surfing or in pursuit of magic or both. She also has a healthy case of wanderlust, loves salsa, guacamole, and tortilla chips, and dreams about learning to play piano.

Find out more information by checking out Deirdre's website or find more about the SUGAR here!


Not a day passes when Sugar isn't reminded that she's too much and yet not enough: from Mama who’s eating herself into an early grave, her brother Skunk whose drunken friends harass her, and everyone at school who treats her as if she’s as desirable as a piece of gum on the underside of a desk.

It's not until Even, tall, handsome, and tousle-haired, appears with a motorcycle and a dream that she begins to discover the confidence buried deep within. His plan will carry them far from the one-star town trapping them both; Sugar in a body she doesn’t want and Even in a place he doesn’t like. Bonding over loss and laughter, their growing friendship pushes out the doubt and fear, and the cookies and cake, threatening to consume her.

Just as Sugar begins to see her beauty—inside and out—, and the world beyond the forgotten corner of the state she inhabits, life becomes too heavy to bear. She must gather all her courage to fight against everything she has known to be true and refuse to settle for worthless.

[Insert whatever the content the author will send to you here. This could be a short story, or a password to a website, or a cover reveal, etc. Please check to make sure that it's formatted correctly.]

And don't forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of signed books by me, Kelly Hashway, and more! To enter, you need to know that my favorite number is 8. Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the orange team and you'll have all the secret code to enter for the grand prize!


To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author MERADETH HOUSTON.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Writer Wednesday: Should You Say Thank You?

Today's topic comes courtesy of Rick Starkey. Rick wants to know if it's too much clutter for an editor's inbox if an author sends a thank-you after receiving a rejection, especially if it's a personalized rejection.

Now, keep in mind that I can't speak for all editors, but for me, getting thank-you emails from authors kept me going during Seek's open submissions period. I received some that simply said, "thank you for getting back to me so soon," since my typical response time was 24 hours or under. (Yes, I'm insane like that.) These emails mentioned how it was nice to get such a speedy response, even if it wasn't a favorable response. My reaction was that these authors understood how busy an editor is and appreciated that I worked so quickly to get back to them. So, I definitely liked getting these emails.

The other kind of response I got was on personalized rejections. Again, these authors were appreciative of the feedback I offered on their submissions, and a few even mentioned how rare it is to get the feedback. Showing you understand that an editor doesn't have to provide feedback but took the time to do so gets you a big gold star in my book. I really enjoyed reading these emails.

So, it's all good, right? Well, not exactly. Here's the exception. I received a few responses that began as thank-you emails and morphed into "since you were kind enough to offer feedback on this book, I have another I think you'll love" and "can I assume you'd be open to me revising based on your feedback and resubmitting?" 

Let's start with the first one. Now, it was an open submissions period, which means anyone could submit any book to me. There was no need to ask. So this email actually came across as "you see potential in me so I'm letting you know I'm sending you something else that you'll hopefully move up in your slush pile because you like me." Now, maybe that's not what the author intended, but it does come off this way to an editor, so be careful about sounding like you think you deserve special treatment. The second response is also a no-no. If an editor wants you to revise and resubmit, he or she will tell you that. Otherwise, consider it feedback to help you get the manuscript ready to send out to other editors.

If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Monday Mishmash 9/28/15

Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. YA Scavenger Hunt  I'm excited to share that I'm on Team Orange for the YA Scavenger Hunt. It will run from October 1st to noon on October 4th. That means' I'll be posting on Thursday instead of Friday this week. There are tons of books to win on this hunt, so be sure to stop back on Thursday. Oh, and in case you noticed, I am on Team Orange for Our Little Secret, my new Ashelyn Drake title too. :) I'll be sharing exclusive bonus scenes told from alternate POVs, but they'll only be online during the 72-hour hunt, so don't miss out.
  2. Editing  I'll be editing for Leap this week. This is probably the fourth time I'm reading this book, which is why an editor must LOVE your book, because I'll read this at least four more times before the book is published.
  3. Monthly Newsletter Change  I've decided to release my free monthly newsletter on the first of every month instead of the first Monday of every month. The reason is that some months begin on a Tuesday and I feel like it takes to long for that first Monday to roll around. So, expect my newsletters in your inboxes on the 1st from now on. If you aren't signed up to receive my newsletter but would like to, click here.
  4. I Wrote An Adult Novella?  You know me. I say I'll never do something and then, guess what? I do it. I said I'd never write for adults. I'm a children's author. Well, I am, but I just finished a novella for a boxset last week and it's a clean adult romance. So, I guess Ashelyn Drake writes romance for teens, new adults, and adults now. ;) 
  5. Our Little Secret  I want to thank everyone who has already posted a review of Our Little Secret on Amazon. Reviews are so important as far as Amazon promoting the book and placing it in the eyes of potential readers, so I really appreciate every review, whether the reader loved the book or it wasn't for them.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

Friday, September 25, 2015

Friday Feature: Seeker by Amy Reece

The Seeker Series by Amy Reece
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
SEEKER - Book #1:
DREAMER - Book #2:
SEER - Book #3:
ORACLE - Book #4:

SEEKER, The Seeker Series #1
Ally Moran has always just known about things—things she shouldn’t really be able to know…
Suddenly when she starts having vivid visions about a former friend who is in desperate trouble, the adults in her life think she might hold the key to an ancient mystery.
Jack Ruiz has a troubled past, but is trying to make a fresh start at a new high school…
He just wants to keep his head down and graduate, hopefully before he turns 20. The last thing he needs is to get involved with a feisty redhead and her psychic visions.
While Jack valiantly attempts to keep Ally at arm’s length, she is equally determined to be a part of his life. Who will win this battle of wills?
More importantly…
Can this unlikely couple work together to find answers to Ally’s visions before someone gets killed?

DREAMER, The Seeker Series #2
Meet Ally Moran, a 17 year-old who also happens to be psychic. Oh, and she’s getting more psychic with every passing day, so much so that she’s been sent to Ireland to check in with the Seer Council to see what’s up with her freaky new powers.
Jack Ruiz is her 19 year-old boyfriend, a former troublemaker who’s back on track and trying desperately to graduate. His plans did not include falling in love with a psychic trouble-magnet.
Last month they worked together to save a friend in deep trouble and ended up solving a school-wide mystery. But now there’s a new guy at school, Remy Giles, and he seems just a little bit too interested in Ally for Jack’s liking. And why does Ally keep dreaming about a kidnapping? Last month seems like a cakewalk compared to this semester…
Ally's trying to solve a mystery, but Jack is just trying to keep her alive.

SEER, The Seeker Series #3

Ally Moran and Jack Ruiz are starting their first year in college and are looking for peace and quiet for the first time in their relationship…
However, it may be too much to hope for.
First, Ally’s long-lost father shows up, making her question everything she thought she knew about her past.
Meanwhile, Rémy Giles and the mysterious Mina have accompanied Ally home from France so they can try to figure out what the newest prophecy could possibly mean.
Is Ally the next Oracle?
And if all this weren’t enough, Ally fears she is being stalked, and she appears to have a secret admirer who is sending her creepy personal messages in the college newspaper. However, no one else has seen this “supposed” stalker, so she fears she may be going crazy.
As Jack and Remy fight to keep Ally safe against the looming danger,
Ally begins to fear for the one thing she can’t bear to lose…her sanity.

"Ally was just telling me that her young man has joined the military. I think that is very noble." Kate put her arm through Rémy's and pulled him along with us deeper into the garden. "Oh, yes. Jack is all that is noble and good," Rémy said, dripping sarcasm. "He is so good that we mere mortals must bask in his virtuosity. Oww". He rubbed the arm I punched. "Now, children. You mustn't fight. Don't make me send you to your rooms," Kate teased. "We must make good use of Ally's limited time here to try and figure out what you two have to do with the prophecy. It would be so much easier and make more sense if you were destined to fall in love with each other," she sighed. I swallowed another bite of sandwich. "I really don't think prophecies should go around telling people who to fall in love with. That's not right. I didn't choose to fall in love with Jack; my heart chose him and I had to go along with it." They both stopped in the path and stared at me. "What?" I asked. "That was very beautiful, Ally. And very profound. I can see I would be wise not to underestimate you, my dear. Now," she said as she led us briskly down the path, "why have you two been brought together, if not to unite the clans through a marriage alliance?" The mere thought of marriage to Rémy made me cringe. I mean, he was gorgeous, but we would kill each other in about an hour. "You don't think we can bring the clans together any other way than marriage? That's really limiting, you know? Not to mention medieval." Rémy snickered and Kate gave him a dirty look. "Ally is correct. And far, far in the future, when I begin to look for a wife, I will require someone a good bit more biddable than Ally," he said. "Yes," I sneered. "You'll need someone who adores you nearly as much as you adore yourself." "Remind me why I went to the trouble of bringing you a sandwich?" "Children," Kate warned. "Sorry," we both murmured. "Now, we must use what little time we have for Ally's visit to try and figure out what in the world is going on with you two. We will have to run various tests..."

ORACLE, The Seeker Series #4
Spending her junior year in college in France should be the adventure of a lifetime…
Too bad Ally Morans’s only doing it to keep her family and friends safe from a killer. When Mina goes missing, the illusion of safety disappears and Rémy must finally confront his feelings for her.
Jack has been patient for a year, but he can only be pushed so far before he takes matters into his own hands and flies to France to bring back the feisty red-haired psychic he loves.
Love may conquer all, but the identity of the true Oracle is still up in the air.
Until that’s settled,
no one can have a happily-ever-after…

I tried to relax as I watched people hurry by on the busy street. A young mother pushing a stroller stopped and sat at the table next to me, motioning to the waiter for a coffee. She wilted in her chair only to sit up again and fuss with the sleeping baby’s blanket. She noticed me watching and we exchanged smiles in that universal way of women admiring a beautiful baby. I looked away and sighed. Would that ever be me? I was twenty years old, living in a foreign country, and I was lonely. Jack and I communicated every day—text, FaceTime, email, etcetera—but it wasn’t enough any more. I needed to be with him: to hold him, kiss him, live with him, and yes, sleep with him. I was ready to move on with my life, but this unresolved situation with Luc was holding me back. As if I had conjured a response with my thoughts, my phone dinged a text notification. It was from Jack and consisted of a two word response to my email:

Come home.
I smiled and reached to wipe away a tear as I prepared to text him back.

“Cherié! I thought I might find you here!”

“Rémy! You’re back early!” He kissed both my cheeks before taking the chair opposite me. I noticed he and the young woman at the next table giving each other a once-over and rolled my eyes at him.

“What?” He shrugged.

“You just can’t help it, can you?” I laughed. “Flirting is like breathing with you, isn’t it?”

He shrugged again and caught Marc’s attention to order a beer. “Where’s Mina? I tried to get her on her mobile, but it went straight to voice mail.”

I cocked an eyebrow at him and smirked. “She turns it off when she needs to concentrate. I’m sure she’s at home working. Drink your beer and then we can go see her.” Although we had all improved our mental communication abilities over the past year, we had all also agreed to respect each other’s privacy to a much greater degree, only invading each other’s thoughts in the case of a true emergency, which had not happened so far this year. In fact, this year had been mostly an exercise in boredom, filled with school, training, and waiting.
Amy Reece lives in Albuquerque, NM, with her husband and family. She loves to read and travel and has an unhealthy addiction to dogs. She loves wine and friends, in that order. Stay tuned for The Stone Chronicles, coming soon.
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Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Writer Wednesday: How Long Does It Take Editors to Decide to Acquire a Book?

Today's topic comes courtesy of Johnell DeWitt. Johnell wants to know how long it takes an editor to make a decision after they've requested and read a manuscript.

For me, it's immediate. I have to love a book to take it on. I stop reading a submission when I realize I'm not in love with it. That means if I make it to the end, I loved it. Now, that doesn't necessarily mean I'm going to send off an offer right away though. At this point I know I want the book, but the next question is how does the book fit into the current line for Seek? The book has to be a good fit for the company. If it is, then I'm ready to offer. If it's not...

Two things could happen at this point. I could regretfully pass on a great book because it's too similar to another title or doesn't fit the line for another reason (like maybe the word count is a lot higher than Seek's other titles). Or, I might email the author to see if they are willing to make changes to have the book fit our line better. Now, the author might not want to make the changes (which is totally fine), and at that point, I wish him/her luck in finding a home for the book. If the author is willing to make the changes, I'm ready to offer a contract.

So, that's what it looks like on the other side of my submissions desk after I read a manuscript. I'm sure other editors might have a different process, but hopefully you find it helpful to hear about mine.

*If you have a topic you'd like me to cover in a Writer Wednesday post, feel free to leave it in the comments.*

Monday, September 21, 2015

Monday Mishmash 9/21/15

Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Revisions  This weekend I finished revisions on one of my YA titles. It was fun to revisit a book I haven't looked at in a while.
  2. Editing  I have client edits to work on this week. No surprise there. ;)
  3. School Pictures  I'm helping out with school pictures tomorrow. It's always fun to see the kids all dressed up.
  4. Leap Submissions  I'm hoping to get through some Leap submissions this week. With upcoming releases, they've been getting pushed to the back burner.
  5. Our Little Secret Blog Tour  This week is the blog tour through Inkslinger PR. So far, my little book is holding its own out there. I'm hoping the tour will help spread the word even more.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

Friday, September 18, 2015

Friday Feature: Our Little Secret

“Is there a difference between a secret and a lie?”

Now you can find out!

Our Little Secret released on Tuesday and is now available in both print and ebook!

“Is there a difference between a secret and a lie?”

Becca Daniels needs a passing math grade…but what she wants is to spend more time with Toby Michaels. 

The only problem is Toby is her best friend’s twin, and Tori has a very firm “no dating the brother” policy. 

But Becca’s grade has hit rock bottom and she needs a tutor. It just so happens that Toby is a math genius and more than happy to help—lucky her! Working so closely with the handsome, popular Toby, Becca can’t hide her attraction, and it soon becomes obvious he feels the same way. 

Becca doesn’t want to lose her best friend, but she isn’t willing to give up Toby either. 

At first, sneaking around is fun, stealing kisses right under Tori’s nose. But things take an ugly turn when Toby’s ex-girlfriend Meredith catches them together. Meredith demands Toby take her back and restore her reputation, or she’ll tell Tori their secret. Do they dare tell Tori the truth? Or would that just make things worse? 

Surrounded by secrets and knee-deep in deception, something has to give… 

How far is Meredith willing to go to keep Toby and Becca apart? 

And how much is Becca willing to risk to keep… 

Our Little Secret?

Add the book on Goodreads and order it on Amazon or B&N.

And to celebrate, I'm giving away an Our Little Secret SWAG pack, complete with pencils, stickers, an Our Little Secret folder, and trading cards. Enter on the rafflecopter below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.