Here are my current Giveaway Contests

Berry Good Giveaway Hop through June 15th

Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews and Guest Posts w/ Debut Authors & Query Critique Giveaways

Analieze Cervantes Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 7/14/2021

Mary Cummings Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 7/21/2021

Allison Hellegers Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 7/26/2021

Sera Rivers Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 8/11/2021

Renae Moore Agent Spotlight Interview on 8/25/2021

Nicole Eisenbraun Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 9/15/2021

Agent Chloe Seager and Author Brianna Bourne Guest Post and Query Critique and You and Me at the End of the World Giveaway on 9/20/2021

Crystal Orazu Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 9/22/2021

Kristin Ostby Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 10/11/2021

Agent Spotlight Updates

All agent spotlights and interviews have been updated as of 7/15/2020, and many have been reviewed by the agents. Look for them to be fully updated again in 2023.


Happy Monday! I'm excited because I finally got my raking done. And the high school state swim meet is next weekend. Anna Li is doing the backstroke in the medley relay. I'm excited for her. And after this weekend with no raking and swim meets, I'll have more time on the weekends for awhile. Yay!


First before I get to our fantastic interview, I want to share an exciting new feature I announced on Wednesday to help our author followers. On Mondays, I'll be shouting out about your good news! If you have signed with an agent, signed a publishing contract, decided to self-publish a book, have a cover reveal or book release to announce, I'm happy to give a shout out about it for you. And I'm not limiting this to MG and YA books. Please note this is for regular followers. This doesn't mean you have to stop by for every post, but it is for regular followers. If you have news, e-mail me at

And be sure to check out all the 10 awesome books I'm giving away by followers that I also shared in Wednesday's post and enter the contest. The link is at the top of the blog.  

My first follower news is for Christina Lee. I interviewed her when her debut NA story ALL OF YOU released this Fall. She just sold a new NA book to NAL (Penguin Imprint). A huge congrats to Christina! You can go HERE to congratulate her.

Next I have a few winners to announce.

The winner of THESE BROKEN STARS is Crystal Collier!

The winner of DREAM GIRL is Danielle H!

Congrats! E-mail me your address so I can send you your book. Please e-mail me by the end of Wednesday or I'll have to pick another winner.

Today I’m thrilled to have debut author, follower, and friend Crystal Collier here to share about MOONLESS, her fantasy she describes as “Jane Eyre meets supernatural.” It was released on November 13, 2013. I loved Jane Eyre as a kid and can’t wait to read this.

Here’s a blurb from Goodreads:
MOONLESS is Jane Eyre meets Supernatural.

In the English society of 1768 where women are bred to marry, unattractive Alexia, just sixteen, believes she will end up alone. But on the county doorstep of a neighbor’s estate, she meets a man straight out of her nightmares, one whose blue eyes threaten to consume her whole world—especially later when she discovers him standing over her murdered host in the middle of the night.

Among the many things to change for her that evening are: her physical appearance—from ghastly to breathtaking, an epidemic of night terrors predicting the future, and the blue-eyed man’s unexpected infusion into her life. Not only do his appearances precede tragedies, but they are echoed by the arrival of ravenous, black-robed wraiths on moonless nights.

Unable to decide whether he is one of these monsters or protecting her from them, she uncovers what her father has been concealing: truths about her own identity, about the blue-eyed man, and about love. After an attack close to home, Alexia realizes she cannot keep one foot in her old life and one in this new world. To protect her family she must either be sold into a loveless marriage, or escape with the man of her dreams and risk becoming one of the Soulless.

Hi Crystal! I’m so excited to have you here. And congrats on your book!

Thank you, and I brought cheese platter to keep us company while we chat. *grin*

1. Yum! BTW, for those of you who aren't friends with Crystal, she loves cheese. Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became a writer.

When I was little, I told stories through pictures, and eventually with words, gradually with music too. I’m a cheese lover with an overactive imagination. *shrugs*

2. Fun that you have three different ways of telling stories. Where did you get the idea for your story?

*rubbing hands* After a Dickens reading binge, I had a dream. A week later I was staring at a girl’s coming of age story based on two words: blue eyes. But that was only the beginning… *dun, dun, dun*

3. Wow! That’s an awesome way to come up with a story idea. MOONLESS is set in 1768
England. What research did you do to get your setting right and do you have any sources you recommend for people wanting to write in this era?

Do I ever! If you want to write for a time period, read era-written books. Period. The details of how people live are almost as important as they way they would think. I studied numerous essays, pamphlets, and novels from my time period, supplementing with JSTOR, Pinterest/google images for visuals, etymology dictionaries, and a thousand other online resources.

4. That’s a great idea to read books written in your time period. Sounds like you did a lot of research. 
What was the hardest part of writing your story—plot, voice, or character development? What did you learn craft-wise from the experience?

Stopping. But in all seriousness, there is so much story layered into Moonless that I had a difficult time deciding which parts to reveal, and which to keep for sequels.

5. That's great you could think it out while writing the first book in the series. Share three things you love about Alexia.

1. Her big heart. As an only child, she values life and how others feel. (Except the nasty old men trying to win her over.) Granted, she’s still young and learning how to see through other’s eyes.
2. She’s got moxie. She’s not the type to hide when the boogeyman is just around the corner—especially if a loved one is in danger.
3. She assumes the best of others.

6. I love that she’ brave. How did Rayborne Publishing become your publisher? What’s it been like working with them?

Raybourne is a newer publishing house with a unique model. They approached me after my success with Pitch Wars 2012, and I love their flexible structuring.

7. That must have felt incredible when they contacted you. It is becoming much more common for authors to decide that small publishers are a good fit for themselves and their books. What advice do you have for others considering a small press?

Look at what they’ve published. If it’s the caliber of work you hope to produce, they’re probably a good fit. Have open discussions about what will be expected, and where they’re willing to compromise. Remember you’ll be giving away significant amounts of your profits and control, so choose wisely.

8. Those seem like really important considerations. I want to talk about marketing for a bit. Wow! You’re in the midst of a 52 stop blog tour in 19 days. How did you set it up and decide on the blogs for your tour? Do you recommend other debut authors doing a big tour like yours?

Organization is the key. I started 2.5 months early and never anticipated so many blogging friends would want to participate. People just have to be asked. (And most are honored by the request.)

For debut authors, only take on what you can handle. As the president of a children’s organization, a home schooling mom, a freelance composer and an author, I have some pretty broad shoulders. As long as I can calendar a project out, it’s doable.

9. I agree that it’s best to keep it to what you personally can handle. Are you planning to share about your book on any book review blogs? If so, how are you deciding on which ones are a good fit for your book?

Moonless will appear on review blogs over the next many months. As a voracious reader, I look for places with books I adore and reviews that reflect my own feelings on the material.

10. I hope you’ll keep us posted on the book review blogs you find helpful. What are you working on now?

The blog tour. Oh, you mean book wise? ;) I’m in the middle of revisions for SOULLESS, book 2 in the Maiden of Time trilogy with an anticipated release of spring, 2014.

Good luck with it. Thanks for sharing all your advice, Crystal.

Thank you for having me!

You can find Crystal at:

Crystal has generously donated an e-book for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment telling me what book you’d like through November 30th. I’ll announce the winner on December 2nd. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, please leave it in the comments.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. You must be 13 or older to enter. International entries are welcome.

And Crystal has a big blog tour giveaway. Enter the Rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here’s what’s coming up:

On Wednesday I’m interviewing Jean Alicia Elster and giving away a copy of THE COLORED CAR, a historical novel about an African American girl’s journey from the North to the South one summer in the Depression era. It sounds like a fantastic story.
Next Monday I’ll have a guest post by Martina Boone, a blogger friends who blogs at Adventures in YA Publishing, a fantastic blog. She’ll be talking about a new Tumblr blog being started by her and other YA authors. Her debut gothic YA story BEHOLDEN will be released Fall, 2014.
And then the following Monday, I’m interviewing Lydia Kang and giving away a copy of CONTROL, her fantastic YA dystopian story about kids with powers because of gene mutations. Lydia is also a doctor and it adds a whole fantastic element to her story.
And don't forget our Tuesday Tips and Casey's Thursday agent spotlights.
Hope to see you on Wednesday!


  1. "stopping" lol That is so true! Not just in the research but in what we include in a story. Love the premise of this book.

  2. I forgot to ask (and yes, it's my standard question). Will this book be an ebook?

    1. Yes, eventually. The audiobook will hopefully debut late 2014, but may not make it out the door until 2015.

  3. Great interview! Mind if I help myself to some cheese? :) Wish you all the best, Crystal! Thanks, Natalie, for hosting!

  4. I've seen Crystal's interviews a lot recently and they all are fresh and different. Though I admit, as soon as I see her name, I get this odd craving for cheese and crackers.

    1. Susan, it took a great deal of effort to make sure every one was different, but like cheese, variety is the best, eh?

  5. Great questions, thoughtful answers. It's always a treat to hear about the journey and what works/doesn't work for each author.

    1. And it's amazing--the similarities and differences in people's answers, eh?

  6. That's so wonderful of you to help out your fellow authors. I thought about doing something similar, but I've never really taken any action into that direction apart from posting reviews and allowing guest posts ;-)

    By the way, Moonless sounds fantastic and I adore the cover. Congratulations, Crystal.

  7. YaY congrads pal! WOOT WOOT! Love the interview Nat. CHEESE! *nom* *nom* *nom* *rubs belly* :-)

    You've done so much with this tour. You're my hero girl! You have taken the words blog tour to a new height!

    Hugs and loves to you both!

    1. Robyn, thou rocketh! ;) (Natalie, you see why I keep this woman around, eh?)

  8. Awesome interview! I mentioned this book to a friend of mine and they're reading it now. :)

  9. Yay for getting your weekends back after this!

    Love the premise of MOONLESS. And I'm so impressed that Crystal did all that reading from the time period. Such a great idea!

    Natalie, let someone else win, since I've won quite a few books from bloggers recently.

    1. Psst, Joanne--I did my research over a ten year stretch, so don't be too impressed yet. ;)

  10. I love me a good historical novel, but this one has a nice twist. Great interview!

    1. As opposed to a mean twist? ;) I'd take either just as happily--and thank you for the kind words.

  11. Great interview. I too love cheese. I am super eager to read Moonless.

  12. Good luck to Crystal and her release of Moonless!

    And it feels great to get all that raking done. Although I do enjoy it. It really relaxes me. And its fun to watch the wind blow my leaves into my neighbors perfectly manicured lawn.

  13. Congratulations to Christina, and to both of the winners!

  14. Congrats again Crystal! I've added it on goodreads and can't wait to read it.

  15. Congrats to everyone! Lots of good news here today. Great interview with Crystal. I always crave cheese when I read something about her online. Hehehe! I love how she was inspired by a dream. Most of my inspiration for stories comes from dreams too.

  16. Congrats Christina & Crystal! Moonless sounds awesome! You had me at Jane Eyre meets Supernatural! I can't wait to read it!

  17. Yay for amazing Crystal and her fabulous dreams! "Blue eyes"!! How intriguing! All the best to her and fierce Alexia!

    Take care

  18. Alexia sounds like a fantastic character! Good luck with the release :)

  19. Wow, it sounds like you did heaps of research for Moonless, Crystal. So impressive!

  20. Congratulations, Crystal! Moonless is on my TBR list -- although I don't foresee making progress on my TBR list until Christmas ...

    Luckily, I have a long Christmas break!

    1. LOL! You'll probably need most of it to catch up on your writing. ;)

  21. Three cheers to Crystal. I always applaud writers of historical fiction. Any writing journey takes work, but there is added research involved and craftmanship when trying to make a period piece fit the time period it is meant for :-)

    1. But hey, it makes for a mildly educated writer, eh?

  22. Must've been awesome to have a publisher approach you. And smart to save ideas for sequels. Trust me, much easier when you plan ahead!

    1. Tell me about it! Plotting isn't just a clever idea someone thought up.

  23. This comment has been removed by the author.

  24. Great interview! Congrats to Crystal.

    Love the idea of the follower news, Natalie.

  25. I didn't think it was possible, but Crystal just got cooler. I love the word moxie! :)

  26. This was a really great interview! And I am going to follow now!

  27. That blurb sounds awesome! I really enjoyed reading the interview, and completely agree with Crystal about reading books actually written in the era to get their idiom and the colloquialisms. I'm wishing Crystal huge success with Moonless! :-)

    1. It's definitely a good way to go, eh? Thank you, Lexa.

  28. Great interview and awesome post :D Love the sound of Moonless. The cover is pretty gorgeous :)

    1. Also; would love to win Moonless :D Thank you for the giveaway. <3

    2. Carina, I would love you to win Moonless. =)

  29. Great interview and fantastic ideas for research. I already have a copy of Moonless.