CURRENT GIVEAWAY CONTESTS

Here are my current Giveaway Contests


ALMOST PARADISE through July 29th
THE COUNTDOWN CONSPIRACY through August 19th

Upcoming Agent Spotlights and Query Critique Giveaways

Danielle Burby Agent Spotlight Interview on 9/25/17
Molly O'Neal Agent Spotlight Interview on 10/23/17
Quressa Robinson Agent Spotlight Interview on 10/30/17

KRISTIN BARTLEY LENZ INTERVIEW AND THE ART OF HOLDING ON AND LETTING GO GIVEAWAY

Happy Monday Everyone! Today I’m thrilled to have debut author and friend Kristin Bartley Lenz here to share about her YA contemporary THE ART OF HOLDING ON AND LETTING GO that released this month. I’ve known Kristin for years through our Michigan SCBWI, and am so happy to see her debut as an author. Sharing these experiences with friends is one of the reasons I still love blogging so much. And I’m super excited to read Kristin’s book because of the issue of loss and going on that the story explores—something very personal to me. 

I just got to see Kristin yesterday at one of her debut celebrations at Nicola's Books, a local indy bookstore. It was so fun seeing her debut, and all our local SCBWI members and friends who caame to celebrate with her. Here we are together.

  


Here’s a blurb from Goodreads

Competitive climber Cara Jenkins feels most at home high off the ground, clinging to a rock wall by her fingertips. She’s enjoyed a roaming life with her mountaineering parents, making the natural world her jungle gym, the writings of Annie Dillard and Henry David Thoreau her textbooks. But when tragedy strikes on an Ecuadoran mountaintop, Cara’s nomadic lifestyle comes to an abrupt halt.

Starting over at her grandparents’ home in suburban Detroit, Cara embarks on a year of discovery, uncovering unknown strengths, friendships, and first love. Cara’s journey illustrates the transformative power of nature, love and loss, and discovering that home can be far from where you started.

Hi Kristin! Thanks so much for joining us.

  1. Tell us about yourself and how you became a writer.

Hi Natalie! I’ve been following your blog for so many years, it’s exciting to be here! I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but somewhere in my teen years I lost confidence in my writing and pursed another career instead. My social work career was a detour on my writing path, but it greatly expanded my worldview and shaped my growth as a writer.

  1. I bet your social work experience was super interesting and gave you insight into different types of people. Where did you get the idea for THE ART OF HOLDING ON AND LETTING GO?
My husband and I discovered a new world of outdoor enthusiasm when we moved near the mountains in Georgia and California: hiking, white-water kayaking, climbing. We followed the careers of well-known mountaineers, and one by one, each of those climbers died while attempting epic summits. Most of them had spouses and children. I began to wonder what it would be like to be the child of a professional mountaineer. How would that child’s upbringing be different? And what if both of her parents were extreme mountaineers, not just one? How would this shape her world?

  1. Cool that your husband and you shared this passion. Some of the reviews for your book mention how the readers felt transported to the world of rock climbing in your story. I know you love mountains. But did you draw on your experience or research in getting the details so right? Do you have any tips for other writers?

My own rock-climbing experience definitely helped me, but I also needed to do a lot of research, especially since part of the book is set in Ecuador. I recently wrote a guest post with research tips based on my experience writing this novel.

  1. One of the things that appeals to me about your story is how it focuses on Cara’s transformation and character journey after her tragedy. Were there any surprises for you in her growth as a character?

Not necessarily surprises, but her character gradually grew over time with more and more layers being added. While coping with loss and a major move across country, Cara is discovering herself and developing as a young woman – her body is changing and she has a new awareness of femininity and sexuality.

  1. Layers are so important to a well-developed character. What was the biggest challenge you faced in writing or editing your story? How did you overcome it?

My biggest challenge was trying to balance all of the various and often conflicting feedback I received from agents, editors, and other writers. At one point, I tried to listen to all of it, work all of it into my revisions, and I got lost in my story. I had to set the manuscript aside, and then follow my gut when I returned to revise much later. If I had listened to all of those voices, this manuscript would still be stuck in my computer. It was so rewarding to finally find an editor who shared my vision!

  1. Oh, I can so relate to that frustrating challenge, and I'm sure others can too. You sold your book through winning a contest—the Helen Sheehan YA Book Prize. Share how that came about, why you decided to enter the contest, and tips for others considering contests. 
To be honest, it was an impulsive decision. I saw the announcement right before the deadline, and I
recognized Elephant Rock Books because the last YA novel they published went on to win a Printz Honor, and I loved the story. Carnival at Bray was a literary, realistic coming of age novel with depth and heart, and I thought my book might be a good fit for this publishing house too.
Contests are a great way to receive validation for your work, publishing credits, and visibility to agents and editors, but research is very important to avoid scams. There are reputable organizations that have contests, such as SCBWI and RWA, or publications such as Hunger Mountain. Elephant Rock Books will be looking for their next Sheehan YA Book Prize winner in 2017.

  1. What an awesome publishing story. You also won the YA manuscript competition at the Midwest SCBWI conference this spring. How awesome! How is that helping you with your writing and your plans as a debut author?

Winning the manuscript competition was helpful because it got my new novel in front of a New York editor. I never anticipated publishing with a small press, but I’ve had such a great experience with ERB. I’d do it all over again if I could, but they only publish YA novels through their Sheehan contest. So that means I need to go back on submission for my new novel.

  1. Even more amazing! You're inspiring us all. Your agent is Carrie Pestritto. How did she become your agent?

Actually, this is another example of winning a contest and the generosity of the Kidlit community. Many bloggers host pitch contests as a way to give back or pay it forward, and my agent Carrie Pestritto from Prospect Agency (http://www.prospectagency.com/) was accepting pitches on Monica Bustamante Wagner’s Love YA blog (http://monibw.blogspot.com/). *waves to Monica who has a new NA novel, Frosh, out now!* Carrie selected my pitch for a different YA novel, asked me to revise, and then offered representation. That novel hasn’t sold, and it’s another example of trying to balance everyone’s revision suggestions. I had to set it aside for awhile, and I pulled out The Art of Holding On and Letting Go which had been resting. And ta-da, that’s the manuscript that finally sold first.

  1. Wow! Your experience is such a great example of how contests can help. How are you juggling marketing your book as a debut author with your job as a social worker, being a wife and a mom, and running The Mitten, Michigan’s SCBWI blog? Has this affected your marketing decisions? How?

I’ve definitely had a few freak-out moments! So many wonderful opportunities have been offered to me, but much of it is out of my comfort zone. It’s exciting, but stressful at the same time. I’m learning as I go and leaning on the support and wealth of knowledge from author friends.

I’m no longer working as a clinical social worker; instead I’ve been able to blend my writing and social work careers by writing for non-profit organizations in Detroit. This is flexible, contractual work, and I’m fortunate to have writing time while my daughter is at school. Managing SCBWI-MI’s blog takes time every week, but nothing like the amount of work you do for Literary Rambles on top of your lawyer career. I admire you, Natalie! I have lots of help from my co-editors and guest contributors, and it’s inspiring to be in the midst of the writing/illustrating community and share their successes.

10. I love what you do at The Mitten. I've moved into contract writing too, and I love it. What are you working on now? 

I hope to be revising my new YA novel with an editor soon. It’s a much darker contemporary that deals with human trafficking. While it’s on submission, I need to start something fresh!

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Kristin! You can find Kristin at

 Kristin and her publisher have generously offered a book giveaway of THE ART OF HOLDING ON AND LETTING GO. 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 through October 8th If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter the contest.

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 years old or older to enter. This in for U.S.

Here's what's coming up:


Next Monday Natalie Lorenzi will be doing a guest post with a giveaway of her MG historical A LONG PITCH HOME.

The Monday after that follower and debut author Sheri Larson will be here with a guest post and a giveaway of her MG fantasy MOTLEY EDUCATION. 

The following Monday debut author  Ellie Swartz will be here for an interview and giveaway of her MG contemporary FINDING PERFECT.

Hope to see you on Monday!







67 comments:

  1. Congratulations to Kristin! I could only imagine how anxious I might feel if I had extreme mountaineering parents! The book sounds fantastic. Good luck!

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  2. It was great to see you yesterday, Natalie! Thanks so much for having me here and spreading the word about my book. Cheers!

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  3. Hi, Kristin, and congratulations! Your cover is beautiful and the story sounds like one my daughter might like. :)

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    1. Thanks, Shannon! I hope your daughter likes it - it's been fun to see my daughter's friends read and react to it.

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  4. Love the story line and I think young readers will feel the same. Best of luck with its launch.

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  5. Congratulations, Kristin. Cara's story sounds powerful and interesting as well. The title speaks so eloquently to what the story is about.

    I've tweeted about the giveaway.

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    1. Thank you! I think the title is perfect, but very loooong to keep writing it out!

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  6. Love white water kayaking. It's a thrill, especially when you get into those class Vs. Love Cara's story idea and wish her the very best.

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    1. I really tried to like white water kayaking, but never got good at it - I was always punching out and swimming and needing to get rescued!

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  7. Wow, I can imagine how exciting it must have been to get the news about the contests.

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  8. Congratulations! I can't wait to read your book. Sorry to have missed the local signing! I shared on my tumblr: http://yesreaderwriterpoetmusician.tumblr.com/post/150970877127/kristin-bartley-lenz-interview-and-the-art-of

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    1. Hi Danielle! Thanks for spreading the word!

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  9. That's cool you know each other in real life.
    I can imagine conflicting feedback would drive one nuts. Smart to go with your gut instinct.

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    1. Right? It's such a great feeling to finally work with an editor who shares your vision. Thanks, Alex.

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  10. This sounds like a powerful story, and I also enjoyed hearing about Kristin's publication journey. Thanks for sharing!

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  11. Congratulations to Kristen on the release of The Art of Holding on and Letting Go. I really like the cover and the premise sounds very interesting.

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  12. Fun interview. And congrats to Kristen!

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  13. When to hold on and when to let go are some of the most important things we can learn in life. Love your story idea!

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    1. Thanks! Yes - definitely a universal theme.

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  14. Looks like you two had fun at the bookstore! Congrats to Kristin, the book looks great. I love the title. Enjoyed the interview - many thanks to both of you! I'll pass on the giveaway this week. Have a great week! :)

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    1. Thanks for helping to spread the word, Karen!

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  15. I really enjoyed this interview and the picture of you two at the signing! It was really interesting reading about Kristin's unique path to publication. This sounds like a great story--I especially like the mountaineering angle.

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  16. Great interview!
    Thanks for the chance to win!
    natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

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  17. Wonderful interview! I've been hearing about this book a lot so I'm eager to get my hands on it. Thanks for the giveaway! I work in social work as well, and I can totally see how it widens the writing worldview. I believe my email is attached to my account, but just to be safe its katiecarson at hotmail dot com

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  18. Great interview! It sounds like a super book.

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  19. What a great publication story! Love the premise of this book--thanks for the giveaway. I mentioned on Twitter. valbodden(at)gmail(dot)com.

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    1. I saw your Tweet - thanks for helping to spread the word!

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  20. I'm so glad you were able to hold true to your vision in the rewrites. That sounds like it's own version of holding on while letting go. 😄

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    1. Very true - the title became a metaphor for my publishing journey as well!

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  21. Sold! (Unless I'm lucky enough to win the contest.) I've been interested in climbing since reading Into Thin Air. After reading and watching a lot of things on climbing the highest mountains, I saw a wonderful documentary on climbing in the Yosemite Valley on Netflix. This book sounds excellent. Congrats to Kristin.

    tamara (dot) narayan (at) gmail (dot) com

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    1. If the Yosemite documentary series was done by National Geographic, I saw the same one! Loved it, especially the part about Lynne Hill and the old school/new school rivalries.

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  22. Wonderful interview. Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy of the book. Sounds like a great read.

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  23. Congratulations to Kristin. Debut novels are always pretty exciting. It sounds like a terrific story. Please let someone else win, though. I am buried in books right now. Thanks for the post.

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  24. Yes! That conflicting feedback can be difficult. It's always easier to revise after a break, though. Congrats to you, Kristin.

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  25. Congrats Kristin. Loved the interview, your book sounds very interesting!

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  26. Great interview! Thanks for the chance to win a copy of this great book. meredithfl at gmail dot com

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  27. Yay, Kristin! That's epic and a half. Contests really are the way to go, eh? I'm so, so stoked for you!

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  28. I love the interviews here, always so well done.

    Thanks for the chance to win a copy, it sounds great.

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  29. Congrats, Kristin! I've done a bit of climbing, though not so much on the extreme side. This sounds exciting.

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  30. Congrats, Kristin!!!

    Love the cover. And yes, it's great when you find an editor who shares you vision.

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  31. I like the cover and how it relates to the book. It sounds like a very emotional story. Wishing Kristin success and you both a lovely weekend!

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  32. The book sounds great - and the interview is too! Kristin seems so likeable, and I'm looking forward to reading her book.

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  33. Congrats to Kristin. So fun to hear about her path to publication. This sounds like a great read! Thanks so much for a chance to win a copy. :)
    ~Jess

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  34. This was such a fun interview! Thanks for sharing.


    www.ficklemillennial.wordpress.com

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  35. Congrats on your debut, Kristin! I'm not entering the giveaway (in Canada).

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  36. What an inspiring interview this was. I always enjoy your interviews, Natalie. Meanwhile, congratulations on our debut novel, Kristin, and best of luck on your other submissions!

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  37. Super interview. Congratulations Kristin!! Wishing you much success.
    Natalie, I didn't know of any indie book stores and being called Nicola's Books is just fab! Where is that?
    Have a super month.

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  38. Great interview! Social work sure you gives you insights into so many lives and ways of handling things - and how all of that affects those involved

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  39. Congrats to Kristin! There is a lot of conflicting feedback. You have to trust yourself in some parts... or I look to my audience. That usually helps me figure out where to go.

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  40. Congrats, Kristin! I love where you got your idea for the book.

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  41. (Not entering I'm INT) Kristin I'm so happy for you! Wishing you even more success in the future.

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  42. Well done, Kristin! What an exciting journey you've been on. Your new books sounds awesome. Congrats! I'm off to tweet!

    Hi Natalie! *waves*

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  43. Kristin's so right about the challenge of balancing all of the suggestions on a manuscript. But she's used to challenges if she climbs, so I see this writing career as a perfect compliment to her passion for high rocks.

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  44. Entering contests and pitch opportunities are very great ways to get out and seen. Glad it worked out. Congrats on your debut, Kristin!

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  45. Excellent interview, Natalie and Kristin!

    Your book sounds great, Kristin! Hurray for contests that help talented people get their work noticed and into the world!

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  46. Kristin's novel sounds like a great read, and I love the title! Cute photo of the two of you, and it seems like you're both highly skilled jugglers!

    Julie

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