CURRENT GIVEAWAY CONTESTS

Here are my current Giveaway Contests

PIPER MORGAN PLANS A PARTY through December 9th
THE TRUTH BENEATH THE LIES through December 23rd
COOKIE CUTTERS & SLED RUNNERS through December 23rd

Upcoming Agent Spotlights and Query Critique Giveaways

Elizabeth Bewley Agent Spotlight Interview on 1/10/18
Molly O'Neill Agent Spotlight Interview on 1/22/18

TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS GIVEAWAY HOP


Happy Tuesday Everyone! Today I'm happy to participate in the Twelve Days of Christmas Giveaway Hop hosted by Stuck in Books. This is my way of shouting out about some fantastic middle grade and young adult books and to say thank you to all of you wonderful followers. I will be participating in one last giveaway on December 21st that I hope you will enter.

I hope you find a book you like for yourself, a family member, or a friend in the choices offered. Don’t see a book you like? You can win a $10.00 Amazon Gift Card instead. I hope you'll all enter to win a book or gift card for yourself or as a gift for someone.

So here are your choices. I've got a combination of MG and YA. If you want an earlier book in any of these series, you can pick that instead as long as it doesn't cost more than the book here. You can find descriptions of these books on Goodreads. Sorry that blogger would not align these correctly.

 


 


 



 


 





 

If you haven't found a book you want, you can win a $10 Amazon Gift Card.

To enter, all you need to do is be a follower anyway you want and leave a comment through December 24th telling me the book you want to win or if you want to win the Gift Card instead. 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 or older to enter. International entries are welcome as long as The Book Depository ships to you for free.

Here's what's coming up:

Thursday, December 21st I'm participating in the Midwinter's Eve Giveaway Hop--my last post for the year!

Wednesday, January 3rd I'll be back with an interview with debut author Sara Holland and a giveaway of her YA fantasy EVERLESS and my IWSG post.

Monday, January 8th I have an interview with debut author Rachel Lynn Solomon and a giveaway of her contemporary YA I'LL MISS YOU WHEN I'M GONE

Wednesday, January 10th I have an agent spotlight interview with Elizabeth Bewley and critique query giveaway

Hope to see you on Thursday, December 21st!

And here are all the other blogs participating in this blog hop:


NATALIE ROMPELLA INTERVIEW and COOKIE CUTTERS & SLED RUNNERS GIVEAWAY

Happy Monday Everyone! I’m excited to have author Natalie Rompella here to share about her debut MG contemporary COOKIE CUTTERS & SLED RUNNERS. Natalie is also the author of a picture book, Edgar, Allan, and Poe and the Tell-Tale Beets, and a number of non-fiction books for children. Natalie’s new book sounds like it tackles many of the friendship issues that middle schoolers face as well as a main character who must deal with the challenges of living with OCD.

Here’s a blurb from Goodreads:



Most kids would dread the start of middle school and the year-long Explorations project that comes with it, but Ana knows that her + her best friend Lily + their plan to write and sell their own cookbook is a recipe for success. Lily's not just the perfect partner in culinary crime--she's also the only person in the world who understands Ana's need to wash her hands five times before picking up a spatula, and would never make fun of her for it.

But Ana and Lily's plan for edible entrepreneurship turns into one big baking disaster when they're assigned to different partners for their projects. As if it wasn't bad enough that Lily seems more excited to get to know her new partner than bummed about being separated, Lily and her new friend plan to use the cookbook idea for themselves--and they didn't even ask! Worse, Ana's partner is Dasher, the strange new girl from Alaska, and she wants to do their project on the weirdest thing imaginable: sled dog racing.

Dasher's dogs are scary, slobbery, and decidedly not germ-free, but Ana thinks she's found a loophole when she agrees to bake pancakes for spectators while Dasher mushes in a local race. That is, until Dasher sprains her ankle and has to drop out of the running. Can Ana learn to mush--and overcome her anxiety--in time to save her friendships, finish her project, and compete in the big race?

Hi Natalie! Thanks so much for joining us.

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

I have enjoyed writing since I first learned how to write. My 4th grade teacher was a big influence though, as she let my friends and I stay in at lunch recess everyday to write.

My professional writing career stems from grad school. For one of the classes, we each had to come up with a final product. I wrote a children’s book. My professor liked it and said I should try to get it published. Although that piece never got published, it got me interested in pursuing writing for children. Due to my Master of Education in science education, I ended up getting freelance jobs writing elementary science materials and going from there.

2. Awesome how you got encouragement from teachers along the way. Where did you get the idea for COOKIE CUTTERS & SLED RUNNERS?

I wish I could remember! I got the idea for sled racing from research I had done for another book. And the baking comes from my personal love. It all just organically came together.

3. Were you a plotter or panster when writing this story? Did you think this process worked for you or are you changing it for future manuscripts?

I was a pantster for sure! I never knew what was going to happen next! I find that just writing-as-I-go does work for me for first drafts. Then I outline what I’ve written and add to the plot where needed.

4. Share a bit about Ana as a character and how she developed as you told her story.

Ana has obsessive-compulsive disorder. Her biggest enemy is herself. Through all my research on OCD as well as personal experience, she really wrote her own story. My hope is for readers with OCD to relate to her and those without it to understand what it’s like to have unwanted thoughts.

5. That's great that she came so easily to you. What was a challenge you had in writing COOKIE CUTTERS & SLED RUNNERS either before or after you began working with your editor and how did you overcome it?

It’s always a challenge where to begin a novel. The first chapter probably took more time than
writing the rest of the novel! There’s so much that needs to happen do to grab a reader’s attention in just a couple of pages: introduce the characters, choose actions that are of high interest to kids, and present the problem.

6. I know what you mean about the first chapter! You are also a successful non-fiction writer for children. Has that helped you when writing and getting your MG fiction book published? What made you decide to make the leap to fiction?

I started writing fiction around the same time as I started writing nonfiction. However, I think I had more opportunity writing nonfiction in the educational market. There are fewer people with a background in science education who have also taught elementary education. My true passion has always been middle grade fiction, though.

7. That's great that you can write both because it gives you more opportunities to pick up work. Share about your road to publication in general and how you got your contract for this book.

I began writing for the educational market. Although I don’t think it helped me get a contract for this book, it did help with writing skills. I learned to write on a deadline, watch word count, and edit my own work. I received a contract for this book based on a pitch I had tweeted on #PitMad. My editor, Rachel Stark at Sky Pony Press, favorited my pitch, and it went from there.

8. I've found the same to be true about honing my own writing skills from my contract writing. How are you marketing COOKIE CUTTERS & SLED RUNNERS? Is this different than your picture book and non-fiction books? How has your prior marketing experiences helped you decide on marketing for your new book?

The word social media didn’t really exist when my other books came out. Now I promote my work on my Facebook author page (https://www.facebook.com/AuthorNatalieRompella/) and on Twitter (#NatalieRompella). I’m not sure I completely understood the importance of self-marketing back then as I do now, and I like being able to promote my book from my desk chair.

9. What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Realize that writing is a journey. It takes time. You’ll have many choices of directions to go. Try out different ones; you may surprised where they take you.

10. What are you working on now?


I am working on edits for a nonfiction picture book I have coming out in July of 2018 titled The World Never Sleeps (Tilbury House Publishers). It shares the hidden life of various insects and other small creatures during a twenty-four hour cycle.

I am also writing a discussion guide to go with my novel. Hopefully, it will be on my website within the month.

Thanks for sharing your advice, Natalie. You can find Natalie at www.natalierompella.com

Natalie has generously offered COOKIE CUTTERS & SLED RUNNERS 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 through December 23rd. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter either 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 giveaway is U.S. and Caanda

Middle Grade Monday was started by Shannon Messenger. You can find the participating blogs on Greg Pattridge's blog.

Here's what's coming up:

Tomorrow I'm participating in the Twelve Days of Christmas Giveaway Hop

Thursday, December 21st I'm participating in the Midwinter's Eve Giveaway Hop--my last post for the year!

Wednesday, January 3rd I'll be back with an interview with debut author Sara Holland and a giveaway of her YA fantasy EVERLESS and my IWSG post.

Monday, January 8th I have an interview with debut author Rachel Lynn Solomon and a giveaway of her contemporary YA I'LL MISS YOU WHEN I'M GONE

Wednesday, January 10th I have an agent spotlight interview with Elizabeth Bewley and critique query giveaway

Hope to see you tomorrow!

AMANDA SEARCY GUEST POST and THE TRUTH BENEATH THE LIES GIVEAWAY and IWSG POST

Happy Wednesday Everyone! I've got a lot to share with you today.

HELPFUL AGENT INFORMATION FOR TRIDENT MEDIA GROUP

I posted about this on Monday, November 27th but wanted to post it again in case you missed it. Here's some helpful information that Mark Gottlieb from Trident Media Group e-mailed me about. #1 Literary Agency Trident Media Group's Leading Literary Agents Take Book Publishing Q&As in #TMGTalks on Twitter Mon. Dec. 11, 12-2 PM EDT. This is a great opportunity for you to get your questions answered!


It's time for another IWSG Post!

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of the month is officially Insecure Writer's Support Group Day.
The co-hosts this month are Co-Hosts:  Julie Flanders, Shannon Lawrence, Fundy Blue, and Heather Gardner!

Optional Question: As you look back on 2017, with all its successes/failures, if you could backtrack, what would you do differently?

In terms of my writing, there are two things that I would have done differently. First, I would have picked up my manuscript earlier in the year if I had realized that I was ready to try writing fiction again. I'm enjoying it and seeing more growth as a writer than I imagined.

Secondly, I would have tried to schedule more regular time to devote to writing for myself. It is a constant struggle between the need to pick up more writing jobs as a contract writer to make a living and leaving enough time for my own writing. I keep trying and figure that one of these days I will get the right balance. Hopefully this winter with no yard work will help.

I'm also going to read the IWSG book on how to be a weekend writer and try to use its advice. And on a positive note, last weekend when I was super busy with producing my boyfriend's play and had just got us three of the five actors we need, I managed to squeeze in a few hours of writing so that I can submit to my critique group tonight. So I'm seeing hope.

What about you? What would have you done differently?

Now onto my guest post for the day. I'm really excited to have debut author Amanda Searcy here to share about her YA psychological thriller THE TRUTH BENEATH THE LIES. It sounds like a real page turner that you won't want to put down.

Here's a blurb from Goodreads:

All Kayla Asher wants to do is run. Run from the government housing complex she calls home. Run from her unstable mother. Run from a desperate job at No Limit Foods. Run to a better, cleaner, safer life. Every day is one day closer to leaving.

All Betsy Hopewell wants to do is survive. Survive the burner phone hidden under her bed. Survive her new rules. Survive a new school with new classmates. Survive being watched. Every minute grants her another moment of life.

But when fate brings Kayla and Betsy together, only one girl will live.

Now here's Amanda!

Going With Your Gut (Even When You Don’t Want To)

You have a premise that excites you. You have characters and a setting. You sit down to write. Maybe it goes well for a while. Then the inevitable happens: you either get stuck, go blank, or want to toss the whole computer because everything you write is complete @#$%.

I often think that writer’s block happens when you try to turn a story/character/setting into something that it doesn’t want to be. We have a picture in our heads from the beginning of what we want the story to be. Rarely does it ever turn out like that (ironically). You have to start somewhere, true, but then the piece has to take on a life of its own. The more you force it to conform to your original picture, the more it will fight back and the process of writing will be like pulling teeth (if you are able to continue at all).

In his book From Where You Dream: the Process of Writing Fiction (Grove Press, 2005), Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Olen Butler describes it as a “thrum”. You are strumming away on your guitar; when everything sounds good, it thrums. Then you hit a wrong note or a wrong chord and hear/feel the “thwack”. It’s not always so dramatic. Maybe you just get a little twinge in your stomach that something isn’t right. Dramatic or not, that’s a place you need to pay attention to.

If you are hitting a lot of those “thwacks” it doesn’t mean that your writing is bad or that your story is poorly conceived (or that you should toss it out the window). It’s your gut—your intuition—telling you that’s not what the story wants to be.

While I was writing The Truth Beneath the Lies, I had a character who fought me in every scene he was in. He would not be what I had envisioned him to be. He was obstinate and stubborn and every scene he was in was falling flat. I kept hearing his voice in the back of my head saying, “that’s not me.” I didn’t listen for a long time. And it was hard. Hard to keep writing and telling the story. Then I let go. I let him be who he wanted to be—even though it didn’t match the picture in my head. It made all the difference.

Listen to your characters; listen to that voice in your head that says “this isn’t right.” But first, step
away for a while. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the voice from your gut from all those negative voices in your head. Put the work aside for a few days, go for a walk, wait until those negative voices have calmed down, then go back and take a look at what you’ve written from the most objective view you can muster.

What isn’t “thrumming”? What feels like a wrong note inside the chord? “Feels” is the key word. Worry less about three act structure or that the scene is in the wrong place for your outline. If you read a lot, your subconscious knows how to tell a story—if you will let it. Trust it to help you. Listen to it.

Thanks for sharing all your great advice, Amanda. You can find Amanda at:


Amanda has generously offered THE TRUTH BENEATH THE LIES 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 through December 23rd. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter either 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 giveaway is U.S., Canada, U.K., and Ireland.

Here's what's coming up:

Monday, December 11th I  have an interview with Natalie Rompella and a giveaway of her MG Cookie Cutters and Sled Runners

Tuesday, December 12th I'm participating in the Twelve Days of Christmas Giveaway Hop

Thursday, December 21st I'm participating in the Midwinter's Eve Giveaway Hop--my last post for the year!

Wednesday, January 3rd I'll be back with an interview with debut author Sara Holland and a giveaway of her YA fantasy EVERLESS and my IWSG post

Monday, January 8th I have an interview with debut author Rachel Lynn Solomon and a giveaway of her contemporary YA YOU'LL MISS ME WHEN I'M GONE

Wednesday, January 10th I have an agent spotlight interview with Elizabeth Bewley and a query critique giveaway

Hope to see you on Monday!

STEPHANIE FARIS INTERVIEW and PIPER MORGAN PLANS A PARTY GIVEAWAY

Happy Monday Everyone! Hope that you had a great Thanksgiving holiday.

HELPFUL AGENT INFORMATION FOR TRIDENT MEDIA GROUP

Here's some helpful information that Mark Gottlieb from Trident Media Group e-mailed me about. #1 Literary Agency Trident Media Group's Leading Literary Agents Take Book Publishing Q&As in #TMGTalks on Twitter Mon. Dec. 11, 12-2 PM EDT. This is a great opportunity for you to get your questions answered!

Today I’m excited to have follower and author Stephanie Faris here to share about the fifth book in the Piper Morgan series, PIPER MORGAN PLANS A PARTY. This sounds like a fun early middle grade series that I would have loved to read with my daughter when she was younger. I love the party theme of the story and the problems.

Here’s a blurb from Goodreads:

Piper tries to plan the perfect party in the fifth book of the charming Piper Morgan series.

Piper is excited to help her mom plan a big party for another girl her age. After all, who doesn’t love a good party? But when Piper and her mom arrive, they are in for an unpleasant surprise: A spoiled little girl, a huge mansion, and a list of impossible demands from the birthday girl that includes a real-life princess and grape jelly beans. How will they ever pull off the show-stopping party that Emmy is demanding? It seems like no matter what they suggest, Emmy is never happy. Can Piper help her mom pull off the best party ever? Or will the party turn into a big fat mess?

Hi Stephanie! Thanks so much for joining us!

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

I was working for my state arts agency in my younger years when my job involved looking through some writing contest entries. I was inspired by what I was reading and decided to try my hand at literary fiction. Soon after, I realized commercial fiction was definitely more my thing, especially since that’s what I’ve always preferred to read.

2. That's a cool way to start writing. Where did you get the idea for the Piper Morgan series and your new book in the series?

I was inspired to write Piper Morgan after reading every single book in the Junie B. Jones series. I wanted someone spunky and fun, but I also wanted her to have different adventures in each book. The idea for Piper Morgan Plans a Party came from a brainstorming session with my amazing editor, Alyson Heller. Aladdin already had a party-planning book (the You’re Invited series). But this one focuses heavily on two children’s birthday parties. And delicious cake!

3. I love Junie B. Jones! Share about Piper and how she’s grown as a character throughout the series and in this new book.

Piper continues to learn and grow, but I think in this book we see her really starting to understand that she needs to be more responsible.

4. These books are shorter chapter books where you must tell the whole story in about 100 pages or less. That doesn’t sound easy to do. How do you plot out these stories and tell the whole the story with fewer words?

I actually do better writing shorter. Even my middle grade novels come in at around 40,000 words at best. When I wrote romance, I always veered toward the shorter books published by Harlequin. I don’t really even like to read long books. I think it’s just the way I’m wired!

5. I don't love really long books either. You’ve had five books in this series published since 2016. How are you planning out a series like this? And writing them so quickly? What advice do you have for other writers wanting to write a series like this?

With each chapter book being only 8,000 words or so, five a year only come to 40,000 words! So that’s five books in the same length you’d tell a middle grade, young adult, or short adult novel. You definitely need to sit down and make a list of all the books you plan to write in the future as part of your proposal. The publisher doesn’t just want to see the three chapters and synopsis for the first book with chapter books—they’re almost always buying a series.

6. Your agent is Natalie Lakosil. How did she become your agent and what was your road to publication like?

I queried her with my series about tween ghost hunters. She requested the full—I’d been through the
ups and downs of an agent/editor being interested and it not panning out, so I tried not to get my hopes up. When I got the email that she wanted to represent me, it was one of those life-changing moments! But my road to publication goes all the way back to 1995, when I wrote my first novel and began collecting rejections. I wrote lighthearted romance and when chick lit came and went, lighthearted romance was instantly out, but I was so excited to see middle grade and YA was hot by then. I knew my voice was perfect for younger readers, and once I found that “sweet spot,” I got an agent soon after.

7. That's an awesome agent story. This series is not your first published books. You also have two upper middle grade books, 30 DAYS OF NO GOSSIP and 25 ROSES, which were published in 2014 and 2015. Do you have any advice for the rest of us on how to continue to write and sell our books like you’ve been able to do?

I think we’re all waiting for our next book to sell. I hear that from authors who have 20+ books on shelves. There are never any guarantees, but all you can control is the writing. My advice is always to just focus on writing the next book while getting your previous books out there to agents and editors and hoping for the best.

8. What have you learned about building a social media platform and marketing your books over the years? What advice do you have for the rest of us on what works and doesn’t work?

For children’s writers, it may be different than other genres. We’re often told we must do school visits. I’ve done more than a few school visits that only sold one book, so I now have a rule that it must sell 50 books for me to set my freelance writing clients aside for a day to do it. Right now, I’m experimenting with book fairs and, honestly, those seem to be the best. Unlike bookstores, where people are walking in to buy a Starbucks or browse the magazine section, the people who go to book fairs are there to meet authors and buy books. If you find the right book fairs, you can definitely get your books in the hands of readers. Other than that, I haven’t found much we can do that makes a significant dent in sales. Most of the time, you’re just networking and supporting other authors in the hopes that they’ll return the favor.

9. That's great advice! What are you working on now?

I’m working on a spooky middle grade that I’m trying to get to my agent ASAP. I’m on the last few chapters, which is my favorite part of the book besides the very beginning! I also have two (yes, TWO!) chapter book series ideas brewing—one fiction and one nonfiction. So, fingers crossed my agent likes those once I get the proposals all written up.

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Stephanie. You can find Stephanie at http://www.stephaniefaris.com or http://stephie5741.blogspot.com.

Stephanie has generously offered PIPER MORGAN PLANS A PARTY 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 through December 9th. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter either 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 giveaway is U.S.

Middle Grade Monday was started by Shannon Messenger. You can find the participating blogs on Greg Pattridge's blog.

Here's what's coming up:

Wednesday, December 6th I have a guest post with debut author Amanda Searcy and a giveaway of her YA psychological thriller THE TRUTH BENEATH THE LIES and my IWSG post

Monday, December 11th I  have an interview with Natalie Rompella and a giveaway of her MG Cookie Cutters and Sled Runners

Tuesday, December 12th I'm participating in the Twelve Days of Christmas Giveaway Hop

Thursday, December 21st I'm participating in the Midwinter's Eve Giveaway Hop--my last post for the year!

Hope to see you on Wednesday December 6th!

GRATITUDE GIVEAWAY HOP


Happy Tuesday Everyone! Today I'm excited to participate in the Gratitude Giveaway Hop hosted by BookHounds. This is my chance to say thank you to all of you wonderful followers. Because followers are what make blogging worthwhile. So thank you very much for stopping by anytime that you do.

I want to mention that on the first Wednesday and Mondays the rest of the month I feature a debut MG and YA author in an interview or guest post with a book giveaway. Some involve a guest post with their agent and a query critique giveaway too. If any of you are writers, I'm also doing more agent spotlight interviews with query critique giveaways. These query critiques are a great opportunity to get feedback from an agent on your query and personal communication the agent.

I hope you'll all stop by other times and take advantage of these other book and agent giveaways other than these giveaway hops. Things will be quieter until the beginning of 2018, but will really pick up then.

I hope you find a book you like for yourself, a family member, or a friend in the choices offered. Don’t see a book you like? You can win a $10.00 Amazon Gift Card instead. I hope you'll all enter to win a book or gift card for yourself or as a gift for someone.

So here are your choices. I've got a combination of MG and YA. If you want an earlier book in any of these series, you can pick that instead as long as it doesn't cost more than the book here. You can find descriptions of these books on Goodreads. Sorry that there are so many book choices but there are SO many good books these last few months. And sorry that blogger would not align these correctly.

 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

If you haven't found a book you want, you can win a $10 Amazon Gift Card.



To enter, all you need to do is be a follower anyway you want and leave a comment through November 30th telling me the book you want to win or if you want to win the Gift Card instead. 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 or older to enter. International entries are welcome as long as The Book Depository ships to you for free.

Here's what's coming up:

I'm off on Monday, November 20th for the holidays

Monday, November 27th I have an interview with author and follower Stephanie Faris and a giveaway of her MG chapter book PIPER MORGAN PLANS A PARTY

Wednesday, December 6th I have a guest post with debut author Amanda Searcy and a giveaway of her YA psychological thriller THE TRUTH BENEATH THE LIES and my IWSG post

Monday, December 11th I have an interview with author Natalie Rompella and a giveaway of her MG contemporary COOKIE CUTTERS & SLED RUNNERS

Tuesday, December 12th I'm participating in the Twelve Days of Christmas Giveaway Hop

Thursday, December 21st I'm participating in the Midwinter's Eve Giveaway Hop

Hope to see you on Monday, November 27th!

Here are all the other blogs participating in this Blog Hop: