Friday, March 28, 2014

On writing to trends

It seems that anytime I'm at a conference, the question gets asked "What's selling right now?" or "What trends are you seeing?" or some variation of it.

And even if the question came from someone who may currently be on sub, and the reason for their question was really, "Are editors buying right now what I'm currently selling?," it's always interpreted as "I want to know what's hot right now, so I can write that."

And we all know that's a bad question to ask, because the books coming out right now were bought two years ago, and whatever trend there was two years ago is no longer what's trending right now, and you'd always be behind the eight ball if you went off that.

But really, the better reason not to follow a trend is that the people who really do well in writing are the people who SET the trends. Because trying to write what people are asking for isn't always the best idea. Writing what people want, when they don't even know what they want yet is where the best successes come from.

I ran across this quote that I absolutely love, because everything it implies illustrates this so very well:

"If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses."
~Henry Ford

Yep. I say that like it's a piece of cake. (Or a tasty cookie. ;)) When really, it can be far from easy. *Raises cookie* Here's to hoping that we all become trendsetters!

photo credit: cacaobug via photopin cc

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The last 5 books I've read

Things have been a little crazy lately, and although I pretty much think daily "I should really update my blog!," I just haven't gotten a chance. I've been doing a lot of events lately, which have been so much fun, and I've been working on proposals for a new series. (Also so much fun!) Instead of an update post on what I've been doing, though, let's do an update post on what I've been reading! Here's the last 5 books I've read:

There was a lot of buzz about this book, and it's from my publisher, so I figured I had to pick it up. (Plus, I'm rather in love with the snow on this cover and the windows in the background.) It had a fairy tale quality to it (and not just because it was a fairy tale retelling) that I quite enjoyed.

I have a friend that has been begging me to pick up this book for FOREVER, so I finally did. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked it.

I am in the Lucky 13s with Ryan, and was thrilled to read her book. It had a fabulous setting (London, and you really felt like you were there), and a fascinating secondary character (the king), and a main character who was his guardian fae. Great read!

I feel like a heel for not having been able to read this book before now, and not just because I've heard it's fantastic, or that Chad lives in the same state as me, or that we have been on this publishing journey at the same general times, but also because Chad is a genuinely good guy. This book was every bit as good and exciting and amazing as every has been saying it is, and I'm glad I read it.

This is another of my Lucky 13s pals. Mindy is a comedian at her day (or, I guess, night) job, and it shows in every bit of her writing. There were so many laugh out loud moments! It had some great lessons for teenage girls, too, without feeling at all like it was being preachy.

What books have you read recently?

Monday, March 24, 2014

Breathtaking boxed set

One of my writing BFFs, and an all around amazing and fun person, Kim Krey, has a novel included in a boxed set with a bunch of other great authors. If you're a fan of romance, you should definitely check this out!

Breathtaking: Seven Bestselling Novels of Love and Suspense
Boxed set is only $.99 March 24th through March 29th. 

Unbelievable by Sherry Gammon

Deliah Dreser's in town to take care of family business. They say the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, but there's more to Lilah than meets the eye. Cole's in danger of losing his heart when this firestorm throws sparks his way. Is she simply playing him for the fool in order to exact revenge for her brother's murders?

Bestselling author Sherry Gammon's reviewers exclaim; "She has a gift for touching her readers with beautiful, gripping stories that you can’t put down."

Home Before Dark by Christy Barritt

Nothing good ever happens after dark. Those were the words country singer Daleigh McDermott’s father always repeated.

Now her father is dead, and Daleigh finds a hidden journal hinting that his death was no accident. Small town mechanic Ryan Shields is the only one who seems to believe Daleigh. As the two work to unravel the mystery, it becomes obvious that someone wants them dead. They must rely on each other—and on God—if they hope to make it home before the darkness swallows them whole.

Award-Winning Suspense Novelist and Bestselling Amazon Author, touted as "scary, funny, passionate, and quirky" by USA Today.

Baggage Claim by Amanda Tru

Rachel Saunders is looking forward to her all-expense paid weekend trip to New York. But, when her luggage is lost and she is accosted by an infuriating Homeland Security agent, events take a dangerous turn.

Amanda Tru, Bestselling Amazon Author of Romance and Suspense. Discover the author who, as an Amazon reviewer raves, “continues to impress me and dominate my time with a book I can’t put down even after it’s ended.”

Cassie's Cowboy Crave by Kimberly Krey

In a moment of weakness, Shane steals a kiss.

In return, Cassie steals his heart…

When Cassie is forced to join the witness protection program, she fears her life is over… but then she meets Shane Emerson — the hunky cowboy posing as her husband. Will this sham marriage turn into the real thing, or will a hidden danger put it all at risk?

Kimberly Krey writes romance that’s clean without losing the steam. What’s Beyond Forks calls this Best-selling Western Romance author “the master of romantic tension.”

A Perfect Fit by Heather Tullis

Cami DiCarlo is not happy when her father forces her into heading up guest services at his newest five-star hotel and unveils the existence of four half-sisters at the same time, insisting they live together while they launch the new resort.

When she meets Vince, the sweet, sexy landscaper her father would never have approved of, Cami can’t say no. If only she could be sure she is on the right track—and that they will be able to stop the person who is trying to destroy everything.

You Belong with Me by Shannon Guymon 

Layla Kendall is a burned out social worker one step away from a major depression. When she and her sisters inherit their grandmother's bakery, she doesn't know if she can trust her good fortune or not. But the chance to be with her sisters and get away from the heartache and pain she's faced day in and day out is a chance she's going to take. With Layla's new life, come new friendships, including Michael Bender, a single dad. She doesn't trust men but Michael's little girl grabs her by the heart and won't let go.

Shannon Guymon is an Amazon Bestselling Author of lighthearted and clean romance who according to her many fans, has the ability to paint pictures of her characters so real that readers would know them if they saw them walking down the street.

Blog This by Cami Checketts

Devastated by the loss of her brother, Natasha Senecot exposes the dangers of Matthew Chrysler's violent video games, bankrupting and humiliating him. Chrysler sends a hit man after her. In a race against time, can Natasha expose Chrysler before his assassin murders her family and shatters her world?

Bestselling author Cami Checketts has been touted as, "A genius! She writes about topics that aren't widely discussed, and she does such a brilliant job of crafting these things into wonderful stories that touch your heart and remain with you for days afterwards."

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Giveaway of an ebook of ACEA AND THE ANIMAL KINGDOM!

Looking for a great MG fantasy? An author who lives not far from me graciously donated one filled with action and mystery for your winning enjoyment.
Twelve-year-old Acea Bishop was always the kid who would rather go to the library during recess to read about animals instead of playing basketball like the other boys. Now, after waking up inside of an ancient kingdom strangely resembling a zoo, Acea is running from those same animals he used to love reading about.

Worse yet? Acea’s not just on a quest to get home – his mom and the dad-he-never-knew are both being held hostage inside by an evil sorcerer with a vendetta. Realizing that his odds of survival and freeing his parents are dim, Acea raises an army of animals to combat the sorcerer and regain control of the kingdom.

Follow Acea as he travels through the exotic zoo habitats and unlocks the secrets of the kingdom’s mysterious past that hold the key to his fate.

Acea has secrets. Big ones. He just doesn’t know it yet.

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Want to learn more? Go to Kyle Shoop's Website.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Cover reveal & giveaway for Jessie Humphries' KILLING RUBY ROSE

I am so thrilled to be a part of my girl Jessie Humphries's cover reveal! This book is going to knock your socks off. It's the most amazing blend of uberly smart and incredibly funny, all wrapped up in an amazing thriller. Much like Jessie herself, actually. Here's officially what it's about:
In sunny southern California, Ruby Rose is known for her killer looks and her killer SAT scores. But ever since her dad, an LAPD SWAT sergeant, died six months ago, she’s also got a few killer secrets.

To cope with her father’s death, Ruby has been trying to stay focused on school (the top spot in her class is on the line) and spending time with friends (her Jimmy Choos and Mahnolo Blahniks are nothing if not loyal), but after months of therapy and more than a few months of pathetic parenting by her mom, District Attorney Jane Rose, Ruby decides to pick up where her dad left off and starts going after the bad guys herself.

But when Ruby ends up killing a murderer in defense of another, she discovers that she’s gone from being the huntress to the hunted. There’s a sick mastermind at play, and he has Ruby in his sights. Ruby must discover who’s using her to implement twisted justice before she ends up changing Valentino red for prison orange.

With a gun named Smith, a talent for martial arts, and a boyfriend with eyes to die for, Ruby is ready to face the worst. And if a girl’s forced to kill, won’t the guilt sit more easily in a pair of Prada peep-toe pumps?

See what I mean? It's amazing, and you're definitely going to want to pick this baby up in another two months when it comes out. But let's get on to the cover!

(Hint: Amazon has it for an UNBELIEVABLE price right now!)

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Jessie Humphries was born and raised in Las Vegas, NV. She received a BA from San Diego State University, where she cultivated her love of the beach, then lived in France, where she cultivated her weakness for shoes, and finally earned a law degree from UNLV, where she cultivated her interest in justice. After practicing law for several years she began writing, and, appropriately, her debut novel Killing Ruby Rose is a thriller about vigilante justice set in sunny southern California with a shoe-obsessed protagonist. Jessie currently writes and practices law in Las Vegas, where she lives with her husband and children.

Jessie's links:

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Some Great Upcoming Conferences

Before we get to the conferences, are you thinking about pitching to an agent or an editor this year? I wrote a post on the Writer's Digest Blog Guide to Literary Agents about 7 Tips for Pitching to an Editor or an Agent at a Conference. It's all stuff I wish I would've known before I went to a pitch session.

If you live in or anywhere around Utah, there are some fabulous conferences coming up in the next three months!

Where:   Provo, Utah (At the Provo Marriott Hotel)
When:   February 13-16 (That's in just 2 1/2 weeks!)
Price:   $45. (Might be more if you register after Jan 31.) 
For 3 DAYS of conference!
What:   Tons and tons of panels, and over 1,300 people
who love writing just as much as you.
Why:   Because there is seriously something for everyone. 
This conference has an incredible variety. I've gone every
year since I learned about it 6 years ago.

Where:   Orem, UT (Utah Valley University)
When: March 8
Price:   $49 (if you register by Feb. 8)
What:   A writer's conference just for TEENAGERS! How awesome is that?
Why:   Because there are awesome people presenting (hello! James Dashner
and Ally Condie! Plus a ton more), and they (okay, I should say we)
are all doing presentations specifically geared toward teens.

Where:   Provo, UT (At the amazing and beautiful Provo City Library)
When:   March 22
Price:   $50
What:   A one day writer's conference where all of the proceeds go to
a charity that provides books to shelters and hospitals for children in crisis.
Why:   Every single panelist is nationally published, and the panels all
fall within five tracks-- Beginners, Picture Book / MG / YA, 
Advanced / Professional Writers, Craft & Technique, 
and The Business of Writing.

Where:   Layton, UT (Davis Conference Center)
When:   April 25-26, with boot camp / publication primer on April 24
Price:   $185 (by Feb. 20)
What:  Many workshops and presentation on all areas of writing, for
all age groups and genres, attended by top agents and editors.
Why:  This conference has an incredibly high quality of instruction
by published authors and agents and editors that are the top in their
field. This is my favorite conference. 
It's the one I make sure to never miss. I highly recommend it.

Have you been to any of these conferences, or are you planning to go this year? Do you have any others that are a favorite in or out of Utah? I'd love to hear about them!

Monday, January 27, 2014


Hi, everyone! Guess what happened over the weekend? My cover for book 2 was revealed at The Book Monsters! (Psst. There's a giveaway going on there, if you want to head on over.) I'm so very thrilled to have my second baby visually represented now, and that I can share it with you! A few advanced reader copies landed on my doorstep the same day the cover was revealed, for an extra awesome bonus. I put the book 2 ARC right next to the book 1 ARC, and I can't stop staring and staring. They're just so pretty together! Okay, enough talking. If you haven't seen the new cover yet, here it is!

I'm in love with the orange--- it's the color I had pictured book 2 to be from the start. And I love that the cover shows the crack in the earth! It was one of the funnest scenes to write EVER. Guys, I am so excited for this book. It was insanely difficult to get just right, and took so many months and months of cutting and rewriting and reworking and polishing, and I am so very proud of what it became. I cannot wait until it's released! Want to know what it's about? Here's the official blurb:
Twelve-year-old Hope has always felt a little different from everyone else who lives in White Rock. She tries hard, but she doesn’t always think before she acts. She takes big risks. Sometimes her risks pay off, but sometimes they fail. Sometimes she fails.

Hope knows that the most dangerous thing about living in White Rock is that it’s so close to the deadly Bomb’s Breath—the invisible, fifteen-foot-thick band of compressed air that’s hovered over the earth since the Green Bombs of World War III. The citizens of White Rock live in fear of the Bomb’s Breath. Only Hope has figured out a way to go through it—and lived to tell the tale.

But when a massive tremor rips across the earth, the Bomb’s Breath begins to lower over White Rock. It’s up to Hope and her friends Brock and Aaren to make the dangerous journey far from home across the bandit-ridden Forbidden Flats to the wilds of the Rocky Mountains and obtain the one thing that may be able to stop it—before the Bomb’s Breath sinks too far and destroys them all. This time, Hope can’t fail.

Want to tweet about the cover? All you have to do is click on the button!

I hope you all have a fantastic week!

Friday, January 24, 2014

ELEVATED by Elana Johnson-- Cover Reveal and Giveaway!

I'm thrilled to be part of Elana Johnson's cover reveal for ELEVATED, because I think the cover is incredible! What do you think?

About ELEVATED: The last person seventeen-year-old Eleanor Livingston wants to see on the elevator—let alone get stuck with—is her ex-boyfriend Travis, the guy she's been avoiding for five months.

Plagued with the belief that when she speaks the truth, bad things happen, Elly hasn’t told Trav anything. Not why she broke up with him and cut off all contact. Not what happened the day her father returned from his deployment to Afghanistan. And certainly not that she misses him and still thinks about him everyday.

But with nowhere to hide and Travis so close it hurts, Elly’s worried she won’t be able to contain her secrets for long. She’s terrified of finally revealing the truth, because she can’t bear to watch a tragedy befall the boy she still loves.



Praise for ELEVATED:

"ELEVATED will take you on an emotionally gripping journey
through the highs and lows of first love."
~Carolee Dean, author of Take Me There and Forget Me Not

"Poignant, raw, and intense, ELEVATED is a novel that will grip your heart
and linger in your mind long after you turn the last page."
~Stasia Ward Kehoe, author of Audition and The Sound of Letting Go

"This book was brilliant and beautiful and touching and captivating and heartbreaking and amazing and kept me glued to my Kindle screen while I laughed and cried, always dying to know what happened next. LOVED it."
~Peggy Eddleman, author of nothing even close to verse

Okay, so maybe I'm not one of her official reviewers, and I just stole that from my own Goodreads review... But seriously, guys-- this book is amazing, and you should go on over to Goodreads right now and add it as a to-read. Here-- I'll even provide you with the link.

About Elana Johnson: 

Elana Johnson’s work, including Possession, Surrender, Abandon, and Regret, published by Simon Pulse (Simon and Schuster), is available now everywhere books are sold. Her popular ebook, From the Query to the Call, is also available for download, as well as a Possession short story, Resist. School teacher by day, Query Ninja by night, you can find her online at her personal blog or Twitter. She also co-founded the Query Tracker blog, and contributes to the League of Extraordinary Writers.

Social Media Links:

Want to win $15 Paypal cash? Just help spread the word about ELEVATED!

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Friday, January 17, 2014

Thrice Interview & Giveaway!

Hi, Guys! I'm over at Jessica Spotswood's today, being interviewed as part of her Thrice Interviewed segment, and there's a giveaway of Sky Jumpers! Come on over!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Want to win Sara B. Larson's DEFY?

I had the pleasure of going to Sara B. Larson's launch party for DEFY last week. Her speech was fun and touching and hilarious and heartbreaking and real and so enjoyable. Plus we got to sing Happy Birthday to her five year old son, who is freaking adorable.

Photo courtesy Erin Summerill Photography
I was lucky enough to read an advance reader copy of Defy, and absolutely loved it. I highly recommend reading it. Want a chance to win a signed hardback of Defy? Just fill out the Rafflecopter below!

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