Monday, November 7, 2016

Cover Reveal: Ruined in Retribution by Valia Lind

It's cover reveal day for Valia Lind's RUINED IN RETRIBUTION (Titanium Series: Book Three)!

Before I share the (awesome) cover with you, here's a little more about the book:

Gone. Gone. Gone.

For the past two months, it has taken all of Logan’s determination to just keep going.
Losing Tasia to Kallos Enterprises shattered his world, but he is not about to give up on what she had started.

Together with her family, Logan works to destroy the company that ruined their lives. The corporation is growing bigger and stronger by the minute, weaponizing the drug and selling it to the highest bidder. But that’s not the only hurdle to overcome. Logan’s past is catching up to him, and the time has come to pay. His family’s secrets are unraveling everything he has built for himself and now, Logan is fighting on multiple fronts.

Save Tasia. Destroy Kallos Enterprises. Stay alive.

Such a simple list, such an impossible mission.

Time is running out and Logan is left with one question: can he save them all?

Sounds exciting, right? Now check out the cover:

Love it! The book will be out December 7. You can pre-order it here and add it to Goodreads here.

If you haven't read the first book in the Titanium series...good news! It's FREE right now! You can get PIECES OF REVENGE here:

Happy reading!

Congratulations, Valia! Can't wait for December 7!

Friday, October 28, 2016

5 Unconventional NaNoWriMo Tips

I'm sad that I won't be a NaNoWriMo 2016 participant (more on that at the bottom of the post), but I am still a huge NaNo fan. I attempted and won three Novembers in a row. In fact, my first novel, Where You'll Find Me, started as a NaNo novel way back in 2010.

Even though I'm not participating, I wanted to share some tips that helped me in Novembers past. I'm staying away from the common-but-still-helpful tips (do word sprints, go to local write-ins, make sure the primary component of your bloodstream is coffee, etc.) and going for some unique ones. Hopefully there's something new here that will help you out!

1. Write your words as close to first thing in the morning as possible. Distractions and temptations and emergencies strike all day long. Reach your word count goal before they hit. Yes, this may involve getting up earlier than you need to or are used to. (I'm a regular participant in #5amwritersclub on Twitter if you'd like to join in!) It may involve writing on your lunch break at work. It's worth it. Still have time/motivation/energy to write at the end of the day? Bonus!

2. Have at least one 5K day by November 7. Let's be honest. There's probably going to be a day or two when you just can't write. When life gets in the way or you get stuck. If you write 5K words on at least one day before that happens, you can deal with life or recharge without worrying about your word count! I always use my first NaNo Saturday to get as far ahead as humanly possible.

3. Prepare for the mid-month slump. It happens. Usually right around November 15, when you're solidly in the 20K to 40K word range and wondering why you're doing this stupid thing anyway. Prepare for that slump now by getting yourself a mid-month treat. A new notebook or pen, a special writing snack, wine...whatever it is that you think will break you out of your slump. Get it now and hide it from yourself or give to a friend...a "break in case of emergency" kind of thing.  (And hang in there...I promise words 40K to 50K are much more fun!)

4. Keep a "to revise later" list. So you're writing chapter seven, but think of something you need to change back in chapter two. You probably know by now not to go back and change it right now. However, don't make yourself remember it, either. Chances are you'll forget about it, or you'll remember it, but it will be taking up precious brain space that could be used for coming up with new words and ideas. Instead, make yourself a "to revise later" document or notebook. Add notes to the list and keep writing. You'll know where to start with revisions in December!

5. Have a plan for Thanksgiving (and Gilmore Girls Day). If you're in the US, Thanksgiving is one of those days that can throw your NaNoWriMo progress for a loop. You might think you're going to write, but then your aunt wants to show you all 4,562 pictures form her summer vacation or you fall into a turkey coma. Make a realistic plan now. If you're taking the day off, which days are you going to up your word count to compensate? If you're going to write, when and where? Can you write on an airplane or in the car on the way to see relatives?

Similarly, have a plan for Gilmore Girls Day. (Yes, I'm assuming you're marathoning the Gilmore Girls revival. If you aren't, you should be. The writing is fantastic!) You have six full hours of Netflix to watch (and possibly some Black Friday shopping and another turkey coma to endure). If you write 417 words before each episode, you'll still meet your word count goal! Let the fast-talking girls inspire fast-typing fingers.

So why am I not doing NaNo this year? I'm currently working on the next book in the "Breakaway" series. I started it in mid-October, already have more than 10K words, and can't really take the month of November off from that to work on something else. But I will be with you in spirit and on Twitter, probably writing at least 1,667 words most days, and cheering you on from the sidelines! Happy novel writing!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

All Laced Up Release Week Roundup!

All Laced Up is out in the world! Thank you so much to everyone who has read it, shared it, reviewed it, and made me feel like the luckiest author in the world! I appreciate it!

Want to learn more about Pierce and Lia's story and maybe win a copy? Here are some links for you:

Goodreads Giveaway (ends 10/18/2016)

Blog Tour Giveaway (ends 10/21/2016)

Read the first chapter!

Read a teaser excerpt!

Read an interview with the main character, Pierce Miller!

Author Kat Ellis interviewed me about All Laced Up!

Check out my blog post about being a figure skater

And of course, you can find All Laced Up on Goodreads, Amazon, B&N, etc.!

Thank you again for all of the release week love! I hope you enjoy reading Pierce and Lia's story!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

5 Facts from a Former Figure Skater

In addition to being a writer, I'm also a former figure skater. Skating tights, hair in a bun, spandex dresses...yep. That was me! My experiences played a big part in the writing of my most recent novel, All Laced Up.

My own figure skates...all laced up!
To get in the skating mood, I thought I'd share five facts about figure skating. Stay tuned to the last one to see a clip of my synchronized skating team (yes, it's a thing) on the ice!
Me, circa 2004. (We skated to music from
Pirates of the Caribbean, so I think
I was holding a "sword.")
  1. Hockey player/figure skater romances happen in real life, too. From Kate and Doug in The Cutting Edge (toe pick!) to Pierce and Lia in All Laced Up, there are many romances featuring a hockey player and a figure skater. Truth is, those romances happen in real life, too. Skaters and hockey players share ice arenas and open skate time and sometimes even locker rooms. It's only natural. Plus, it helps that hockey boys are swoony.
  2. Skating jumps are as much fun as they look. Like Lia from All Laced Up, jumps are my favorite element. I especially love flips and loops. When you pick up speed and launch yourself into the air, it really does feel like flying. Learning and mastering a new jump is incredibly rewarding.
  3. Tip: never borrow a figure skater’s gloves. It’s cold in ice rinks. Between that and all the spinning, noses run. Skating dresses don’t have pockets for tissues. ‘Nuff said.
  4. Figure skaters do fall. A lot. Especially when learning a new jump. Landing one-footed on a sheet of ice on a 1/4-inch wide blade is a challenge. But you learn how to fall the “right” way, and it doesn’t always hurt. The one time I landed directly on my knee and had to be carried off the ice by a complete stranger? Yeah. That was the "wrong" way. That one hurt.
  5. Synchronized skating is a thing. Yes, it’s like synchronized swimming except the water is frozen. I was on my university’s team. We were relatively terrible (the highest we placed in any competition was second place…and there were only two teams), but it was a lot of fun. Here’s a video clip from one of our performances (I can't remember which one is me...I'm probably near one of the ends because that's where short people go!):

The team during the medal ceremony
Good times!

Want more figure skating, including a figure skater/hockey player romance? You can find All Laced Up on Goodreads, Amazon, and B&N, out October 10, 2016!

You can also enter to win a signed copy of all three of my books HERE!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Giveaway: Signed Copy of All Three of My Books!

This time next week, my third novel will be out in the world! (For the record, that's not a sentence I ever thought I would type. Publishing one book was a dream so big I wasn't sure it would ever happen. Publishing three? I. Am. Lucky. And excited!)

My newest book is a figure skating/hockey contemporary YA romance titled All Laced Up:

Everyone loves hockey superstar Pierce Miller. Everyone except Lia Bailey.

When the two are forced to teach a skating class to save the rink, Lia’s not sure she’ll survive the pressure of Nationals and Pierce’s ego. Not only can’t he remember her name, he signed her bottle of water like she was one of his groupies. Ugh.

But if there’s one thing Lia knows better than figure skating, it’s hockey. Hoping to take his ego down a notch—or seven—she logs into his team website under an anonymous name to give him pointers on his less-than-stellar playing.

Turns out, Pierce isn’t arrogant at all. And they have a lot in common. Too bad he’s falling for the anonymous girl online. No matter how much fun they’re starting to have in real life, she’s afraid he’s going to choose fake-Lia over the real one...

Disclaimer: This book contains a swoony hockey player (and his equally swoony friends!), one-too-many social media accounts, kisses that’ll melt ice, and a secret identity that might not be so secret after all...

As a former figure skater (who definitely crushed on a hockey player or two or seven), I had a blast writing this one!

To celebrate the release, I'm giving one person a signed copy of all three of my books: Where You'll Find Me, Pieces of You and Me, and All Laced Up!

This giveaway is US only and ends 10/9/16. Here's the Rafflecopter to enter...

Update: This giveaway is now over! Congratulations to Brookie C!

Good luck!

Friday, September 30, 2016

5 Reasons Why I Love Writing Contemporary YA Romance

Contemporary YA romance. I love reading it, and I adore writing it. Second chance romance, boy next door, friends to lovers, enemies to lovers...bring all of it on!

To celebrate Entangled Teen Crush's epic $0.99 sale, here are five reasons why I love writing contemporary YA romance!

The boys are swoony. Let's be real. You can't get away with using the word "swoony" to describe anyone much older than 21. But contemporary YA romance boys? SWOONY. And so much fun to write.

You can forget adulting (but nothing is "too adult"). I've never written an adult book, but if I did, I imagine it would be pretty boring. Taxes, blah blah blah. Paying bills, blah blah blah. Doing laundry, blah blah blah.

Teens have so many more exciting things to write about! First loves! College choices! Prom!

But I also love that no "adult" topics are off-limits. Romance, sex, heartbreak, drinking, mental health issues, etc. are all things teens deal with. Therefore, they can and should be included, just from a uniquely teenage perspective.

First kisses. Need I say more?

Teenagers. Are. Awesome. And I don't just mean characters. I mean the teens I meet when I'm speaking or doing a signing or hanging out on Twitter. They are sweet and real and make me laugh and sometimes make me cry and always give the best book recommendations. They're infinitely cooler than the grown-ups I hang out with.

The highs are really high (and the lows are really low). There's a quote from the move 17 Again that I absolutely love:

The first part of that quote is so true. Every breakup, every snub from your crush, every time he picks the other all feels like the end of the world. But while those lows are low, the highs are also high. Every kiss, every sweet text, every touch is euphoric.

Those extremes are the biggest reason why I write YA, and specifically why I write contemporary YA romance. I can't imagine writing anything else.

Looking for a new contemporary YA romance read? Check out PIECES OF YOU AND ME, on sale for $0.99 through 10/2/16!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Cover Reveal + Interview: SAY NO TO THE BRO by Kat Helgeson

Talented author? Check.
Must-read plot? Check.
Catchy title? Check.
Winning cover? CHECK.

SAY NO TO THE BRO by Kat Helgeson has it all. Kat is 1/2 of the author duo who brought you GENA/FINN (which, if you haven't read that one, what are you waiting for?!). This is her first solo novel, and it sounds AMAZING.

Here's a first look at the cover. Keep scrolling to learn more about Kat and the book that should definitely be on your 2017 TBR!


So what's SAY NO TO THE BRO all about?

Ava’s plan for surviving senior year at her new school is simple: fly under the radar until graduation. No boys. No attachments. No drama. But all that goes out the window when she gets drafted into the Prom Bowl—a long-standing tradition where senior girls compete in challenges to be auctioned off as prom dates to the highest bidder. Ava joins forces with star quarterback Mark Palmer to try and get her out of the competition but their best laid schemes lead to more self-sabotage than anything else. And to make matters worse, they both begin to realize that the Prom Bowl isn’t all fun and games. When one event spirals dangerously out of control, Ava and Mark must decide whether shutting down the Prom Bowl once and for all is worth the price of sacrificing their futures. 

What word or words would you use to describe your main characters?

Ava is introverted, loyal, and stubborn. Mark is charismatic, funloving, and entitled.​ 

Prom superlatives time! Which one of your characters would win... dressed?​ - Charlotte​
...most likely to spike the punch?​ - Cody​
...worst dance moves?​ - Coach Vanguard​
...most likely to leave with someone other than his or her date?​ - Solstice​
...cutest couple?​ - Denise and Zoe​

Did you go to your high school prom? If so, what was the best or worst part?

I did, but it wasn't a red-letter event for me. I think, like Ava, I wouldn't have minded doing something else that night. My favorite part was getting ready with my friends.​ 

What song would you definitely put on your characters' prom playlist?

​Ava and Mark's relationship dynamic was partly inspired by this dance:

I think they'd dance to this song.

If you were in high school today and got asked to go to prom tomorrow, what would your dress look like?

When I went to my real high school prom I wore navy blue both times, and so did all my friends, so I'd probably pick bright orange or something.​

Your first novel, GENA/FINN, was co-written with Hannah Moskowitz. How was it writing solo this time?

Cowriting is a million times more fun. It's like playing in the pool with your friends versus swimming laps. Writing alone is less emotionally taxing, though, because it's easier to maintain distance and step away when you need to.​

If you had to pick one Hamilton song to keep while getting rid of the rest forever, which one would you keep?

I'd pick "Non-Stop" because of the lyrics about Hamilton writing every second he's alive.​

Oreos. There are approximately 9,472 flavors these days. Do you have a favorite flavor, do you like the classic, or are you not an Oreo fan?

​Classic. You can't improve on perfection.​ 

What have you read and loved recently?

I just finished the graphic novel MAUS, which is a tough read, but one I recommend highly. ​

What was the best part about doing GISHWHES this year?

The best part of GISHWHES is always the new friends. This year I was lucky enough to be placed on a team with a group of kids from Sweden. We called ourselves the Supernatural Swedes. I'm Facebook friends with several of them now.​ 

If you could make your own nail polish, what color would it be, and what would you name it?

​It would be steel-grey, and it would be called NAILED IT​

Thank you to Kat for the interview! Can't wait for 2017.

You can add SAY NO TO THE BRO to your Goodreads TBR here.