Monday, July 10, 2017

TIED UP IN YOU Release Day! (Plus Giveaway!)

Tied Up In You is here!

Y'all. I cannot believe my fourth book is out in the world! Tied Up In You is the second book in the All Laced Up series (but can easily be read as a standalone). It features all of the following:
  • Hockey!
  • Friends-to-more romance!
  • Hawaiian cuisine and culture!
  • STEM (Astrophysics! Coding!)
I had so much writing this book, and I hope you enjoy reading it!

To celebrate the release, I'm doing a giveaway featuring Hawaiian swag and a $10 Amazon gift card! (Hawaiian swag is US only, gift card is International!)

To enter the giveaway, click HERE. Good luck!

I'm off to celebrate release day...probably with chocolate!

Happy reading,

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Why You Shouldn't Listen to Your Writer Brain

I want to tell y'all a story that I haven't shared with very many people.

The story starts with a confession: I wasn't super proud of All Laced Up when I finished writing the manuscript. I had attempted some things in it that I wasn't sure I'd pulled off. I'd been in a rush toward the end of writing because I'd missed a deadline (again). My writer brain just knew there were 4,912 things wrong with it. Despite all of that, I sent the manuscript to my editor, because did I mention the deadline thing?

Even though it was part of my three book deal, I kept waiting to get a response that said, "Yeah, sorry, but this is awful and we're not going to publish it." Somehow as time passed, I went from being afraid that was true to being convinced it was true.

In fact, the next e-mail I got was from my production editor, asking a question about the book. I don't usually hear from my production editor until later in the process, which fueled my theory. Poor thing, I thought to myself. No one told her this manuscript isn't being published! So I responded with something along the lines of "Oh, that book is crap and isn't happening anymore. Sorry to waste your time!"

Maybe I didn't use those exact words, but I did basically tell someone who works for my publisher that my book wasn't being published without actually hearing it from anyone at my publisher.

Almost immediately I got an e-mail from my editor saying that the book was, in fact, happening. I hadn't heard from her because she'd been (*gasp*) busy, but she loved the manuscript. The reason I'd heard from the production editor first was because there weren't a ton of edits needed.

Of course, I took my foot out of my mouth, apologized, and pretended to be happy. That's right. Pretended. Because even after all of that, I had my doubts. Did they feel bad that I obviously had some kind of mental break, so they were giving me a pity publication? Had my editor run out of time and she was just saying there weren't many edits needed, when really I was going to put out a subpar book?

Ridiculous thoughts, but again, I believed them.

Writer brain. Impostor syndrome. Whatever you want to call it, it hid me hard with this book.

Regardless, the edits happened, and the book was published.

When the early reviews rolled in, they were good, but I knew there would be terrible ones. My family and friends said they loved it, but come on, they're my family and friends. They have to say that.

But the positive reviews kept rolling in (even from people I'm not related to!). Usually when someone asks how a book is doing, I have no clue, but I could tell this one was doing pretty well.

Now, All Laced Up is my best-selling, most reviewed, and highest rated book, even though it's my newest release and has been out less than a year. It's a finalist for the YARWA Athena Award. It recently earned one of those "Best Seller" ribbons on Amazon.

Is it perfect? Nope. Did it get some terrible reviews? Yep. Is it a work of literary genius? Certainly not.

But is it something I can be proud of? Yes, if and only if I don't listen to my writer brain.

We writers are good at imagining the worst case scenario. It's kind of part of the job description. But when it comes to judging your own writing, shut off that part of your brain. Send the manuscript to beta readers or your editor. Trust that they'll tell the truth.

And if the truth is that it's good?

Believe it.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

TIED UP IN YOU: Five Facts + Cover Reveal!

My next book, Tied Up In You, will be out on July 10! To prepare, I thought I'd share five facts about the book/writing the book with you. Scroll down after that to see the (ADORABLE!) cover!

1. TUIY is book 2 in the All Laced Up series, but you don't need to read All Laced Up before reading this one! It's a companion novel that follows Luke Jackson, one of the other hockey players from the first book, and can be read as a standalone. (But if you DID read ALU, yes, Pierce Miller and Lia Bailey do make appearances!)

2. The scene that was the most fun to write is a shirtless workout session turned make-out session. Enough said.

3. I did more research for this book than I have for any other! The reason? The main character, Malina Hall, is Hawaiian and also very into STEM. I researched Hawaiian foods and watched videos on weaving and learned more about astronomy and astrophysics than I thought I would ever know and enjoyed every second of it!

4. One of the characters' local hang outs was inspired by real life. The hang out is part coffee shop, part ice cream store, part whatever-the-owner-feels-like-making-it (Cereal bar! S'mores bar! Pancake bar!). It's called The Melting toP because it used to be called The Melting Pot before the fondue conglomerate made them change their name (which actually happened to one of my favorite coffee shops in Michigan!).

5. Malina's best friend, Izzy, was one of my favorite characters to write. She's not based on anyone in my life, but I wish she was because I'd want to hang out with her!

You can add Tied Up In You to your Goodreads TBR here.

You can request an ARC on NetGalley here.

You can pre-order it via Amazon here.

Now for the cover and summary!

Isn't it adorable? I mean, look how cute it is next to ALU! All the laces!


Everyone says hotshot goalie Luke Jackson is God’s gift to girls, but the only girl he wants is his best friend, Malina Hall. He’s always known how brilliant she is, but now that he’s “accidentally” kissed her, he can’t stop thinking about her...or wanting to kiss her again.

Problem is, things have been a little...awkward since the kiss. Because she likes him, too? Hopefully, but even if she did, their futures—and the ridiculous schedules that come with them—are in the way. And now one of his teammates is showing interest, and the guy has more in common with Malina than Jackson ever will.

As her best friend, Jackson should get out of the way. But if there’s one thing he’s learned from hockey, it’s that you have to go for what you want, even if it means falling flat on your face. And he’s definitely falling for Malina.

Disclaimer: This book contains a hot hockey player who goes after what he wants, a super-hot, super-distracting shirtless workout, and the kind of best friends to lovers romance every girl in the friend zone has dreamed of.

Can't wait for July 10! I hope you have as much fun reading it as I had writing it!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

News and exciting things!

It's been a while since my last blog post. Life has been crazy, I swear it was just January like 2 days ago, etc. etc. etc.

But I have news to share! Three exciting things happened recently:

1. All Laced Up became a finalist in the Athena Contest for Excellence in Young Adult & New Adult Fiction! Whoa! I am SO honored and excited to be in such good company with three other awesome finalists. The winner will be announced at the Day of YA on July 26. If you haven't read All Laced Up yet, it's basically The Cutting Edge for the 21st century, and you can get the e-book for just $2.99 on Amazon or B&N!

2. The companion novel to All Laced Up has a title and a release date! Tied up in You will be out July 10, 2017! Do you remember Pierce Miller's teammate, Luke Jackson from All Laced Up? Tied up in You is Jackson's book, which means more hockey, more hot guys, and yes, appearances from both Pierce Miller and Lia Bailey! I'll share the cover, Goodreads link, etc. as soon as I have them!

3. I got a new day job! It's mostly the same work I was doing before, but for a different company. The best thing about said job is that I get to work from home most days. Working in sweats (or, let's be honest, pajamas) is pretty fantastic. Plus, I used to have a 60 minute round trip commute, so now I'm using that time to write!

That's enough excitement for now, but hopefully I'll be back with more soon! Enjoy the start of summer!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

2016's Good Things

Y'all, we made it. 2016 was rough for a lot of people for a lot of reasons, but we stuck together and survived.

For just a few minutes, I want to ignore all of the nonsense that happened and focus on some of the good things. Because no matter how bad the year, there are still people who make you smile, events that make you cheer, and books that make you cry.

The good things from my 2016?
  • I published two books! Mark this one down in history, because I'm not sure it will ever happen again. It was a lot of work, but I'm so proud of Pieces of You and Me and All Laced Up, and so thrilled that I get to continue making my dream of being an author come true!

  • I got a new job! Same company, different position. It merges my love of writing with my teaching experience, and I love it!
  • I went to NYC again! The 2016 Writer's Digest Conference was a blast. I learned a lot, hung out with some awesome people, and solidified my love for the city.

  • I indulged my inner theater junkie. The theater is one of my favorite places, and I spent as much time there as possible! Some of the shows I saw include Curious Incident, The Lion King, Kinky Boots, Fun Home, Newsies, RENT, A Christmas Carol, and The Grinch. (AND I'M SEEING HAMILTON IN 2017 OMG.)

  • I also read some amazing books. It was impossible to choose just one "best book of 2016," so I cheated and choose several in different categories. (It's my blog; I get to make the rules, right?)
Best Overall

Phantom Limbs by Paula Garner -- This book made me laugh, made me cry, and made me think about it long after I finished reading.

Best Audiobook

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline -- This was a book that made me want to do nothing but go for long drives and walks so I had a reason to keep listening.

Best Contemporary YA

Written in the Stars by Aisha Saaed -- Unique, beautifully written, un-put-down-able.

Best SciFi YA

Purge by Kat Ellis -- This book was incredibly creatively plotted and well-executed. I adored spending time with these characters in this intense world.

There are so many other books I loved...Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown, The Bad Boy Bargain by Kendra Highley, This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp, Gena/Finn by Hannah Moskowitz and Kat Helgeson...let's just say 2017 has a lot to live up to in terms of good books, but I'm both hopeful for and optimistic about another good book year!

Are we ready for 2017? Maybe. Maybe not. But will there be good things next year? Absolutely. Let's go out and find them. Make them. We got this, y'all. See you in 2017.

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!