Monday, December 28, 2015

I Have a Book Deal!

I wanted to quickly tell you about my middle-grade book deal!!

I’m over the moon with excitement about this story being released into the world. Where do I begin? There are many stories on the Internet about book deals, and how authors land an agent, so here’s mine.  

Almost two years ago, my writing group MGbetareaders, aka Kidliterati wrangled me in, reluctantly for the NaNoWriMo Camp, one July. I think it was in July? And I wrote like a firestorm, scratching down every crazy idea I had into the composition book where my little Sci-Fi, Fantasy, CTRL+ALT+DELETE began to grow.

Then it was chopped, and chopped again, up and down, and zigzag, by the eagle eyes of the beta-readers from my group of Kidlit authors. I could NOT have written this book without them, seriously. We need our readers! I had three beta-readers for each pass through the manuscript and found another reader outside the group. Collect your beta-readers now, reading for as many writers in your genre as you can. I love critiquing others’ work as it really helps hone my craft.

I put the July Nano project aside and wrote another story. Meanwhile, The Unmoving Sky, a contemporary, thriller, was sold to Leap Books last March (YAY!). I pulled out CTRL+ALT+DELETE to use my fresh eyes after tucking it away for a spell. In the meantime, I searched for agents for my MG, SFF and what I found were few agents who represented this genre. And fewer still that I might be a good fit for me and this project—plus, my future projects, which may run the gamut of genres, and audiences. I might have sent out ten agent queries for CTRL+ALT+DELETE, all R’s except for the Pitch on Twitter picked up by a super amazing agent, who held that manuscript until my very last decision—which was to go with GMMG. Plus I had another agent, who didn't respond to his full request. Even after two nudges inquiring if he’d read, or had any interest—just send a damn form rejection if you request a full. I have to say, this might have been my last straw. But sometimes things happen in a round about way. Right? Mysteriously, right?

Because when I read: A line of books for readers ages 7+, our titles are full of adventure, fantasy, and whimsy. Many of our titles will interest boys and reluctant readers in particular, about Tantrum books. (I have a reluctant reader at home.)

I shot off a query fast, and just under the window for agentless submissions. I think it was just under four weeks later, in early June I received a personal email from Georgia McBride, saying she thinks C.A.D. would make a great addition to the Tantrum line. I made some ungodly sound, enough my coworker jumped up to see if I was all right. Surprised to learn it was my “happy” sound. I was SO THRILLED! 

But then I had to wait. I contacted agents who still had the ms, one agent loved the story and asked for a revision. She gave such amazing feedback, but because Tantrum also wanted a revision I decided to go with the Tantrum revision. It was a significant revision. I still had to wait before announcing anything and continued to revise/edit in stealth.

All I wanted to do was announce the deal, scream it from the roof. The hard work I put into this story, the work I put into forgotten stories, I wanted an emotional release. Still I had to be a big girl and wait. Edits were sent to my amazing editor at Tantrum, Tara Creel, and it was now time for the announcement. Almost. 

Seven moths later, GLITCH is announced in Publishers Weekly.

Every process is as different as each writer. We’re a creative bunch. Create your book goals and try something different, and perhaps a less beaten path. Do I want an agent? You bet I do. Maybe I’ll find one for my Swing Era thriller, but that manuscript still needs much revision. Thank goodness for my beta-readers! Thank goodness, for the inventive creativity that is GMMG, and Month9books, and Tantrum books. I see amazing projects and growth ahead. I’m honored to be among such a talented group authors and editors.  

Thank you!  Happy 2016 ~ here’s to dreams and to following your heart. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Book Donations for At-Risk Kids

Looking to  share the book ARCS I've collected over the last year, instead of holding a raffle, I went with Melanie Conklin's suggestion to DONATE the books to at-risk kids. She always has the best ideas and gave me the Never Counted Out. web link. 


Never Counted Out is a non-profit that bridges the gap between at-risk youth and artists by generating access to creative mentorship. Our model focuses on empowering this underserved population in America via the arts. We believe that arts such as writing, music, painting, photography, film and spoken word educate, invigorate and instill the ability to harness one’s voice. By meeting artists and creating art, youth on the fringe have the ability to be heard and seen not only now but for the rest of their lives.

It was easy-peasy. Sent book rate. Now these great books will be in the hands of teens and kids who actually need the books. And that feels good!  

Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Holiday Book Giveaway. This MG Book Bundle Could Be Yours!

Happy Holidays, Everyone!

Today's Holiday giveaway is for these Great MG books. I was lucky enough to receive these ARCs and I LOVED each one.  Leave a blog comment about what your favorite MG title is for 2015. And that's it. If you want to like my fan page on Facebook, please do, although it's not mandatory. But the comment is. Giveaway ends on Monday Eve December 14th.  Then check back for the YA book bundle giveaways.  
Forgot to ask you to leave your email in the comments. To prevent spam, something like this: Karen(at) gmail (dot) com.

Super Freak by Vanessa Barger: "... a mash up of Nancy Drew meets the Munsters. Tight pacing, fresh concept, and suspenseful..."

The Real Boy by Anne Ursu: "So much to love in this book. It had me filled with goosebumps throughout. And I particularly loved the natural healing aspect ..."   

The Tiara on the Terrace by Kristin: Young and Grace Yang, the tween super sleuths, are at it again and they’ve brought another friend, Trista, into their triumvirate alliance. 

*quotes are from my book reviews. 

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Monday, November 30, 2015

NA Book Review: The Right Kind of Mistake by Rebecca Thomas

Right Kind of Mistake (Right Kind of Mistake, #1)Right Kind of Mistake by Rebecca Thomas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Arc for an honest review:

What a sizzling start! I haven’t read many NA books, so I was taken by surprise, and a little flustered, feeling quite the same as the MC, Haylie did, wrestling with her mind, in a tug of war with her heart over dating any more hockey players. Ever. After the last one, Tyler deserted her to follow his dream, even though she followed him to Alaska to attend the same University.

The sacrifice she’s made, and continues to make, being off limits to any hockey players, tests her resolve. But it’s ok because she isn’t looking for a boyfriend. She wants to try being a little daring, adventurous, wild. She throws herself at Cam, also on the hockey team, and sidekick once to Tyler. “Retaliation sex” That’s her reasoning. She convinces herself she can do it—after only ever have one serious boyfriend, she was finished with being good. But she struggles with this idea too.

There’s quite a bit of suspense in Haylie’s wrestling with her doubts. She tries to find a reason—aside from crippling desire—to be with Cam again. He confesses he’s always pined away for her and has actually waited for her. And he’s unlike anybody she’s ever met before. Trust me, he’s pretty damn sexy, and his patience endearing.

Haylie’s two best friends help her along, which is good because I wanted to do what BFF Maya tried to do—and help her to not make the mistake of losing someone really special because of her jaded self-talk. But Cam does one hell of a job convincing her to give him a shot because he isn’t looking for a fling, he’s waited too long for her.

Haylie soon discovers more about herself as her heart opens, her latent artistic talents, that she just may decide to put to good use. I look forward to seeing how Cam and Haylie’s relationship develops. See what else Haylie discovers about herself—her multiple talents and her dreams. It’s time for Haylie to live! Without her ex-boyfriend telling her how to think or to feel—she’s ready to break down every invisible wall! Go Haylie!

Please know this is part one of two, and by the end of The Right Kind of Mistake, the build up's percolating very nicely.

View all my reviews

Monday, November 23, 2015

MG Book Review: The Tiara on the Terrace by Kristen Kittscher

The Tiara on the Terrace (The Wig in the Window, #2)The Tiara on the Terrace by Kristen Kittscher
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received an ARC for an honest review.

The second book to The Wig in the Window and I loved this middle-grade adventure just as much, if not more because the main characters feel even more familiar to me. Sophie Young and Grace Yang, the tween super sleuths, are at it again and they’ve brought another friend, Trista, into their triumvirate alliance.

A fun whodunit that kept me guessing the entire way through, and I was completely surprised by the culprit. It’s the biggest crime to hit the girls’ hometown Luna Vista since the last large crime the girls solved, turned them into household names.

And now with the backdrop of the Winter Sun Festival, a festival similar to the Rose Bowl, Sophie and her BFF Grace have quite the caper ahead when the president in charge of the Festival is killed by a freak accident on the first day of preparations. But the girls don’t buy it after they learn that a mechanical marshmallow whipped the Festival president, Mr. Steptoe, out of his senses and left him dead, was an accident. The police assume it was a malfunctioning mechanical marshmallow. The have to act fast before the next president of the Festival gets knocked down and taken out.

It’s too suspicious, and there are so many suspects. The girls try and narrow it down, but first they have to go undercover as court pages. Sophie doesn’t want to. She doesn’t want to have to spend three days alone with High School girls on the Royal Court, covering them with fake tans, sorting their clothes, and doing their bidding. It’s only when Grace has done a sufficient job convincing her, she’s on the team, and they make it in. All three girls make the cut. They spend the next three days, away from their parents, and get busy snooping, and deducing, and creating a little mischief of their own.

But something amazing happens. The seventh-grade girls grow closer with the high school girls, even after Sophie lets out an embarrassing secret that belonged to Grace when she wasn’t around to tell it herself. Things come together–after a few obstacles to a very satisfying end. Such a great middle-grade read. I could probably read about these sleuths in volumes. LOVED this sweet and madcap caper.

View all my reviews

Monday, November 2, 2015

A HOLD ON ME by Pat Esden Book Review and Giveaway!

A Hold on MeA Hold on Me by Pat Esden
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Annie Freemont and her father, spend their lives on the road scouring for antiques, and encountering mysteries, and make quite the bargaining pair. Until his illness sends them back to a past, his past, the place her mother died: The family home of Moonhill. The last place her father wants to go.

Annie wants nothing more than to leave Moonhill, after meeting the strange sorts: her aunt, grandfather, and the cousins, especially when she discovers that someone drew a pentacle of salt under her bed. But when her aunt hides her father away, without explanation, Annie’s on the hunt and getting angrier. She soon learns that her mother died under mysterious circumstances, and when she next sees her father, he’s changed. His illness has rapidly progressed, but the methods her aunt and grandfather use to help him are unorthodox to say the least.

Annie questions everything. But Chase, the cute groundskeeper she tries to ignore and eventually can’t, warns her things aren’t what they seem. He’s not what he appears, nor are the others in her family. Plus they own him.

Annie, Chase, and newly aquatinted cousin, Selena join forces to help her father, but they soon discover they’re up against more than they could ever bargain for.

I loved the build up of this book. I didn’t think this was your typical paranormal thriller. The twist near the end gave the story such an exotic humor. An engrossing gothic read. I highly recommend it. I cannot wait to learn more about the Freemont family business in Book 2! Coming February 2016 from Kensington.

View all my reviews

Just leave a comment below about best thing you found at a flea market to win an ARC. Or a random comment. Please leave your email in comments like so:  karen(at)gmail (dot) com.
Open to US residents only. Good Luck.

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Sunday, November 1, 2015

Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit !!

Happy November!  

Do you say White Rabbit or Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit at the start of each month?  I've been saying it since my college days when a good friend got me started.

So here's to a NEW Month--yay!  Autumn (yum!) and all the excitement new adventures bring.

Coco (my lab mix) is READY!

Be sure to stop in tomorrow when I host a #Giveaway of Pat Esden's book: A HOLD ON ME. You're gonna LOVE it! Gothic, suspense set in Maine. Plus a host of unnerving characters.


Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Final Day of The 2015 Crossroads Blog Tour.

We've come to the End of the Road . . . and Today is HALLOWEEN!   
If you've been following the tour, you know there are TREATS in store for you. Sign up on the Rafflecopter, all the way at the bottom of my page. Participating Blogs and information can be found here. Read on to learn more about some spooky paranormal reads! For all that late night, under your covers, reading! 

1.)  You and a friend are walking down a dark alley. You hear strange noises. Do you walk ahead and check things out, or send your friend instead? 
I walk ahead. Yeah, I’m the one who always has to check it out. But first I would stop and see if the noises continue. #IsThisWise

2.)  What's your Halloween costume back up, the one that's always waiting in your drawer or closet? 

I have a witches hat, cape, and makeup – for when I need a costume in a hurry. No need to go into why I have these things ;) #HalloweenFun

Critically acclaimed and award-winning YA and nonfiction author. Lover of books, lattes, and family. Passionate about humanity. Believer in dreams.

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The most dangerous secrets are the ones that kill.

When a surprising mental breakdown draws too much attention from a secret government group call the Order, 17-year-old Dakota discovers that her so-called boring life isn’t so boring after all. Between the lies, secrets and assassins out to kill her family, Dakota discovers there’s more to paranormal activity than ghosts and cheap mind tricks. Now she must uncover the truth before a new breed of terrorism takes everything away – including her life.

                      Amazon                         Barnes &Noble                     Kobo

  Janet Fox
Janet Fox's published works include the non-fiction middle-grade self-help book GET ORGANIZED WITHOUT LOSING IT (Free Spirit Publishing) and three young adult historical novels: FAITHFUL, FORGIVEN, and SIRENS (all Speak/Penguin). Her debut middle-grade novel THE CHARMED CHILDREN OF ROOKSKILL CASTLE is due out March 15, 2016 from Viking. Janet is a 2010 MFA graduate from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and she's represented by Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. She lives in Bozeman, Montana, where she and her husband are ruled by an energetic Lab, but you can also find her at, connect with her on Twitter at @janetsfox, and follow her on Facebook at AuthorJanetFox

1.)  You and a friend are walking down a dark alley. You hear strange noises. Do you walk ahead and check things out, or send your friend instead? 

Are you kidding me??? The first anti-rule of terror is DON'T GO THERE. If my friend is crazy enough to go on, well. But me? I'm turning around. And running. I admit it, I'm a wimp. Of course, you wouldn't find me in that dark alley in the first place.

2.)  What's your Halloween costume back up, the one that's always waiting in your drawer or closet? 

Long velvet skirt, corset top. I'm already planning to wear that outfit this Halloween at a costume party. It's super comfortable and doesn't look too, too weird. In fact, it's kind of steampunk cool. Hence, it's still in my closet.

THE CHARMED CHILDREN OF ROOKSKILL CASTLE is a middle-grade novel set in a spooky Scottish castle during WWII. The lady of the manor has set it up as a temporary boarding school for children escaping the Blitz. But something is not right with that castle or that lady, and the children begin disappearing one by one. There are clues that a spy is in the house; there are undeniable signs of a sinister magic. Ghostly hauntings, enigma machines, creepy noises, and peculiar teachers all hint at a complicated mystery. It’s a race against the clock for one girl, her two younger siblings, and her new best friend to get to the bottom of things.

Amazon               Country Bookshelf (my local indie)           Barnes & Noble

And last, but certainly not least... Author, Kelly Hashway   

Kelly Hashway fully admits to being one of the most accident-prone people on the planet, but that didn’t stop her from jumping out of an airplane at ten thousand feet one Halloween. Maybe it was growing up reading R.L. Stine’s Fear Street books that instilled a love of all things scary and a desire to live in a world filled with supernatural creatures, but she spends her days writing speculative fiction for young adults, middle graders, and young children. Kelly’s also a sucker for first love, which is why she writes YA and NA romance under the pen name Ashelyn Drake. When she’s not writing, Kelly works as an editor and also as Mom, which she believes is a job title that deserves to be capitalized. She is represented by Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Literary Agency. 

1.)  You and a friend are walking down a dark alley. You hear strange noises. Do you walk ahead and check things out, or send your friend instead? 
Secret option C—run in the opposite direction!

2.)  What's your Halloween costume back up, the one that's always waiting in your drawer or closet? 
A witch. I’ve been a witch so many times. It’s fun and a little spooky at the same time.

The Monster Within 

The moment seventeen-year-old Samantha Thompson crawls out of her grave, her second chance at life begins. She died of cancer with her long-time boyfriend, Ethan, by her side—a completely unfair shot at life. But Ethan found a way to bring her back like he promised he would. Only Sam came back wrong.
She's now a monster that drains others' lives to survive. And after she kills, she’s tortured by visions—glimpses into her victims would-have-been futures had she not killed them. Barely able to live with herself and trying to make things right, Sam ends up a pawn in a vicious game of payback within the local coven of witches.
But when the game reveals what Ethan had to do to save Sam, she must make a choice that will change all their lives forever.

 Buy links:              Amazon            Barnes & Noble

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