February Critique Giveaway

Now that my January giveaway has concluded — my February critique giveaway is live!

For Feb, I’m giving away:

  1. Query + 10 page critique
  2. Query + 5 page critique
  3. Query critique

If you are self-pubbing and do not have a query, I would be happy to critique your blurb instead of a query!

There are no restrictions on who can claim this prize, all genres and markets are open.  (I’d be the most help for A or YA projects though)

Note: To be eligible to win, you must follow me on Twitter at the time of the drawing.

While you’re here, please subscribe to my newsletter for NEXT GIRL TO DIE!

Good luck! And may the odds be ever in your favor.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Books I’ve been enjoying

Last year, my family and I moved. We’ve got a lovely house now, we’re finally settled — but one of the unfortunate side effects of the move is my commute. It nearly doubled. Most days, I find myself in the car for 45 minutes to an hour and a half each way. And I have to say, the only thing that’s really saved my sanity is audio books. I figured I’d share a few of the audio books I’ve listened to recently that I really enjoyed!

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

I absolutely loved this audiobook. I had no idea what I was getting into when I started it, I wanted no spoilers, I didn’t want to know a single thing about the book — so I just dove in. In the beginning, I’d simply wanted to listen to American Gods because I’d planned to watch the TV show. I did not plan to be completely consumed by the story, the characters, and the full cast in the audiobook. The world and the characters are so rich, the writing beautiful. I loved everything about it.

The Shades of Magic Series – by V.E. Schwab
A Darker Shade of Magic, A Gathering of Shadows, A Conjuring of Light

When A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC came out three years ago, I tried to purchase a copy then. Alas, it was sold out. Then it slipped off my radar until I bought an ebook of it, but it got lost in my TBR pile. But finally, the audio book made its way into my life, and I cannot express how thankful I am to have read this series. These books made me love the characters, broke my heart (several times), and left me DYING when I had to pause them. I want to steal Kell’s coat, go on a ship with Lila, and give Rhy a long, much-needed hug. This was a world I was so sad to leave. There are not enough good things I can say about this series, other than, if this is not in your life already — fix it, and fix it now.

If you want to listen to any of these books (and I suggest you do) you can use my affiliate link to get two free books from audible!

 

Note: This post contains affiliate links

January Query Critique Giveaway

In 2017, it was my goal to spend the entire year giving back to the writing community. And I enjoyed it so much, I’m going to continue doing it in 2018. Each month I will post a new critique giveaway of some sort on my blog.

For January, I’m giving away FIVE query critiques — YEP 5!

There are no restrictions on who can claim this prize, all genres and markets are open.  (I’d be the most help for A or YA projects though)

Note: To be eligible to win, you must follow me on Twitter at the time of the drawing.

While you’re here, please subscribe to my newsletter for NEXT GIRL TO DIE!

Good luck! And may the odds be ever in your favor.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

December/January Queries for a Cause

Throughout December (2017) and January (2018) if you donate $15 to End the Backlog I will critique your query for free.

What’s End the Backlog?

When tested, DNA evidence contained inside rape kits is an invaluable investigative tool to solve and prevent crime. It can identify an unknown assailant, reveal serial offenders, and bring opportunities for justice and healing to survivors.

To accomplish these things, however, rape kits must be tested.

END THE BACKLOG is an initiative of the Joyful Heart Foundation to shine a light on—and eliminate—the backlog of hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits in the United States.

After you donate, please contact me on Twitter to send me your receipt. (DM me, if I don’t follow you, tweet at me so I can start following you.)

December Critique Giveaway

Continuing with my goal of giving back to the writing community every month in 2017, for December I am giving away a 30 page + query critique, and a query critique! There are no restrictions on who can claim this prize, all genres and markets are open.  (I’d be the most help for A or YA projects though)

Note: To be eligible to win, you must follow me on Twitter at the time of the drawing.

While you’re here, please subscribe to my newsletter for NEXT GIRL TO DIE!

Good luck! And may the odds be ever in your favor.

This giveaway has ended.

November Critique Giveaway

Continuing with my goal of giving back to the writing community every month in 2017, for November I am giving away a 30 page + query critique! There are no restrictions on who can claim this prize, all genres and markets are open.  (I’d be the most help for A or YA projects though)

Note: To be eligible to win, you must follow me on Twitter at the time of the drawing.

Good luck! And may the odds be ever in your favor.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Products I use for writing

Occasionally I have other writers ask me how I write, and what products I use to make writing and editing easier for myself. I figured instead of just tweeting links constantly, putting them all in one place would be the easiest thing. I will try to keep this page updated so as I stumble on more things I like, I’ll add them.

Editing/Writing Binder

I write all of my manuscripts by hand, I also do most of my editing on paper. This is just the easiest process for me – but I understand if it’s not a good process for you, I’m not here to convince anyone. But if you’re looking for a binder to help keep your writing life together, I have found this one to be AMAZING.

Once I print out my manuscript, I use a standard 3-hole punch and then put all the pages into the binder.

Word of warning, it’s large. There are smaller versions, but I like lugging this behemoth around. There are smaller options available on Amazon.

Here’s a link to the binder on Amazon.

This thing has pockets and folder tabs galore. It can easily hold a 400 page manuscript. It might be able to go up to 500-600 pages, but I’ve never had a manuscript that length so I can’t attest to it personally.

It also has a shoulder strap.

I love this thing because I’m able to keep all my notes, pens, notebooks, etc. all in one place while I’m editing.

I also have a smaller version of this binder that I use for writing. This is the same brand as the binder above, but it’s not quite as bulky. I usually just have a 5-subject notebook in this and an assortment of gel pens.

Notebooks

I’m a notebook snob. I’ve accepted this part of myself. My husband thinks I’m completely insane because of this. But I swear, some paper really feels different as you write on it. Some paper feels like it offers resistance against the pen, and I hate that. These notebooks I’ve found offer no resistance when I use my gel pens, and I get very little smearing.

Here’s a link to these notebooks on Amazon.

I usually buy these in bulk about a month after school starts, and they’re all marked down like crazy on clearance. I find that one 5-subject notebook is perfect for my outlining, notes, and hand-written pages for a project.

Gel pens

I’m obsessed with gel pens. At all times I’ve probably got around two hundred in my house. I’ve seen complaints about gel pens drying up if they sit for too long without being used. But I’ve gotta tell you, in the four years I’ve been using them, I’ve probably had two or three total dry up. It doesn’t appear to be a common problem.

My only complaint about most gel pen assortments, is that there are SO MANY neon and pastel colors. I can’t write with those on standard notebooks, so I have an over-flowing bin filled with all these cast-off colors. That being said, being able to write with glitter or metallic gel pens makes it all worth it.

Here are some of my favorite sets:

This set has 100 pens and 100 refills. I do find that the point on these varies sometimes, but I’m not a stickler for that. This set also has a lot less of the pastel and neon colors than the other options do.

This wasn’t my favorite set, but it got the job done. I wasn’t crazy about it because I felt it had more neon/pastel than others.

This is a much cheaper set than the others, and I had pretty good luck with it. Not my favorite though.

Booklight

I no longer use a booklight, since I have an office now. But for the past five years, most of the time I wrote my manuscript by booklight. I’ve had several I hated, this is the light I’ve had the best luck with.

Small notebooks

I always keep a small notebook in my purse, as I usually get ideas for my novels while I’m in the car, or waiting in line somewhere. These are the notebooks I like best on the go.

Books I use

During my writing and editing processes there are a few books that I use as tools. Here’s a short list of the ones I use most often.

Self Editing for Fiction Writers is a great book to help you edit your own work before self-publishing or querying. I will say that you should still have betas and critique partners read your work before sending it out, but this book should give you the confidence to get your writing in a good place before sending it out to your readers.

Rules for Writers is another great book that can help with grammar, editing, citing sources, abbreviations, etc. Most questions you’ll have in writing should be covered in this book.

And all the writing thesauruses are invaluable. If you don’t have them already, buy them all RIGHT NOW.

The emotional thesaurus. This has helped me many times as I have issues with writing emotions and body language. If you need help in these areas as you’re writing, be sure to pick it up!

Need to come up with some flaws for your characters or some negative traits? Drawing a blank? The negative trait thesaurus exists for exactly that!

On the flip side, if you need positive traits there’s a thesaurus for that as well.

There are also a few other books in the writing thesaurus line, The Urban Setting Thesaurus, The Rural Setting Thesaurus, and The Emotional Wound Thesaurus. I have never used any of these, so I cannot vouch for them personally, but I’m sure they’re just as helpful as the others!

I think that covers all of the products I typically use for my writing. I don’t really use highlighters, or other office supplies. But if you think I missed anything, tweet at me and I’ll update the list! ?

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you buy things, I might get a cut of the purchase so I can buy more gel pens. Please help fund my addiction :p

October Critique Giveaway

Continuing with my goal of giving back to the writing community every month in 2017, for October I am giving away a 30 page + query critique! There are no restrictions on who can claim this prize, all genres and markets are open.  (I’d be the most help for A or YA projects though)

Note: To be eligible to win, you must follow me on Twitter at the time of the drawing.

Good luck! And may the odds be ever in your favor.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Release promo – ORGANIC by Jadah McCoy

I’m so excited to help with the release of ORGANIC by Jadah McCoy! First of all — look at this gorgeous cover.

Here’s a bit about ORGANIC:

Jadah McCoy’s ORGANIC, pitched as Bladerunner meets Pitch Black, in which 18-year-old Syl has barely survived the genetic splicing that plagued her human body. After discovering the androids’ plot to wipe out human and Cull alike, Syl must return to Elite to warn the other survivors. However, with the realization that her group of survivors isn’t the only one, also comes the realization that some humans are just as bad as androids. Bastion and Syl grow closer, however, their relationship suffers under the weight of her past ghosts and a growing threat that endangers human and android alike.

Excerpt:

CHAPTER ONE

Syl

Breathing is a habit. The oxygen filters into my system, fizzles through my circuits then dissipates to nothingness. This new body is alien; it feels like my own, but I know it’s not. My eyes fall on the hole in front of me―the giant chunk of concrete ripped from the ground where the entrance to the Sanctuary used to be.

The music in my ear stutters to a stop, and the gun in my hand hangs limp.

We’re too late.

Bastion kneels beside me, leaning against his weapon as he studies the torn roots and claw marks that score the earth. His coattails catch in the dry dirt beneath him. He looks up, blue eyes lit with mechanical brightness. “I take it this isn’t the work of the Cull you’re used to?”

I step closer, peering into the hole. It’s probably fifteen feet in diameter. Gashes scar the walls all the way down until the tunnel opens up at the sewers. No sound comes from within―no sign that anyone inside might still be alive.

A frown pulls my lips down. “No.”

“Syl.” Bastion stands, prepared to stop me.

Ignoring him, I step off the uneven ledge. My body falls through the air, landing with a small splash in the sewers below. A fall at that height would have broken my human body’s legs, but the metal frame absorbs the impact and then some. I take off, running full speed in the direction of the Sanctuary. These muscles, they never grow weak, or tired, or burn with exhaustion. Bastion catches up quickly, his footsteps shadowing mine. Darkness isn’t an obstacle for us; we can see through it as if it were daylight.

The metal bars, the same ones I slipped through so long ago to escape this place, are bent open. I step over one that now lies placidly in the mildewed water. The others look like an old man’s teeth―jagged, uneven, broken.

But beyond the destroyed entrance…

I freeze, my body refusing to move any farther. Chicken feathers litter the area, dingy and bloodstained. Beneath them lie the bodies of people I grew up with. People I know. People I care about. Static fills my ears like a thick layer of cotton.

Symbols hover over a corpse, simulated by my brain―cortex―whatever it is. They shimmer and flicker before translating into letters: deceased. The word populates again and again, a dozen times, once for each body, and I choke.

 

Where to buy:
Amazon

Add it on Goodreads

Facebook | Twitter

And guess what! There’s a facebook launch party you should check out for ORGANIC!

About the Author:

Jadah McCoy currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee where she works as a paralegal. In her spare time she can be found traveling the world, reading, or (surprise, surprise) writing. The last book in the Kepler Chronicles trilogy is due for publication in 2018.

FORGET ME NOT by Em Shotwell – Cover Reveal!

I’m so excited to help with this cover reveal today. Last year, I had the pleasure of reading Blackbird Summer — and let me tell you, it was one of my favorite books of the year. (Check out my review here)

So, what’s FORGET ME NOT all about?

FORGET ME NOT is Em Shotwell’s 1969 pequel to BLACKBIRD SUMMER. It is on pre-order for .99 and Em is donating all of her royalties to the military charity OPERATION HOMEFRONT.

Maybe falling for the good guy isn’t so bad?

When Rex Somersby’s family matchmaker sets him up with the famous Evelyn Cadeau, he can’t believe his luck. Evelyn is the woman with the perfect Gift—the woman every man wants—while Rex’s own magical ability leaves much to be desired.  He travels from Missouri to meet his dream girl in her rural Mississippi home, where Evelyn makes it clear that winning her heart won’t be an easy task. Good thing farm-boy Rex has never been afraid of a little hard work.

Evelyn Cadeau is used to getting her way. As the woman with the most powerful Gift, she knows she can have her pick of anyone she wants. And who she wants is slick, handsome, and off-limits Guy McCallister—not gawky, buttoned-up Rex Somersby. Yet, after an arranged date with Rex takes a dramatic turn, leading to a bottle of wine and sneaking to the creek for a late night skinny dip, she realizes there may be more to by-the-rules Rex than meets the eye.

Just as the young couple start to think their family’s tradition of matchmaking isn’t quite so backward, Rex is drafted to Vietnam. With war threatening to tear them apart, will love be able to save them? Or will it take a bit of magic?

 

Tell us a bit about the novella and what inspired you to write it.

The main characters are actually from BLACKBIRD SUMMER. Evelyn and Rex are Tallulah and Delia’s grandparents. In fact, many people told me how much they loved snappy Evelyn and thoughtful Rex, so I thought, Why not tell their story.

I first got the idea in Feb 2016 when I was hosting a Love Letter Challenge on my blog at www.EmShotwell.com. Authors submitted love letters written in the voice of one of their characters. I originally was going to write one from Tallulah or Logan’s point of view—but they aren’t really the love letter types. That got me to thinking about who would be most likely to pen a letter and it was definitely Rex Somersby when he was a young man. So I wrote the letter in his voice when he was 18. The idea of how they came to be just wouldn’t leave me alone until I explored it. That turned into a short story which turned into a novella and almost a novel! Lol.

Is there anyone else from BLACKBIRD SUMMER in the novella?

Actually, yes! Aunt Trudy, the matchmaker in BBS, is Evelyn’s older sister and we get to meet her as a young woman. She is fun, too. Very dry, but she loves her family. You will definitely want to know more about her before the BBS sequel releases this winter.

What made you decide to donate your royalties to Operation Homefront?

The Vietnam War plays a big part in the story. I started researching the war and the draft and it broke my heart. I chose Operation Homefront because they have a stellar reputation with making sure donations gets used in a way that is actually helpful. They find emergency shelter for vets, they help military families visit their soldier loved ones, and they actually have programs to help vets find treatment for both physical and psychological injuries. Basically, it is a great organization.

Tell us about the cover.

I am in love with this cover! I have a big thing for silhouettes on book covers. As a reader, I gravitate toward them in the book store, so when City Owl Press’s cover designer showed me mock-ups for Blackbird Summer, I was thrilled. We continued the theme with FORGET ME NOT, and I love it even more than BBS, I think.  I love the turquoise background on the back of the paperback cover, you will see Evelyn’s tree. It has a heart with RS+EC carved in it. So cute!

Where can we get a copy?

FORGET ME NOT is available for preorder on Amazon, and for a limited time the ebook preorder is .99! Snag it while it is on sale (and then buy the paperback to contribute more to Operation Homefront).

Ebook

Print

Add it to your Goodreads

Bio:

Em Shotwell is a cancer survivor, foster care advocate, and casual geek. Sometimes she writes books about misfits and the people who love them.

When she’s not frowning at her computer screen, Em enjoys spending time outdoors hiking, or indoors daydreaming and wishing she could play the banjo.

Visit her online at www.EmShotwell.com. She hangs out on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/EmShotwellAuthor/ where she often hosts giveaways and posts witty memes.

 

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