Category: Blog Posts (Page 1 of 5)

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.

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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.




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:

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 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).



Add it to your Goodreads


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 She hangs out on facebook at where she often hosts giveaways and posts witty memes.


May Critique Giveaway!

Continuing with my goal of giving back to the writing community every month in 2017 — in May I’m giving away a 10 page critique, and a query critique!

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

New Writing Podcast! Talking INDIE TIDBITS with Dawn Husted

I’m so excited to host this post for Dawn Husted today, so she can tell you all about her awesome new podcast, INDIE TIDBITS! 


Hello Dea! Or as we say in this town, HOWDY! Howdy is in my roots. I graduated from Texas A&M, born and raised in Aggie land. I can’t remember if I use Howdy in the podcast, but I should start.

In a roundabout way, I’ve mentioned the podcast! That’s right, the INDIE TIDBITS podcast.

Indie Tidbits is a channel for writers who are thinking of taking the indie route to publishing. It’s also for hybrid authors.

I created the podcast a couple of weeks ago, because I wanted to help fellow writers who didn’t know where to begin when self-publishing. I published my first book in 2013, and I launched it all wrong. Promoted it all wrong. I did a lot of stuff wrong.

I’m in the middle of launching a new book. Through the years, I’ve learned so much about the process of promoting, editing, formatting, proofreading, critiquing, and now publishing. My head literally hurts from all the knowledge. I constantly take notes that I compile into podcasts.

If you’re one of these authors who are interested in learning more about indie publishing and what to do next, tune into Stitcher or iTunes, search for Indie Tidbits. I also post these episodes on YouTube. The episodes follow my journey to publishing, shouting tons of tips and advice through the microphone of my computer. I’ll be interviewing a few authors, artists, and marketers from time to time. The first author being: NL Hoffmann. She’s the author of seven books, one having over 100 reviews on Amazon.

So be sure to have your paper and pen ready! Thanks for having me Dea. Hopefully, I’ll get to welcome you to the Indie Tidbits guest list soon!


Dawn Husted is the author of Scythe of Darkness, a YA urban fantasy novel.She thought up the premise one night, originally writing the setting in a dystopian world. She graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in Human Resources. Two years later, her passion for writing grew. When not writing, she’s either camping or dreaming about camping. She’s a member of SCBWI, and lives in southern Texas with her husband and two kids. Find out more at

Stone of Power: Keepers of Earth Book 1 – Signed Paperback Giveaway!

I’m so excited to be hosting a giveaway for Stone of Power: Keepers of Earth Book 1 by Kimberly A. Riley! Not only do you get this awesome book for FREE — It’s also SIGNED!! (Sorry guys, the shipping for this is U.S. Only!)

When Earth faces a serious threat from collapsing alternate dimensions, it handpicks individuals, called Keepers, to locate and obtain special Stones that have the power to restore balance to the universe.

Andrew is trying to impress his new girlfriend Christine at the carnival when he meets the Keepers. Drawn to them by an unidentifiable familiarity, Andrew follows them. Thrust into a world of harrowing adventure, he journeys through various dimensions and encounters Venom, a man who holds the one thing the Keepers desperately need to save Earth—the Stone of Power.

But Venom has other ideas about what Earth needs and threatens the Keepers’ plans at every phase of their mission. In these new realms of danger and even horror, Andrew must find his own power in order to make the sacrifices necessary to save Earth. As Andrew begins to fight back, he realizes he and Venom have a lot more in common than he thought.


“Stone of Power presents an incredibly interesting world. I’m a sucker for an interesting sci-fi or fantasy setting. This book combines a mostly sci-fi tech world with a little fantasy magic. The way this world is revealed is very well thought out. It’s revealed as Andrew and Christine encounter it. Each time you get a little piece of the world, it’s enough to understand the immediate scene, but not so much that you tune out due to a wall of exposition (I’m looking at you later books in the Dune series). Each time something about the world was divulged it made me want to know more about how things worked, not because it didn’t explain enough, but because what was shown was intriguing.

I appreciate how scientifically accurate or at least plausible the science and tech are presented. Explanations for how things work make sense. They’re concise, fit with the story and pacing, and factual. You can tell the author was a science teacher, and judging by this book, was a darn good one.

This is ostensibly a young adult novel, but it does not get caught up in teen angst nor does it suffer from bland stereotypical and/or “braindead” characters. The characters are interesting and well-written. Those we see more of have complex and believable motivations. What’s revealed about the other characters makes me look forward to learning more about them in future books. Those few times when characters say or do the “braindead” or non-ideal thing, it makes sense given what the characters are going through. It’s much more complex than just, “Me teen, me have hormones.”

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Interesting world, interesting characters, interesting motivations for the villian, and had me suffering from the “just one more chapter” syndrome.” – T. Gilbert

“An absolute blast to read that really hooks more as it goes, and the first book in a long time that cost me sleep because I went “I’ll stop at the next chapter.. or the next.” – Daniel J. Hodge

“It’s an excellent story for any kid who loves comic books and science!” – EricaPossible


Kimberly Riley grew up in a small town in Southeast Texas and now lives in the outskirts of Austin with her husband, dog, birds, and numerous fish. Originally a high school science teacher, she has taken a break from teaching to become a full time author. Her love of science fiction and fantasy influences her writing and her artwork. She spends her free time painting (mostly dragons), playing D&D, and teaching her birds to whistle the Imperial March.




Twitter: @KARiley40

Fine print: To be eligible to win, at the time of the drawing you must follow Dea Poirier and Kimberly Riley on Twitter. If you do not follow, you will not be eligible to win. Bot and Spam accounts will not be eligible to win. U.S. Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

April Query Critique Giveaway

Continuing with my goal of giving back to the writing community every month in 2017 — in April I’m giving away 1 query critique to a winner — along with three critiques for them to gift to other writers!

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

So — you wanna be a Beta or CP?

Being a critique partner and/or beta reader

Being a critique partner or beta reader can mean different things to different people. Critique partners are typically  other writers that you exchange work with, and give each other very detailed feedback. My main CP and I exchange everything, articles, manuscripts, rough drafts, short stories and sometimes blog posts (hiiii Elesha).

Beta readers are a bit different, they may not be writers, they may just be readers of your genre. Beta readers will give you a more general idea of your work, not a detailed critique.

Keep in mind, being a beta or a critique partner is about providing helpful feedback, and making another writer’s work shine — it’s not about ripping their MS apart, putting them down, or destroying their vision. It is their MS, they may not take all of your advice, they may only take advice that resonates with them (and that’s fine, because it’s their story). Also consider how you give feedback, point out the things that are working well, things you like, parts that make you laugh, not just the parts that need work — varied feedback really helps!

So, you want to be a beta reader?

You might be asking yourself, how can I be a good beta reader? First ask the author if there’s anything in particular they want you to give feedback on, if they have items take a note of those and keep them in mind. You will typically only read the MS once.

My other recommendation would be to keep an eye out for the following:

  • Continuity
  • Plot holes
  • Overall flow (are there slow spots)
  • Under developed characters

Things that aren’t your problem as a beta:

  • Line edits
  • Grammar

As a beta, you are just trying to give the writer a general idea if their project is working for you as a reader. You are not their editor.

So, you want to be a critique partner?

What makes a good CP? Someone loves your work like it’s their own. If you’re a CP, buckle in and prepare to read a MS more than once. You’ll need to keep an eye out for any issues with the MS, but keep in mind everyone has their own editing style and strengths.

As a CP keep an eye an out for the following:

  • Voice
  • Tone
  • Plot, character,  and sub plot arcs
  • Continuity
  • Plot holes
  • Overall flow (are there slow spots)
  • Under developed characters
  • Grammar
  • Word usage
  • History/world building/magic use, etc.

When looking for a CP or beta, be sure to find someone with a feedback/editing style that suits your needs — and vice versa. Some writers have very specific needs when it comes to feedback. For example, I know that the ‘compliment sandwich’ is a very popular method, but this method doesn’t work for me. I’m not good at providing that type of feedback, nor do I care about receiving feedback in that manner.

How fast am I expected to read?

This varies. My recommendation is to consider how long it normally takes you to read a book, and give yourself a few extra days on top of that. When you’re reading as a Beta or CP, the process is slower — you’re making notes, you’re considering the plot, etc. It’s not as cut and dry as picking up a book off a shelf and plowing through it. Give yourself a realistic deadline and let the author know what your timeline looks like — normally the author will tell you if that’s okay or not.

Where do I find authors that want me to CP or Beta?

My recommendation for this is Twitter. There are other methods, writing boards, CP/Beta matchups on blogs, etc. But I’ve found my favorite CPs and betas on Twitter. If you search for beta readers, you can often find authors that are tweeting about their books, hoping to find someone willing to read it.

If you have any questions about being a CP or beta that you’d like me to answer here, tweet at me!


Cover Reveal – Vicki L. Weavil’s Mirror of Immortality Trilogy

I’m so excited to help with the cover reveal of Vicki L. Weavil’s Mirror of Immortality Trilogy today!

Look at these gorgeous covers!!

Title: Crown of Ice
Author: Vicki L. Weavil
Release Date: May 9, 2017
Publisher: Snowy Wings Publishing

Snow Queen Thyra Winther is immortal, but if she can’t reassemble a shattered enchanted mirror by her eighteenth birthday she’s doomed to spend eternity as a wraith.

Armed with magic granted by a ruthless wizard, Thyra schemes to survive with her mind and body intact. Unencumbered by kindness, she kidnaps local boy Kai Thorsen, whose mathematical skills rival her own. Two logical minds, Thyra calculates, are better than one. With time rapidly melting away she needs all the help she can steal.

A cruel lie ensnares Kai in her plan, but three missing mirror shards and Kai’s childhood friend, Gerda, present more formidable obstacles.

Thyra’s willing to do anything – venture into uncharted lands, outwit sorcerers, or battle enchanted beasts — to reconstruct the mirror, yet her most dangerous adversary lies within her. Touched by the warmth of a wolf pup’s devotion and the fire of a young man’s love, the thawing of Thyra’s frozen heart could prove her ultimate undoing.

Add Crown of Ice on Goodreads!


Cover designed by Deranged Doctor Design

Title: Scepter of Fire
Author: Vicki L. Weavil
Release Date: May 23, 2017
Publisher: Snowy Wings Publishing

She’s the ugly duckling in a family of swans. But Varna Lund is determined to live a life that matters.

Ridiculed by the young men of her village, Varna vows she’ll become the finest healer in the land. The skills she’s learned from her ancient mentor prove vital when she encounters Erik Stahl, a young soldier who deserted the battlefield to carry an injured friend to safety. Aided by her sister Gerda, she cares for the soldiers in secret.

When betrayal catapults the four young people into life on the run, Varna encounters her former mentor—now revealed as the sorcerer, Sten Rask. Seeking an enchanted mirror that offers unlimited power, Rask appears determined to seduce Varna to his side.

To protect their country, Varna and her companions form an alliance with a former Snow Queen, a scholar, and an enchantress. But when Rask tempts her with beauty and power, Varna’s heart becomes a battlefield. Caught between loyalty to her companions and a man whose kisses ignite a fire on her lips, Varna must choose—embrace her own desires, or fight for a society that’s always spurned her.

Add Scepter of Fire on Goodreads!

About the Author:

Vicki L. Weavil turned her early obsession with reading into a career as a librarian. After obtaining a B.A. in Theatre from the University of Virginia, she continued her education by receiving a Masters in Library Science and a M.A. in Liberal Studies. She is currently the Library Director for a performing and visual arts university.

An avid reader who appreciates good writing in all genres, Vicki has been known to read seven books in as many days. When not writing or reading, she likes to spend her time watching films, listening to music, gardening, or traveling. Vicki, who writes in other genres under the pennames V. E. Lemp and Victoria Gilbert, is represented by Frances Black of Literary Counsel, NY, NY. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and some very spoiled cats.

Visit Vicki online at, or on Twitter at @VickiLWeavil or Facebook at @VickiLWeavil.


Stolen Ink ARC Giveaway!

I’m super excited to be running this giveaway for Holly Evans! She’s been kind enough to give away an ebook ARC of her book Stolen Ink!

What’s Stolen Ink?

A gay tattoo magician, (who should probably stop cursing the gods quite so much), must work with an LGBT cast to stop a tattoo thief before more people are killed. – Urban Fantasy.

Stolen Ink (Ink Born 1) blurb.

I’m Dacian, a tattoo magician, and my life went from my biggest concern being finding a pretty guy to fall into bed with at the end of the week to everything falling apart around me.

There are two problems in my life.

Number one – I’m an ink magician, the thing of myths. A lot of very powerful people would love to get their hands on me, and I have no intention of letting that happen.

Number two – A tattoo thief came to my city, and the magical community has decided that I’m the guy to stop them.

Somehow, I have to catch the thief without letting my secret out of the bag, and that’s even harder than it sounds.

— and look at this GORGEOUS cover you guys!

So, how do you win? Use the widget below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to follow Holly Evans on Twitter, and check out her other books on Amazon and Goodreads!

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