Sunday, 9 February 2014

Review: Full Measures by Rebecca Yarros

Hi internet friends! Today, I'm super excited to review "Full Measures" by Rebecca Yarros!





BLURB

Twenty years as an army brat and Ember Howard knew, too. The soldiers at the door meant her dad was never coming home. What she didn’t know was how she would find the strength to single-handedly care for her crumbling family when her mom falls apart. 

Then Josh Walker enters her life. Hockey star, her new next-door neighbour, and not to mention the most delicious hands that insist on saving her over and over again. He has a way of erasing the pain with a single look, a single touch. As much as she wants to turn off her feelings and endure the heartache on her own, she can’t deny their intense attraction.

Until Josh’s secret shatters their world. And Ember must decide if he’s worth the risk that comes with loving a man who could strip her bare

***

As soon as I saw the words "army brat" and "soldiers", I wanted to read the heck out of this book. Knowing that Rebecca is a military wife, I expected this story to be emotional and authentic, and this book did not disappoint.

While reading this book, I cried a lot, smiled a lot, swooned a lot, and then cried some more. I was basically an emotional wreck.


Like this, but with slightly less upper lip hair

I was so impressed that Rebecca was able to put me on such a wild emotional roller coaster without giving me the slightest bit of emotional whiplash. That's good stuff.

I was also impressed with the amazing characters. Holy crap. Ember and Josh have so much emotional depth, it's like the freaking grand canyon of feelings or something. Even though Ember had enough reasons to curl into a fetal ball and cry, she manages to pull herself together, stepping up to take care of her mother and siblings. Josh is perfect for her and I love the fact that he had a giant ass secret that I totally couldn't have predicted.  At first I thought Josh came out of nowhere, like some sort of convenient knight in shiny armour. But I was wrong. Once I read further, I was like "ooohh, that's why. It makes perfect sense now." So props to you, Rebecca, for your freakishly good characterization and plotting skills.

Okay, I know I must've said 'emotional' like twenty times in this review, but fuck, that's the awesome sauce this story's made of. It has ALL THE FEELS.

Anyhoo...one of my good friends is a military spouse, and I KNOW she's going to want to read the heck out of this book, so I'm off berate her about how good this story is.

What are you waiting for? Go buy it now!

Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Measures-Entangled-Embrace-Rebecca-Yarros-ebook/dp/B00HY03FJM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1390912490&sr=8-1&keywords=full+measures+rebecca+yarros

B&N:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/full-measures-rebecca-yarros/1118164789


Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Asian Authors Series Interview

Hi peeps! This week we're being interviewed on our shiny new friend V.T Bidania's blog.

Vong is a writer who lives in southern New Jersey with her husband and two little boys. She spends her days squeezing in writing and reading between driving her boys to and from school, soccer practices and games, and wherever else they need to go.

Isn't she awesome? Yeah, she's so awesome. And just look how cute her avatar is! Boop her nose! BOOP IT!!!


Monday, 25 November 2013

Giveaway: Going Home Again by Abby Cavenaugh

Hey all! I am SO excited to announce fellow author and CP Abby Cavenaugh's print release of her debut book, GOING HOME AGAIN, is here! Yaaaaaay!

So to celebrate, Swoon Romance is giving away 10 signed paperback copies. Sign up for the draw at the bottom of this post. Good luck, y'all!

Going Home Again by Abby Cavenaugh
Publisher: Swoon Romance
Publication Date: August 6th (Ebook), November 25th (Paperback)
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction
Alyssa Jones's high school crush probably never knew she existed.

Twenty years later, when the now-famous pop star returns home to coastal North Carolina, Alyssa gets a second chance to make a first impression on Michael.

On sabbatical from his failing marriage, Michael agrees to an interview with Alyssa, a journalist for the local tourist magazine.

When the chemistry between them ignites, Alyssa and Michael are hit with the harsh reality that he isn't yet free to love her.

With Michael's wife and son still very much in the picture, can Alyssa hold out until he ends his marriage for good?

Or will she risk it all for a second chance with the one who got away?
Purchase Links
Author Detail
Abby Cavenaugh is a writer of romantic women's fiction and YA paranormal. She is a newspaper editor by day, but dreams of someday retiring to the North Carolina coast to write books full-time. She lives near Charlotte with her twin sister, also a writer, six-year-old niece and crazy cat, Gus, and is driven by dreams, Diet Coke and chocolate.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, 17 November 2013

WE HAVE A BOOK DEAL!

Well, there's no sense in beating around the bush, so I'll just come out and say it: WE HAVE A BOOK DEAL!!!


Thanks to our ridiculously awesome and hard-working agent Jamie, we have officially signed with the wonderful Spencer Hill Press. We now have a release date for LITTLE MISS EVIL of March 10, 2015! CHECK IT CHECK IT CHECK IT!



So needless to say, we've been partying like it's 1999.
Which apparently, looks like this

We actually got the offer some time ago, way back in July, so we've been sitting on this news for some time now, unable to tell anyone because contract negotiations were still going on. But now, everything's signed, everything's official, and WE. ARE. PUBLISHED!!!

It really does feel like finishing a marathon. Five years of blood, sweat, and crap, but we finally, finally made it. Getting published has probably been the hardest, most frustrating thing we've ever done. Way harder than Engineering school. But was it worth it in the end?

So what have we learned during our tumultuous tear-filled journey? Well, funny you should ask, because we actually did find three key things that got us to the end. Of course, everyone's journey is different, so these may not apply to you, but these were absolutely crucial for us.
  1. You have to write because you love writing. Why? Because this process basically feels like you're getting nowhere right up to the end, and if you write for any other reason (fame, money, recognition, etc.), it's REALLY hard to keep going when it feels like you're not getting any closer. But if you write because you love writing, it doesn't matter how many rejections you get, you'll keep writing regardless.
  2. Surround yourself with people better than you. Over the years, we've assembled a crack team of CPs, all of whom are better writers than us. Many, we're convinced, will rocket to the top of the New York Times bestsellers list. They taught us everything we know, and we will forever be grateful to them.
  3. How you respond to failure will determine if you make it. We wrote a lengthier post on this, so go ahead and check it out, but I'm going to sum it up thusly: In the writing community, rejection is an infinitely renewable commodity. You can either figure out how to harness it, or let it bury you.
So that's it! Our three pearls of wisdom. Hopefully they'll help someone out there.

Now if you'll excuse us, back to partying. 1999 is starting to get lonely.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Don't You Dare Give Up

This post is for all the querying writers, drenched by the torrential downpour of rejections, thinking "This sucks. I'm done. I quit."

We're here to tell you something. A wise man once said: The night is darkest before the dawn...

But I promise you, the dawn is coming!

If we can be 100% honest for a moment, this blog exists because we read somewhere that "authors HAVE to have blogs if they want to get published!" Something about online presence, or platform, or whatever. It's not the best reason, but that's why we're here. But because we're here, there's an online, chronological record of our journey. Every hope-ridden query, every heart-breaking rejection, every existential crisis, every thought of quitting and every determined charge back into the fray that's led us to where we are.

Aug 2011:
Here's when we sent out our first queries, cautiously optimistic but in reality CONVINCED we were going to land an agent in no time.

Sept 2011:
Here's us face-planting.
Here's us curling into a fetal ball and crying ourselves to sleep.
Here's where Janet Reid helped us figure out how to write a good query.

Nov 2011:
Here's where that query got us a request from SUZIE TOWNSEND!

July 2012:
Here's us realizing that despite our great query, our MS didn't work, and we spent 9 months rewriting it.

Aug 2012:
Here's us girding our loins to re-enter the querying trenches, with our re-written MS, certain victory just over the horizon.

Oct 2012
Aaand here's us getting rejected AGAIN, followed by us seriously questioning why we were doing this at all. It's not obvious from the post, but at this point we were seriously thinking about quitting.

Here's us tearing up our MS, starting from scratch, using all the lessons we learned from all the failures we've had up till now...

Feb 2012:
Here's us finishing our second MS and jumping back into the trenches

Jul 2013:
And here's us making it.

Notice a pattern? All the places where we grew as writers came at the points where we were at our worst. Where we failed the hardest. Where we were convinced we didn't belong in this industry.

But then, we always rolled over, said "OH FUCK THIS NOISE" and learned from our mistakes. WHY did we fail? What can we do different next time? Now take that knowledge, get out there, and KICK SOME FUCKING ASS!

So basically, what we're trying to say, fellow aspiring writers, is what you're going through is NOT the Universe telling you that you won't make it as a writer. This is The Process. It's the Gauntlet that all writers have to go through, to prove that they're worthy. The ones that don't make it are the ones that turn back.

Don't. Turn. Back.

Take that rejection and slice into it.


What does it mean? What is it telling you? There's a lesson in there somewhere. It's hidden, but it's there. And I would know, because every time a really bad rejection stabbed us in the gut and made us want to quit, there's always been a hidden lesson behind it. Always. In this industry, and completely opposite to real life, when you're stabbed in the gut, that's when you grow.

So don't give up.

Never give up.

Figure out why. Then come out swinging. They'll never know what hit 'em.

Let's make it together.

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Blog Tour: Going Home Again by Abby Cavenaugh

Title: Going Home Again Author: Abby Cavenaugh Genre: Contemporary Romance


Going Home Again Book Blurb:

Alyssa Jones' high school crush probably never knew she existed.
 

Twenty years later, when the now-famous pop star returns home to coastal North Carolina, Alyssa gets a second chance to make a first impression on Michael. 

On sabbatical from his failing marriage, Michael agrees to an interview with Alyssa, a journalist for the local tourist magazine. 


When the chemistry between them ignites, Alyssa and Michael are hit with the harsh reality that he isn't yet free to love her. 


With Michael's wife and son still very much in the picture, can Alyssa hold out until he ends his marriage for good?
Or will she risk it all for a second chance with the one who got away?


Review:

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Okay, I have to admit, I'm not the swooning type. I don't care about perfect hair, or impossibly blue eyes, or "to die for" rock-hard abs. It's just not my thing. 

But this book surprised me. Adult Contemporary Romance isn't a genre I usually read, but the romance isn't what made me fall for this book. It's the characters. Characters like Alyssa, who so desperately wants to be with Mike, but hates being the "other woman". And Mike, who's trapped in a broken marriage, but still tried to make it work for the sake of his son. These characters are likable but also imperfect, just like us. They have vulnerabilities and insecurities, needs and wants we can all relate to, and that's why I care about them. That's why I Iove this book. 

To give you a taste, here's one of my favorite quotes:

 "My insides flip-flopped and even considering everything that had just happened, I suddenly ached for him, as if Tina had never shown up and I'd never been leveled by an explosion of guilt."

I highly recommend Going Home Again and I'm giving it 5 stars. Yeah, I know, I'm probably a bit biased since Abby's my CP, but damn it she wrote a good book!

If you haven't read GOING HOME AGAIN, you can get here at Amazon and B&N.

Go buy it now! And if you want to check out my kick-ass CP on Facebook or Twitter, click on the links below:



Abby Cavenaugh is a writer of romantic women’s fiction and YA paranormal. She is a newspaper editor by day, but dreams of someday retiring to the North Carolina coast to write books full-time. She lives near Charlotte with her twin sister, also a writer, six-year-old niece and crazy cat, Gus, and is driven by dreams, Diet Coke and chocolate

Abby Cavenaugh on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AbbyCavenaughAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/abswrites


Going Home Again on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18242120-going-home-again


Swoon Romance (publisher) site: http://www.myswoonromance.com/

Monday, 5 August 2013

We Have An Agent! Part 2: The Story of How We Had 3 Heart Attacks in One Day

If you haven't read "We Have An Agent! Part 1: The Call", click here to read it first. Otherwise, read on.


Not a lot of people know this, but before finally busting out of the query trenches on our rocket ship to glory and signing with our rock-star agent Jamie, we went through one of the heart-attackiest days of our lives.


The day started out normal enough. Stumble out of bed. Brush teeth. Check email. And then...while scrolling through the Facebook updates, vitamin ads, and offers to enlarge our penises (penii?), we saw this:


"I'd love to work with you and would be happy to represent the sale if you decide the small publisher is the right place for your work...Let's talk today or tomorrow at your convenience. I look forward to talking to you more."

Heart Attack Number One.


Now, just to recap, at the time, we had a small publisher offer on the table, but as we started wading through the reams and reams of legalese, we realized we needed an agent to help us navigate this, so we poked all our queries and held our breath. At the time, we had a number of fulls out, plus an R&R that we had re-submitted that we were feeling REALLY good about. Keep that last point in mind, it comes back later...


So anyway, back to that morning. After reading that mind-blowing email, the insane shrieking that followed was loud enough to send our landlord sprinting up the stairs in his boxers. Eventually, we calmed down and, after assuring our landlord that we were NOT, in fact, being stabbed, we sat down to come up with a list of questions to ask the agent.


The fact that we were even doing this was surreal. Five years. Five years of struggling and self-doubt was about to end. We had made it.


This was THE CALL.



We were so nervous we could barely stay still. We didn't know what to expect. Some questions about the book, background about the agency, and maybe just maybe a little bit of gushing over LITTLE MISS EVIL. That would be cool. That would be fucking AWESOME.


Instead, what we got was this.


Me: "So, what did you like about LME?"

Agent: "Oh. I wouldn't know. I didn't get that far into it."


...Wait, WHAT?


Heart Attack Number Two.



Me (stunned): "So you're not offering rep?"

Agent: "I said I'd offer you rep if you decided to take the small press offer. But I'm not sure you want to go with them."

Me: "Um. So you didn't read our MS?"

Agent: "Well, I read the first page, but I don't really know where it's going, so it definitely needs more work."


WELL OF COURSE YOU DON'T KNOW WHERE IT'S GOING! YOU DIDN'T READ THE FUCKING THING!!!



Me: "So..." (at a loss for words and trying desperately to remain professional) "If you think it needs more work, would you be willing to help us edit it?"

Agent: "...No."




We couldn't believe it. This was supposed to be THE CALL! Everyone who ever talks about their call describes lots of giddy squeeing, an agent who LOVES your manuscript, and talking about where your writing career goes from here. This person didn't care about us. She hadn't even read our work. She just wanted to jump aboard a sale she didn't earn.


And that's when our inbox pinged again. While we were still reeling from being socked in the gut, we got...a rejection. From the R&R.


Heart Attack Number Three.




We realize this blog post is a bit of a departure from our usual sunny, optimistic demeanor, and for that, we're truly sorry. But that day, we felt the lowest we've ever felt ever since we started this journey. Not only was the rug pulled out from under us, we were starting to think that everyone in this industry was actually just out to get us. Nobody cared about us. Nobody was on our side.


That day, we seriously considered quitting writing.

Now that you're all sufficiently depressed, please watch this video of a dog trying to get up.


But a wise man once said, "The night is darkest right before the dawn...

..and I promise you, the dawn is coming!" -- Harvey Dent



Not long afterwards, the REAL offers started pouring in. Four of them, each agent more enthusiastic than the last. We met so many sweet and wonderful people in this business, people who cared about us, people who believed in what we were trying to do. And slowly, we started to realize that there are good people in this industry. That this industry was FULL of good people. That our string of bad experiences was just a blip, an anomaly of Bad in a sea of Good.


So I guess the takeaway from this whole sordid experience is this:


Bad stuff happens. But you can't give up. Because when the bad stuff starts to pile so high it threatens to topple over and crush you with the weight of its suck...


That's when you make it.



And as for that agent? Many people I've told this story to have asked who she is. And, to be honest, we've thought seriously about outing her. But generally, we want to surround ourselves with positivity, so we're not going to (not publicly, anyway). If she's reading this, she knows what she did. Though we seriously doubt she will. Reading our work isn't exactly her strong suit.



But we don't want to stay silent, either. This agent wasn't actually someone we queried. She found us through a contest, and we've since alerted the contest organizers about what happened. We don't want any other writers to go through what we did. And we DEFINITELY don't want any more THE CALL moments to be ruined.

Has anyone else had any bad experiences with fake-agents? Let us know in the comments! We're all ears!