Thursday, February 15, 2018

Cover Reveal: SECOND CHANCE CHARMER by Brighton Walsh

Second Chance Charmer by Brighton Walsh
Publication Date: March 19th, 2018
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Willow Haven’s content. Okay, that’s a lie, but she has tried her damndest. Trouble is, it never sticks. Second oldest in a family her town was named after, she’s always felt the pressure. From the townspeople, from her sisters, but most of all from her daddy—the original Good Old Boy and Havenbrook’s reigning mayor. The only time she didn’t feel that stress had been those blissful months spent in the arms of the resident bad boy. The same one who broke her heart beyond repair when he left without a word.

Life hasn’t come easy for Finn Thomas. He’s had to claw and fight for everything he’s ever had—and truth be told, it hasn’t been much. He spent the first eighteen years of his life living so far from the wrong side of the tracks, he couldn’t even see them through his trailer window. The only thing that ever came easy for him and made his sorry ass happy was the one girl he loved with all his heart. And the one thing he had no choice but to leave behind.

When an opportunity arises to return to his tiny, southern hometown and open the first bar in a formerly dry county, he jumps at the chance. That won’t win him points with the mayor, who’s hell bent on making Finn’s life a nightmare for sullying his namesake. Too bad for Mayor Haven, Finn’s got his sights set on more than just the town, and this time he won’t be scared off quite so easily.

Pre-Order Today!

If you preorder on iBooks, you will get a special edition with bonus content only available on iBooks. 


Meet Brighton:

Brighton Walsh spent nearly a decade as a professional photographer before deciding to take her storytelling in a different direction and reconnect with her first love: writing. When she’s not pounding away at the keyboard, she’s probably either reading or shopping—maybe even both at once. She lives in the Midwest with her husband and two children, and, yes, she considers forty degrees to be hoodie weather. Her home is the setting for frequent dance parties, Lego battles, and more laughter than she thought possible.

Connect with Brighton:

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Sweet Treats & Yummy Reads Hop!

Are you excited about Valentine's Day? The authors at Chick Lit Chat HQ are, and we know quite a bit about romance, not to mention gorgeous guys and swoonworthy storylines, which is why we've put together a fun-filled event that celebrates all these wonderful things.

That's right, book lovers, it's time for the Sweet Treats & Yummy Reads Hop! Starting February 12th, 40+ Chick Lit and RomCom authors will be throwing a fabulous, Valentine-themed bash on Facebook and each of them will be offering a GIVEAWAY--books, gift cards, author swag, and lots of other wonderful prizes will be up for grabs!

But wait, there's more! You know we have the "yummy reads" covered (this group is nothing if not crazy talented), but what about the "sweet treats?" Hold on to your hats, peeps, because CLC HQ has outdone itself this time. We'll be giving away not one, not two, but THREE Grand Prizes for this hop and each of those lucky winners will receive a 6-pack of Wicked Good Cupcakes!* And the best news of all? You get to choose your own sinfully delicious flavors. (Commence happy dance now.)

So, what are you waiting for? Head on over to the Sweet Treats & Yummy Reads Hop on Facebook and join the group page where you can meet and chat with fellow readers, as well as some of the most popular authors in your favorite genres, plus find the lists of participating authors and enter to win one of the Grand Prizes. We look forward to seeing you there!

*Wicked Good Cupcakes only ships to destinations in the United States, so the Grand Prize portion of this hop will not be open to international entrants. However, the 40+ individual author giveaways will be open internationally.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Query Kombat Success: Rick Wheeler and Dear Mr. President

I'm so thrilled to be able to share this post with you. Rick was part of my first Query Kombat as host, after being involved as first a Kontestant, then a judge. And I saw right away how special this story was. Take a peek at the original entry here.

My Long and Slow Journey to Signing with My Agent

In February 2016, I watched a television show called My Strange Inheritance, where a man inherited letters between his deceased uncle’s mother and JFK. After her son, a navy seaman under JFK’s command during WWII, died during the attack on their PT boat, then Lieutenant John Kennedy wrote a letter of condolences. The woman wrote back and the two corresponded even after JFK became President of the United States. JFK helped the woman receive her Social Security payments at one point. I thought this would make a great novel, but I wrote middle grade fiction so I needed to alter the concept. It inspired me to write it from the prospective of a child whose father died in the war. The first draft was finished in two weeks and then I revised it to what I thought was query ready (boy was I wrong).  

In May 2016, I entered my manuscript into Query Kombat and was thrilled when my manuscript appeared as a selected entry into the contest on May 26, 2016. I was on Laura’s team. In the first round, my query and first 250 words was pitted against an entry that dripped with voice. I lost the first round in a landslide. That was the end. So I thought.

A few days later, while out to lunch during my day job, I received an email from Laura asking if I would like to be a host save because one of her entries received an offer. I jumped at the chance. It meant I would be included in the agent round, but I would not be competing in any further rounds. The benefit of being the host save is that the agent requests would be available for me to see and respond to while the other rounds were still ongoing. I was blown away to receive 11 requests from Query Kombat, one of the requests being from Caitlen from LKG. That was it. I would surely get at least one agent offer from one of the 11 requests. So I thought. I was so wrong.

Over time, my requests came back as rejections. I entered my manuscript into Pitch Wars 2016, and was not picked, but two great things came out of it. First, one of the mentors, I knew from a Facebook group, agreed to be an unofficial mentor to me. Secondly, the mentor and her partner suggested that two other writers and I explore becoming critique partners. The three of us connected by email and hit it off. I was so lucky to gain two critique partners who wrote such beautiful prose; especially since my writing was more like cave drawings than their poetry. After working with the Pitch Wars mentor and my critique partners, I was ready to query again. I received a fair amount of full requests from agents, but they all passed. One agent who passed took the time to give me valuable feedback. I revised again, taking my manuscript from 34,000 words to over 50,000 words, adding prose chapters to my epistolary novel.

I was ready to query again. Still I received more full requests, which ended in rejections but I did receive an R&R from an agent. I revised again and sent it back. She liked the changes but I missed the mark so she gave me further feedback, which led me to revise yet again.
On October 31, 2017, I decided to query Lauren Galit from LKG Agency. Even though Caitlen from LKG Agency requested and passed on my manuscript from Query Kombat, I reasoned it was practically a completely different manuscript (which it was) and there was nothing saying they were a one and done agency—that you cannot query another agent from the same agency after a pass.
I watched the data explorer on Query Tracker for Lauren and noticed that she responded quickly when she requested more of a manuscript. A few queries that were sent after mine received full requests after just one day while the date of my query slipped further and further away. That was it; it had to be a pass. So I thought.

On November 29, 2017, Lauren requested the full manuscript, which I sent the same day. On December 14, 2017, I received an email from Lauren requesting a telephone call. I was thrilled. After all this time, this was it. So I thought.

On December 15, 2017, after a night with almost no sleep due to nerves, I took a call from Lauren. She said Caitlen remembered my manuscript from when I submitted it during Query Kombat and noticed how much different it was. Lauren was such a pleasant person and had such great things to say about my manuscript but also pointed out its flaws. I agreed with all the changes that Lauren suggested. Her comments and advice were well thought out and resonated with me, so when she asked for an R&R for one chapter to see how I handled the revision, I jumped on the opportunity, hoping the R&R was not a slow no.

I worked over the weekend revising two chapters and writing a completely new scene that Lauren suggested. On December 18, 2017, I sent the revision to Lauren. On December 20, 2017, Lauren sent a second email saying she liked the revision and wanted to set up another call. This was it; it had to be an offer, right? Or so I thought. This time my thought was correct, because on December 21, 2017, I took my second call from Lauren and it was an offer of representation. Since it was close to the holidays, Lauren gave me two weeks to hear back from the three agents that still had my manuscript. On January 2, 2018, I emailed Lauren and accepted her offer.   

It was a long, slow journey,  in which I tried to give up on my manuscript several times, but due to encouragement from my critique partners and constructive feedback from rejecting agents at just the right time, I did not give up and have a terrific agent as a result. I could not have done it without Laura, Michelle, and Michael from Query Kombat who started the journey with me and for all the help from friends along the way.   

Rick Wheeler lives in Northern California in a multigenerational household. When he is not writing middle grade fiction, he works with at risk youth as a Deputy Probation Officer. He enjoys listening to classic rock, hanging out with his dog, and having tea parties with his granddaughters, not necessarily in that order.  

Follow Rick on Twitter @eswheeler1992.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

ASSASSIN OF TRUTHS by Brenda Drake is now available!

Assassins of Truth_500

Assassin of Truths (Library Jumper’s #3)
Brenda Drake
Published by: Entangled Teen
Publication date: February 6th 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
The gateways linking the great libraries of the world don’t require a library card, but they do harbor incredible dangers.

And it’s not your normal bump-in-the- night kind. The threats Gia Kearns faces are the kind with sharp teeth and knifelike claws. The kind that include an evil wizard hell-bent on taking her down.

Gia can end his devious plan, but only if she recovers seven keys hidden throughout the world’s most beautiful libraries. And then figures out exactly what to do with them.

The last thing she needs is a distraction in the form of falling in love. But when an impossible evil is unleashed, love might be the only thing left to help Gia save the world.

I didn’t want to kill the girl, so I hesitated to throw another globe at her. Squaring my shoulders, I got ready for her attack. When the girl got close enough, I threw a kick to her gut and slammed my fist against her jaw. She stumbled back against the frozen railing. It broke free, and she fell over the side, landing on a table below. Her body was half on and half off the table, her neck bent at an odd angle and the bones underneath pushed against her skin.

Is she dead?

A shimmery light left the girl’s body and flew to me, smacking my chest. I took a step back, expecting to turn into a human Popsicle, but nothing happened, only a chill that rushed across my skin and quickly ended.

“You killed her,” Veronique yelled as she stepped up on a chair and onto a table. She charged the length of it, heading for me.

I dropped to my knees and flipped through the pages of the gateway book. My heart galloped like a thousand racehorses on steroids. I needed to escape.

Where do I go? I can’t lead her to the others. I stopped on the photograph of the Boston Athenæum. Home? To Nana. Afton. No. Veronique knew where Nana Kearns lived. I couldn’t risk going there. I tossed over more pages.

Just then, Veronique pulled herself up onto the balcony and let loose another fire globe. The flames licked the air and smoke trailed it like a comet. The fire grazed my cheek, pulling a sharp gasp from my chest.

Her breaths were loud—panting. The sound of a siren drew nearer. We’d have company soon.

A feral look on her face, Veronique plucked a dagger from her shoulder sheath. A velvet bag, weighed down by something heavy inside, was tied around her waist.

The other Chiavi? I had to get them. I grasped the strap of my messenger bag.

“You can’t win, Gia. You’re weak. Unskilled. A sniveling child.”

“I beat your ass, and I took care of your friends.” Meaning the three Sentinels lying dead on the floor below us. I forced my eyes to stay on hers, acting brave, though their deaths were like an overweight barbell on my conscience.

Her step forward caused me to step back. “That was dumb luck,” she said. “This will take skill.”

She ran for me. I drew my sword and swung at her. She ducked, the blade barely missing her. Before I could get another swing in, she tackled me, our bodies smacking into the bookcase, my sword knocked from my hand.

A satisfied look crossed Veronique’s face right before she stabbed my upper arm with her dagger, her blade cutting across my cheek. A horrified scream rattled my throat. My knees buckled and thudded against the floor.

“Shit!” The pain shocked me. I wanted to roll into a ball on the floor, to have this end.

She’s going to kill me. I’m going to die.

Fear gripped me.

Then anger.

Fight, Gia! The voice in my head was strong and forceful. It pushed me. Pushed me to my feet.

Pushed me to take action.

Author Bio:

Brenda Drake is a New York Times bestselling author of young adult fiction. She grew up the youngest of three children, an Air Force brat, and the continual new kid at school. Her fondest memories growing up is of her eccentric, Irish grandmother’s animated tales, which gave her a strong love for storytelling. So it was only fitting that she would choose to write stories with a bend toward the fantastical. When she’s not writing or hanging out with her family, she haunts libraries, bookstores, and coffee shops, or reads someplace quiet and not at all exotic (much to her disappointment).