Your Bullying Did Not Break Me by Katie Bucklein
Apr21

Your Bullying Did Not Break Me by Katie Bucklein

Your Bullying Did Not Break Me by Katie Bucklein Sometimes, when I think back to my high school years, they feel like yesterday. In a way, they were. I graduated in 2012 as an eighteen-year-old with a single blonde stripe in my brown hair (18yo-me thought it was bad-ass) and a goal to one day become the Secretary of Defense (lofty, I know). But that’s still four years between high school and now, where I am as a twenty-one-year-old college senior determined to become a real life Abigail Chase and a published author. But what I want to talk about occurred back in 2009, during the first months of my freshman year of high school. To provide a bit of backstory, I had moved to Arizona with my family (two older brothers, two younger sisters, two parents, and a crazy dog) when I was in 7th grade. I wasn’t a very social person, very shy and bookish, of which I am very glad. Had I not been that person, I would never be where I am today. I don’t even think I would be writing, so even though moving was a horror story at the time, I’m glad it happened. I had two lives, if you will: one at school, where I had a best friend (we shall dub her Saruman), and one at home, where I had another best friend in my neighborhood (we shall dub her Sauron). By the time we entered high school, Sauron had decided to attend the school that Saruman and I had been accepted into. It’s a small school, no more than 200 students. My graduating class was 40 total. And I thought Sauron, Saruman, and I would become the Three Musketeers. Saruman and Sauron had hit it off almost immediately after I introduced them that first day of freshman year, but as we had differing schedules, I was not in their orbit. The only time I saw the two of them was during lunch and passing periods, since our lockers were nearby each other. To this day, I’m not entirely sure what happened to cause all of this to begin to unfold. Perhaps it was because they were together all the time, and I had to make other friends in my schedule of classes. Perhaps it was because I wasn’t “cool” enough to hang out with them. After all, I was awkward and shy and dorky. (I recall, about a year after I had been friends with Saruman, she told me, “I thought you were this weird short girl when I first saw you.” Perhaps that should have been a signal that...

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The day my heart broke … a story about bullying.
Apr21

The day my heart broke … a story about bullying.

I usually keep this site to contests, workshops, promoting others, and book announcements. Rarely do I veer off and talk about myself, but I have something to share today. Some of you may have seen a clip of a video I passed around last month. It’s of a young member of my family (we’ll call her A) being jumped in the hallway of her school. She’s only twelve. Some girls decided that A wasn’t worthy of respect. Their jealousies and hatred toward her was so great that they decided to attack A and record it. Here’s the snippet I had shared … http://www.brenda-drake.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Stop-Bullying.mp4   In the video, one girl waits with phone ready while two girls stop A at the perfect spot to record the encounter. The girl recording it then yells, “Sienna, swing!” A dodges the first blow and pushes the girl away from her. That’s when the bigger girl moves in and punches A. Watching this recording made me sick. Broke my heart. My sweet A was attacked! The girls then spread the video on all their social media accounts to further humiliate A. It’s the new trend–attack someone, record it, share it, and become famous. Famous? How sick have we become as a society that our children are laughing at these cruel videos–laughing at the victims? I have no words. As I said, my heart is breaking. Bullying is nothing new. Most of us have experienced it. I was bullied my entire sixth grade year by an eighth grader. I still remember her name. Victims always remember the names of their bullies. It stays with you like the scar that the abuse leaves behind in your memories. Nowadays, it’s even worse. I see it in our community, online, it’s everywhere. Recorded and shared so that the bullying continues way after the incident ended. On the social media site where this was shared, it got hundreds of likes/favorites/whatever. Our kids are watching these videos as a form of entertainment. They share it with their friends and watch together and laugh at the victim and praise the attackers for getting the best of their victim. It vicious. And sad. In the video, A is surrounded by her classmates. No one stepped forward to help. Not one ran off to get a teacher. Not one. How can we stop it? I don’t think we can completely stop it. We could prevent more incidents. Maybe? It’s so much bigger than us. I believe we start at home. We must teach our kids to stand up for one another. That viewing and liking videos of acts of bullying is not right....

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CATALYST by Kristin Smith . . . Cover Reveal and Giveaway!
Apr18

CATALYST by Kristin Smith . . . Cover Reveal and Giveaway!

COVER REVEAL FOR CATALYST With $25 AMAZON GIFT CARD GIVEAWAY! Clean Teen Publishing is proud to present the official cover reveal for CATALYST by Kristin Smith.   This is the first book in the thrilling new Deception Games series coming November 21, 2016!   Title: Catalyst (The Deception Game, Book One) Author: Kristin Smith Release Date: November 21, 2016 Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing Genre: YA near-future thriller Book Synopsis:  Too pretty. Too smart. Too perfect. In a crumbling, futuristic Las Vegas where the wealthy choose the characteristics of their children like ordering off a drive-thru menu, seventeen-year-old Sienna Preston doesn’t fit in. As a normal girl surrounded by genetically modified teens, all of her imperfections are on display. But after the death of her father, everything she’s ever known and loved changes in an instant. With little skills to help provide for her family, Sienna clings to the two things that come easily—lying and stealing. But not all thief-for-hire assignments go as planned. When a covert exchange of a stolen computer chip is intercepted, she becomes entangled with a corrupt government official who uses her thieving past as leverage, her mother as collateral, and the genetically modified poster boy she’s falling for as bait. In order to rescue her mother, there may only be one option—joining forces with the Fringe, an extremist group, and their young leader who’s too hot to be bad. Problem is, these revolutionaries aren’t what they seem, and the secrets they’re hiding could be more dangerous than Sienna is prepared for. In the end, she must be willing to risk everything to save the one thing that matters most. Enter to WIN a $25 AMAZON Gift Card!    a Rafflecopter giveaway   About the Author: Kristin Smith writes young adult contemporary and science fiction novels with enough kissing to make her mother blush. She’s a beach lover and a Just Dance guru who enjoys belting out karaoke (from the comfort of her own home). As a self-professed chocoholic, Kristin is a firm believer that if a dessert doesn’t have chocolate in it, then it’s not considered a dessert. (Except for crème brûlée. She can always make an exception for crème brûlée.) Kristin currently resides in the middle-of-nowhere North Carolina with her husband and five incredibly loud but extremely cute boys. To read more about her obsession with YA novels or her addiction to scarves, you can connect with her at the links below. Newsletter Sign-up Author Website Blog Twitter Facebook Instagram           ...

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TREASURE AT LURE LAKE by Shari Schwarz . . . Book Release and Giveaway!
Apr12

TREASURE AT LURE LAKE by Shari Schwarz . . . Book Release and Giveaway!

  TITLE: TREASURE AT LURE LAKE AUTHOR: Shari Schwarz PUBLISHER: Cedar Fort Publishing/Sweetwater Books GENRE: MG, Action and Adventure Ages 9-13 RELEASE DATE: April 12, 2016 Website   |   Twitter   |   Facebook   |   Goodreads   |   Amazon About the Book . . . Twelve-year-old Bryce’s best-laid plans for a backpacking trip with his grandpa seem about to fall through all because his big brother, Jack, is threatening to boycott the trip. But when Bryce stumbles upon a secret treasure map in his grandpa’s barn loft, he doesn’t mean to steal it or unearth a painful family secret that will explain the root of the brothers’ conflict. Bryce is determined to find the treasure even if it means lying to his grandpa. As Bryce, Jack, and Grandpa hike to a remote cabin in the Rocky Mountains, sibling rivalry clouds the brothers’ judgment, and all Bryce’s plans for an epic adventure go downriver. The boys must work together to survive the dangers of the wilderness, and each other, or the treasure and their family’s secret may never see the light of day.   Giveaway from Midnight April 12th to Midnight April 16th, MST! a Rafflecopter giveaway About Author Shari Schwarz . . . Shari Schwarz lives in Ft. Collins, Colorado near the Rocky Mountains with her husband and their four boys. TREASURE AT LURE LAKE (Cedar Fort Publishing, April 12, 2016) is her debut which reflects her love for a good survival adventure story. When she’s not reading or writing, Shari can be found freelance editing, weight-lifting, gardening or watching her boys play football, basketball, cup-stacking, or wrestling. She frequently dreams of exploring Oregon Coast beaches or plotting out her next children’s book. Website   |   Twitter   |   Facebook   |   Goodreads   |   Amazon...

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Pitch Wars 2015 Success Story with Sarah Grimm and Mentor Molly Lee
Apr11

Pitch Wars 2015 Success Story with Sarah Grimm and Mentor Molly Lee

The best part of the contests for us around here is when we hear about successes. Today we celebrate Sarah Grimm and her Pitch Wars mentor, Molly Lee! Sarah recently signed with Julie Gwinn of The Seymour Agency, and we couldn’t be more thrilled for her. So without further ado, please meet Sarah and Molly as they recap their awesome Pitch Wars success story.   Sarah, what made you decide to send a Pitch Wars application to Molly? She seemed awesome! Her bio was so open and friendly, yet she also made sure to state that she would be no-nonsense when it came to edits. I wanted someone who was going to tell me what was working in my novel, but also the parts that really needed to be fixed/cut/changed. When it comes to my writing, I like to be encouraged and pushed. Also, her taste in books seemed to be similar to mine and what I write, so I thought she might actually like my stuff. Plus, she loves dogs. Molly, what about Sarah’s application made you choose her for your team? Sarah’s concept was super compelling and her pitch showcased the stakes and characters well. Her opening pages hooked me instantly and the two main characters had great, unique voices. Also, one of the characters had a physical disability, which I believe is a voice/pov which needs more shelf-space in the market.   Sarah, tell us about the revision period for Pitch Wars? After I got my edits back I didn’t have as much to be nervous about as I thought I might. Molly had this great ability to tell me when things were not working or believable in a nice way. She had a great eye for the overall flow of my story, and her critiques were spot on. That said, I worked my butt off. Molly, tell us about your experience with mentoring Sarah. How was mentoring your other team members? Mentoring Sarah was an awesome and fast experience! We actually had to get things done in a very short amount of time because I asked her on board very late in the game. She stepped up to the plate and knocked revisions out of the park! She was super easy to work with and it was really fun brainstorming with her! And mentoring my other team members was a blast as well! With Sarah’s news, TeamLee actually had a full success rate! Both other team members went on to sign deals! It was a great year and there were a ton amazing stories to choose from. I got wicked lucky that so many talented authors...

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Winner of Query Critique from Agent Intern Shari Schwarz!
Apr08

Winner of Query Critique from Agent Intern Shari Schwarz!

This is just a quick note to announce our winner of the query critique giveaway by agent intern Shari Schwarz. We had over a hundred comments, and the random number generator chose Lucy! Thank you all for...

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Contest Announcement by Jodie Andrefski . . . Secret Clues, Missions, and Crazy Fun!
Apr08

Contest Announcement by Jodie Andrefski . . . Secret Clues, Missions, and Crazy Fun!

Are you interested in a chance to win some great prizes while spreading a little kindness around at the same time? I know you are! =) This contest combines secret clues, missions, and some crazy fun all over four weeks, giving you plenty of chances to win. For all of the details, go to: The Society Community Be sure to follow Jodie Andrefski @2000_words to keep up with all the contest details. Be sure to spread the word to your friends or anyone you know in schools, be it students or teachers…since a big part of this contest focuses on anti-bullying and random acts of kindness! Have fun and good luck! #CoolToBeKind...

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MY PERFECT MISTAKE by Kelly Siskind Blog Tour … excerpt and giveaway!
Apr07

MY PERFECT MISTAKE by Kelly Siskind Blog Tour … excerpt and giveaway!

TITLE: MY PERFECT MISTAKE AUTHOR: Kelly Siskind PUBLISHER: Forever Yours PUBLICATION DATE: April 5, 2016 About MY PERFECT MISTAKE . . . What happens in Aspen is definitely not staying in Aspen . . . A girls’ trip to Aspen was exactly what Shay needed to forget about her toxic ex-boyfriend. She’s got her girls, pristine slopes for skiing, and hot guys everywhere. Of course, her epic self-rediscovery goes completely to hell when a wild (and deliciously hot) skier knocks Shay on her ass . . . and war is declared. Kolton doesn’t know what it is about Shay that makes him lose it. Not just his cool—although she does have an unholy gift for that—but his restraint. When anger gives way to explosive chemistry, they’re both shaken with the intensity of it. But somewhere between lust and hate, Kolton and Shay realize they could have something real . . . if they don’t kill each other first. Add MY PERFECT MISTAKE to Goodreads here! Get your hands on MY PERFECT MISTAKE: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iBooks | Kobo Enter to Win! Want to win a $20 Amazon gift card or a signed copy of CHASING CRAZY by Kelly Siskind (US/CA only)? Enter via the rafflecopter below! a Rafflecopter giveaway   About Kelly Siskind A small-town girl at heart, Kelly moved from the city to open a cheese shop with her husband in Northern Ontario. When she’s not neck deep in cheese or out hiking, you can find her, notepad in hand, scribbling down one of the many plot bunnies bouncing around in her head. She laughs at her own jokes and has been known to eat her feelings—Gummy Bears heal all. She’s also an incurable romantic, devouring romance novels into the wee hours of the morning. She is represented by Stacey Donaghy of the Donaghy Literary Group. 2015 Golden Heart® Finalist Connect with Kelly Siskind Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest  ...

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Shari Schwarz . . . My Path to Publishing, Query Critique Giveaway as an Agent Intern
Apr06

Shari Schwarz . . . My Path to Publishing, Query Critique Giveaway as an Agent Intern

We can’t tell you who it is, but . . . Shari is an agent intern for one of the best agents in the industry! Read her story to gain valuable insights on the publishing process. Shari will give a query critique to one lucky winner selected randomly from the comments on this post! About Shari Schwarz, Author, Editor, and Intern . . . Shari Schwarz lives in Ft. Collins, Colorado near the Rocky Mountains with her husband and their four boys. TREASURE AT LURE LAKE (Cedar Fort Publishing, April 12, 2016) is her debut which reflects her love for a good survival adventure story. When she’s not reading or writing, Shari can be found freelance editing, weight-lifting, gardening or watching her boys play football, basketball, cup-stacking, or wrestling. She frequently dreams of exploring Oregon Coast beaches or plotting out her next children’s book. Website   |   Twitter   |   Facebook   |   Goodreads   |   Amazon My Path to Publication . . . In my fifth grade diary I have a list of goals written in the back. One is to write a book. And if you know anything about me, you know I love to dream…and I love to work toward my goals. I started writing my book, THE LEDGE (now renamed to TREASURE AT LURE LAKE), December 10, 2013 after a quick facebook chat with a good friend of mine, Jenda Nye, who is also a writer. She encouraged me to start writing and, bonus! we could be writing partners! The idea for my story was totally inspired by my boys and Gary Paulsen’s HATCHET. But I had NO idea what I was getting myself into when I wrote ‘The End’ on my first draft in February 2014, or what would happen when I plugged into the amazing writing community on Twitter in March 2014. At that time, my parents were the first ones to give me valuable feedback and editing suggestions on my first draft, and I will always be so grateful for their support and guidance. Then, I sent out my first queries to literary agents in March 2014. Literally a year too early, but that’s what the learning process is all about…making lots of mistakes and learning from them. I’m thankful for each mistake along the way because they all have been a part of the path I’m on to becoming a better writer and story teller. I entered TREASURE AT LURE LAKE in various online contests like #NestPitch, #JustPitchIt, #PitMad, #PitchSlam, #PitchMas, Operation Awesome, #AgentMatch, #SecretShop, Sub it Club pitch party (and those are just the ones I received requests from agents on) and...

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Happy Release Day to THE NATURAL HISTORY OF US by Rachel Harris . . . and Giveaway!
Apr05

Happy Release Day to THE NATURAL HISTORY OF US by Rachel Harris . . . and Giveaway!

Rachel Harris’s THE NATURAL HISTORY OF US is already getting swoons from readers everywhere! We can’t wait for you to get your hands on it. Known for her sweet romances, Rachel’s THE NATURAL HISTORY OF US, is no different! Check out everything we have for you on this amazing title and then go grab your copy today. Justin and Peyton’s story is sure to put a smile on your face and keep you turning pages long into the night! TITLE: THE NATURAL HISTORY OF US AUTHOR: Rachel Harris PUBLISHER: Spencer Hill Contemporary (April 5, 2016) PUBLICATION DATE: April 5, 2016 About THE NATURAL HISTORY OF US . . . One class assignment. One second chance at love. The school player is all in. Now he needs to win back the sweet commitment girl who’s forever owned his heart. Justin Carter has a secret. He’s not the total player Fairfield Academy believes him to be. Not really. In fact, he used to be a one-woman guy…and his feelings for her never went away. Too bad he broke her heart three years ago and made sure to ruin any chance she’d ever forgive him. Peyton Williams is a liar. She pretends to be whole, counting down the days until graduation and helping her parents at the family ranch. But the truth is, she’s done everything she can to get over Justin, and salvation is just around the corner. With graduation one short month away, she’ll soon break free from the painful memories and start her life fresh. Of course, she has to get through working with him on one last assignment first. For Justin, nothing ever felt as right as being with Peyton, and now that fate’s given him a shot at redemption, he’s determined to make the most of it. And for Peyton…well, Justin Carter has always been her kryptonite. Order THE NATURAL HISTORY OF US Today! Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | IndieBound | Add to your Goodreads You can order a signed and/or personalized copy of THE NATURAL HISTORY OF US now through April 8th HERE!   From the book . . . “What do you think are the components of a satisfying, successful marriage?” I ask instead, setting the paper down so he won’t see how badly my hands are shaking. I avoided the blatantly obvious question, but this one is every bit as pointless. Based on our prior history, it’s almost a given he’ll say there’s no such thing as a successful marriage. Which makes it surprising when he replies: “Honesty. Commit—” “Really?” I interrupt with a laugh. “You’re gonna start with honesty? You?” Justin...

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Guest post by Martina Boone … Are You Ready to Query, Sub, or Enter that Contest?
Apr04

Guest post by Martina Boone … Are You Ready to Query, Sub, or Enter that Contest?

Are You Ready to Query, Sub, or Enter that Contest? Four Writing Contest Finalists Share Their Tips for Success by Martina Boone I remember the first time that I tried try to write a pitch and had to condense my novel into a couple of paragraphs. Writing the book had been easier and less terrifying than writing that query letter! I hated it. But by the time I sold my trilogy, I found that writing a pitch was no big deal. I don’t have to write query letters any more, of course, but I do work on pitches with my agent and on cover copy with my editors. I actually love the process. Contests are a perfect way to test drive a story and a pitch. They’re also a great way to see the level of professionalism you need to succeed, and to help toughen your skin before sending out those queries, going on sub, or sending your baby out for reviews or seeing it in the hands of readers. And because every writer is different and different things work for different people, Sandra Held, Sarah Glenn Marsh, and I have asked some of the finalists in our recent Red Light, Green Light WIP contest at AdventuresInYAPublishing.com to share some thoughts on contests, querying, and getting your pitch and manuscript ready. Interested in test-driving the opening and pitch for your own WIP? The next agent-judged Red Light, Green Light contest opens for entries on 4/7/16. Four Finalists Share Their Contest and Query Tips Dan Lollis (Winner): My advice for fellow authors toiling over getting the words just right for a contest or query pitch — do a little bit of research. Use the internet, Twitter, #PitchWars and sites like Adventures to see what works for other writers — what good pitches look like. Then write it until it sounds perfect. Share your pitch with anyone who will read it. Revise. Repeat. When you like it, go with it. Prepare, then don’t care. Trust in yourself. As an unagented author, being able to talk with agent Patricia Nelson and ask her questions about writing, agenting, and writing was a real treat and valuable opportunity. After sending query letters and experiencing the impersonal side of that business, it was a thrill to talk with someone one-on-one. Contests allow me to read some amazing pitches and first lines. There were so many times that I want to keep reading! Contests like #PitchWars and the one at Adventures (and the workshops and content there) are a great way for me to feel involved in the writing community and motivate me to keep writing...

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Voice Workshop with Pitch Wars Mentors … sign up now!
Apr01

Voice Workshop with Pitch Wars Mentors … sign up now!

We’re holding a VOICE workshop with some of our wonderful Pitch Wars mentors during the month of May! They’ll critique 500 words from any part of your manuscript to help you find your voice. Critiques will be posted daily on my blog for the month of May. We have 30 plus (possibly more) spots available. All you have to do is sign up for a chance to win one of the spots on the Rafflecopter below. The critique will be posted on my blog, so if you’re squeamish about posting your work, please don’t enter. No names or email addresses will be included in the posts. It’s for any category and genre. Your manuscript doesn’t have to be completed and you don’t have to enter Pitch Wars with it. I’ll draw names on April 8th at 8AM EDT (NY time) so be ready to submit your sample for critique immediately after I announce the winners. You will receive an email with instructions. If you don’t send your sample in before the allotted time specified in the email expires, you will lose your spot. Make sure to check your spam for the email. Sign up by April 8th at 8PM EDT now!   a Rafflecopter...

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