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Michelle4Laughs: It's in the Details


Cover Reveal for DARKEST DAWN

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs , 11 September 2015 · 31 views

I am super excited to share the amazing cover for DARKEST DAWN, the first book in a new series by Author Katlyn Duncan. DARKEST DAWN releases next week on September 17th and is available to pre-order now!

In addition to the reveal of this gorgeous cover, the reveal includes an eBook giveaway for one of the author’s previously released titles. Be sure to head down to the Rafflecopter for a chance to win after you’ve checked out the cover!

The Cover Revealed!

Author: Katlyn Duncan
Release date: September 17, 2015
Publisher: Carina
Format: eBook


One desperate journey for the truth

Returning to Willows Lake eleven years after her mother’s tragic death, Sloane Baker knows she will finally get the answers she needs! She always suspected that there was something more sinister at the heart of the accident that claimed her mother’s life, but a cryptic note could be the key to her past…

Two lives changed forever

The small town has always seemed safe to Brianna Taylor – until a mysterious new girl arrives who looks exactly like Bri! Now everything Bri knew has been thrown into question and Sloane’s arrival has changed the world of Willows Lake forever.

Strange things are happening in Willows Lake. But when they turn deadly, Bri and Sloane must find a way to save each other or risk losing everything they hold dear…

Pre-order it:



About Katlyn Duncan


Katlyn Duncan was born and raised in a small town in western Massachusetts. Her overactive imagination involved invisible friends, wanting to be a Disney Princess and making up her own stories. Her bibliophile mom always encouraged her love of reading and that stayed with her since. Even though she works full time in the medical field Katlyn has always made time for books, whether she is reading or writing them.

Katlyn now lives in southern Connecticut with her husband and adorable Wheaten Terrier and she is thrilled to finally share her stories with the world.

Find her:


The Giveaway

There is a blast-wide giveaway for...

  • ONE (1) eBook copy of any one of the author’s backlist titles in Mobi or PDF format.

**Giveaway ends on September 17th at 8:00 AM Eastern. There will be ONE winner**

Enter in the Rafflecopter below...

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Release Week for TRAITOR KNIGHT

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs , 11 September 2015 · 20 views

Morgan McRobbie will do anything to protect the kingdom of Kilbourne. Even betray it.

​      When Morgan rescues a damsel-in-distress from a dragon, he expects she’ll swoon, murmuring “My hero!” Instead, Marissa has only loathing for the man everyone believes will betray Kilbourne. That’s fine with Morgan. A woman in his life would just complicate things.

A high-level informer threatens the kingdom’s security, and Morgan is out to stop him. Posing as a turncoat himself, he walks a fine line between honor and betrayal. A single misstep could result in disaster, and his mission is fraught with distractions: the pesky dragon, a pair of conniving courtiers, and the disillusioned damsel who’s certain Morgan can’t be trusted.

    If Morgan’s going to save the kingdom, win the girl, and manage to stay alive, he’ll need to step up his game. Because the traitor is lurking in the shadows, and his scheme calls not just for the betrayal of Kilbourne, but also the destruction of Morgan McRobbie.

A swashbuckling fantasy in the tradition of “The Princess Bride”, TRAITOR KNIGHT combines rollicking adventure, intrigue, a dollop of romance and a dash of wit to pay homage to classic Saturday matinee fun. TRAITOR KNIGHT is available for purchase ($6.99) directly from the publisher, Champagne Book Group, or through Amazon.  Paperback editions will be available later in Fall/Winter 2015. If you read the book, consider posting a review, either on the Champagne website, on Amazon, or on Goodreads. And if you like it, tell your friends.


Keith W. Willis graduated (long ago) from Berry College with a degree in English Lit. He now lives in the scenic Hudson Valley/Adirondack region of NY with his wife Patty. They have one grown son, Matt, who actually thinks it’s pretty cool that Dad wrote a book. Keith’s interests include camping, canoeing, and Scrabble. Keith began writing seriously in 2008, when the voices in his head got too annoying to ignore. When he’s not making up stories he manages a group of database content editors at a global information technology firm. TRAITOR KNIGHT is his first published novel.

To obtain a galley version (PDF, epub) for review, emailt Kat Hall, Review Coordinator at kat@champagnebooks.com.

Traitor Knight is available from Champagne Books http://tinyurl.com/pffcmpv or on Amazon http://tinyurl.com/nv93moy



September Picture Book Party Agents and Editors

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs , 10 September 2015 · 22 views

So glad to be able to host another contest just for picture book writers. They often get left out of the contest fun, so this is a special feature just for them.

And here are the wonderful agents and editors who will be requesting all the hugable, lovely picture books. Please follow them on twitter and them under the #PBParty hashtag.

There also might be some other ninja agents and editors dropping by.

And remember the submission window is September 14th and all the information on entering is here.

Be sure to give a big thanks to @schriscoe_ for arranging most of these agents and editors. She should get the credit.

Clelia Gore of Martin Literary Management

It was when Clelia first read Charlotte’s Web in the first grade that she got hooked by the magic of books. Her love of children’s books carried through adulthood and she is delighted to dedicate her life to bringing quality books and stories to young (and whimsical adult!) readers. 

Clelia is originally from the suburbs of New York City. She has a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Boston College. She received her J.D. from American University, Washington College of Law and practiced law as a corporate litigator in New York City. 

In 2011, she decided to dedicate her career to books and reentered graduate school at Emerson College, where she received a master’s degree in Publishing and Writing. While she was studying publishing and taking creative writing courses at Emerson, Clelia gained firsthand experience in the publishing industry working in the children’s book division at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and in academic books at Oxford University Press.  She also taught academic writing and research courses to freshman students as a graduate student faculty member at Emerson College. 

Clelia acquires picture book, middle grade and young adult books. She is particularly interested in developing her middle grade and young adult nonfiction clientele. With apologies, Clelia is no longer accepting new adult fiction queries at this time. 

Jessica Sinsheimer of Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency

Jessica Sinsheimer has been reading and campaigning for her favorite queries since 2004. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, she went east for Sarah Lawrence College and stayed for the opportunity to read soon-to-be books for a living.

“Now an Agent at the Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency, she’s developed a reputation for fighting office members to see incoming manuscripts first—and for drinking far too much tea. Her most recent sale is RIPPER, a paranormal/historical YA novel, about a Victorian girl who takes down Jack the Ripper–and its sequel.

“Always on the lookout for new writers, she is most excited about finding literary, women’s, and Young Adult fiction, and—on the nonfiction side—psychology, parenting, self-help, cookbooks, memoirs, and works that speak to life in the twenty-first century.

Christa Heschke of McIntosh and Otis

CHRISTA HESCHKE graduated from Binghamton University with a major in English and a minor in Anthropology. She started in publishing as an intern at both Writers House and Sterling Lord Literistic, where she fell in love with the agency side of publishing. Christa has been at McIntosh and Otis, Inc. in the Children's Literature Department since 2009 where she is actively looking for picture books, middle grade, and young adult projects. She is a fan of young adult novels with a romantic angle, and strong, quirky protagonists. Within YA, Christa is especially interested in contemporary fiction, horror and thrillers/mysteries. As for middle grade, Christa enjoys contemporary, humor, adventure, mystery and magical realism for boys and girls. For picture books, she’s drawn to cute, funny, character driven stories within fiction and is open to non-fiction with a unique hook.

Christa is not looking for any Adult fiction or non-fiction, paranormal or dystopian at this time.

Victoria Selvaggio of the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency

With a strong background in business ownership, Victoria A. Selvaggio comes to The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency as an Associate Agent with over 6 years of actively working as a volunteer and Regional Advisor for SCBWI Northern Ohio.  Drawn to the publishing scene first as an author writing all genres, with her most recent publication in the 2015 Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market, Vicki’s passion for honing the craft carried over into reading manuscripts for the agency. Currently, she is excited to read compelling manuscripts that will resonate with her long after she’s done.

I am currently looking for lyrical picture books, middle grade and young adult fiction, new adult, mysteries, suspense, thrillers, paranormal, fantasy, narrative nonfiction, adult fiction but find I’m especially drawn to Middle Grade and Young Adult. I especially love thrillers and all elements of weird, creepy stuff. If it’s out of the box, and it will make me think and think, long after I’m done reading, send it to me! On the flip side, I yearn for books that make me laugh, cry and wonder about the world.

Laura Biagi of Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency

Laura Biagi joined JVNLA in 2009. She is actively building her own client list, seeking adult literary fiction and young readers books. She also handles the sale of Australian and New Zealand rights for the agency. She has worked closely with Jean Naggar and Jennifer Weltz on their titles, as well as Jennifer Weltz on the submission of JVNLA's titles internationally.

Laura's writing background has honed her editorial eye and has driven her enthusiasm for discovering and developing literary talent. She studied creative writing and anthropology at Northwestern University. As a writer, she has participated in workshops at the Squaw Valley Community of Writers, the Juniper Summer Writing Institute, and the New York State Summer Writers Institute. She is the recipient of a Kentucky Emerging Artist Award for fiction writing.

Laura grew up in a small town in Kentucky and maintains a fondness for Southern biscuits and unobstructed views of the stars.

Courtney Stevenson of Pippin Properties

Courtney Stevenson has always had her heart set on children's books, ever since elementary school when she would read books under her desk during class. She has previously worn many hats in the publishing industry, from collaborating with an author to edit his nonfiction manuscript, to interning in the editorial department at a children's book imprint at Macmillan, to assisting the marketing division of an academic press. Following her graduation from Cornell University in 2013, she was thrilled to join Pippin as an intern, and shortly after became the assistant to all the agents.

For my picture book tastes, I love funny voices, and a story that inspires me to come adventuring with the characters. 

Rebecca Angus of Golden Wheat
I'm a graduate of Texas A&M University, SFF Author, and Jr. Literary Agent at Golden Wheat Literary. I have a strong background in marketing and an obsession with all things #KidLit. My main focus as an agent is Children's Literature, and as a new agent I'm actively building my list. I currently live with my Army husband and a house full of animals in Washington State.

Send me diverse characters. What I'd really like to find is an emotionally driven inspirational picture book or a story with strong morals. I'm always on the lookout for manuscripts with animals and unlikely narrators. I also love historical or folklore retellings we haven't quite seen yet, and I really enjoy anything set in a fantasy location or magical world. If you can compare your characters to Nancy Drew or Lucy Pevensie, I especially want to see it. 
S ome of my favorite Children's books are: Coraline, The Graveyard Book, Where the Wild Things Are, and anything written by Roald Dahl.

In my mind, the biggest turn off in queries is clutter. I like the 'meat and potatoes' type of queries--give me the yummy basics without overfilling the query with too much extra. If your query seems daunting when I open it, I will likely only read the first few lines. A long, endless, query makes me worry that the manuscript will need substantial edits. 

Overall, a story needs to have character driven voice. I don't mind multiple POV, but I want to get to know a character and love/hate them from cover to cover. I don't mind snarky/unlikeable characters, but their voice needs to be consistent. I want a story that has a voice I can't escape even after I'm done reading.

Nicole Resciniti and Danielle Bailey of The Seymour Agency

Nicole has been listed by Publisher's Marketplace as a top dealmaker in the country, and named ACFW's 2012 Agent of the Year.

She loves discovering new talent and helping established authors to take their career to the next level. Do you have the next project to feed her book addiction? A smart, tight read shewon’t be able to put down? A signature voice she’ll fight to represent?

Danielle’s life has always centered on books and children. She has a BA in literature from the University of South Florida, and taught Language Arts for 15 years.  This year she graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University with a Masters in English, where she focused on the publishing and interned with The Seymour Agency. She is thrilled to now be a literary assistant so she can further connect with clients and help them fulfill their dream of being published. She is a voracious reader and spends her time reading innovative picture books and early readers to her three children.  Danielle is a member of SCBWI and RWA


Katherine Hall of Arbordale Publishing

Katie Hall has shown a knack for the publishing industry since she read an advance review copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone at age 7 and predicted its future popularity. Her journey into the editorial world has taken her through internships in children’s book publishing and two years of academic publishing with the Journal of the American Academy of Religion before she finally found her home as a children’s book editor at Arbordale Publishing. Katie loves working in children’s book publishing, where she helps create books that inspire new generations of book-lovers and ignite their passion for learning.
At Arbordale, Katie focuses on integrating fun-to-read stories with non-fiction science or math elements. She balances fun children’s stories with serious research and educational resources. Katie is currently seeking fiction stories that introduce an elementary-level science or math concept. If you would like to submit a manuscript to Katie, please check Arbordale’s submission guidelines.

Ashley Gephart of Cedar Fort Publishing
After graduating from Utah Valley University with a degree in Creative Writing and theatre, Ashley Gephart has landed her dream job as an acquisitions editor at Cedar Fort. Her life’s ambitions have always pointed her to storytelling, whether through directing, acting, writing, or helping others perfect their manuscripts. When she is not torturing her protagonists, she enjoys history, design, playing hammy roles on the stage, and contemplating what it would be like to be a supervillain. She lives in her native Utah.
Ashley is searching for children’s literature from picture books to middle-grade fiction. She would like to see strong, cohesive plot arcs in picture books with proactive young characters at the helm and strong emotional or comedic ties. In middle-grade fiction, she would like contemporary themes, well-rounded female characters, diversity, and humor. Juvenile fiction (chapter books and early readers) fitting these specifications is also appreciated. Books that can cross over between the LDS and national markets are always welcome.

Michelle Witte of Mansion Street Literary Management
Michelle Witte is an author and literary agent with Mansion Street Literary Management specializing in children’s fiction and nonfiction. As an agent, her tastes vary widely, and she represents authors across the spectrum of children’s literature, from illustrated board and picture books to middle grade and young adult fiction and nonfiction. Michelle is always on the lookout for fascinating stories that are well told, especially those with a distinct and distinctive voice.
She began her career as a journalist, first reporting and then later copy editing for the Deseret Morning News in Salt Lake City, Utah. From there, she transitioned to a position as associate editor with nonfiction publisher Gibbs Smith, where she edited titles on a variety of topics, including children’s activity, humor, gift, cookbooks, and green living. Her combined experience in the publishing industry is a boon for the authors she represents, as she is able to guide them through each of the stages of publication.



Query Questions with Kara Leigh Miller

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs , 09 September 2015 · 5 views

Writers have copious amounts of imagination. It's what makes their stories so fantastic. But there's a darker side to so much out of the box thinking. When a writer is in the query trenches, their worries go into overdrive. They start pulling out their hair and imagine every possible disaster.


Here to relieve some of that endless worrying is a new series of posts called Query Questions. I'll ask the questions which prey on every writer's mind, and hopefully take some of the pain out of querying. These are questions that I've seen tossed around on twitter and writing sites like Agent Query Connect. They are the type of questions that you need answers for the real expert--agents!

If you have your own specific query question, please leave it in the comments and it might show up in future editions of Query Questions as I plan to rotate the questions.

I'm so thrilled to have a new agent today from Corvisiero Literary where I have found a happy home. I knew her first as a Pitchwars mentor. Say hello to Kara Leigh Miller and check out her listing at Corvisiero to submit to her. 

Is there a better or worse time of year to query?
Nope J I’m open and accepting queries year round. Response time will generally be a tad longer near the holidays.

Does one typo or misplaced comma shoot down the entire query?
Absolutely not. Everyone makes mistakes, we’re all human, it’s inevitable. A few are forgivable, but if the query and sample pages are riddled with typos and grammatical errors, then we have a problem. While I do have the added advantage of an editorial background that I eagerly share with my clients, if a manuscript is in need of a major overhaul or if I know there will be more red than black after an edit, I will pass.

Do you look at sample pages without fail or only if the query is strong?
I will always look at sample pages providing the query matches my list. For example, if an author were to query me with, let’s say, an epic historical fantasy – which I don’t represent – I would respond to let him/her know I don’t rep this genre and then direct them to an agent within the agency who does, or just forward their submission to a more appropriate agent.

Do you have an assistant or intern go through your queries first or do you check all of them?
We have a fantastic group of interns at the agency who are always willing to help, but at this point, I’m handling all my own queries.

Do you keep a maybe pile of queries and go back to them for a second look?
Not usually. I can tell from a first look whether or not I’m going to pursue a project. If I get a query and sample pages that I’m not sure about, I will always request to see more to get a better feel for the story and the writing. By the third or fifth chapter, I know whether it’s something I absolutely have to have or if I can live without it. 

If the manuscript has a prologue, do you want it included with the sample pages?
Yes, although most of the time, prologues tend to be unnecessary.

How important are comp titles? Is it something you want to see in a query?
Honestly, I don’t have a preference about comp titles. If you include them, great. If you don’t, I’m not going to hold it against you.

Some agencies mention querying only one agent at a time and some say query only one agent period. How often do you pass a query along to a fellow agent who might be more interested?
This is a tricky question. As agents, we truly do want to see authors succeed, so we’re going to do our best to help them, and at times that includes sharing queries within the agency. However, if you’ve sent a query addressed to me personally, I feel that you’ve done so for a reason. (Hopefully because you want to work with me and feel we’d be a good match.) So, to hand off your query to someone else you didn’t personally choose feels…wrong (?) to me. Now, if I get something that’s really well written and has a fantastic premise but I don’t connect with it for whatever reason, I’ll share it with other agents to see if anyone else is interested, but I’ll also let the author know I’ve done so.

Do you prefer a little personalized chit-chat in a query letter, or would you rather hear about the manuscript?
Both! I’ve found that a little bit of personalized chit-chat goes a long way to showing me who you are as a person, and that can be invaluable. Recently, I received a query that was personalized in such a way that made me laugh out loud. It was fantastic, and you can bet I remembered that author’s name. So, feel free to chat me up, but make sure you also tell me about your manuscript J

Most agents have said they don’t care whether the word count/genre sentence comes first or last. But is it a red flag if one component is not included?
That one sentence gives us so much information about your book, and truly does account in our decision making process. It can often be fairly easy to determine genre based on the pitch, (although I’d much rather not have to play Guess the Genre) but we have no way of knowing the word count. If I get a stellar query for a contemporary romance with a missing word count, and I request the full only to find out its 210K, you’ve just wasted my time and yours. Please don’t do this. 

Writers hear a lot about limiting the number of named characters in a query. Do you feel keeping named characters to a certain number makes for a clearer query?
Yes! If I feel the need to grab a notebook and start keeping track with ven diagram, chances are good I’ll become confused and frustrated. If you’re querying a romance, I only want two named characters: your hero and heroine. On a side note: Please don’t name the killer in your query letter if you’re querying a mystery or thriller or horror. Save that for your synopsis. For me, the biggest payoff in this genre is trying to figure out whodunit. If you tell me up front, what compels me to read your book?

Should writers sweat the title of their book (and character names) or is that something that is often changed by publishers?
I’d much rather have authors sweat the quality and mechanics of their writing as opposed to titles and character names. Titles and character names can be changed by publishers, so my advice is not to get too attached to them. It seems as though titles get changed more frequently than character names though.

How many queries do you receive in a week? How many requests might you make out of those?
Right now, I’m receiving about 10 to 12 queries a week. Of course, I’m still new to the agency, so I’m sure that number will increase as time goes on. Of those, I might request one or two.

Many agents say they don't care if writers are active online. Could a twitter account or blog presence by a writer tip the scales in getting a request or offer? And do you require writers you sign to start one?
If it came down to two queries that I absolutely loved but could only take one, the author with the online presence would win. It takes time to gain a foothold and a following online, so the sooner an author can start, the better. Typically, I check to see if an author has any social media to start with – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. (It’s rare nowadays not to have at least one social media account) – and once I sign an author, I will encourage them to being the process of starting a website or blog if they don’t already have one.

Some writers have asked about including links to their blogs or manuscript-related artwork. I’m sure it’s not appropriate to add those links in a query, but are links in an email signature offensive?
No, not at all. In fact, I actually prefer to see links in an email signature. When I’m interested in a project, I’ll look the author up on social media. Not necessarily to see how big of a following they have, but more so to see how they conduct themselves online. What sorts of things are they interested in, what do they post about, what things are they sharing?

If a writer makes changes to their manuscript due to feedback should they resend the query or only if material was requested?
Okay, this is kind of a pet peeve of mine. If your book is out on query, you should not be making massive changes to it that would require you to even think about needing to resend it. When you query an agent, you’re essentially telling them that your book is ready. It’s done. It’s been critiqued, beta read, revised, and edited. If you then send me an email asking to send an updated version because you’ve made changes, that tells me you queried before you and your book were ready. With this industry being as subjective as it is, the feedback one agent or editor gives might not mesh with how others feel about the book. 

What bio should an author with no publishing credits include?
I always advise authors to include any related affiliations or memberships they have (RWA, SCWBI, etc.); any writing or critique groups they belong to; anything personal that lends credibility to the story they’ve written – for example, if you’ve written about a lawyer and you are in fact a lawyer, I want to know that. Additionally, any pertinent writing classes, seminars, panels, and/or conferences you’ve added. I know, that might seem weird to some, but that shows me you’re out there networking with other authors and industry professionals and that you’re dedicated to learning your craft. Also, be honest that you don’t have any previous publishing credits. It’s okay. We all start somewhere.

What does ‘just not right mean for me’ mean to you?
It can mean a lot of different things. Sometimes it can mean I’ve already got something similar in my list, or maybe it would be difficult to sell in the current market. But mostly, it just means I wasn’t drawn into the story even though there’s nothing wrong with the writing.

Do you consider yourself a hands-on, editorial type of agent?
Absolutely! Having worked for various small presses for a few years, my background is in editing, and I plan to offer authors editorial guidance prior to going on submission so that they have a better chance of standing out within the industry.

What three things are at the top of your submission wish list?
Romance of any kind.
Thrillers / horror.
A YA or NA set during some sort of camp – summer camp, Bible camp, fat camp, a family camping trip.

What are some of your favorite movies or books to give us an idea of your tastes?
Books: The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer, The Delirium Series by Lauren Oliver, Matched Series by Ally Condie, It& The Tommyknockers by Stephen King, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (absolutely LOVED that ending, too!), Elite Ops Series by Lora Leigh, Tess in Boots by Courtney Rice Gager.

Movies / TV: Any of the classic horror movies (Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, Friday the 13th, Alien), The Avengers, The Twilight Saga, The Vampire Diaries, Survivor, American Pie series, Fast and Furious series.


Kara Leigh Miller is a lover of all things literary. She began her venture into the publishing world as a wet behind the ears author back in 2010. Since then, she’s found her true passion to be helping authors achieve their dreams of publication. She started as an intern for a small press and worked her way up to Senior Editor within months. From there, she moved on to become the Editorial Director at Anaiah Press, LLC. Now, as a well versed author and editor, she’s switching sides to become an agent.
As an apprentice, Kara is excited to begin building her client list and working closely with authors to help them find the success they deserve. Along with being able to offer representation, Kara has the ability to offer skilled editorial guidance to ensure her clients have an even better chance of standing out within this industry.
Being an avid reader of all genres and categories, Kara has a soft spot for books that will knock her legs out from under her and gut punch her with emotion. Bonus points if you can make her cry. With an addictive personality and obsessions that run deep, she will champion for the things she loves – books, the authors who write them, her husband and five kids, and Pit Bulls. Oh, and cats. She really likes cats. Especially fluffy, white ones.

Submission Wish List:
·       Inspirational Fiction – YA, NA, and Adult – Please note: While Kara has years of experience working in the Christian fiction market, she is open to all types of inspirational fiction, not just those focused around the Christian faith. She would love to find stories that push the boundaries and get people talking about faith in a positive way, and angels / demons, good vs. evil. Some of her favorite authors within this genre: Ted Dekker, Frank Peretti, Jody Hedlund, Courtney Rice Gager, Lisa Dunn, and Sharon Srock.
·       Romance – YA, NA, and Adult – While Kara will consider romances with erotic elements, if you can compare your book to 50 Shades of Grey in any capacity, she is notthe right agent for you. Contemporaries and romantic suspense are her forte, but she’s willing to consider just about anything if it’s well written, including paranormal and urban fantasy. Favorite authors in this genre: Lora Leigh, Julie Ann Walker, Abbi Glines, and Jennifer Armentrout / J. Lynn.
·       Mysteries / Legal Thrillers / Horror – YA, NA, and Adult – With a background in law, Kara has a soft spot for these genres. Her love of reading began and continues with authors such as Stephen King, James Patterson, Gillian Flynn, Dean Koontz, and John Grisham. 




  Posted by Michelle4Laughs , 08 September 2015 · 5 views

I am so excited that SWEET TEMPTATION by Wendy Higgins releases today and that I get to share the news, along with an awesome giveaway!

If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful series by Wendy Higgins, be sure to check out all the details below.

This blitz also includes a giveaway for a a paperback of the book with a signed bookplate and bookmarks! US only. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

About The Book:

Author: Wendy Higgins
Pub. Date: September 8, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 485
Format: Paperback, eBook, audiobook

Bad boy Kaidan Rowe has never wanted for anything—money, popularity, musical talent…hot girls—but seducing them is part of his duty as a Nephilim, slave to the demon Dukes. As the son of the Duke of Lust, Kaidan has learned his father’s ways, becoming a master of passion, a manipulator of chemistry. Disobeying his father would mean certain death. Thankfully for Kaidan, he’s good at his job. And he enjoys it.

Until he meets Anna Whitt—sweet, smart, feisty, and inexplicably good—the one girl seemingly immune to his charms. The daughter of a guardian angel and a fallen one, she has a certain power over him, one that makes him wish for more than he could ever deserve.

Determined to save all the Neph from their dark lives as the influencers of sin, Anna joins forces with Kaidan to overcome the demons’ oppressive ways. In the light of her affections, Kaidan must undergo his toughest test of all, a battle of the heart.

Sensual and swoon worthy, this companion volume to the acclaimed Sweet Evil series from New York Times bestselling author Wendy Higgins, told from the perspective of the irresistibly sexy and mysterious Kaidan Rowe, gives readers revealing insights into his struggle, his intense connection to Anna, and most of all, the true emotions that drive him.

Author Note:
Sweet Temptation will encompass the entire trilogy in a condensed version, beginning with Kai's life before he met Anna, and taking readers through the epilogue of Sweet Reckoning. Sweet Temptation is a companion novel, not meant to be a stand alone story. It will definitely be a richer experience for those who have read the original trilogy.

Go HERE to read an excerpt fro SWEET TEMPTATION!

Also check out Wendy's PINTEREST board for KAI!

About Wendy Higgins:

Wendy Higgins is the USA Today and NYT bestselling author of the Sweet Evil series from HarperTeen and her independently published Irish fantasy, See Me. She is a former high school English teacher who now writes full time, and lives on the Eastern Shore of Virginia with her veterinarian husband, daughter, son, and doggie Rue. 
Wendy earned a bachelor's in Creative Writing from George Mason University and a master's in Curriculum and Instruction from Radford. Writing Young Adult (YA) stories gives her the opportunity to delve into the ambiguities of those pivotal, daunting, and exciting years before adulthood.

Connect with the author:

Giveaway Details:

1 Paperback of SWEET TEMPTATION and a signed bookplate and bookmarks. US Only.

Ends on September 18th at Midnight EST!
a Rafflecopter giveaway



Getting the Submission Call with Jamie Zakian

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs , 04 September 2015 · 7 views

I'm happy to share a success story from this summer's Query Kombat. Stellar Twins Kickin' It Cosmic Style (Emergence) was one of my picks with stand out voice! I'm so glad to see it found a home!

At first, I was a little wary to share my story. I’ve had a lot of failures, far more bombs than triumphs, but hopefully sharing my stumbles will help others to soar.

For those who like stats, here’s a quick breakdown of what it took me to get published.

First manuscript (adult fantasy):

82 queries sent (5 variations of the letter with 4 different openings) gaining 1 partial request, ending in rejection. 

4 Twitter contests entered, no wins. 

Majority of agent feedback– all tell no show.

Second manuscript (YA techno-thriller):

62 queries sent (3 variations of the letter with 4 different openings) gaining 1 full and 3 partial requests, ending in rejection. 

3 Twitter contests entered, 2 wins (both by lottery) with 1 full and 1 partial request, ending in rejection. 

Majority of agent feedback– too stiff, no voice.

Third manuscript (YA sci-fi thriller):

22 queries sent, 0 requests. 

2 Twitter contests entered and 2 wins gaining 6 full and 1 partial request, ending in rejection.

Majority of agent feedback– not connecting with the tone. 

4 submissions to independent presses and 1 Twitter publishers pitching event, 7 full requests, 5 offers of publication, and 1 offer accepted.

As you can see, it has been a long road. When I think back, I can clearly see the noob mistakes that garnered me so many rejections. With my first script, I queried before I was ready. I didn’t take the time to properly research the craft of writing, which led to infodumps, backstory, unnecessary dialog tags, and just a mess of a manuscript.

When I wrote my second novel, I was so focused on getting the technique right that I forgot to add a flare to my writer’s voice. The story's concept got me a few requests but ultimately the narrative fell flat, making it difficult for the reader to become immersed.  

At this point, I was ready to give up. Why was I driving myself crazy, neglecting my friends, family, the DVR if I’d never make it? I shut down my laptop, for a whole day. It was the longest day of my life. That's when I discovered there was no turning back, I was addicted to writing and an awesome song came on my Pandora (you know how that goes). So I went in a different direction with my third story, I took risks. I let my voice spew out, no holding back, and loosened up my style. Much to my overwhelming joy, I ended up with a buffy-esque flow. Unfortunately, that wasn’t what agents were looking for at the time but publishers loved my fun, youthful approach. Just goes to show you how subjective this business really can be.

The best advice I can give anyone who is striving to achieve anything significant in their life is to never stop improving. Always push your limits until you’ve reached the shiniest you possible, then push harder. Take advantage of the awesome opportunities available within the Twitter #amwriting community. I met my incredible CP’s through Twitter contests, they’re a constant source of inspiration and I get to share in their achievements. Every contest host, judge, and many of the slushies have blogs dedicated to educating writers in every aspect of the business. Learn from their years of experience because if it wasn’t for their generous guidance, I would have never gotten a publishing deal from Month9Books.


Jamie Zakian is a fulltime writer who consumes the written word as equally as oxygen. Living in South Jersey with her husband and rowdy family, she enjoys farming, archery, and blazing new trails on her 4wd quad, when not writing of course. She aspires to one day write at least one novel in every genre of fiction. Her debut YA sci-fi thriller is forthcoming from Month9Books.      

Twitter– https://twitter.com/demoness333       



Cover Reveal for STATIC

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs , 03 September 2015 · 6 views

Release Date: September 2015
Cover Design: Regina Wamba of Mae I Design

Kevin Pierce is a teleporter, a ladies’ man, and a loyal friend . . . or so he thought.

As a genetically altered Luminary, he helps the government bring down some of the most dangerous criminals. Not very challenging if you have his special abilities. But when a group of rebel Luminaries attacks his Organization the fight for survival begins.

One shattering event after another tests the depth of his relationships, his sanity, and his powers. Emotionally torn, Kevin must choose carefully where his loyalty lies. In the middle of all the unexpected chaos he gets the biggest shock of his life when he’s faced by a betrayal he never saw coming. Angry, injured, and ready to even the score, Kevin goes Static . . .

Add it to your Goodreads *here*

About the Author:

S. K. Anthony is a writer, a reader and a make-stuff-up-er who lives in New York with her husband and toddler twins. She is a wine connoisseur, which just really means she knows she loves it, and a caffeine addict. When she isn’t busy with her family she finds herself being transported into the world of imagination. Well, either that or running away from spiders…she is convinced they are out to get her!

Stalk S.K. Anthony here:

Blog ~ Facebook ~ Goodreads ~ Twitter ~ Google + ~ Pinterest

You can find Book One here:

Amazon            ~  Barnes and Noble  
Amazon UK    ~  Goodreads 



Book Blogger Conversation with Brett Michael Orr

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs , 02 September 2015 · 7 views

I'm excited to start a new series of posts with a group that is under appreciated--book bloggers!

Book bloggers are obviously so important to authors. They give consistent reviews. They open their blogs to us. They are readers and fans! I think we should honor them more.

So this series of interviews was born! Hopefully it will help authors find bloggers and give everyone else a better appreciation of them.

Brett Michael Orr is a recent addition to the book blogger scene and I love that he favors my favorite genre. Be sure to check out his links at the bottom of the interview.

What types of books do you review?  I mostly review Young Adult novels. It’s a genre I absolutely love and am heavily involved in, from SF/Fantasy to the odd Contemporary. Occasionally I’ll review some epic fantasy or even graphic novels too!

Do you have any guidelines for authors to follow in contacting you? A link will work. At the moment I don’t have any specific guidelines to request reviews, as I typically have Advance Review Copies from publishers, or books I’ve purchased myself. Of course, I’m always contactable via Twitter (@brettmichaelorr) if you want to talk or discuss a guest post/interview.

Do you post anything besides reviews—such as cover art or giveaways? My blog is a mixture of blogger interviews, book reviews, short stories, writing tips, and my own meme ‘Instant Flashback’ where I collate my week’s Instagram photos. I’ve also done cover reveals and Top Ten lists as well!

How do you find books to review or do they come to you? A little of both. I have some Australian publishers that send me ARCs to review ahead of release date, but I still purchase my own books as well. I make a point of reviewing everything I read – to improve my own reviewing and critiquing ability, but also to spread information about books that some of my fans might not have read before.

What got you into blogging about books? I only started blogging in late 2014. I realized how much I wanted to be an author, and how the online writing community was the missing part of my life. Naturally, while I was writing books, I also wanted to read more – and reviewing them felt like a natural way of breaking into blogging more regularly.

What elements go into a good review and how long does it take to write one? Everyone differs! Some of my blogging friends take weeks to craft a review. For me, I typically know most of what I want to say by the time I’ve read the book. I formulate the review in my head as I go along, so often it only takes half an hour to write a review – preparing typographic images and tweets takes longer sometimes!

I try to make my reviews honest and fair. Even if I don’t like a book, I’ll find what did work – and I always suggest that readers try a book for themselves, because opinions differ. Mostly, I want my reviews to be unbiased and critical, lightly touching on all aspects of the book and providing a balanced review.

How often do you post reviews? I try to post reviews weekly, but it depends on how quickly I can read a book. I always review books right away though.

Can you think of any special methods or personality types that an author has used to really help you draw close to a character? Making the reader associate with a character is the real key. This doesn’t mean they have to be likeable; of course I’m never going to ‘like’ a villain, but if I can associate with him on some level, then I form a bond with a character. Also, I love when characters switch allegiances and loyalties – there’s nothing better than having your preconceived ideas proven wrong midway through a book.

What types of things make for an extra special book? The kind you don’t forget? A book that takes my expectations and beats them by a mile. At the moment, that’s A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU; a phenomenal idea that was perfectly executed and simply one of the best books I’ve had the pleasure to read.

Any marketing tips you’ve noticed work really well for authors? Be engaged with your readers and particularly your reviewers. I understand that being published must be busy, but completely ignoring readers/reviewers is really hurtful and makes us feel devalued. Some authors I follow are amazingly interactive and it helps build a much stronger connection with their audience – we feel like authors actually appreciate what we’re doing.

Favorite books you’ve reviewed. A Thousand Pieces of You – my favorite read this year. Warm Bodies – including the movie – is one of the best books/films of all time in my opinion. My first-ever ARC review for Patrick Ness’ The Rest of Us Just Live Here (out this month!) will always be important to me. And Red Queen too – I can’t wait for the sequel.

Books you are looking forward to in the next year. Glass Sword will be my first pick here – it’s the sequel to Red Queen, and I’m dying to read it. I’ll be interested for The Vagrant’s sequel next year, and there’s always the possibility that Isaac Marion will return from his Twitter absence to reveal the second Warm Bodies book; I’m hoping for a Way Down Dark sequel next year too. (Wow, that’s a lot of sequels!)

Do you prefer kindle or actual books when reading? I used to be a die-hard Kindle supporter, but since I started purchasing physical books and getting involved in the Instagram community, I can’t go back to digital. There’s something tangibly human about holding a book that digital just can’t compare with.

What’s your favorite spot to read? I don’t have a ‘reading spot’, which I really want to find. I typically read on the bus, at lunch, or at night; but lazy afternoons spent reading in a recliner are really the best though – so that’s my favorite spot at the moment.

Give us your best advice for a beginning book blogger. I haven’t even passed my first year as a book blogger, but already I’ve learned so much. I’d say be honest with everything you do, and get involved with the writing community by following hashtags, communicating with people, reviewing books, suggesting guest posts or interviews, and just generally talking with as many people as you can. I’ve met some amazing friends and collaborators through the silliest of initial conversations; and when you’re growing your audience, it’s important to keep that channel of communication open.

Experiment, find what works for you, and soon you’ll be blogging daily and wondering how you ever lived without it.

Thanks so much for having me on your blog Michelle, it was an honor!

I’m a writer, programmer and gamer from Brisbane, Australia. I want to produce quality commercial fiction read the world over.
I’m an avid fan of all forms of creative media. From movies to TV shows, games and books, every form of creative media has something to teach us, and I hope to create page-turners that will keep you reading well into the night.
Some of my favorite writers include Garth Nix, Christopher Paolini, Neal Shusterman and James Dashner. I enjoy listening to Coldplay, James Blunt, Linkin Park, Green Day and Paramore. And if I’m not hard at work writing a new book (or updating my blog!), I’ll probably be found goofing around on Xbox.

Founder of The Book Creators: http://thebookcreators.com
Current WIP: THE BUREAU OF TIME: http://twitter.com/#thebureauoftime



September Picture Book Party

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs , 01 September 2015 · 4 views

We are doing it again! (And yes I recycled this post. So much to do. No time for fresh material.)Spunky. Adorable. Heartwarming.

Those are some of the words that describe picture/chapter books. I'm happy to join with Sharon Chriscoe to do a little something for a group that is left out of most contests. This mini-contest is for you!

And if you don't write picture/chapter books please don't run away. I NEED YOUR HELP NOTIFYING PICTURE BOOK WRITERS. This contest is such short notice that I need everyone to spread the word. Tell your friends who write PB and please post on twitter. Also the twitter party will be for everyone, so I hope to see you there under the hashtag #PBParty. There will be daily topics that apply to all writers during the submission week.

So far there are four picture book agents and two editors on board.  The agent round will be September 23th-25th. The submission day is September 14th at 4:00 pm Eastern time. Then Sharon and I will go through the entries and pick our favorites. I'm not sure how many entries will be chosen, but the number will be between 15 and 20. Sharon is my expert on this as I don't know much about picture books, except I enjoy reading them.

The Rules:

Please be a follower of this blog. You can click the "Join this Site" button in the left sidebar. Please follow myself and Sharon on twitter. I imagine we will be tweeting hints as well as partying!

You may send two entries for different manuscripts. That's two and only two, whether you have multiple pen names or multiple email addresses. Please be honest and not send more. Only one entry will be chosen per person. If you send two, still only one will be picked. Any attempt to cheat will result in entries thrown out (and sadly it has happened in the past.) 

On September 14th at 4:00 pm Eastern the submission window opens. Do not send early or your entry will be deleted. You may resend at the correct time if this happens. I'm recycling an email address as I already have too many. Please send your entry to SunversusSnow at yahoo dot com

You should receive a confirmation email. If you do not, please contact me on twitter before resending. The window will stay open until we get 250 entries. However long that takes. It could be minutes or it could be days. I'm really not sure on this one.

This contest is only for finished and polished manuscripts. It has to be ready to go out to agents.

The Format:

Subject Line of your Email: PBParty: Title

Example:  PBParty: Hot Tub Santa

Inside the email please bold where bolded in my example. Single space with spaces between paragraphs. Use Times New Roman or equivalent font and the size should be 12. 

(Here's a trick to keep your paragraph spacing: copy and paste your entry into your email and then put in the line spaces. They seem to get lost when you copy and paste. It may look right but sending scrambles the spacing.)

Name: Sharon Chriscoe
Twitter Handle: @schriscoe_
Genre: (Here please tell us what type of picture book this is) Example: Board Book, Bedtime Rhyme, Nonfiction, Biography, etc. or List Chapter Book
Word Count: xxx (round to nearest ten, hundred for chapter books)


Your entire query letter here. Include your comps, bio, greeting, closing. (You may use whatever you want for a greeting. Dear Agent. Dear Michelle and Sharon.) 

Here is your chance to make your entry shine and make the agent fall in love with your words. 

First 50 Words:

Include your first 50 words for a picture book, 100 words for chapter books. Do not stop in the middle of a sentence. You may go over by one or two words to finish a sentence but not more than five. Single space and put spaces in between paragraphs. You may center or tab if appropriate.

Edit: For short picture books, less than 50 words may be submitted. Any count under 50 is allowed.

Also I will delete parts of entries after the contest ends, if requested. For those writers uncomfortable with their work being out there for all to see.  

Bonus: You may attach one illustration to your email to show an example of your artwork. If you don't have artwork, don't worry. 

I would like to thank Mel Stephenson for creating our logo artwork! Be sure to follow her at@paintandwords

That should cover about everything, but you may leave questions in the comments or on twitter. Don't forget the #PBParty hashtag.

We can't wait to see all the cuteness on September 14th! 



Release Day for QUEEN OF SHADOWS

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs , 31 August 2015 · 9 views

I am so excited that QUEEN OF SHADOWS by Sarah J. Maas releases today and that I get to share the news, along with an awesome giveaway!

If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful series by Sarah J. Maas, be sure to check out all the details below.

This blitz also includes a giveaway for a set of the first 3 books in the series (in paperback format). US only. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

About The book:

Author: Sarah J. Maas
Pub. Date: September 1, 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Pages: 656

Sarah J. Maas's New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series reaches new heights in this sweeping fourth volume.

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she's at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past . . .

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die just to see her again. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen's triumphant return.

Celaena’s epic journey has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions across the globe. This fourth volume will hold readers rapt as Celaena’s story builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

Read Chapters 1-5 of QUEEN OF SHADOWS HERE!

Sarah J. Maas is the author of the New York Times, USA Today, and internationally bestselling Throne of Glass series–Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, and Heir of Fire, and the series’ prequel, The Assassin’s Blade–as well as the New York Times and USA Today bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses. She wrote the first incarnation of the Throne of Glass series when she was just sixteen, and it has now sold in twenty-three languages. Queen of Shadows, the fourth book in the Throne of Glass series, will release worldwide on September 1st, 2015.
A New York native, Sarah currently lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and dog. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Hamilton College in 2008 with a degree in Creative Writing and a minor in Religious Studies. 

Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr | Pinterest | InstagramGoodreads

Giveaway Details:
1 winner will receive the first 3 books (in paperback) in the THRONE OF GLASS Series. US Only.
Ends on September 11th at Midnight EST!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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