Cover Reveal – Katie McGarry’s LONG WAY HOME

I’m excited to participate in revealing the cover for Katie McGarry’s LONG WAY HOME! It’s the third book in the Thunder Road Series, and it’s set for release on Jan. 31, 2017. I first met Katie at SCBWI Midsouth’s annual conference a couple of years ago, and having a chance to participate in her cover reveal is an honor for me.

LongWayHome-CoverRevealBanner

 

 

Being released on January 31st, 2017, the highly anticipated third book in Katie McGarry’s Thunder Road Series has a cover that we can’t wait to share with you! LONG WAY HOME is a Young Adult Contemporary Romance being published by Harlequin Teen! Pre-order your copy of the next book in this emotionally charged series, and don’t miss Violet and Chevy’s story!

 

 

LongWayHome-cover

Seventeen-year-old Violet has always been expected to sit back and let the boys do all the saving.

It’s the code her father, a member of the Reign of Terror motorcycle club, raised her to live by. Yet when her dad is killed carrying out Terror business, Violet knows it’s up to her to do the saving. To protect herself, and her vulnerable younger brother, she needs to cut all ties with the club—including Chevy, the boy she’s known and loved her whole life.

But when a rival club comes after Violet, exposing old secrets and making new threats, she’s forced to question what she thought she knew about her father, the Reign of Terror, and what she thinks she wants. Which means re-evaluating everything: love, family, friends . . . and forgiveness.

Caught in the crosshairs between loyalty and freedom, Violet must decide whether old friends can be trusted—and if she’s strong enough to be the one person to save them all.

“An intoxicating and unforgettable story that kept me glued to the page.”

Kami Garcia, #1 New York Times bestselling author, on Walk the Edge

 

Add it to your Goodreads Now!

 

LONG WAY HOME Pre-Order Links:

Amazon | Kobo | BAM | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | IndieBound

 

 

And Don’t Miss the First Two Titles in the Thunder Road Series!

Nowhere But Here - cover

NOWHERE BUT HERE

Walk the Edge - cover

WALK THE EDGE

 

 

Katie McGarry - author picKatie McGarry Bio:

Katie McGarry was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.

Katie is the author of full length YA novels, PUSHING THE LIMITS, DARE YOU TO, CRASH INTO YOU, TAKE ME ON, BREAKING THE RULES, and NOWHERE BUT HERE and the e-novellas, CROSSING THE LINE and RED AT NIGHT. Her debut YA novel, PUSHING THE LIMITS was a 2012 Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction, a RT Magazine’s 2012 Reviewer’s Choice Awards Nominee for Young Adult Contemporary Novel, a double Rita Finalist, and a 2013 YALSA Top Ten Teen Pick. DARE YOU TO was also a Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction and won RT Magazine’s Reviewer’s Choice Best Book Award for Young Adult Contemporary fiction in 2013.

 

 

 

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr | Pinterest | Goodreads

 

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Review – THE SERPENT KING

The Serpent KingThe Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is one of those books I’ll be thinking about for a long time. I couldn’t put it down once I started reading. Really, I give it 4.5 stars because it’s practically perfect!

Being from Tennessee, I was curious about how Zentner would use the south in his work. I’d heard a good bit about his excellent sense of place and his spot on characterizations, but even when a person does it right, stories set in small town southern locations often irritate me. Zentner did not disappoint. His characters were multidimensional, smart, and engaging, and Forrestville (Forestville), Tennessee, felt very much like the town where I grew up.

Told from three POVs (Dill, Lydia, and Travis), I enjoyed getting to know each character and feel close to them. Their struggles and emotions rang true of teenagers who feel stifled by the town where they live. My only issue was that sometimes the chapter voices weren’t distinct enough for me to remember which character was telling that particular chapter. The three POV characters had strong, unique voices of their own, but they blended together in the chapters, especially where two or more were in a scene. This isn’t a deal breaker for me, but it was a minor stumbling block for me while reading this book.

I look forward to Zentner’s future work, and I hope he’ll continue making beautiful characters from small town decay.

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#Pitchwars2016 – Mentee bio – #PimpMyBio – Or I’m really, really excited to meet all of you!

#Pitchwars2016 – Mentee bio – #PimpMyBio – Or I’m really, really excited to meet all of you!

Hi guys! Welcome to my blog, Pitch Wars mentors, mentees, and random people interested in who I am.

 

HELLO

My name is Mary, and this is my second time entering #Pitchwars. By day, I write for a teeny, tiny small town weekly newspaper, and in my spare time, I wrangle cats and a Standard Poodle, chase an adorable 2-year old, and try to spend time with my husband in addition to writing YA contemporary stories. One of my writer friends described my WIPs as “sports boys with issues,” and that’s kind of close to what I do.

 

LAUGH

 

FLIP

I’m currently reading THE SERPENT KING by Jeff Zentner and THE SUMMER OF YOU AND ME by Robin Constantine. Next up is Tim Federle’s THE GREAT AMERICAN WHATEVER. I love, love, love contemporary, but I’m big fan of good writing, so I’ll read almost anything as long as it’s a great story.

My favorite books of the moment include:

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

Simon Versus the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

I’m sure there are many more, but I forget to update my Goodreads shelf  and lose track of what I’ve read and what I want to read. Lately, I’ve been roaming the local library trying to figure out how to convince them to add more diverse YA to their shelves, and since there’s a shortage of books I’m excited about there, I tend to grab the ones that stand out to me whenever I go to the bookstore.

READ

Because I have a 2-year old, I read a lot of picture books as well. I love instilling a love of books in my kid. I call him #babybookworm, and my favorite part of the day is when he grabs a book and tells me to sit on the floor in his room so we can read. This is an old picture, but you can see how he gets his nickname.

Caelan reading

This is a normal night’s book stack for us:

Books

Well, anyway … back to my WIP and why I’m entering #Pitchwars2016! 🙂

Last year my 2015 #Pitchwars manuscript was like this:

I’m entering with a new manuscript this time, and it’s more like this:

I’m working on finalizing my pitch, but here’s a portion of my query:

STILL BREATHING is an LGBT+ YA contemporary, complete at 82,000 words. It brings together the literary style of Rainbow Rowell’s CARRY ON and the haunting suspense and twists of E. Lockhart’s WE WERE LIARS.

Nine months ago, seventeen-year-old Jordan Erickson killed his best friend Taylor in a car crash. Returning to school, he longs for a chance to start over, but learning to navigate life as a quadriplegic is exhausting, especially while dealing with panic attacks, memory loss, awkward friends, and an overbearing girlfriend.

Strange events follow Jordan as he tries to readjust. From an apparition in the mirror to a disembodied voice in the hall, Jordan can’t shake the feeling that the uncanny incidents are reminders that things weren’t exactly right between him and Taylor before the wreck. Or maybe Taylor isn’t entirely gone.

I tend to focus a lot on mental illness in my writing. It’s an issue that’s close to my heart, and my MC struggles with anxiety, depression, and hallucinations throughout the WIP. I majored in psychology in college, and while I didn’t make it my career, I’ve always wanted to help others have the representation and resources I never found for myself growing up with anxiety and depression.

ANXIETY

A little more about me:

I write to music. Each of my WIPs has an unofficial play list that I add to frequently as I work.

I’m a cat person.

I’m not super into TV or movies. I’m currently working through the most recent Game of Thrones season, but I’d rather have a book or my computer to write.

I love to travel and don’t get to do that nearly enough.

I’ve always wanted to be a writer and publish books. I started writing novels in sixth grade, but I quit in college because I let people in my creative writing program convince me that YA wasn’t a serious category to write.

FACE PALM

It took years and my high school best friend/writing buddy to start questioning me about why I hadn’t published anything or kept up with my stories in any way, shape, or form for me to get serious about pursuing my writing dreams again. I’ve been back at it for about three years, and I want to make up for lost time.

I’m entering #Pitchwars because I want to make my manuscript the best it can be. I want to share my stories with other people, and I want to prove to myself and my family that I am a serious writer.

I’m anxious to take on the task of revising and preparing my story for agents to look at. It has been read (or is still being read) by several betas and CPs, and by the time the entry day for #Pitchwars arrives, it will be polished and shiny and ready for mentors to show me what I need to do to have the best manuscript possible!

“Once more unto the breach, dear friends!” (Random fact: Yes, I love Shakespeare. I was a graduate assistant for the Shakespeare professor in grad school, and those were my favorite classes to teach.)

EXCITED

Thanks to Lana Pattinson for hosting #PimpMyBio this year! Go check out all the other #Pitchwars hopefuls on her blog hop.

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Review – TUNED INTO YOU

Tuned Into YouTuned Into You by Cindy Dorminy

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

*I received an ARC from the publisher for an honest review*

TUNED INTO YOU by Cindy Dorminy is a cute summer romance complete with music, horses, softball, and adorable characters. Abe and Lydia aren’t always likable. They aren’t always perfect. They mess up. They say and do the wrong things, but they’re human, and that’s part of the charm I find so endearing about this book.

One of the things I most enjoyed is how Abe and Lydia are thrown together to work out their punishment on Abe’s family farm. They’re complete opposites with preconceived notions about one another, and though the romantic tension is on slow burn, it’s so much fun to watch them go through their paces testing one another and trying to find each others’ buttons.

The Nashville, Tennessee, setting is just perfect for this story. They don’t have to go off to New York or Hollywood to have a brush with fame. Abe is a hot, young country singer who got his start on a popular music show, and he lives in the heart of country music. The author is familiar with this area, and she does a great job incorporating it into the story. It’s more than a setting; it’s almost a character itself.

If you like Sarah Dessen’s flirty, fun summer romances, you’ll love TUNED INTO YOU.

View all my reviews

Interview with Cindy Dorminy author of TUNED INTO YOU

Tuned Into You by Cindy Dorminy is available NOW! To celebrate, Cindy has put together a very cool swag pack, so stay tuned for more information on that! For now, let’s talk Tuned

Tuned Into You_Cindy Dorminy_Cover

 

Title: Tuned Into You

Author: Cindy Dorminy

Publisher: BookFish Books

Genre: YA Romance

Release Date: June 21, 2016

About Tuned Into You

A summer party is the last place Lydia Flowers wants to be. Beer pong? Stupid, foot-wrecking shoes? Random hookups? No thanks. Lydia would rather be in her cleats practicing her bat handling skills.

Enter Abe Fischer, the Nashville Teen Idol superstar. He’s a lip-syncing party animal with a short fuse; or at least that’s what the tabloids say. Except, Abe turns out to be nothing like the guy Lydia’s read about online. He’s sweet, and the way he talks to his horse…sigh.

Then life throws Lydia and Abe a curveball. They are wrongfully arrested for destruction of property. Their choices? Either work on the Fischer Farm for the summer earning nothing more than blisters and a sunburn, or have the arrest go on their records, which would ruin Lydia’s shot at a softball scholarship. It’s a no-brainer. Lydia picks up a pitchfork, pulls out the SPF 40, and prepares for the worst two months of her life.

When the press gets wind of a big secret Abe’s family has been keeping, things become even more complicated. Now Lydia has another choice to make: stick around for Abe’s messed-up life in the spotlight, or go for the scholarship of her dreams.

Cindy’s Interview

When did you start writing?

Hi Mary! So glad to be able to share this special moment with you. You were one of the first people to ever read this manuscript under a different name. Thanks for all the help. I wrote my first manuscript (historical romance called Sister Soldier) back in the early nineties. Funny story. My husband is a musician and when he started playing out with a band, he said I could go with him, but I’d probably be bored, so I should get a hobby. I started researching the Dorminy family and their involvement in the American Civil War (Mark’s great, great, great grandfather was a private for the Confederacy – dirt poor and got nothing from fighting except a whole lot of diarrhea.) Anyway, I ran across a book about female soldiers and even found one grave of one female that her identity was only discovered when she got injured. She was a confederate soldier and many years later, she married a union soldier. That was the basis of my very first story that will never see the light of day. I’ve written on and off ever since.

Did you grow up thinking that you would be a published author?

NO! I never imagined this would ever happen. In fact, I wasn’t even an avid reader growing up (hides in the corner in shame). I think with so much variety out there for young readers, there is definitely something for everyone.

When did you complete your first manuscript? Is Tuned Into You your first? If not, how many have you written?

My first manuscript (Sister Soldier) was completed in the late nineties and I had a few bites on it from publishers, but no takers. I started writing screenplays and so for the next ten years, I wrote five screenplays before I turned my attention back to novel writing. Before Tuned Into You, all my manuscripts (including two other novels) are adult romances.

What drew you to writing YA?

Like I mentioned in the previous question, all my other novels before Tuned were adult. They were sweet romances and I was getting some attention, but no one would offer me a contract. I kept getting similar comments that they liked my voice but didn’t connect with the story.

I went to a conference (Kentucky Writer’s Conference) and I really wanted to get into a pitch workshop. I was on the waiting list and was so bummed that I didn’t get in. I almost went home early, but decided to stay for a ‘how to write YA’ workshop. The presenter had so many John Hughes references that really spoke to me. The presenter spent a lot of time with me afterward and thought that maybe my voice was more suited for YA. And Tuned was my first attempt.

What’s your inspiration for Tuned Into You?

I really don’t know. I know that sounds awful, but it was an idea that hit me. Growing up, I was best friends with a preacher’s kid that was a huge tom-boy so I guess a lot of Susan became the basis for Lydia. I guess the story came from a lot of ‘what if’ questions I threw out to some writer friends.

What is your favorite scene in this book? (no major spoilers!)

This is so hard because I love them all, but I guess if I had to pick one, it would be when Belle, the filly was born. I’ll leave it at that.

Tell us who your favorite character is and why.

I love Lydia. Lydia is my favorite name. My husband and I never thought we’d have kids so I named my dog Lydia. (Sorry Maddie). In Tuned, Lydia is so sweet and I love her entire family. Preacher’s kids are notorious for being wild and I love that even though everyone thinks she’s a hellion, she’s very sweet. I also love the fact that she’s a feisty tom-boy that is driven. Nothing is going to get in her way to get that scholarship.

What was the hardest thing to write in this book?

At one point in the book, Abe’s not the nicest person to Lydia. I hated writing her upset. And I hate that it affects her chances of a scholarship. It was hard to write her crying and I hated that it was because of Abe.

You live in Nashville, the heart of the country music scene, did you get to do any fun interviews or research for this book?

That’s a good question, but to be truthful, no. Nashville is very unique in that we see artists all around us. They are buying groceries at Kroger next to you. They are getting coffee, going to the movies, walking their dogs, etc. We don’t ‘germ’ them, meaning, we leave them alone. I’d never go up to Keith Urban at the movie theatre and ask for an autograph. (No matter how long he’s taking getting his popcorn) That’s just how things are done in Nashville. That’s why they love living here. That being said, you cannot live in this city for almost twenty years without knowing at least a few artists. In my case, it’s mostly songwriters so you wouldn’t know their names. But you’d know their songs!

Are you a music fan? What are some of your recommendations that inspired this book?

I love all kinds of music and in Nashville, there is no shortage of live music (like my bio says, even in the grocery store). I’m not a huge country fan and when Jenn started editing Tuned, she said she can’t think of my book without singing Keith Urban’s Cop Car song. I’m embarrassed to say, I hadn’t heard it before. I Googled it and wow, does it ever fit with my manuscript.

Tell us a fun fact about the book or about Abe and Lydia that we wouldn’t get from reading Tuned Into You.

Abe lives in the ‘rich’ neighborhood, which is Belle Meade, the fifth wealthiest city in the nation. There is a lot of ‘old money’ in Belle Meade and I love driving through it (no faster than 30 mph or you’ll get pulled over). It’s definitely the Beverly Hills of Nashville. The Fischer farm is about 10 minutes outside of Nashville. It’s true that if you get on Franklin Road and drive only ten minutes from downtown Nashville, you are surrounded by rolling hills and horse farms. So, that part about the setting is true. However, no fans would EVER be staking out someone’s property to get an autograph. That part was made up!

What are you working on next?

I finished another young adult novel that is totally different from Tuned. It’s a cross between It’s a Wonderful Life / If I stay and The Breakfast Club. We’ll see how it goes. It’s only a draft right now, so definitely not fit for human eyes. I also just started a spin-off of Tuned. It’s Camille and West’s story and it’s very sketchy right now.

Who are your favorite writers? And why?

I read so many different genres, it’s hard to pin-point who my favorite is. Among the classics, I love Ray Bradbury and George Orwell. I love James Dashner and Rick Riordan (yes, I’ve read every Percy Jackson book!!). Neil Shusterman’s Unwind young adult series is the best dystopian series I have ever read. He’s a wonderful story teller and kept me up at night thinking about all the creepy things that were happening to his main character. Robert Muchamore is a great British author. His CHERUB young adult action-adventure series is really fun to read. Tracy March and Tracie Bannister are my favorite romance authors, along with another British Author, Matt Dunn. And I’ve met some amazing authors on social media that are on the cusp of making it big. I can’t wait for big things to happen for them. For example, Oz Monroe’s Soil Man. I don’t usually read dark fantasy, but he’s a master storyteller.

There isn’t enough space to add all the writers I love. Sorry guys!

Do you have any advice for someone who wants to write a book?

Don’t chase the market. You’ll always be a day late and a dollar short. Write what you feel has to be written. Write that story that keeps you up at night. And if the first one doesn’t get any interest, write another and another. Once you get started, you won’t be able to stop.

And secondly, finish the dang thing. There’s a huge rush that comes with typing ‘the end.’

What’s the most surreal part of this journey?

There are two parts that have been surreal.

  1. Not long after I submitted Tuned Into You to BookFish through pit2pub, they requested the full manuscript. A few weeks later, I received an email and I thought it was the standard, ‘thank you for… blah blah blah… but it’s not for me.’ It wasn’t that at all. It was an email wanting to discuss a contract. I almost deleted that email without even opening it. Gah! What a mistake that would have been.
  2. The second surreal moment happened only two days ago when I received the proof copy of my book in the mail. I cannot describe the feeling of holding this creation in my hands after all the hard work and time I’ve put into it (with a lot of help, mind you). The feeling is second only to holding my daughter for the first time.

About Cindy Dorminy

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Cindy Dorminy grew up on a steady diet of popcorn (the kind you pop in a sauce pan), Tab (pre-Diet Coke), and movies for teenagers. She can’t let a day go by without quoting a line from one of her favorite films, so quirky dialogue is a must in her stories. When she’s not at her research coordinator day job, Cindy is writing funny love stories, walking her dog, or slinging iron the old-fashioned way. She shares her house with her musician husband, her awesome daughter, and a cool, four-footed child that would eat all the cheese ifshe could figure out how to open the refrigerator. Cindy is a member of Romance Writers of America and Music City Romance Writers. She resides in Nashville, TN where live music can be heard everywhere, even at the grocery store.

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Unmoored and righting myself again

unmoored

June is more than halfway over and I haven’t blogged once. Granted, I have an awesome interview with Cindy Dorminy about her debut novel TUNED INTO YOU coming up on Friday, June 24. I promise you’ll want to come back for that!

I’ve been in a reading/writing rut. After I finished THE RAVEN KING, I couldn’t find anything I wanted to read. I started a few books, but nothing clicked with my current mood. Then I finished my WIP and felt extremely unmoored. I haven’t NOT been working on a WIP since 2013, and now I don’t know where I’m going with new material.

Finally, I went to the library and checked out Jeff Zentner’s THE SERPENT KING. I’ve been wanting to read it ever since it came out, and I haven’t checked out a book from the library in so long that my card had expired. So I fixed two problems at once: New reading material and a new library card.

Of course, two days later, I ended up at the bookstore and found a book I’ve been waiting for. For some reason, I thought THE SEASON OF YOU AND ME by Robin Constantine wasn’t being released until September, but I was wrong. I checked earlier this month, and it came out in May. My library didn’t have it. I don’t know if it was checked out or if they just don’t have it period (I was wrangling a overly excited toddler at the time, so I couldn’t look it up), but I found it at the bookstore and bought it.

Now I’m reading two books at the same time, and I’m not upset with this plan at all. They’re both good reads.

Since I started writing again three years ago, I have had weeks sometimes where I didn’t write a word, but I was always mulling over characters and thinking about plot lines. Now, I’m stuck. I have some ideas, but nothing is fleshed out enough to start writing. I don’t even have an MC establishing some personality in the back of my mind.

My first manuscript was based off of a story I started in high school. After reconnecting with my high school BFF/writing partner/kindred spirit, she asked what was up with my writing. Why hadn’t I published or been working on publishing? What was going on with those characters we spent hours in school discussing like they were our own friends? Nudge, nudge. Needless to say, I picked up my laptop and got to work.

My next manuscript was a spin off of that. My MC had had a minor role in the high school version of FTP, and I’d never forgotten a line about how he killed his best friend. He didn’t fit in FTP anymore, but his story was awesome, and he kept interjecting and wanting me to write about him.

I have a few spin offs/sequels I’d like to work on for FTP and SB, but I really need another stand alone before I can let myself revisit my previous worlds. After my CPs and betas finish SB and I do edits, I can work on querying, but meanwhile, I want a new story. I have an idea that’s poking around in the back of my mind, but it’s not even close to a semi-fleshed out plot like my previous two manuscripts have been. I barely have characters. I think I need to brainstorm and free write and see where they lead me, but that’s kind of scary, and I don’t want them to end up sounding like characters I’ve already written. If they don’t have a storyline, how do I know what they need to do? *SIGH*

It’s not a big deal. One or two months without a new WIP isn’t the end of the world. It doesn’t make me less of a writer (yes, I have to keep telling myself this), but it sure feels weird!