Tuesday, April 25, 2017

SOKY Bookfest 2017

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Southern Kentucky Bookfest in Bowling Green, Kentucky, as an author. I sat on a few panels, met a ton of kids during kids day on Friday, and interacted with some amazing readers and authors.

Highlights included meeting authors RL Stine (!!!!), Gwenda Bond, Obert Skye, and so many others. The more big-name authors I meet, the more impressed I am at how down to earth and nice so many of them are. Being a part of this incredibly supportive community is such an honor.

Maybe my favorite part of the weekend was sitting on a panel called "Authors are Fangirls, too." My fellow panelists included Carey Corp, Lorie Langdon, Kathryn Ormsbee, and JC Morrows. We discussed all sorts of important topics, such as our celebrity crushes, casting for our novels, creating playlists and Pinterest boards for inspiration while writing, and which show we'd walk onto if given the chance.

We had all sorts of fun and decided that, regarding specifics, what happens in the Fangirl panel stays in the Fangirl panel.

Chris Evans and Chris Pratt may have come up.

Maybe more than once.

Here are some pictures from my amazing weekend. I can't wait to do this again!

 Gail Nall, RL Stine, and Me

Me and Gwenda Bond

 Me, Gail Nall, and Brooks Benjamin

 Annette Oppenlander and Me

Me with Obert Skye

 Me and Courtney Stevens

 Christina Farley, Lorie Langdon, Jessica Young, Marissa Williams, Me
 Marissa Williams with the Authors are Fangirls, Too session

 Marissa Williams, Carey Corp, Lorie Langdon, Me, Kathryn Ormsbee, and JC Morrows

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Cover Reveal for Under a New York Skyline

Today is the cover reveal for Under a New York Skyline, a collection of four YA romance novellas releasing April 15th from Teenacity Books. And here it is:

Isn't it cute? Here's a short summary of the book:

Romance in New York has never been so loud with hip hop, so frenzied with Comic Con fans, or so alluring with pop sensations. Authors Kathi Oram Peterson, Nikki Trionfo, Maureen L. Mills and Teresa Richards whisk you away to four of the Big Apple’s sweetest, hippest teen romances evah!

If you'd like to learn more about my contribution to the collection, go here to read about my novella, You, Me, and Comic Con.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

You, Me, and Comic Con

I'm so excited to announce that I have a novella releasing on April 15th in a collection of four YA romance stories with these authors:

Go here to learn more about the collection.

Here's a quick blurb about my story, which is called You, Me, and Comic Con:

When Avery's super-cool, super-tough skater boy boyfriend breaks up with her and heads to NYC for the day, she decides to follow him and win him back with her moves on the ramps. But when he goes to Comic Con instead of the skate park, everything she knows about him is called into question. Is he actually a closet nerd gone to let his Comic Con flag fly? 

Avery has always been too hardcore for anything but skateboard competitions, but to find out the truth, she might have to bend her own rules. With the help of an unlikely group of new friends recruited from the Comic Con line, Avery sets out to discover the truth, and learns some truths about herself along the way.


This is the first novella I've ever done and, I've gotta be honest, it's one of my favorite things I've ever written. The format is long enough for some great character development and satisfying story arcs, but not so long as to get bogged down in subplots and complex layers.

I got the idea for You, Me, and Comic Con when thinking about one of my side characters from Emerald Bound, Piper. She's a skater girl, and I thought it would be fun to dive into skate culture and plant a character there. But, of course, I couldn't let her stay in her comfort zone for long, so I threw her into another culture that fascinates me--Comic Con--to see how she'd react. The result was a story that I had an absolute blast writing.

The cover reveal is coming up on March 15 and if you sign up for my newsletter before then, you'll get a sneak peak at the first few pages of my story once the cover is revealed. (To sign up, scroll to the top of this page and look to the right where it says 'Join my fan clan').

Captain America plays a big role in You, Me, and Comic Con, so, as a sign off, here ya go.

You're welcome.

Friday, November 18, 2016

A Merry Christmas Military Giveaway

I'm participating in a holiday book giveaway to honor those serving in the military this Christmas season. If you have a family member or close friend serving in the US Military who will be on deployment over the holidays, you can enter to win them a free book!

There are several titles to choose from and all the books have been donated by the authors as a thank you to our military. Click on the image below to go to the hosting author's blog, where you can see all of the titles available and enter to win the one you think your friend or family member would most enjoy. Winners will be announced December 2nd, 2016.


Monday, September 19, 2016

I Have an Agent! My Story and a Giveaway

Once upon a time, I got bored and wrote a book. (Okay, it wasn't quite as simple as that, but that's the gist of it). It turned into quite a good book. I loved it very much and wanted to share it with people.

Because, you know, that's what you do with art. You create it, refine it, and then you share it.

Thus began my search for an agent. Which, I was sure, would be quick and painless.

*cue maniacal laughter*

Fast forward three years, a hundred-or-so rejection letters, one brutally honest (read: endearing, crass, brilliant and now friends forever) writing group, and I'd been thoroughly humbled. Then I had my second manuscript accepted for publication by a smaller press called Evernight Teen. This publisher did not require me to have an agent before submitting to them. Although I had a very pleasant experience working with them and I loved the way my debut, Emerald Bound, turned out, I still wanted an agent.

My third manuscript was a YA contemporary suspense totally unrelated to Emerald Bound. It's called Windfall, and it's about a girl who wins the lottery on her eighteenth birthday, only to find herself caught in a major corporate scandal in which the lottery was rigged and she's the pawn in someone else's life or death game.

I started querying this manuscript to agents at the end of February, 2016. In May, I entered a contest hosted by author Michelle Hauck called Query Kombat. I made it in (HUGE thank you to Michelle, for picking me for her team) and, during the month of June, got some fantastic feedback on my query and opening page. I made it through several rounds of the contest and received eight requests by agents wanting to see more material. This was the highest number of requests on my team.

One of those requesting agents was Uwe Stender, the founder of TriadaUS. I sent the material to him, along with the other agents, and then waited.

I worked on another writing project. I enjoyed summer. I went on vacation with my family. I sent out more queries. I got my kids started back at school.

By mid-August, I'd heard back from a couple of the other requesting agents with either rejections or requests for more material, but hadn't heard back from Uwe. Since Triada is well-known for its quick response time (their query guidelines state that if they don't respond within two weeks then they didn't receive your query), I decided to follow up to make sure he'd received the material I'd sent him. He responded right away that it must have slipped through the cracks and that he'd take a look soon. I am *so* glad I followed up!

Two weeks later, he emailed and said that he'd passed it along to one of his agent assistants, Mallory Brown, who wanted to see the whole thing. Five days after that, Mallory emailed me with an offer of representation! She listed all the things she loved about Windfall and all the ways she'd connected to the story! After talking with her on the phone and hearing her enthusiasm, I was convinced she was the right agent for me and the perfect person to pitch my book to editors.

And now it's official!

I'm thrilled to announce that I've joined #TeamTriada and am rep'd by Mallory Brown!

*Commence freaking-awesome mildly embarrassing happy-dancing*

Of course, news this big requires a celebration. Since I did things a little backward and already have a book out, I'm going to celebrate with a giveaway! Up for grabs is an Emerald Bound prize pack, including a signed copy of the book, a metal Shepherd's-hook bookmark with emerald charm, and a custom-made Emerald Bound key chain.

(Emerald Bound is a dark YA retelling of The Princess and the Pea, in which the pea is an enchanted, life-sucking emerald. Use the rafflecoptor below to enter. The giveaway will be live for two weeks.)

For those who are interested, here are my query stats for Windfall:

Queries sent out: 79
Partial requests: 10
Full requests: 4
Rejections: 46
No response: 33

Just as a side note, the bulk of those 79 queries were sent out before Query Kombat. I had a much higher request rate on the queries I sent after incorporating feedback from the competition. If you ever have the chance to enter Query Kombat, or even stalk the entries and read through the feedback they're getting, DO IT!

And now, if you'll excuse me, I must go finish my happy dance.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Read Local Campaign

I have exciting news! I've teamed up with over a dozen Young Adult authors in my region to start a Read Local campaign for our area, which includes Tennessee, Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana (TIOKI for short). The campaign launches September 1st, and will be live for the entire 2016-2017 school year. Take a look at all of the amazing books on our list!

Anyone can participate in the challenge--you don't have to live in one of these five states, or even be a teenager. (Sure, they're all YA books. But YA books are the best, no matter how old you are--can I get an Amen?) And the best part? Once you read all the books on the list, you can enter to win your choice of a $25 iTunes gift card, or movie tickets. We'll have three drawings, spread over the course of the year. Entries are cumulative, so if you get your entry in before the first drawing, you'll be entered into all three drawings!

Classrooms in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana can also work together to complete the challenge, then enter to win an author visit for their class. Go here for more information.

I'm so excited to share all these books with you. Happy reading!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Author Interview with Nicky Peacock

Today I'm happy to welcome author Nicky Peacock to my blog. Nicky is a fellow Evernight Teen author and I hope you'll enjoy getting to know her as much as I have.

Hi, Nicky! 
Tell us about the book(s) you're currently promoting. 
The Battle of the Undead series is a vampires VS zombies urban fantasy. Lots of action, lots of drama and a hint of lost love. It's a trilogy with two books available now: Bad Blood and Bad Timing and the third, Bad Karma due out soon. There's a free prequel read available called Traitors' Gate which can be found here: http://www.evernightteen.com/traitors-gate-by-nicky-peacock/ it can be read at any point in the series. 

What was your publishing journey like--how did you get to where you are now?
I did what most wannabe authors do...I managed to produce half written books and send 3 chapter synopsis packs to publishers and agents. I'd then get back bland rejections (if any thing) I kept trying and failing and trying again. It was quite depressing. But then I found the anthology market. Publishers looking for themed short stories are more open to new writers, and if you're giving them what they want they are more likely to accept your work. Before I knew it, I had over 30 short stories published. So when it came to sell my novellas, it was an easier pitch to the publisher, as I'd already been published, had experience working with editors and a fan base of readers who like my work. 

Who's your favorite character you've ever written and why?
This is a difficult question, it's like asking a mother to pick a favorite child. Hmmmm...I've spent the most recent amount of time with a character called Mouse. She's the heroine in my new book, Lost in Wonderland which kicks off a new series with Evernight Teen called The Twisted and the Brave. She shares a lot of qualities with me along with one of my worst fears, being lost.  

What's on your to-read shelf? 
So much it's starting to worry me. My book shelf is behind my bed and is laboring under with the mountain of books I want to read, so much so, if there's an earthquake in the UK I'll probably be crushed in my sleep by them! I think the authors I most want to read most right now are: Kresley Cole, Richard Laymon and also Kim Harrison. 

Did you learn anything fun or strange while writing or researching for your book?
LOL, I learnt both something fun and something strange about myself as a writer. The fun fact is that, although I do plot my books, I seem to be an almost unconscious plotter too. There were scenes that I had included in Bad Blood that seemed to fit perfectly with Traitor's Gate, even though I hadn't planned it that way. The strange thing was that I'm not happy just working on one manuscript at a time. Whilst finishing Bad Timing, I started writing Lost in Wonderland, and even though it should have been difficult to write two together, it actually made my process easier. If I was blocked on one I just switched to write the other. It really kept my writing momentum going.

What do you do when you're not writing?
I'm always writing! Like many authors I still have to work full time to pay the bills and between that, promoting my books and having a semi-normal social life, there's not much time left for anything else. I exercise as much as I can. I play badminton, do yoga and have a cross trainer at my house. I'm also a bit of a TV addict too. 

Any advice for aspiring authors?
Join a writers' group. Having like minded people around you is essential to keep you going through all the ups and downs of trying to get published. Also, spend time looking into the anthology market - it's a secret trap door to getting published :)

And, just for fun, when the zombies rise up, what is your plan of action?
Become one of them! LOL, just kidding. I'm not a prepper, but I actually do have a plan. There's a garden center near my house that has lots of plants, food and very high walls. All my family and friends know it and, if the worse happens, we all know to meet there. I think the key to survival in a zombie situation is food, shelter and people you can trust. 

Thanks you for having me your site, Teresa!
Nicky Peacock
The Battle of the Undead series...so far.