Thursday, July 2, 2015

Thank you and Deleted "First Kiss" Scene

I'm celebrating Any Way You Slice It being out for just over two months! I'm so happy that people are loving it--it was such a labor of love.

One of my favorite scenes had to be cut because it didn't really fit in with how Pen and Jake's relationship was progressing...but I'm happy to be able to share that scene as a thank you to newsletter subscribers.



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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

"Show" V. "Tell" in Fiction

I recently presented a workshop on the differences between “showing” in your writing vs. “telling” in your writing. I thought I’d share some of that workshop here, for you!


Have you ever been told that you “tell” too much in your writing; that you need to “show” more? What does that even mean?

“Show, don’t tell.”

When an agent or editor says this about your writing, they mean:
1. Don’t just tell me the story…show me, using your words.
2. Place the reader INTO the story. This is especially important in first person POV—but also equally important in close third.
3. Use the senses to bring the reader along for the ride. Sight, Sound, Touch, Taste, Smell.
4. Use specificity

For example…in my first draft of a YA contemporary romance, I might describe the love interest this way. This is Telling:

I watched John walk into the room. He was hot; maybe the best looking boy I’d ever seen.

My first draft is always messy. It's full of telling. That's okay. When you revise, you'll use more detail to make the story come alive. Rewriting the scene by using specificity and the senses, here’s my new introduction. This is Showing:

John didn’t walk into the cafeteria. He swaggered like the Mayor of Westfield High School, as he shook hands and slapped shoulders. If there had been a baby somewhere, he would have kissed it. Normally, that sort of attitude makes my stomach turn, but not today. I couldn’t take my eyes off him.  He even nodded at the lunch ladies. When he got to my table, our eyes met for the briefest of moments, and I felt like the only girl in the world.

You can add character detail, voice, and setting at the same time. This is showing. This is what they mean.

What’s the Difference?

When you “show,” use physical attributes, or active descriptions to convey emotion—without “telling” the reader what the character is feeling.

When you “show,” the reader should be able to infer emotion or character trait based on the language you’ve chosen.

You *do* need to be careful, you don’t need to show absolutely everything, especially if it’s not important to the forward motion of the plot. You risk the danger of being too lengthy or detailed if you’re not careful. NO three page descriptions of the woods.

When you “tell,” the narrative or character “tells” the reader the emotion or action.

“Telling” is often used to move the action along quickly or tell necessary backstory in a shorter word count.

You run the risk of “info dump” if you tell all the backstory this way.

Use a combination of the two to amp up your storytelling!


  1. Imagine a movie scene in your head—emotion is often conveyed with music. Write all the detail that you see. No “floating” heads of dialogue—be sure to describe where people are standing, what their hands are doing, noises in the room, where they are.
  2. Dr. Albert Mehrabian, author of Silent Messages, conducted several studies on nonverbal communication. He found that 7% of any message is conveyed through words, 38% through certain vocal elements, and 55% through nonverbal elements (facial expressions, gestures, posture, etc). convey nonverbal communication in your writing.
  3. Consider investing in the Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman to get a sense of how physical movement conveys emotion.
Try some Writing Examples

  1. Jarrod was sick
  • Brainstorm what the sick room looks like; surroundings, smells, sounds. What does Jarrod look like? Taste in mouth, sensations of being sick?
  • Write a paragraph “showing” us Jarrod.
Do the same for these two examples:

2.      The house was haunted.
3.     The pizza was delicious.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Memorial Day 2015: Women in World War I

We are all familiar with the story of Rosie the Riveter and how women jumped to action during World War II to keep the country moving forward. But did you know decades early, in 1917, the Navy officially enlisted the first women in the military when the United States entered World War I?

WWI Women Marines
Marines conduct a recruitment campaign in New York, NY, 1918.

Before women had the vote, Before women’s fashion allowed for wearing long pants or even skirts above the knee, Before television or radio—women were enlisted to support the war effort. Don’t get me wrong, women had been involved in war before—as spies or nurses or even as disguised soldiers during the Civil War. But never before as official enlisted personnel. 

WWI Hello Girls
US Army Signal Corps telephone operators or "Hello Girls," Tours, France, WWI. Elizabeth Anne Browne Collection, Gift of L.C. Jones. Women's Memorial Foundation Collection.
By the end of World War I in 1918, more than18,000 women had been enlisted in the Navy, Marines, Coast Guard to work in clerical jobs at bases all over the country. Thousands more women had worked in the Army Nurse Corps or as nurses, ambulance drivers, telephone operators, and general volunteers on or near the front line for the Army Signal Corps, Salvation Army, American Red Cross, YMCA, and YWCA among numerous other organizations.

In some instances, it took until 1977 for women to be recognized as veterans of the war and to receive military benefits. Most would not be alive to enjoy the recognition.

On this Memorial Day 2015, and because I’m working on a nonfiction project about women in World War I, I wanted to take a moment to recognize the contributions of these incredibly brave women. Not only did they contribute to the war effort, they also changed the way society viewed women and paved the way for future progress for women’s rights.

Pictures from:

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

One Month Anniversary Contest for AWYSI

Any Way You Slice It has been out for about a month, and I’m so excited about the response it’s been getting!

One of my favorites is from a reader on She says, “There is just so much to love about this book. A female trying to make it in a man's sport always excites me. She goes after what she loves, even if her parents don't agree. Penelope wants to play hockey instead of following in her father's footsteps of slinging pizzas but her parents have a different idea. This book has all the elements of a great book. A good plotline, great characters, A strong female lead and a romantic arc!”

To celebrate a month of being out in the world, I’m holding a selfie contest! Here’s how you can play…

  1. Take a #selfie eating pizza OR playing hockey OR holding your favorite e-reader with the cover of AWYSI showing. Any combination of the three earns you more points!
  2. Post your picture on FB or Twitter with the hashtag #AWYSI and, this is important, you MUST tag me so I’ll see it! I’ll copy all the pics to my Pinterest page, so everyone can see them. 
  3. That’s it!

I have four amazing celebrity judges who will help decide the winners.

  • Jen Brooks (author of In A World Just Right)
  • K. R. Conway (author of Undertow and Cruel Summer)
  • Trisha Leaver (author of Secrets We Keep, Creed, and the forthcoming Sweet Madness)
  • Jen Malone (author of At Your Service, and Map to the Stars)

The Judges will vote on their favorites, basing the winning entries on creativity, and personal preference. I will make the final decisions, with their input.

Prizes: free Query Critique from @QueryGodMother (value $20), $15 Gift card for Papa Ginos, $10 Amazon Gift Card, Digital copy of Any Way You Slice It. 

Thanks for helping me celebrate! I can't wait to see your selfies! Say “bacon pizza!”

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Recommending a Digital Book to your Library

With the influx of "digital only" and "digital first" books on the market, how does a library stay current? I've been approached recently by several YA librarians who have asked about getting Any Way You Slice It into their kids' hands, so I've done a bit of research.

Most digital books are going to be available through Overdrive. Overdrive is a giant online clearinghouse of books, in their digital format. The thing is...your library STILL has to purchase the digital title from Overdrive in order to house it on their own virtual shelves. Just as you would recommend they purchase a physical copy of your favorite title, you can request they purchase a digital title.

Consider doing this for all your favorite digital books at your local library.

Here's how it works:

1. Go to Overdrive and sign in:
2. Search for your own library/library consortium and save it as a favorite library, then click on the library name to search what's available in their list of digital titles.

3. You will need your library card, so it must be library to which you have a card!
4. Put Any Way You Slice It (or your favorite digital title--you can do this as many times as you want) into the search engine. If it doesn't come up in your library's collection, hit the button that says "search for more titles" and the search engine will go to Overdrive and pull up the cover.
5. Recommend it as a book your library or consortium should consider making available to their digital readers. 

Personally, I'd love to get my book into the hands of teen and tween readers, and having it available through libraries is a good way to start! But if you're not inclined to recommend my book, consider any of the other Bloomsbury Spark titles listed here:

Friday, April 10, 2015

Blog Tour Schedule for AWYSI

I'm so excited that ANY WAY YOU SLICE IT will be out in the world on April 21. I'm doing a blog tour to celebrate!

Here's the schedule for anyone who is interested.

April 19th Curling Up With A Good Book REVIEW + INTERVIEW
April 20th LuLo Fan Girl REVIEW
April 21st Bookhounds YA REVIEW + WHAT'S IN KRISTINE'S BAG?

April 21st Sporty Girl Books INTERVIEW
April 22nd Swoony Boys Podcast REVIEW + TEN RANDOM THINGS
April 23rd Her Book Thoughts REVIEW
April 24th The Unofficial Book Addiction Club REVIEW + INSPIRATION BOARD

April 24th Writers Rumpus, Guest Post
April 25th Bibliophilia: A Love Story REVIEW +  TENS LIST

Monday, March 23, 2015

Cover Reveal for SWEET MADNESS by Trisha Leaver and Lindsay Currie

Coming September 18, 2015 from Merit Press

Lizzie Borden took an axe,
And gave her mother forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty one.

Who was Lizzie Borden? A confused young woman, or a cold-hearted killer? For generations, people all over the world have wondered how Andrew Borden and his second wife, Abby, met their gruesome deaths. Lizzie, Andrew’s younger daughter, was charged, but a jury took only 90 minutes to find her not guilty. In this retelling, the family maid, Bridget Sullivan, shines a compassionate light on a young woman oppressed by her cheap father and her ambitious stepmother. Was Lizzie mad, or was she driven to madness?

Mark it to read on Goodreads
Preorder Sweet Madness:


Trisha Leaver lives on Cape Cod with her husband, three children, and one rather irreverent black lab. She is a chronic daydreamer who prefers the cozy confines of her own imagination to the mundane routine of everyday life.  She writes Young Adult Contemporary fiction, Psychological Horror and Science Fiction and is published with FSG/ Macmillan, Flux/Llewellyn and Merit Press. To can learn more about Trisha’s books, upcoming shenanigans, and her quest to reel in the perfect tuna, please visit her website:

Lindsay Currie lives in Chicago with her three awesome children, husband, and a one hundred and sixty pound lap dog named Sam. She has an unnatural fondness for coffee, chocolate and things that go bump in the night. She spends her days curled up in the comfortable confines of her writing nook, penning young adult psychological horror, contemporary fiction and science-fiction and is published with Flux/Llewellyn, Merit Press and Spencer Hill Contemporary. Learn more about her at

To celebrate, we are giving away four AMAZING books from our publisher Merit Press. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, February 2, 2015

Cover Reveal for The One Thing by Marci Lyn Curtis

I can't tell you how thrilled I am to be a part of Marci Lyn Curtis's cover reveal for THE ONE THING. First of all, she is one of the sweetest authors I know, and second of all, her book absolutely rocks. I had a chance to read a pre-copy edited version and I absolutely fell in love with Marci's characters. I can guarantee this is one to put on your TBR and most anticipated list!

Without further ado, here's the cover--isn't it gorgeous!!


A soaring tale of life and love, of sacrifice and renewal, and learning to see people as they really are.
Maggie Sanders might be blind, but she won't invite anyone to her pity party. Ever since losing her sight six months ago, Maggie's rebellious streak has taken on a life of its own, culminating with an elaborate school prank. Maggie called it genius. The judge called it illegal.

Now Maggie has a probation officer. But she isn't interested in rehabilitation, not when she's still mourning the loss of her professional soccer dreams, and furious at her so-called friends, who lost interest in her as soon as she could no longer lead the team to victory.

When Maggie first meets Ben, she thinks she can add crazy to her list of problems. But the precocious ten-year-old isn't a hallucination. Maggie can actually see him. She immediately befriends the kid, desperate for any chance to see again.
It turns out Ben's older brother is Mason Milton, the the ridiculously hot lead singer of Maggie's new favorite band. Music is the first thing that has made Maggie feel alive since losing her sight. But when she learns the real reason she can see Ben, Maggie must find the courage to face a once-unimaginable future...before she loses everything she has grown to love.

About the Author:

Marci Curtis grew up in Northern California, where she went to college and met an amazing guy in a military uniform. Two college-aged kids and one dachshund later, she lives in Maryland, where she laughs too loudly and eats peanut butter off spoons. Her YA contemporary debut, The One Thing, comes out September 8th, 2015 via Disney-Hyperion. Learn more about her at

Friday, January 23, 2015


It's a party day!

My cover reveal is all over the interwebs today...most notably on the Sporty Girl Books blog, where you can enter to win some fabulous prizes. Here's the link!

Sporty Girl Books

Thanks for celebrating with me today!