Long time no talk, eh? There’s a few updates to come from me — but that is for another post. Right now, I’m thrilled to be a part of the cover reveal for Stacy Allen’s upcoming novel EXPEDITION INDIGO.

Before we get to the cover, a little bit about the book:


Archaeologist Riley Cooper is offered the chance of a lifetime: a chance to find the Crux Fidelis, the coronation cross of Charlemagne. Under Water Sea Adventures members believe they have found remains of the Indigo, a heavily laden cargo ship commissioned by Charlemagne and presumed lost on its maiden voyage off the coast of southern Italy in the early 800s. If Riley can find the cross, it will prove Charlemagne’s coronation as the First Holy Roman Emperor by Pope Leo III on Christmas Day had not been a spontaneous act, but rather a desperate political maneuver by a Pope in need of protection.

When Riley joins UWSA off the coast of Sorrento, Italy, tensions and tempers fly as a competing team arrives in search of the treasure and an approaching hurricane gains strength and heads straight toward the dive site. And when one of the crew is murdered, Riley must find the strength to fight back and keep the treasure out of the other team’s hands.

Awesome, right? Ready to see that cover? Here we go!


Expedition Indigo by Stacy Allen
Riley Cooper Series (Book 1)
Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Fiery Seas Publishing, LLC
Coming August 2014

 And now a little bit about the awesome author, Stacy:

Stacy’s passion for adventure has taken her to five continents to explore over fifty countries. Stacy also plays guitar and sings, when she isn’t traveling around the world in search of new locales and new stories.

Stacy served on the Board of Trustees of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association, the Pacific Northwest Mystery Writers of America chapter, and currently serves as Vice President of the Southeast Mystery Writers of America (SEMWA) chapter. She lives in Georgia with her husband and a very large house cat named Valentino.

Is admitting your first book isn’t THE ONE.


Trust me, I’m still trying to come to terms with this realisation. It’s a hard one to come to, to put something you’ve loved so dearly into a drawer and decide you’ll pull it out again at some point… or maybe never again. I’ve sadly hit that point with my first second novel.


The first was the easy one to put aside. It’s the book I wrote in high school and I found it again the last time I was home. I flipped through it, shuddered, and threw it in the back of my closet where it will never again see the light of day. I know it’s there and that’s enough. The fact is, we all have our “first” novel. The one we never admit we wrote, but, like all writing it was a learning experience.


Then there came the second book. The one you pour your heart and soul into. For me? This is an idea that’s been running around my brain for the past ten or so years. It started in high school, I attempted part of it for NaNo one year… but it wasn’t until last year that I actually sat down and wrote it from start to finish. It went through edits. It went through more edits… and then it went out into the wide and scary world of agents.


I have to say — it did well there. I got a LOT of rejections, but I did get a fair number of requests too. And while the agents who read it liked it, there was never that push to take it and me on as clients. Maybe it’s just not ready — or maybe the market isn’t ready. I’ll be damned if I know and I’ll drive myself crazy trying to figure it out.


So, for now, my beloved manuscript is going to sit in the proverbial drawer on my harddrive. It’s a hard blow to take, especially when it’s something you’ve loved for so long. But… it happens, even to the best of us.


Now, bring on novel number three. Here’s hoping it’s  “the one”.

Okay — so as some/many/none of you know, I spent the last three years in law school. I have since graduated (yay!) but am not sitting for the bar at this time because I have my full-time job in publishing while I wait for some amazing agent to snatch me up out of the slush pile. ;^)


However, in my hanging out at various writer boards, I’ve seen a lot of questions about copyright come up. I am planning on posting my paper on copyright law for everyone to take a look at, but I thought I’d also open it up to questions from you guys as well. If you have a question about copyright law, post it here, and I’ll do my best to answer it in the upcoming posts on the subject.


And now the disclaimer: I am a non-practising attorney. Thus, anything I say on this blog in terms of copyright law is not supposed to constitute legal advice. It is merely my interpretation to help budding authors. If you’re really concerned about your rights as a creator, I suggest you get in contact with a lawyer.


Also, for your protection and my own, I will not answer questions that relate to a particular event that is going on right now. IE, if you think someone is infringing your work, I won’t look into it. That’s not my place. BUT if you’d like to ask me hypothetical situations? I’d be more than happy to answer to the best of my ability. I’d just like to be able to help other writers out and try and explain something that is very, very complicated to the untrained eye.

One Year Later

July 12th, 2012


So it’s about a year since I started this whole journey and it’s been one heck of a wild ride so far. In one year the following has happened:

  • I’ve graduated from law school (YAY omg)
  • I’ve gotten a job in the publishing industry
  • I’ve written a novel
  • I’ve sent out countless query letters
  • I’ve received countless rejections
  • I’ve received a nice smattering of requests, both from agents and small presses

Needless to say, it’s been one amazing ride so far. Of course, it hasn’t been without its up and downs (often more downs than ups) but I’ve also learned so much. A year ago I didn’t know what ARCs and galleys were. I had only the vaguest understanding of how the publishing industry works. All I knew was a person wrote a book, found an agent, and that was it. Now I’ve learned SO much more.


I’ve also cultivated amazing friendships after being down in the trenches for over a year. I have CPs who are amazing individuals and my writing is stronger because of them. I have contacts I never dreamed I’d make. Though this year has been one of the hardest in my life, I don’t think I’d change a thing. Now, as the next year rolls around, I’ll keep writing and keep querying. One year ends and the next begins with my fingers itching to start working on a new manuscript. Still a YA, but something with a paranormal bent. No, not vampires — but ghosts. I’m excited and I can’t wait to share this next book.


Hopefully it’ll happen this year. Hopefully one of those full requests that are still outstanding will come back to me and say they love it and they want to represent me as I go forward. And if not? I have a new book. Because one thing I’ve learned is the time you spend on one manuscript is never wasted. Every bit of reading and writing you do only makes you a better person and a better writer.


As the West Wing teaches us to say: Game On and What’s Next?

Over the past six months, I’ve been getting a lot of emails as I venture into the world of querying. Most often, I see the emails of “thanks… but”. Those are some of the worst — especially when they come from agents you’d think would be perfect for your manuscript. You also learn a lot — not to send off a bazillion queries at once when the query isn’t perfect.


You learn to head to other sites that offer peer review. You learn to take the criticism and the hurt and put it into writing bigger and better drafts. Soon you have a version of your query that sparkles so brightly it shines as the diamond in the slush.


Then, you start hearing the exciting words.


Can I see a partial?

Can I see the first 50 pages?

Can I see the first 30 pages and a synopsis?


Those words are great and exciting, especially when you’ve gotten nothing but rejections sitting in your inbox. Still, the greatest words ever to appear in an email have to be:


Is your novel still available? If so I’d love to consider the full.


It still is enough to make me grin. And so you, my awesome readers, what are some of the best emails you’ve gotten while going off on the grand journey that is publishing?

Plot from Query:
When seventeen-year-old Gwen Masterson finds an enchanted book that whisks her back in time, she has no idea she’s about to become the most wanted woman in Camelot. As a modern girl in a medieval world, she is the key that will allow the golden age of King Arthur to flourish.


What starts out as fun and games turns into a nightmare when she becomes trapped in Camelot. Gwen unravels the larger plot – engineered by Merlin – to change the past by finding find a strong woman who will remain loyal to the king. However, such a plan can only work if the participants are willing and Gwen certainly is not. She loathes living in this male-dominated society and wants nothing to do with the arrogant boy-king. The idea of falling in love with Arthur the Neanderthal is ridiculous and yet she’s betrothed to him! To make matters worse, thanks to Merlin’s meddling, Gwen’s life hangs in the balance as she finds herself at the top of Morgana’s ‘people to kill’ list after several assassination attempts.


As Gwen’s unwanted wedding day grows closer, all she wants to do is leave Arthur at the altar and find a way home. She refuses to be anyone’s pawn – but when her brother Leigh finds the book and becomes trapped in the past as well, Gwen no longer has a choice. With Leigh now in Morgana’s clutches, Gwen will have to follow a new destiny in order to save not only her brother, but her future and all of Camelot.


First 250 Words – *UPDATED to Chapter 1 Pages*

She had promised herself she wouldn’t cry today.


“I’m so sorry for your loss.”


“He was such a good man.”


Their words blended together as the mourners passed her by in single-file. Gwen Masterson could barely respond beyond a tip of her head in acknowledgement, her eyes staring straight ahead. Seven years ago, she had stood six feet to the right of this plot of grass on the day they buried her mother. The landscape hadn’t changed much in the intervening years, though the trees were a bit taller and there were a more headstones dotted around. Gwen remembered that day being much the same as it was today: unseasonably cold with dark clouds hanging low in the sky, threatening rain at any moment. The bright flowers resting on the lid of her father’s casket stood out in contrast to the ominous backdrop.


“He was so young…”


“I can’t imagine what you must be going through.”


Gwen clasped her hands in front of her black patterned skirt, squeezing them as hard as she could. She was burying her father after his long, and ultimately unsuccessful, battle with cancer. The last thing she needed was to cause a scene, though all she wanted to do was scream and shake the nearest person until they showed some bit of genuine emotion. Her nails imprinted red crescents onto her palms as she tried to hold her tongue and keep the plastic smile on her face.

So I was tagged earlier today to do this, and just got home and so here is my offering! If you haven’t seen this around and about, here’s what you do:

1. Go to the seventh or seventy-seventh page of WIP.
2. Count down seven lines.
3. Copy the seven sentences that follow and post them on your blog.
4. Tag seven other authors (on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr–up to you!).

So… here we go, from AVALON RISING. I chose the seventh page to give you a nice teaser from Chapter One.

Seven years ago, she had stood six feet to the right of this plot of grass on the day they buried her mother. The landscape hadn’t changed much in the intervening years, though the trees were a bit taller and there were a more headstones dotted around. Gwen remembered that day being much the same as it was today: unseasonably cold with dark clouds hanging low in the sky, threatening rain at any moment. The bright flowers resting on the lid of her father’s casket stood out in contrast to the ominous backdrop.

“He was so young…”

“I can’t imagine what you must be going through.”

Gwen clasped her hands in front of her black patterned skirt, squeezing them as hard as she could.

So there you have it!! Now, instead of tagging folks (as I know mosts of my friends have already been tagged), if you wind up doing this, I will link to you if you comment with your link!

Awesome QTers:

So this is definitely not a post on writing. I have one of those coming up soon, mind — plus a thought for a feature every other month for you guys (if anyone IS reading this thing) if you’re interested. BUT. More on that later.

I want to talk about etiquette in the theatre, be it the cinema or a b’way one.

1. Cell Phones: Sorry? But NO one is so important that they can’t go two and a half hours without actually looking at their phone and texting. Yes, I know there are the exceptions like when you’re a doctor on call or the like. However? I think it’s very unlikely that as a 14 year old you need to constantly be on your phone. Also? The size of your screen means whenever it lights up it’s like a little mini beacon in the dark. And as a little caveat? When they say please silence your phone — they really mean it. I don’t want to hear your ringtone going off in the middle of the show. Not only that, but please do NOT answer your phone and proceed to explain to someone that you’re seeing a show and can you call them back later?

2. Flash Photography: Um. This should be self-explanatory? But theatres are dark places, so when you’re taking pictures in the audience? It’s not only distracting to other audience members — but it can be dangerous to the performers. Furthermore? Taking a picture of yourself because you’re crying over someone’s death in a film and then giggling, then trying to take a few more photos to get one EXACTLY right? Not cool. Especially for the half of the theatre setting behind you.

3. Insert-Name-of-Hot-Character-Here: Y’know. I get it. He’s hot. Even as I’m approaching my 30s (*shudder*) I can still agree that certain characters are hot. Really, I can. And you know, I don’t mind teenage squealing the first time an actor comes on stage. But after squealing the SIXTH time (or the twentieth time. Or even if we only see a FLASH of the actor’s face?) it gets really old. Particularly when the squealing and shouting “He’s so hot!” continues into dialogue.

This public service announcement has been brought to you by one very annoyed girl who saw HUNGER GAMES at a 7pm showing and had to complain to a manager because she missed 80% of the movie Friday night.

This PSA (namely the talking on the phone in the middle of a show bit) is also brought to you by the stupid women behind me at Priscilla Queen of the Desert today who not once, but TWICE did this.

All I ask? No matter what your age, be considerate to people at the theatre. That is all.

So right now, it’s been fairly slow going. My opening is polished and I’ve been steadily editing while trying to balance my fun work, my internship, and that pesky thing known as law school. I’d send out a couple of queries once a month, just to see how I was faring.

And I’ve been rejected.

Yes, rejection is the name of the game, but it still sucks when you wake up to an email that says “your query was engaging, but I didn’t like it as much as I hoped I would”. Hell, you get to the point that a personalized rejection is better than the hated form rejection! Still, rejections suck. You soon realize that no matter how thick you think your skin is, everyone has that one area of vulnerability and they manage to slip beneath that skin and gnaw away.

Over the course of the past few months, I’ve entered several contests as well — and got no love from the agents. At that point, I started re-thinking things. Contests, I will say, are fantastic ways to get some good insta-feedback. At that point, I took a step back and changed things. The title changed. The prologue changed. I started going back over the opening chapters and fixing things, especially when I began to realize just how much my voice has changed over the course of a 76k novel.

Then… came March Pitch Madness, hosted by the amazing @brendadrake, @CA_Marshall, and @Shelley_Watters on their blogs. Still stinging from the last contest rejections, I made a last minute decision to sign up — and I am so glad I did. I waited on pins and needles to see if I got accepted into the final round. Out of 198 entrants, I was one of 60 chosen. OH MY GOD!

I tried not to get my hopes up after the last contest. So when I hit refresh on my entry at noon yesterday, I was shocked to see not one, but TWO requests on my entry for the query and the first 25 pages. I wanted to do a happy dance, but since I was at work, I had to settle for the dance in my head. It looked something like this:

Hugh Grant Does a Happy Dance in LOVE ACTUALLY

Okay, so the .gifs are a little large. So sue me. I want to use things from LOVE ACTUALLY.

At this point I entered the awesome CHALLENGE ROUND. I sat at work, obsessively hitting refresh to see which agent would come out on top. In the end, it was the amazing and awesome Sarah LaPolla who won the day with a 150 page request. It’s safe to say the happy dance I was doing in my head looked something like this:

Laura Linney Flail from LOVE ACTUALLY

So yes. I waited until today to write this post, because I’m afraid that if I wrote it yesterday, it was going to be nothing but a VERY long line of SQUEEEEEEE. So right now is the last set of eyes going over the first 150 pages to make sure they sparkle as much as I know they can. I’ll release it from my hands this weekend. But for right now, I leave you with one final .gif — because this is how I still feel, even as I sit in my law classes and try to do work.


I’ve been working at the literary agency for about 8 weeks now, and I have to say I absolutely love every minute of the day. It’s a reminder that I’m happy as all get-out to be in the publishing industry and just hope I can get a good job when this internship is over!

While I’ve been at the agency, I’ve been doing a lot of read reports for some of the agents. What these are, are short summaries and critiques of manuscripts. I have to say? Doing these have been, quite possibly, the best exercise ever. I have one to two pages to both summarize the novel and also give my critique/recommendation which… isn’t a heck of a lot of space. However, the exercise of summarizing something I’m not familiar with has been such a great learning experience when drafting my own query letters and synopsises. (Synopsi??)

I challenge you this. If you’re having trouble figuring out your query/synopsis, pull a book down off the shelf — either one you know well or one you don’t. Read it again. (because if you’re not reading, you can’t write!) Then sit down and try to do the following: write a 35 word pitch, a query, and a synopsis. Then do it again for another book. And if you could use more practice? Do it again. Focus on the main character and the plot. What drives them forward?

We do this all the time when we sit down to tell a friend why they OMG have to read this book. But when we go to write a query letter and impress an agent, it’s hard — mostly because we start second guessing ourselves. We want to make it shine and be that diamond in the slush pile.

I say? Take a step back and work on the fundamentals and if you can easily summarize a story that belongs to someone else? It’s not so hard to do it to your own. Sure we want to include every miniscule plot detail, but that doesn’t work. I look at my new query and synopsis and I’m very, very happy with them both — but they also have been written after I started at the agency.

Good luck and query on!

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