The Happy Camper’s Guide to Camp NaNoWriMo

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April is right around the corner and most writers know what that means: it’s time once again for Camp NaNoWriMo!

Described as a virtual writing retreat, Camp is considered a toned-down version of November’s National Novel Writing Month, where writers from all around the world challenge themselves to write a 50,000-word manuscript in thirty days. The point of this torture (did I say that?!) is not to end up with a query-ready manuscript. It’s a means to get the words down with the intention of going back to fix them later. Because having a completed first draft is half the battle when it comes to dreams of publication.

April’s challenge is a wee more laid back than November’s. Writers can choose to stick with that hefty 50,000-word goal or aim for a different target altogether—one they feel might be easier to obtain. Does announcing a word count to fellow campers sound too intimidating? Try hours, lines, or even pages—it’s completely up to you! The only thing that matters is that you’re writing.

Another thing that’s different about Camp is that each participant is placed in a  virtual cabin. There are three ways you can end up with cabin mates: you can be sorted randomly (which is a good way to meet new friends and cheerleaders!), sorted according to age, genre, or word count goal (do I see new critique partners in your future?), or you can create or be invited into a private cabin where you can share this writerly experience with up to twenty of your writerly friends! Cabin assignments are sorted before the event begins and continue on a rolling basis throughout the month. Used to writing alone? Involving others in your journey helps hold you accountable, because no one has mastered the art of procrastination like a writer (come on, you know it’s true)!

So, how do you join in on all the fun? Just head over to Camp NaNoWriMo and open an account! It’s simple. It’s free. And it’s one more opportunity to connect with the ever-growing, and always encouraging, writing community.

And if you’re in the market for a few survival tips, this here is a post I wrote for NaNoWriMo a couple years back that might be of some help.

Best of luck, happy writing, and may all of your writerly dreams comes true!

It’s My Book Birthday!!!

I can’t believe it’s finally here! As of today, I am officially a published author. EEP!!!

But I had lots of help getting here. First, I’d like to thank Kensington Publishing and Wattpad for providing this amazing opportunity. Without them, I can honestly say publishing would have never happened. I’d also like to thank the countless authors I’ve met and wonderful friends I’ve made along the way. Their consistent kindness and support encouraged me to pursue my dream. And finally, my deepest gratitude, respect and love goes out to every person who has read my book, including my oldest and dearest friends and family. If it weren’t for you, Strawberry Wine would still be a story stuck in my head. THANK YOU all from the bottom of my heart!

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How do you know if a first love is made to last?

Addison Monroe was eighteen when she fell for Jake Grady, a college student working on her family’s farm for the summer. With his sapphire eyes and killer smile, Jake could have had any girl in Lakeside, Georgia. But he wanted Addy, and for those brief, wonderful months—before circumstances drove them irrevocably apart—they belonged to each other.

Ten years later, Addy is engaged to a doctor and working in Atlanta as a physician’s assistant. Life feels full and satisfying. Yet memories of that long-ago summer and wine-flavored kisses are hard to shake. On a return visit to Lakeside, Addy crosses paths with Jake again, and soon finds herself at an unexpected crossroads. So much has changed, and Addy has chosen another route. And the magic of first love can never be rekindled…can it?

Available now and please feel free to share with your romance-loving friends! 🙂

Kensington   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Books-A-Million   iTunes   Google Play   Kobo

STRAWBERRY WINE Cover Reveal!

After months of waiting, I am thrilled to share with you the new cover of STRAWBERRY WINE! Thank you Kensington Publishing, it’s absolutely beautiful!

Available for preorder now! In bookstores January 31, 2017!

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About the Book:

How do you know if a first love is made to last?

Addison Monroe was eighteen when she fell for Jake Grady, a college student working on her family’s farm for the summer. With his sapphire eyes and killer smile, Jake could have had any girl in Lakeside, Georgia. But he wanted Addy, and for those brief, wonderful months—before circumstances drove them irrevocably apart—they belonged to each other.

Ten years later, Addy is engaged to a doctor and working in Atlanta as a physician’s assistant. Life feels full and satisfying. Yet memories of that long-ago summer and wine-flavored kisses are hard to shake. On a return visit to Lakeside, Addy crosses paths with Jake again, and soon finds herself at an unexpected crossroads. So much has changed, and Addy has chosen another route. And the magic of first love can never be rekindled…can it?

Where to Preorder:

Kensington Publishing     Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Books-A-Million 

Google Play      Kobo     iTunes

Where to Review:

GoodReads     Amazon (beginning January 31, 2017)

#PitDark is almost here! Are you ready?

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It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of dark literature. Authors like Edgar Allan Poe, Shirley Jackson and Stephen King have had a profound affect on me, and at times have kept me up late into the night. Their books will always have a place on my shelf. I don’t seek out disturbing stories to read, but those are the ones that seem to catch my attention at the book store. Call me morbid, I guess! And when I decided to attempt writing stories of my own, suspense and sinister is what I found myself typing.

How ironic my debut novel is a romance!

So when I heard about #PitDark I was instantly intrigued. #PitDark is the first and only Twitter pitch event that is specifically designed for authors of darker literature. According to its description, #PitDark is not limited to works of horror, but the pitched stories must contain elements of darker writing.

Following in the footsteps of #PitMad, a writer can tweet a 140 character pitch for their completed, polished and unpublished manuscripts, while agents and publishers search for stories that sound appealing. Middle grade, young adult, new adult and adult age categories are all welcome. And mark your calendars because the next #PitDark happens October 20th, 2016!

The rules:

  • This event takes place from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern. Please do not pitch before or after this twelve-hour period.
  • Participants get one pitch per hour, per manuscript. 
  • This contest is for completed, unpublished manuscripts. Complete means that your manuscript is proofread, polished, and ready for submission.
  • Do not, and I repeat, DO NOT favorite another author’s post. Agents and publishers will will make requests for authors to contact them by marking pitches as a favorite on Twitter. If your tweet is favorited, please follow the agent or publisher’s submission guidelines. Please be sure to research any agent or publisher that likes your pitch. There is no obligation to submit your work to anyone you don’t want to.

How to pitch:

  1. First and foremost, you must include the #PitDark hashtag to enter the contest. This is mandatory. It’s how industry professionals will find you.
  2. An indication of the book’s age category.
  3. An indication of the book’s genre. See below for hashtags. A genre hashtag is also mandatory.
  4. A pitch for your book. Ideally, it should tell us the character, desire, obstacle(s), and stakes. I know, I know — you don’t have many characters left to work with. Be creative!

Hashtags for age categories:

Please use these hashtags to indicate the target age group for your book:

  • #MG – Middle Grade
  • #YA – Young adult
  • #NA – New adult
  • #A – Adult

Hashtags for genres:

Please use a hashtag to indicate the genre of your book. The following are example hashtags that may be relevant to your manuscript:

  • #H – horror
  • #PH – psychological horror
  • #GH – gothic horror
  • #CSH – cosmic horror
  • #BH – body horror
  • #CH – comedy horror
  • #DC – dark comedy
  • #DR – dark romance
  • #SFH – science fiction horror
  • #PNH – paranormal horror
  • #ZH – zombie horror
  • #MH – monster horror
  • #GRH – graphic horror
  • #MM – murder mystery
  • #FA – fantasy
  • #DF – dark fantasy
  • #T – thriller
  • #EF – epic or high fantasy
  • #HF – historical fantasy
  • #LF – literary fantasy
  • #AH – alternate history
  • #PN – paranormal
  • #PR – paranormal romance
  • #UF – urban fantasy
  • #MR – magical realism
  • #SF – science fiction
  • #AF – apocalypse fiction
  • #ML – military science fiction
  • #PA – post-apocalyptic SF
  • #CP – cyberpunk
  • #SFT – sci-fi thriller
  • #SH – superhero / superhuman
  • #SO – space opera
  • #DS – dystopian
  • #SP – steampunk
  • #TT – time travel
  • #WW – weird west
  • #SPEC – speculative fiction
  • #NF – non-fiction

For more details on this event and to find out which agents and publishers are planning to participate, please visit author and #PitDark host Jason Huebinger’s website to learn more!

Do you plan to pitch? Leave a comment below if you do. Best of luck and I hope to see you there!

How To Get Your Story Featured On Wattpad

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So you’ve written a story and you’ve posted it in full to Wattpad but you’re just not getting the reads you expected. You’ve done everything within your power to generate interest: you’ve written a story you’re proud of, you’ve mingled in the clubs, you’ve read and commented consistently on other authors’ stories, you’ve joined a gazillion book discussions and still … nothing! What’s a writer got to do to find some readers?!

I’m going to tell you. You can put in a request to have your story added to the Featured List.

What’s the Featured List, you might be asking yourself? According to Wattpad, every story that is featured is carefully hand-picked by Wattpad’s own Community Engagement team to be placed in a special, more visible spot that makes it easier for readers to find (because sifting through millions upon millions of stories to find what you’re looking for can be very overwhelming!).

That being said, not every submission is going to be granted. Serious thought goes into selecting each story. Why? Because being on the Featured List is both a privilege AND a responsibility. The Featured List will potentially put you and your story in front of millions of eager readers ready to vote and comment on each one of your chapters and expect you to comment back. Wattpad is an extremely interactive experience, one that encourages communication between an author and a reader. So if you’re not up for the challenge, don’t even think about submitting that story. Wattpad is more than just a reading and writing website. It’s a positive and supportive community all coming together to engage in something they love.

Still interested? Then let’s move on to the rules. Yes … the rules!

What Wattpad is looking for:

  • Stories that have good grammar, spelling, plot development, characterization, a distinct tone of voice, etc. So give that story one more edit before you apply!
  • Stories that are full-length and complete (or nearing completion).
  • Stories with a clear and compelling cover (sized 512×800), story description, and relevant tags.
  • Stories that will appeal to the diverse readership of the Wattpad community.
  • Stories that are distinctive and unique in plot and style.

What they’re not looking for:

  • Excerpts, teasers, sample chapters, or works intending to remain incomplete. Sorry, but it’s gotta be completed or near completion.
  • Stories that cannot standalone (i.e., sequels).
  • Emailing us PDFs, ePubs, or Word documents containing your story. Stories must be posted on Wattpad.
  • Unedited works. First drafts are absolutely fine, but stories should have a level of polish to them.

Who Wattpad is looking for:

  • Wattpadders like you! (Don’t have an account? Don’t worry, it’s easy to get started. Just sign up HERE for FREE and get posting!)
  • Engaged Wattpadders (This means writers who are also readers, commenters and voters. Writers who support other writers are the best writers, because they help each other succeed. Writers who want to be an active part of the community. No one likes a writer who posts a story and then never comes back to thank their readers.)
  • Kind and considerate Wattpadders (Trolls may stay under the bridge where they belong.)

What to expect if your story is featured:

If you’ve been selected for featuring, Wattpad will contact you to let you know the official day your story will be added to the List. Your story will then be placed at the top of the list for around one week or so, and afterward will be mixed in at random among the other stories to give everyone an equal chance at getting the limelight. You can expect an increase in reads, votes and comments, although Wattpad makes no guarantees about the number of reads your story will get.

After your week at the top of the list, your story will begin to randomize among the other stories in your genre and will change position daily. You could go from the top to the bottom and then back to the top again!

Wattpad receives several feature requests, so submissions could take up to four weeks or more to be reviewed. Just be patient, they’ll get to you!

So are you ready to take the next step in your writing career? Then apply to be featured today! Click HERE to fill out a request, and best of luck to you all!

Updates! Lots and lots of updates!

Hello friendly blog readers, happy Memorial Day weekend! I have lots of updates for you! Okay, maybe not lots but definitely a few.

Summer Block Party

It’s Wattpad Block Party time again hosted by the always amazing, bestselling author Kelly Anne Blount! Who’s excited? Me, me, me!!!

This summer’s fiesta takes place the entire month of August so mark your calendars now — you heard right, the ENTIRE month of August — and will feature some of Wattpad’s most active writers. USA TODAY Bestsellers, Wattpad Stars and a whole bunch of up-and-comers! It’s gonna be awesome sauce (did I seriously just say that?!)! Did I mention there will be TONS of giveaways? I’m thinking I’ll write another bonus chapter for STRAWBERRY WINE from yummy Jake Grady’s point-of-view, what do you think? I just love getting inside that sexy cowboy’s head!

In other news, I took part in my very first LIVE Ask Me Anything and received tons of great questions from readers and friends like YOU! Did you miss it? Don’t fret! It’s all right HERE for your viewing pleasure (please ignore the unflattering still shots and overuse of the word ‘um’)!

Who wants a cover reveal? I do! I do! I’m waiting patiently for the go-ahead to share the brand new, unbelievably adorable cover of STRAWBERRY WINE! Kensington Publishing tells me it will be soon, along with the PRE-ORDER SALE! What? Did she just say PRE-ORDER SALE?! I sure as heck did. Can you believe it? It’s happening. It’s actually happening! I’m still pinching myself. Huh, that must be why this unsightly bruise won’t go away.

Let’s see … what else? Oh, yes! I’m working on more stories to add to Wattpad! I’m pretty sure the next one up will be my horror/psychological thriller/like THE SECRET on crack called DOWN CAME THE RAIN! Take a look at this cover:

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Don’t forget to sign up for my email list for your chance to win FREE STUFF! And if you would kindly ‘like’ my Facebook author’s page I would ever so grateful!

Have a wonderful and safe weekend!

Wattpad Wednesday featuring author Lindsey Summers

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This week I’m excited to introduce a Watty Award-winning author who has found a massive following on Wattpad, an online writing and reading community. She’s an extremely talented writer and is also one of the nicest people I’ve had the privilege to meet! Her first story The Cell Phone Swap took the writing platform by storm and is all set to be published next year under the new title Textrovert!

Lindsey Summers, otherwise known as DoNotMicrowave on Wattpad, currently has more than 187,000 followers and The Cell Phone Swap has nearly 77 million reads! Her current work in progress is a romance called Bottled Promises and is already well on its way to be her next big hit.

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Bottled Promises story blurb:

His future is shackled by the past.

Her past is driving her future.

Growing up, Cameron Scott longed to break free from her controlling childhood. Now a freshman at Alden University, she’s finally able to live life on her terms…or so she thinks. Forced to take the only room left on campus, one in the substance free program, Cameron signs a contract promising not to drink, party or do anything illegal.

The only positive is Alaric St. James, a boy whose disdain for the program rivals her own. But unlike Cameron, Alaric isn’t there by chance. A judge has ruled Alaric must participate and stay out of trouble. As the two develop feelings, they grow conflicted. Both have made promises, but as Cameron soon discovers, sometimes you break promises, and sometimes they break you.

Bottled Promises

About the author:

Lindsey Summers (@DoNotMicrowave) joined Wattpad in 2012. Her story, The Cell Phone Swap, is one of most-read stories on Wattpad. Inspired by a chance encounter, Lindsey’s story has gone viral. Through Wattpad, she has also written commissioned stories for major brands like Mondelez and 20th Century Fox.

Lindsey credits the positivity and support of her fan base as her motivation. Her fans insistence on updates for her serialized story kept her on track and fueled her creative streak.

When not on Wattpad, Lindsey can usually be found on the beach, reading on the sand, and always in open-toed shoes.

You can connect with Lindsey on:

Wattpad  Twitter  Instagram  Facebook


							

How to Write a Book Blurb: Reblog of The Blurb Queen

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Need help writing a book blurb that will make readers stop and take notice?

“A good blurb is NOT a mini-synopsis. A blurb is AD COPY. 

In other words, you don’t want to tell the reader about your book, you want to make the reader buy your book. The point is to show the reader in as few words as possible, ‘Hey! Look at this–if you read this book, you are guaranteed a certain experience.’

Read more here: Seekerville Welcomes The Blurb Queen

A Novel Approach: Christopher L. Buono, a Self-Interview

Instead of my typical weekly Wattpad post, I’m doing something a little different today. This is more of a self-interview by author Christopher L. Buono, or @ChrisBuono as I have come to know him on Wattpad. Chris is a fantastic storyteller with a very interesting background that you can read all about on his Wattpad profile page. Not only is he extremely talented, but he is supportive of everyone in our writing community. It’s such a treat when you discover a writer who’s not afraid to try different genres (he has both Romance and Horror posted at the moment), but one who doesn’t shy away from offering advice and is there to cheer on his fellow authors whenever they need him. So, without further ado, let’s get started!

A Novel Approach: Christopher L. Buono, a Self-Interview

Chris Buono had never heard of Wattpad.com until he entered Harlequin’s “So You Think You Can Write” competition in 2015 ( #SYTYCW15 ).

“I’m forever grateful to Harlequin for, indirectly, having turned me onto Wattpad,” Chris says.  “I believe that the teaming of Harlequin and Wattpad was/is a wonderful pairing of the two writing ‘platforms.’ Joining Wattpad has opened doors for me and my writing—and it continues to do so.”

Chris had not been new to writing in 2015.  He (Christopher L. Buono) had been both the Effective Screenwriting columnist for, and a contributing editor to, the now defunct quarterly periodical WRITERS’ Journal magazine.  In 2000, he had brought to fruition WJ’s first writer’s anthology: The Writers’ Journal Guide to the Writing Life.

Christopher had also been the publisher and editor-in-chief of his own writing magazine: Writer’s Guidelines & News.  Although WG&N had been a short-lived publication for him, he had worked with the late, great actress Ruth Warrick.  She had been one of his columnists.

“The first time that I had met Ruth,” Christopher says, “had been at a New York City theatre reading of a lost work of Orson Welles’s—The Big Brass Ring.  “I had written a full-length stage farce, and thought that Ruth could play the mother’s part well.  Long story short, Ruth didn’t see herself in the role.  Still, she’d given me her personal information that day.  I had the pleasure of meeting with her several times in her NYC home, to discuss writing, and her column in the magazine.  She was a very nice woman.”

Having stepped away from the writing magazine life, Chris is now concentrating on romance and horror writing.

“I find that it’s a good balance/mix for me,” he says.  “Romance is universal and I feel that my ideas/storylines fit in well with that genre.  Then, when things become ‘too sweet,’ so to speak, with romance writing, I can get a full dose of the darker side of things, by submerging myself in writing some horror.”

And Chris has been doing just that and more, at Wattpad.com.  His romance novel Her Boss’s Surprise—a boss/employee crush romance—now has 65K reads and rising (check out his book trailer HERE).  His #JustWriteIt novel @Wattpad The Midnight Visit—a veterinarian doctor romance—is at 11K reads, and that number continues to climb.

Still, Chris divides his time by writing short tales, too.  His two anthology sweet romance stories (A Paper-Tree Christmas—in the November/December 2015  Mistletoe and Mischief Wattpad anthology (story trailer HERE) and Blue Sneakers, Red Heart—his Valentine’s Day sweet, in the February 2016 Hearts on Sleeves romance anthology (book trailer HERE) both now have 11K reads, and that number continues to go up.

His other material—aside from in anthologies that can be found on his Wattpad.com page—include his “five-minute romance” short stories: Sightseeing Love—a second-chance romance—and, In a Puff of Smoke—a magic-filled tale of love.

“I’ve always enjoyed the short-story format and what it affords its author, as well as its reader,” Chris informs.  “If done correctly, a short story can present an author with a solid base for a fuller tale; it can also win the heart of a reader in an instant, whereas, with a novel read, it may take longer to gain a fan.”

But Chris hasn’t stopped with romance shorts.  He’s also now trying his hand to write with the ever-popular Youtuber Grace Helbig—via her #FreakWeek #novella writing competition @Wattpad .  As of this writing, Chris has entered four of his original chapters to that contest: Chapter Two (without title); Chapter Three: Dylan the VillainChapter Four: Grabbing for Gravity and Chapter Five: Here Come the Clones.

“I’m having a blast trying to capitalize on what a previous author of a winning Freak Week chapter had published in Grace’s virtual book,” says Chris.  “I think it’s fab that Grace has teamed with @ATTHelloLab for this interesting/intriguing story competition.  I’m glad that I can take part in it, and I wouldn’t be able to do so, if I were not a Wattpad member.”

While Chris’s romance and “freaky” work continues to entertain Wattpad readers, he’s also found time to pen some nonfiction material.

“During Harlequin’s SYTYCW15 competition,” Chris reveals, “The Pink Heart Society editor, Ali Williams, had asked me—via Twitter—if I’d be interested in writing a guest post for her blog, regarding my SYTYCW15 experience.  That was something I had accepted to do without batting an eyelash, and my article posted on October 19, 2015.  I have always been one for trying/wanting to help aspiring writers. Ali’s offer was going to enable me to do just that.  For me, a bonus had been that I’d also be able to spread the word, with my article, about Harlequin’s SYTYCW competition.  SYTYCW is a contest in which I wholeheartedly believe.  It is a wonderful opportunity for aspiring romance writers.

“I’d also done a nonfiction piece—Ten Questions Aspiring Authors Frequently Ask Himthat I had included with my #WattpadBlockParty —Winter Edition II, February 2016 post.”

In addition, Chris had also done an author takeover (January 2016) for Limitless Publishing romance author Trinity Hanrahan, during her and Michelle Jo Quinn’s Harley Pivotal Moments release party.

“Trinity had contacted me on Twitter regarding that takeover and, the rest is history.  Recently, Trinity had also asked me to do a guest post for her blog.  Now another nonfiction work of mine—Five Tips on How to Avoid Writer’s Block (April 7, 2016)—appears in the virtual world, via Trinity’s platform.”

But wait, there’s more.

On April 17, 2016, Chris had his #AskBailee question answered via video reply on Twitter by @BaileeMadison , star of the hit magical show #GoodWitch on @hallmarkchannel : https://twitter.com/hallmarkchannel/status/721818799029129216

Chris also had his writing question answered by the mega-talented author @NicholasSparks , via an @Wattpad #AskNicholasSparks Twitter video response on January 22, 2016: https://twitter.com/CBuonoWritesU/status/690674869529382913

USA Today bestselling author Kelli Anne Blount had also answered Chris’s “writing collaboration” question, live, on The Corner Booth ( #tcbwatt ) episode 30 “Orange and Black and Read all Over” (October 25, 2015).  Check out Kelli’s response to Chris’s question at the 35:52 video play point HERE.

Popular and featured Wattpad author Rosa Aimeé had also answered Chris’s “how can you best amp up horror” question, live, on that same The Corner Booth ( #tcbwatt ) broadcast (episode 30 “Orange and Black and Read All Over,” October 25, 2015).  Check out Rosa’s response to Chris’s question at the 47:50 video play point HERE.

Speaking of horror, Christopher’s fear-filled material is also on his Wattpad.com page.

“I had great fun recently writing a #100WORDSCREAM horror one-shot tale for Wattpad’s paranormal community,” Christopher says.  “It’s called, Things Are Never as They Seem. It’s, what I think, a chilling scene, where playing ball outside of an abandoned house, is my child character’s first mistake.

“To sweeten the horror pot, where my novel, The Lake is concerned, I recently penned an Imagine one-shot story. It’s titled Stephen King and the Birth of The Lake. I had a blast writing it, and great fun incorporating Wattpad’s new multimedia function within the text of that tale.  The basic plot is:  I’m suffering from writer’s block, as I write The Lake, when I meet, or, rather, come across, the master of horror—Stephen King—in a most unusual way.”

As we have learned, Christopher doesn’t only pen “short” tales of scary.  His current horror WIP, The Lakeis a full-length, dark, disturbing, mature novel of evil that you can read at Wattpad.com.

The Lake story blurb:

The Lake just wanted life.  When Amanda Colberg gave it a taste of love, it needed more.

Struggling to stop a painful death into nonexistence, The Lake holds out hope for Amanda to save it once again.  But the sexually-abused eighteen-year-old girl is running for her life—from Hal, the town bully, and her stalking, drunkard father.

Having comforted each other in every crisis—in the twisted, backward town of Baskanville—Amanda and The Lake are the horror-romance of the century.  But when Amanda does something inconceivable to The Lake, will all Baskanvillians pay the price…and, to Amanda’s demonic delight?

You can watch The Lake book trailer HERE.

The Lake

You can find Chris on:

Wattpad  Twitter  Facebook  Google+

You can also read Chris’s nonfiction work here:

Five Tips on How to Avoid Writer’s Block

Ten Questions Aspiring Authors Most Frequently Ask Him

                                                                   SYTYCW guest-blog post                                                                    (click “older posts,” after clicking link/scrolling down)

#WeWriteMay 31-Day Fun Challenge