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

Hopelessly Imperfect by Gabriela Cabezut – Reblog

There’s still time to enter the Hopelessly Imperfect giveaway! Keep reading to find out how!

It’s here!

Hopelessly Imperfect releases on May 17th! I can’t believe it. I’m really excited about it and to share that excitement with you all, I’m giving away five ebook copies of my book.

Hopelessly Imperfect

9817182-144-k433608Cancer is a beast.

It’s ugly, savage, and has no mercy.

Cassie learned this all too well while watching her mother slowly deteriorate, one agonizing day at a time…

With the desire to make her mother’s last year the best it can be, she works to be the perfect daughter. Every character trait, witty joke, like and dislike—Cassie molds herself to be what her mother would love most.

But in the end, it still isn’t enough…

After years of pretending, Cassie has no idea who she really is. When her mother slips away, Cassie falls into a deep depression, and thoughts of suicide become her most pressing threat. After a failed attempt, she seeks…

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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

Wattpad Wednesday featuring author Farah Oomerbhoy

This week’s Wattpad Wednesday post (although technically it’s almost Thursday—sorry!) is the very talented Farah Oomberbhoy! Farah’s journey on Wattpad began in March of 2014, when she first began uploading her Watty Award-winning Young Adult Fantasy, The Last of the Firedrakes. I had the pleasure of reading Farah’s story as she posted it in real time and I was completely captivated by her storytelling abilities! This lovely author went on to publish The Last of the Firedrakes in hardback, paperback and eBook formats. I’m proud to say I own a copy of my very own, which I hope to one day have Farah sign in person. Not only is she a future bestseller, but she is an amazing person I am honored to call a friend!

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About the Book:

The Last of the Firedrakes, book one of The Avalonia Chronicles.

A fantastic adventure story that will transport you to a dazzling world of myth and magic.

16-year-old Aurora Darlington is an orphan. Mistreated by her adopted family and bullied at school, she dreams of running away and being free. But when she is kidnapped and dragged through a portal into a magical world, suddenly her old life doesn’t seem so bad.

Avalonia is a dangerous land ruled by powerful mages and a cruel, selfish queen who will do anything to control all seven kingdoms—including killing anyone who stands in her way.  Thrust headlong into this new, magical world, Aurora’s arrival sets plans in motion that threaten to destroy all she holds dear.

With the help of a young fae, a magical pegasus, and a handsome mage, Aurora journeys across Avalonia to learn the truth about her past and unleash the power within herself. Kingdoms collide as a complicated web of political intrigue and ancient magic lead Aurora to unravel a shocking secret that will change her life forever.

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A map to Avalonia

Please enjoy an excerpt of The Last of the Firedrakes by Farah Oomerbhoy:

Chapter 7

The Midnight Market

     Later that night, after I had eaten well and rested, we set out for the midnight market. I followed Kalen along the small path, from Pixie Bush into the very heart of Goldleaf Forest.

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     It seemed to me that we had been walking for quite a while when I could suddenly hear voices and noises quite clearly in the quiet forest. We came to a large clearing, and the delightful sight left me spellbound. The forest was alive, radiant and subtly lit by pretty, different-colored lanterns hanging from the towering trees. Beautifully decorated stalls and multicolored tents had sprung up all over the place. Some were nestled between the tall trees, and some were haphazardly placed around the edge of the clearing, forming a slightly wonky circle. Fae of all sizes, shapes and colors wandered around, having a marvelous time. There were dryads, naiads, brownies, and little pixies with wings who flitted about the place in groups, laughing and eating at the food stalls.

     We came to a stall, which was manned by a small, funny-looking fae with a pointy nose and long ears. Kalen identified him as a gnome. He was selling some strangely colored liquid in glass bottles and was haggling unashamedly about prices with two old ladies, whom I thought were very sweet.

     As we walked through the market, Kalen chattered on.

     “Although some of the larger towns have shops that sell magical ingredients for potions,” Kalen was saying, “this is the only place you can find some of the really rare items.”

     I followed Kalen, who was entering a green tent, where the sign outside read: “Buy a plant for your home and garden.” That sounded quite interesting. Maybe I could buy a plant for Kalen’s mom—she had really helped me, after all—but I remembered I didn’t have any money.

     The tent was not what I expected at all. The inside was bewitched to look like a large green house; like the forest, it was much larger inside than it appeared from the outside. The moonlight shone through the glass ceiling, and rows of plants and flowers lined the sides of the tent. We decided to explore.

     I walked through the rows of plants, looking at the labels that were written next to them. There were strawberry plants in a small tray, growing wonderful, juicy strawberries, each one of which had a dollop of cream on the top. The sign near it said: “Grow your own strawberries and cream.”

     “Try one,” said Kalen. “No one is watching.”

     I couldn’t resist; I loved strawberries and cream. I popped the whole strawberry into my mouth. It was delicious and the cream was thick, fresh, and sweet. It was wonderful.

     “Lovely, yes?” said Kalen.

     “I nodded, since my mouth was full.

     “Ms. Herbchild is wonderful at growing things. These strawberry plants with cream are one of her new inventions, but you can only grow them on trays inside the house, or the gnomes lick off all the cream.”

     I made a face at the thought of eating a strawberry that had been licked by a gnome.”

About the Author:

Farah Oomerbhoy is a young adult writer with a master’s degree in English literature from the University of Mumbai. Farah loves the fantastical and magical and often dreams of living in Narnia, Neverland, or the Enchanted Forest. Her debut novel, The Last of the Firedrakes, Book 1 of The Avalonia Chronicles started on Wattpad where it received a Watty Award in 2015 and over 1.5 million reads. Since publication, The Last of the Firedrakes has gone on to become a finalist in the USA Best Book Awards and an international bestseller. Farah lives with her family in Mumbai, India where she can be found checking for magical portals in every closet.

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Connect with Farah:

Website  Twitter  Facebook  Google+  Instagram  Pinterest  Goodreads  Wattpad

Purchase:

Amazon  B&N  Apple  Kobo  Smashwords  txtr  Itasca Books  Book Depository  IndieBound

Awards:

Finalist in the Teen: Fiction (13-18 Years) category of the 2016 Benjamin Franklin Awards

Finalist in the Best Cover Design: Fiction category of the 2015 USA Best Book Awards

Winner in the Collector’s Dream category of the Wattpad’s 2015 The Wattys Awards

Awesome Indies Approved

What People Are Saying:

“…the narrative components echo the classics; the Academy of Magic at Evolon could be Hogwarts, while the Shadow Guards are reminiscent of Tolkien’s Ring Wraiths or Rowling’s Dementors…a beautifully drawn fantasy world.” Kirkus Reviews

“THE LAST OF THE FIREDRAKES is a magic-filled romp that carries you back to the fantasy stories of childhood…Lovers of classic fantasy will likewise gobble down Oomerbhoy’s scrumptious story.” – Dr Vic James, author of the Gilded Cage trilogy

The world building is beautiful…That really made the book more complex for me…it is the journey of discovery for Aurora and the reader that makes this an interesting story.”  Readers’ Favorite

The Last of the Firedrakes has all the elements of popular fantasy – an orphaned princess, Magical powers, an alternate sphere with seven kingdoms, a young girl with a destiny to fulfil. They are all elements of the Narnia Chronicles, The Faraway tree, The Harry Potter series, Lord of the Rings and a bit of Enid Blyton fun.” – Mid-Day newspaper

Wattpad Wednesday featuring author Adrian Birch

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Ready for a crazy ride? This week’s #WattpadWednesday post features author Adrian Birch or is it Bailey Simms … we may never know. This author has weaved together a creative tale unlike anything you’ve ever read before! Today Dead in Bed sits at #1 on the Horror list at Wattpad, an online writing community in which users are able to read and post articles, stories, fan fiction, and poems for free, either through the website or on the mobile app. This story has accumulated well over two million reads, and that number continues to grow every day. And it’s no wonder why. It’s basically a story within a story, but if I try to describe it I’ll never be able to do it justice. Instead, I’ll just leave you with the author’s bio and a short story blurb, then it will be up to you to see what all the rage is about!

Author’s Bio: 

Adrian Birch is the author of Dead in Bed By Bailey Simms, a popular meta-thriller that’s been #1 in Wattpad’s horror rankings more times than anyone can count. Part of Adrian’s novel follows Ashley Young as she tries to survive the outbreak of a sexually-transmitted plague that stimulates people’s libidos before killing them. Another part of the novel follows Bailey Simms, the fictional teen author of Dead in Bed who’s stuck at home with a rare medical condition and a strict father who has no idea that his daughter is secretly a famous author. But as far as Adrian Birch’s own background goes, no one really knows anything about who she or he is. Some people have speculated that Adrian Birch is just Bailey Simms’s pen name, and that Bailey’s story isn’t fictional at all. Others have guessed that Adrian Birch is Bailey’s boyfriend, the older boy named “Kyle” in the story. More ominous speculation has even suggested that Adrian Birch has kidnapped Bailey Simms and is taking credit for her work! But whoever Adrian Birch really is, people are counting on answers before the saga of Dead in Bed By Bailey Simms concludes.

You can connect with this author on their website (where you will have access to exclusive, uncensored material), TwitterFacebookAmazonBarnes & NobleiTunesGoodreads and of course on Wattpad as well.

Dead in Bed Story Blurb:

You’ve never, ever read a book like this. 

When a sexually-transmitted plague breaks out in Ashley Young’s small town, leaving its victims with a bizarrely amplified libido, everything about her life changes. DEAD IN BED is partly a suspense thriller with a strikingly unique story, partly a page-turning mystery about a disease that makes people hopelessly crave sexual contact, and partly a neo-western adventure in the American heartland. For readers who can handle a smart, controversial female protagonist who’s willing to do anything—no matter how difficult or morally questionable—in order to survive, the series pulls them in like an unshakeable addiction. 

. . . Bailey Simms, teen author of DEAD IN BED, is stuck at home with a rare medical condition. Writing is her only escape, so she’s determined to keep her salacious series hidden from her strict father. Soon an older boy starts to secretly help her, and Bailey finds new opportunities for freedom that she’s never had. But as DEAD IN BED grows in popularity, and Bailey’s fans start to clamor for the sequel, she learns that being a successful Wattpad author may come with a terrifyingly dangerous price.

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Sayonara, RT Booklovers Convention 2016!

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Wow, what a ride. For my very first writers’ convention ever, I really hit the jackpot (no gambling pun intended)!

For those of you who do not know, I attended this year’s RT Booklovers Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada—six fun-filled days where I had the opportunity to mix business with pleasure! There were over 200 workshops readers and writers could attend featuring a wide range of topics, from YA Spooky Slumber Party to Charmed by the Cowboy (and everything in between). Feel like discussing New Adult trends with the very writers you read? There was an event for that! Are you an aspiring author ready to pitch your book to several eager agents and publishers? There was an event for that, too!

You could literally hob-nob with your favorite authors at one panel then go straight to another where you’d receive a gift bag full of goodies, including books—yes, FREE BOOKS! It doesn’t get any better than that (just make sure you have plenty of room in your suitcase to take them all home)! It truly was an amazing experience. And on the final day of the convention, more than 625 authors gathered at the Giant Book Fair to sign their books, including Brenda Drake, Jennifer Armentrout, Shayla Black, Sylvia Day, Kiera Cass, Eloisa James, Tessa Dare, Anna Todd … and the list goes on and on. Talk about a fan-girl experience! As an avid reader, this convention was a dream come true. And as an author, I found it to be very inspirational.

Participants could either register for the full six day event, which included several after-hour parties, or purchase individual day passes. Basically, it was a giant party where you could mix and mingle with readers, authors, bloggers, editors, agents and publishers. In fact, there was so much to do you had to pick and choose! It was impossible to fit everything in.

My advice to anyone hoping to attend a future event—besides wear comfortable shoes—is to go over the schedule very carefully and decide which workshops are most important to you. Every hour, new events and panels begin and often times there are several interesting topics taking place at once. You’ll need to know in advance which ones to hit so you do not miss out on something you really want to do. And don’t forget to leave room to eat or before you know it you’ll have missed meals!

After it was all said and done, I left Las Vegas feeling exhausted yet motivated. I met new friends and found something I would love to participate in every year—and plan to! Next year the convention will take place May 2nd—May 7th in Atlanta, Georgia. Who knows … maybe I’ll even be signing my very own book at that one. Eek!

So mark your calendars now! I promise—you won’t regret it.

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Authors Lindsey Summers, Ali Novak, Sarah Benson and me … living it up at RT Booklovers Convention 2016!

Countdown to the RT Booklovers Convention

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So, I’m counting down the mere hours until I head to my very first writers’ conference. And while I should be feeling like this:

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I’m feeling more like this:

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Don’t get me wrong. I am super—and I mean super—excited to have the opportunity to attend. Seriously, this is a dream come true. There are going to be so many talented authors there, authors whose books I’ve obsessed, and in some cases, down-right drooled over.

And then there will be me.

Gulp.

I will be flying into Las Vegas and stepping foot inside my very first convention one year to the day that I found out my story Strawberry Wine would be published. One year to the day. Woah. Talk about a crazy coincidence. And when I think about how much my life has changed over the past twelve months, I’m left speechless.

I’ve been told I’ll have a blast, and I am quite certain I will … especially since I’ll be meeting some writing friends (who I have only corresponded with online) for the very first time face to face. That alone is surreal.

But what have I gotten myself into? I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared out of my mind.

I have no idea what to expect. None. But I do have my business cards. Can you believe it? Me … with business cards? I never would have guessed I would need business cards. I also have an itinerary: meet as many people as I can. I’m in the mindset to make connections. Networking equals knowledge, and I am prepared to soak it all in.

One thing I do know is that if it weren’t for Wattpad and Kensington Publishing I wouldn’t be facing this new experience at all. The amount of gratitude I feel toward them, my family for supporting me, my friends for their consistent encouragement and the lovely people who call themselves my “readers” takes my breath away.

So, to those of you I have mentioned … thank you. This is a gift not many people are given but for some crazy, wonderful reason I have received.

I promise to make the most of it.