#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Following in the footsteps of #PitMad, a writer can tweet a 140 character pitch for their completed, polished and unpublished manuscripts, while agents and publishers search for stories that sound appealing.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  • This contest is for completed, unpublished manuscripts.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!

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

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.