Monday, September 29, 2014

Monday Book Review: SOME LIKE IT CHARMING by Megan Bryce

Some like it Charming, by Megan Bryce
Published 2013

About the Book:
Mackenzie Wyatt believes in two things: herself and her plan. And her plan is to keep her head down and to work hard until she can retire. Never mind that she doesn't know what she'll do once she retires– at least she won't be working for the man anymore. Because even though he's a gorgeous man, he's still her boss and he likes to push her buttons.

Ethan Howell O'Connor's charmed life comes to a screeching halt after his latest ex-girlfriend starts a fashionable trend in talking to the tabloids. Now all of Ethan's old girlfriends are talking to the press, ruining his reputation, and wiping that charming smile right off his face. The only person that can brighten his black mood is the same person who can annoy him to kingdom come. He and Mackenzie have feuded since the day she was hired, but now Ethan's starting to realize: maybe those sparks were hiding a blazing fire.

Mackenzie's about to find out that sometimes a gorgeous man can come up with a plan all his own, and it's a given that it'll mess hers up

Mackenzie Wyatt has a good life, as a strong independent woman with a high powered sales job at a well respected financial firm. Problems only arise when the New York boss visits the west coast branch. A charming playboy, Mackenzie wants nothing to do with him, especially since she insists on keeping her professional and personal lives separate.

With his dazzling smile and charming good looks, Ethan O'Connor can have any woman he wants, but delights in teasing his number one saleswoman, Mackenzie. She's the only woman in the world who seems immune to his charms, thus the only woman he feels he can honestly be himself with.

When a string of ex-girlfriends start telling tales in the tabloid press, Ethan asks Mackenzie to do him a huge favor by pretending they're engaged to fend off the gossip mongers. She agrees to the deal for a million dollar fee, but soon realizes she isn't as immune to his charms as she thought.

Sassy banter, amusing circumstances and a quick pace keep this book moving along to a satisfying conclusion. Told with alternating hers and his points of view, the reader follows along as both of the main characters realize they've been fooling themselves about what they really want in life and decide if it's worth risking everything to achieve. Highly recommend.

 Buy it on Amazon HERE

Thursday, September 25, 2014

#New Release: WHO R U REALLY? ~ Margo Kelly and her Path to Publication

Please welcome Margo Kelly! Her debut release WHO R U REALLY? was just published a week ago - on September 18 - by Merit Press. Congrats and Happy Book Birthday!! 

In addition to a really cool ripped-from-the-headlines novel, she has a great personal story of perseverance. I can't wait to read this one!

My Path to Publication, by Margo Kelly

In January, 2009, I decided I wanted to change careers and pursue a long forgotten dream of becoming a published author. Sound familiar? I purchased Janet Evanovich's HOW I WRITE and Writer's Digest's GUIDE TO LITERARY AGENTS, and I began my research into the industry.

Six months later, I finished my first manuscript, MANIFESTED, and I started sending out query letters. The rejections flooded in. I had tough skin. I knew rejections were part of the process, but one of the form letters pushed me over the edge. I struck a match and sent the rejection up in flames. (Yes, that was back in the days of snail mail.) Then I took a deep breath and went back to querying.

I also started writing my next manuscript. I read more books on the craft of writing, subscribed to magazines and journals that would help me better my skills, wrote flash fiction to tighten my story telling, and connected with two great critique partners that I met through online communities.

A year later, in August, 2010, I had finished my second manuscript, THE EDUCATION OF THIA, and began to send out query letters. The requests for partials and fulls came in right away! I was so excited! But then rejections followed. I paid attention to the agents’ feedback, because I wanted to improve the story and make it saleable, but it was tricky, because while one said, "The main character is too naive" another said, "The main character sounds too adult." I revised none-the-less.

With a bright and shiny polished version of the story, I headed off to my first writer's conference. I met up with my critique partner, Melissa, and we had an absolute blast. Plus, two agents at the conference requested my full manuscript, and I just knew one of these fabulous agents was going to offer me a contract. Yes-sir-ee!! I went home too excited to work on any writing. I was waiting to hear from the agents.

More than a month later, I sent very polite follow-up emails to the two agents from the conference. Both responded, explaining how busy they were (of course, I understood, I wanted them to take care of their current clients first, that made sense). But I was demoralized. I couldn't seem to start a new manuscript. So I pulled out MANIFESTED and dusted it off. I figured I could work on rewriting it and improving it until I found my writing mojo again.

Three months later, one of the conference agents emailed to tell me she’d decided to shelve my manuscript, unread. She was no longer looking for new clients. By the summer of 2011, the second conference agent emailed and apologized for the delay in reading my manuscript. She said the writing was great, but it didn't excite her enough to offer me representation.

My tough skin had been broken, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to continue down this publishing path. Then I was diagnosed with a rare 12mm lesion in the middle of my brain. After a lot of time and money, the specialists decided there was nothing they could do about it. I had to reevaluate my life, my priorities, and my goals. What if my time was limited here on earth? How would I want to spend it? Through self-evaluation, I realized writing was still important to me, and as a result I refocused my efforts with great fervor.

On November 11, 2011, I sent out eleven queries for BUT HE LOVES ME (formerly known as The Education of Thia). A dream agent from my dream agency requested a partial the same day (it was a Friday). Monday, she requested the full. Wednesday, she requested a phone call. Thursday, we discussed ideas for revisions. I loved all of her suggestions, and my mojo exploded! She said if I could accomplish these revisions, she'd offer me formal representation. I wanted it! I got to work, and I was on fire!  I sent her the revised manuscript about a week and a half later (I know, it sounds like I rushed it, but I'm telling you: I was ON FIRE!!). 

She read it right away and requested more revisions. I got right back to work. I was still excited about the process, and I was thrilled to think that someone had caught the "vision" of my story. While I was busy working on more revisions, she surprised me and mailed me a contract! YES! Not to mention, in the time I was working with her on revisions, other agents had requested partials and fulls. Out of respect, I contacted them to let them know I’d received an offer. One of the agents told me I’d be nuts to not accept the offer from this great agency.

On December 12, 2011, I signed with Brianne Johnson of Writers House. I’ve been smiling ever since, because I have the best agent from the best agency.

From there, we finalized revisions and made another title change before sending the manuscript out on submission. It took a while to sell, partly because the main character’s age put the story on the fence between middle-grade and young adult. However, Jacquelyn Mitchard of Merit Press (an imprint of F+W Media) saw the “merit” in the story and made an offer. With another title change and more revisions, the book, WHO R U REALLY?, will finally be published on September 18, 2014.

Now I’m polishing my next manuscript, and I’ve already started writing another. The publishing process certainly requires persistence and patience, but the future is so exciting.
* * *

Margo Kelly is a native of the Northwest and currently resides in Idaho. A veteran public speaker, she is now actively pursuing her love of writing. Who R U Really? is her first novel. Margo welcomes the opportunities to speak to youth groups, library groups, and book clubs.

Follow her online:
Twitter: @MargoWKelly

Scheduled Appearances:
September 26, 2014 – 5pm – Book Signing at Hastings in Meridian, Idaho
September 27, 2014 – 4pm – Book Signing at Hastings on Overland in Boise, Idaho
October 3, 2014 – 7pm – Book Launch Party at Hyde Park Books in Boise, Idaho
October 11, 2014 – 4pm – Book Signing at Barnes & Noble in Boise, Idaho

About the Book:

When Thea discovers a new role-playing game online, she breaks her parents’ rules to play. And in the world of the game, Thea falls for an older boy named Kit whose smarts and savvy can’t defeat his near-suicidal despair. Soon, he’s texting her, asking her to meet him, and talking in vague ways about how they can be together forever. As much as she suspects that this is wrong, Thea is powerless to resist Kit’s allure, and hurtles toward the very fate her parents feared most. Who R U Really? will excite you and scare you, as Thea’s life spins out of control.

“Kelly has painted a realistic picture of how a smart girl can get caught up in something dangerous online. … Guaranteed to give readers goosebumps.” -- School Library Journal.  (