Prep School Confidential, Kara Taylor's debut novel, is out today!

The fabulous Kara Taylor came to me several years ago and with a different book. She queried me with a contemporary YA. I read it during the week of BEA and new I had to work with her. The voice was amazing, and the characters were well developed and funny and I couldn't stop thinking about them during all of BEA. 

I'm so lucky to be working with Kara, and I couldn't be happier that Prep School Confidential is out now and available to the world. 

I was at RWA last week and have been desperately trying to catch up with everything I missed while I was out of the office.

Now that I'm (mostly) caught up, I have winners for you!

We had 24 entries and they were all pretty fabulous. I had a tough time picking the winner, but here were the major contenders!

Best Pixie Haircut
rebekahfaubionbooks @ 7:00 pm

Best Dialogue
ReedWrites @ 9:49 pm

Best Last Line
Ambiguous_A @ 1:13 pm

Best Parenting
rosie.pova @ 11:15 pm

Best Prose
Alexia Chantel @ 10:48

Best Voice
Vanessa Shields @ 12:29 pm

Most Creative
Melissa @ 10:24 pm

And the winner is...

Shannon Renee

I’ve daydreamed about my first time a million times. Each fantasy has breathtaking scenery, dialogue that is dripping with romance and I’m utterly brilliant in the sack.

The reality of sleeping with Ethan isn’t as I imaged, but that’s fine. Better than fine.

New and unexpected emotions leave my voice rough and my thoughts scattered. I say the same word over and over again.

Who knew, “Yes” was my favorite word?

He tastes like a blue pixie stick, and is voice quivers when he tells me he loves me. It’s not luck that sends me over the edge, shaking anew.

Congrats Shannon. Shoot me an email and I'll get you a copy of Anew and critique your query or pages!
Today's pretty special, I have an anthology out today!

Now what is Carniepunk? Well, this group of authors which came up with the idea for this anthology themselves define it as: 

It is a place of magic, of first kisses on Ferris wheels, and a place of deception, where monsters wait silently in the dark.

I represent the fabulous Allison Pang who has an short story in the anthology which is connected to her Abby Sinclair series. She came to me and asked if I would shop the anthology collection that she and the other authors had developed, and I thought it sounded like a great idea! Now months later, here it is. 
Yesterday, this fabulous cover was revealed:

Covers in this industry get redesigned all the time for a variety of different reasons. 

One important reason is to make sure that the book stands out.

I adore this new cover. It's similar to the last one, but the silhouette reminds me of a particularly sexy scene that I adore. So I think it fits perfectly. 

But you know what's better than even a cover reveal?

For all of your writers out there, what I love most about A Litte Too Far (and there's a lot to love) is Lexie and her voice. I know right form the first line that I would absolutely love this character.

I hope you enjoy it too!

Today as part of my New Adult Addiction, I'm talking to Chelsea Fine. You might be familiar with her YA series, The Archers of Avalon.

Well, she's working on a New Adult novel right now. And let me tell you, it's awesome.

Anyway, onto the good part. Welcome Chelsea. Why don't you have your main character, Pixie, tell us what your book is about in 140 characters or less.

What was I thinking, living under the same roof as Levi’s blue eyes? There’s no way I’ll survive the summer. I can barely survive breakfast.

What was your favorite chapter scene to write and why?

I loved writing the scene where my two main characters first kissed. It was sweet and intense…and it took place in a fort during an epic game of Capture the Flag, so yeah. Big fun.

You do kissing scenes so well. Who’s your favorite character to write and why?

My protagonist, Pixie! She’s messy and sad, and has a tendency to ramble. But she’s also snarky and tough, so she was really fun to write.

I want her to be my new best friend. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination? 

There are two or three scenes where Pixie is painting, and I drew on my personal experience as an artist for those descriptions. She paints with her fingers, like I do. Also, she’s messy and unorganized like I am.

You've written a lot of books. Did you always want to be a writer? 

No, actually. I wanted to be a freelance artist, painting murals and canvases for a living—but that was mostly because my younger sister always wanted to be a writer. So the profession of writing was already claimed. But then I went a published a book so… *makes face* Awk-ward. Haha.

What was the first work you had published?

A little novella called Sophie & Carter. *happy sigh* I love that book. 

And, how did you get your agent? 

Luck. Prayers. Fairy dust. The usual.

(Chelsea forgot to mention Good writing. Her second novel Anew had just come out and a producer wanted to option the film rights. He reached out to me and recommended I read her work. I did, and I was desperate to work with her.)

I know you're writing full time now, but what other jobs have you done to support your writing? 

I worked at a credit union for seven years. During my employment there, I was held at gunpoint three times. So I was pretty thrilled the day I got to quit and start writing full time. Hooray for surviving a bank job.

I didn't know that! That's crazy--I'll need to hear those stories at some point. Also, I suspect you could use that as inspiration to write a great thriller!  

Anyway, back to writing. What are you working on at the minute?

I’m currently finishing up my first New Adult book, as well as working on my first MG series.

The New Adult book is about childhood friends who grow up together, experience a tragedy, and drift apart. But a year later, they end up living next door to one another for the summer and find it difficult to keep the past, well…in the past. It’s a story about hurt and healing, and true love of course.

And the MG series is about a young girl who stumbles upon some magic in Scotland and goes on a wild ride through a world steeped in fantasy, beauty, and danger in order to find her way back home.

Eeek! I’m so excited for both!

So since this is your first New Adult novel, what first drew you to the genre?

The age group! 18-25 is sort of like a Dark Age and I LOVE the concept of giving characters that fall into this lost time some roles in the literary world. Instead of only knowing what their first kiss/love/heartbreak was like in high school and then jumping right into their career lives in their thirties, we can actually let all the significant life changes of their “college years” play out. Forget high school, those are the years that truly shape us.

I know you read a lot of New Adult too. What would you love to see next in the genre?

More paranormal New Adult. And maybe a “New Adult” version of some popular Young Adult book series? That might be fun. 

That sounds like a lot of fun. I can already think of a few series that I'd love to see "New Adult" versions of! 

Here's where you can find out more about Chelsea, including what we do with her New Adult novel when it's all finished.

And now it's contest time! I'm in the mood for another 100 word writing contest.

Here are the details:

You need to write a short story (100 words or less!) using these five words:


Post your story in the comments of this post by 11:59 pm on July 13th

What do you win?

A paperback copy of Anew by Chelsea Fine


Your choice: either a first page critique or a query critique--good for you or a friend if you're feeling generous.

Can't wait to see what you come up with!
We had 25 Entries this time! Thanks to everyone who entered!

And congrats to the winners!

Best Last Line
Wendy Hedrick @ 10:44 PM

Most Creative
ifeomadennis @11:51 PM

Best Tone
Lee @ 2:50 AM

Best Worldbuilding
Ambiguous_A @ 10:19 PM

Best Paranormal Hero
Jocelynfrentz @ 2:50 PM

Best Opening
Nikola Vukoja @ 7:29 PM

Runners Up
Melissa @ 12:34 AM


Abrielle1 @ 2:55 AM

And the winner is...


I have a supernatural stomach.

My mother told me that once, after she chastised me under the magnolia trees for gobbling up my entire birthday cake when I was five. She said I looked like a bowling ball on twigs.

I still do. It’s kind of hot. Or not.

Today’s a new day. I'll be the queen of quaff, the guru of gorge, a devouring diva in a pastime as American as assault rifles and apple pie. I’m going to win. My belly will be my meal ticket. Have hot dogs, will swallow.

The first bite is always the hardest.

Congrats Saraland. Shoot me an email and collect your prizes!

It's a great place to get New Adult recommendations. (After all if you like hot guys and they've made the tournament, you know they must be awesome).

And you can Vote for Garrick

Today as part of my New Adult Addiction, I'm talking to Megan Powell. Megan's first novel, No Peace for the Damned was sold and published before New Adult was actually considered by many people, including me, to be a thing.

However, the more I've been reading of New Adult and the more I've been thinking about where New Adult will go in the future, the more I think Megan's novel could be classified as a "New Adult Paranormal" novel.

Here's why:

In No Peace for the Damned, the main character Magnolia Kelch (who I love) is 22. And in the opening scene, she leaves home for the very first time (not for college, but because her family is evil and twisted). At the core, everything that happens in the novel revolves around Magnolia trying to make the right choices and figure out where she fits in the world now that she's on her own. It's funny and sexy and Magnolia is a great character who makes mistakes but keeps moving forward anyway.

Anyway, onto the good part. Welcome Megan. Tell us what your book is about in 140 characters or less.

A powerful young woman joins forces with a secret security agency to fight against her influential family's supernatural terrorism.

Is this book part of a series?

Yes. NO PEACE FOR THE DAMNED is the first in the Magnolia Kelch series.

The second one is called No Love for the Wicked and it will be out August 13th! But back to No Peace, what was your favorite chapter to write and why?

Chapter 29 was definitely my favorite chapter to write. It was also the very first chapter I wrote. I had that scene with Magnolia and Theo on the couch long before I knew anything else about the characters or the story around them. All I knew was that this incredibly sexy young woman, who felt separate from everyone around her, suddenly felt a genuine, normal connection to someone else. The excitement of that moment overshadowed any other insecurities so that when she revealed her tattoo without thought of the consequences, she revealed an innocence that would otherwise be out of character. That moment shows that more than anything, all she really wanted was to have something – anything – in common with someone else.

What about character? Who's your favorite?

Definitely Magnolia. The book is told from her point of view so I really get to slip into her mind while I write. I love that she is strong and powerful, terrified and angry, whip-smart and completely naïve all at the same time. I remember very clearly being twenty-two and thinking I was the toughest person in the world with all these life experiences while at the same time feeling more vulnerable and uncertain than ever. It is a wonderful experience to be able to relive those feelings through a character with such unlimited potential.

Did you always want to be a writer?

Not at all. In fact, it never even occurred to me to be a writer until the day I started writing NO PEACE FOR THE DAMNED. I was all about the business world and making my mark in corporate America. Life, however, had other plans. After years of my children being in day care twelve hours a day, having a husband I saw only on the weekends (if we were lucky), and parents with health problems, I decided it was time for some serious priority adjustments. I left my career to be a stay-at-home mom in 2006. By the end of 2008, I was pulling my hair out and seriously questioning my sanity. I needed an escape as much as I needed an outlet for all my frustrations. January 2009, I started writing about Magnolia Kelch. Now, in 2013, as a published writer, I’m still wondering about that sanity thing.

That's fantastic! What about the first work you had published, what was it?

The very first work I ever had published was a small (200 word) article on available youth sports in a small local paper. I think I got $5.00.

How did you get your agent? (Megan is represented by the fabulous Joanna Volpe, you may have heard of her...)

I met my agent at the Midwest Writer’s Workshop at Ball State University in 2009. I was introduced to her through a fellow writer who had read part of my manuscript and knew that this agent was looking for urban fantasy novels. For me, it was love at first sight. I think it took my agent a little longer, though. :)

I'm pretty sure that love at first sight thing was mutual. Did you query? How many (if any) rejection letters did you get?

I sent out a total of seven query letters before signing with my agent. Of those, I received three rejections, three requests for further pages and one none response.

You and I have recently talked about New Adult and the genre and how your book could possibly fit into that. What does “New Adult” mean to you?

To me, YA is all about firsts. First love, first time sticking up for yourself, first time trying something new and discovering what is really important to you or who you really are. New Adult, then, takes all those firsts and blows them out of the water. You think you found true love? Well, let’s see what happens when you and your love live in separate states, start separate careers, develop new priorities. You’ve found your moral compass? Great. Now let’s see what happens when those morals have to fight a war in a foreign country or take orders from a boss you’ve never met. New Adult is all about challenges and empowerment. It’s watching characters test what they know to be true and struggle to stay who they believe they really are.

I really like that description! Before you go, leave us with a quote from your book?

In that last moment of consciousness I had to chastise myself. I was not supposed to live in this world without violence and pain. And I was an idiot to have ever let myself think otherwise.

To learn more about Megan, here's where you can find her on the internet:

Facebook: Megan Powell, writer
Twitter: @MeganPwrites
Amazon Author Page:

And now it's contest time! The last one went so well, so let's do another 100 word writing contest.

Here are the details:

You need to write a short story (100 words or less!) using these five words:


Post your story in the comments of this post by 11:59 pm on July 5th

What do you win?

A paperback copy of No Peace for the Damned by Megan Powell


A first page critique this time--also good for you or a friend if you're feeling generous

Good luck!
A few weeks ago, I asked twitter who had questions about New Adult and what they were. A number of people responded (and I'll have answers to those questions soon), but there was one question that stood out above the rest. There were several variations in the way that question was asked, but the gist was this:

Will New Adult grow into different genres or is it strictly going to be contemporary romance?

I've thought a lot about this, and the different ways that I could attempt to answer it. The simple truth is that I don't know. I believe that we're at a pivotal moment within New Adult where we could go either way and which way it goes is going to depend on the market and sales and most importantly readers.

But let's try to puzzle it out and predict the future anyway.

The definition of New Adult finally seems to be pretty consistent. Even Wikipedia seems to have a good description of the genre:

a developing genre of fiction with protagonists in the 18-25 age bracket...New Adult fiction tends to focus on issues such as leaving home, developing sexuality, and negotiating education and career choices.

Right now, the genre as a whole has been gaining popularity at a pretty break neck speed. The books that appear to be most successful in terms of sales and most talked about as New Adult Books are contemporary romances. A lot of them began as self-published books and have been since bought by traditional houses. They're selling extremely well as ebooks at sometimes a lower price point than the traditional $7.99.

From what I've seen, the audience is predominantly women, but that isn't saying that much since about 80% of fiction readers are women. I would speculate that while New Adult books are about and for twentysomethings that similar to YA readership, a lot of the audience is probably people like me, who are no longer in their twenties but enjoy the nostalgia and angst of the time period (though are probably glad to have gotten past the angsty stage in their life).

If we're going to take a page from the expansion of the YA genre several years ago, we'll see that there are a number of genres or subgenres that readers will move between without too much hesitation. Speculative fiction, fantasy, science fiction, mystery, and thriller can all be suited to the character development that we see defining New Adult.

Which of course begs the question of what's already out there in the world of adult fiction that could be be enjoyed by fans of New Adult. A few titles that instantly come to my mind are:

No Peace for the Damned by Megan Powell: urban fantasy with a twenty-two year old descended from
a demon who leaves home for the first time...and then joins a group of humans who are trying to destroy her family.

Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey: the first novel in a very epic fantasy series that follows a young women who has been raised and trained to be what is essentially a high class prostitute as she gets swept up in politics, treason, and even revolution.

Waking the Witch and Spell Bound by Kelley Armstrong: these two titles are part of her Women of the Otherworld series and are narrated by Savannah, a character who first appeared as a child in the series, but is now officially an adult and trying to prove herself and balance her power as a witch.

Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost: In the first book of the series, Cat is just a young college student who happens to also be hunting vampires and making the world a safe place.

Julianna Baggot's series which begins with Pure is a dystopian published by Grand Central but it has young characters and "crossover appeal."

(Clearly you can see my tastes often run to the paranormal/fantasy spectrum here...)

As New Adult continues to grow, we're hearing more about New Adult novels that are branching out into new genres.

Recently, The Registry by Shannon Stoker was released. It's a dystopian novel with an eighteen year old protagonist. It's being published by William Morrow and being marketed as New Adult.

Promise by Kristie Cook and Descension by BC Burgess are two paranormal New Adult novels that are on my TBR list after seeing them in NA Alley's New Adult crush tournament.

And then there have been deal announcements for established authors who have new books with traditional publishers. 

Andrea Cremer, writing as A.D. Robertson has a new series coming out, starting with Captive. It takes place in the same world as her Nightshade books, but this is an adult novel (with erotic content). The main character is 25 and I've heard it could be described as New Adult.

Sarah J Maas has a new series, A Court of Thorns and Roses, which is being marketed as New Adult fantasy: A retelling of ”Beauty and the Beast,” “Tam-Lin,” and ”East of the Sun, West of the Moon,” A Court of Thorns and Roses tells the story of a young woman growing into herself, learning to love, and understanding the true nature of sacrifice.

And just last week, Jaime McGuire's new series, starting with Red Hill, was announced. It's described as a love story set against the backdrop of the zombie apocalypse.

So what does all of this mean for the future?

Well, to me it means that there's a lot of possibility. I think we could see more new adult in the future--and more new adult spanning into different genres. However, it might be an uphill battle for a debut author writing a new adult fantasy or a new adult thriller or a new adult novel without a romance. At least until we see even more success outside of just contemporary romance.

Of course it just takes one "yes" to get a novel published. And it just takes one success to open more doors within the genre. I'm excited to see this happen.

So for everyone still building their summer reading lists, what are some great new adult novels outside of the contemporary romance genre that I've missed? Or what are some great novels that were published before the rise of New Adult that would fit the genre? I'd love to hear more recommendations!
We got 28 Entries and it was awesome but tough to go through and pick a winner.

Some honorable mentions are:

Best Description
Megan @ 10:45 am

Best nod to John Green
Matthew Masucci @ 2:53pm
(bonus points for the turducken reference)

Best Secret Addiction--Origami
Ambiguous-A @ 4:37pm

Best Twist
MFGoddard @ 10:04am

Best Fairytale
R.Lynn @ 1:05 pm

Best Use of "New Leaf"
Aaron Cole @ 6:37 am

Best Poem
HD Elliott @ 9:46 pm

Best Voice
Arwen @ 11:57 pm

Best New Adult Entry
trfloyd @ 11:30 am

The Runner-up is
abrielle1 @ 1:55pm

And the winner is...

Leigh Michael
His emerald-green eyes dim before closing. I curse myself for being too late. With one hand, I brush my hair from my face. With the other, I gently lay his head on the sterile floor of our lab. 

He was my addiction. We were like ravens in more ways than one: devoted scavengers, mated to each other and our work. They took his life and fled, acting much like ravens themselves: opportunistic. Our secrets have been stolen; the future of science is in the hands of the unjust. Now I seek revenge for him, for us. It’s my new addiction.

Congrats Leigh Michael. Shoot me an email and collect your prizes!