Year FIVE Blogoversary Celebration!

Today is May 6, 2016, and exactly five years ago I put up my very first blog post on Writability, which is kind of incredible. I never imagined the blog would reach so many people—and I certainly didn't imagine it'd last five years, and yet here we are and it's all thanks to you guys. Whether this is the very first post you're reading here at Writability, or the 918th post, thank you, thank you, thank you.

Every year I like to do a celebration with a bunch of giveaways for you lovely readers, and this year is no different! But because this is the first year I actually have a book to give away, I thought it'd be extra fun to give away both critiques and books. This year we have nineteen critiques and sixteen books up for grabs, so whether you're a writer or reader (or both!) there's plenty for you to win!

The way this is going to work: critiques will each go to one different person (so that's nineteen winners!) whereas the books will all go to the one person in one big batch of books (twenty giveaway winners total). The book giveaway is US-only, but critique giveaways are international. 

Here are the super generous editors and authors who donated awesome prizes for you guys:

Rebecca Donnelly—Query critique

Rebecca Donnelly is the author of the upcoming middle grade novel HOW TO STAGE A CATASTROPHE (Capstone, 2017). She is a former reviewer for School Library Journal and has written for the Horn Book. These days she writes and runs a small library in rural upstate New York. Agent: Molly Ker Hawn of the Bent Agency.

Tara Sim—Query critique

Tara Sim is the author of Timekeeper (Sky Pony Press, Nov. 1, 2016) and can typically be found wandering the wilds of the Bay Area, California. When she's not chasing cats or lurking in bookstores, she writes books about magic, clocks, and explosives. Follow her on Twitter at @EachStarAWorld.

Emma Adams—Query + first chapter critique

Emma is an author of edgy urban fantasy with magic and monsters, including the Changeling Chronicles and the Alliance series. When she’s not immersed in her own fictional worlds, she works as a freelance editor and proofreader, offering services to authors at all stages of the publishing journey. Emma has a BA in English Literature with Creative Writing, and has interned and edited for Curiosity Quills Press and Entangled Publishing. In 2015, she was an editor/mentor for Pitch to Publication.

Kaye Callard—Query + first chapter critique

K. Callard lives in Ottawa, Canada with her husband, three kids, and a life-sized stuffed polar bear. When not writing or taking care of her family, she designs and decorates cakes, reads, and tries not to embarrass herself (or others) with her geekiness. She is represented by Brianne Johnson of Writer’s House.

Lauren James—Query + first chapter critique

Lauren James sold the rights to her first novel The Next Together, a Young Adult science fiction romance, when she was 21. It was published in September by Walker Books in the UK and Australia. Rights have sold in over six territories worldwide, including the USA. It was described by The Bookseller as ‘funny, romantic and compulsively readable’. She is an Arts Council grant recipient, and is longlisted for the 2016 Branford Boase Award. She is now 23, and lives in the West Midlands. You can find her on Twitter at @Lauren_E_James or her website

Jami Nord—Query + first chapter critique

Jami Nord is a freelance editor with Chimera Editing who adores fantasy, scifi, and romance, in any combination, with a soft spot for bi, trans, and disabled characters who get to take the leading role in their own stories. When she's not editing or working at her dayjob, she's reading, cooking, or trying to coax her garden into some semblance of order. #Pitchwars Mentor, #pitchmadness reader/adviser.

Mia Siegert—First ten pages critique

Mia Siegert is the author of Jerkbait, a YA revolving around twins, hockey, gay teen suicide, and online predators. She works as a freelance editor and professor, and her clients and students have gone on to publication.

Amy Trueblood—Submission Package: query + first ten pages critique

A devotee of reading and writing from a very young age, Amy Trueblood grew up surrounded by books. After stints working in entertainment and advertising, she began writing her first manuscript and has never looked back. Her published work has appeared in The Fall and Summer's Edge short story collections as well as Pen & Muses' first Dark Carnival collection. Currently she is a freelance editor with Wild Things Editing. Her work is represented by Roseanne Wells of the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency. To learn more about Amy, check out her blog, Chasing The Crazies, or follow her on Twitter or Tumblr.

Phil Stamper—Submission Package: query + synopsis + first chapter critique

Phil Stamper is a YA writer and freelance editor who lives in Brooklyn, NY. He works in publishing development for a large publishing house you've probably heard of. You can find him on Twitter, where he exclusively talks about food, Brooklyn, and sometimes books.

Shelly Zevlever—Query letter + first three chapters critique

Shelly of Read.Sleep.Critique is offering a critique of a query & the first three chapters of a manuscript. She has interned for a literary agency, blogs, reads and writes. More of her book-obsessed thoughts can be found on Twitter at @shellysrambles.

Sarah Glenn Marsh—Query + First 50 pages critique

Sarah Glenn Marsh, author of the forthcoming young adult fantasies Fear the Drowning Deep (Sky Pony) and the Reign of the Fallen duology (Razorbill/Penguin), as well as several picture books, lives in Virginia with her husband and four rescued greyhounds. When she's not writing, she's often painting, or engaged in pursuits of the nerd variety from video games to tabletop adventures. Visit her online at

Alex Yuschik—Full MS critique (up to 80,000 words)

Alex Yuschik is a writer and freelance editor at K&A Editorial specializing in YA and genre fantasy. Alex's poetry appears in Illumen Magazine, Stone Highway Review, and burntdistrict.

Julia Ember—Full MS critique OR LGBT/Mental Health sensitivity read

Originally from the Windy City, Julia Ember now resides in Sunny Scotland where she learned to enjoy both haggis and black pudding. She spends her days working for a large book distributor, and her nights writing YA Romantic Fantasy novels. A world traveller since childhood, Julia has now visited over 60 countries. Her travels inspire the fictional worlds she writes about and she populates those worlds with magic and monsters. Her first novel, Unicorn Tracks, was released by Harmony Ink Press in April 2016.

L.S. Mooney—Full MS Critique

L.S. Mooney is a binge reader, ballet dancer, and crazy cat lover. In her copious spare time, she writes contemporary YA about quirky girls, the friends who love them, and the boys they don’t really need. Her debut Thoroughly Modern Mirella released from Bookish Group Press on 4/12. You can find her on Twitter: @LSMooney and on her blog:

Kisa Whipkey—Full MS critique

Kisa Whipkey is a dark fantasy author, a martial arts demo team expert, and a complete sucker for Cadbury Mini-eggs. She's also the Acquisitions & Editorial Director for YA/NA publisher, REUTS Publications. Currently, she lives in the soggy Pacific Northwest with her husband and plethora of electronics.

Lydia Sharp—Query + first chapter (up to 10 pages) + 3-page synopsis critique + Print copy of Life Unaware, Cinderella's Shoes, and Love Me Never

Lydia Sharp is an editor for Entangled Publishing, and her debut young adult novel, WHENEVER I’M WITH YOU, releases from Scholastic in 2017. When not completely immersed in a book, Lydia binges on Netflix, pines for Fall, and hosts mad tea parties in Wonderland. Follow on Twitter @lydia_sharp.

Nicole Frail—First 100 pages critique + print copies of Love, Lucas, Life Before, The Wanderers, Divah, and The Fix

Nicole Frail is an editor of both fiction and nonfiction at Skyhorse Publishing in New York City. She acquires mainly cooking and lifestyle/hobby and occasionally adult and YA fiction. Main interests include reading, writing, sleeping, and eating! Find out more at and add her on Twitter at @nfrail17. P.S.: Nicole is my editor at Sky Pony for Beyond the Red. :)

Ava Jae—Submission Package Lite: query + synopsis + first chapter critique + signed copy of Beyond the Red

Ava Jae is a YA writer, a freelance Editor, an Assistant Editor at Entangled Publishing, and is represented by Louise Fury of The Bent Agency. Her YA Sci-Fi debut, BEYOND THE RED, released March 2016 from Sky Pony Press. When she’s not writing about kissing, superpowers, explosions, and aliens, you can find her with her nose buried in a book, nerding out over the latest X-Men news, or hanging out on her blog, Twitter, Facebook, tumblr, Goodreads, Instagram, or YouTube channel.

Rena Olsen—First chapter critique + ARC of The Girl Before

Rena Olsen is a writer, therapist, teacher, and eternal optimist. By day she tries to save the world as a marriage and family therapist and at night she creates new worlds in her writing. Her debut novel, THE GIRL BEFORE, will be available from Putnam 8/9/2016. 

Sarah Ahiers—Signed copy of Assassin's Heart

Sarah Ahiers is the author of ASSASSIN'S HEART (HarperTeen), has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Hamline University and lives in Minnesota with three dogs and a house full of critters. She has a collection of steampunk hats and when she’s not writing she fills her time with good games, good food, good friends and good family.

Jennifer Mason Black—Copy of Devil and the Bluebird

Jennifer is a lifelong fan of most anything with words. She’s checked for portals in every closet she’s ever encountered, and has never sat beneath the stars without watching for UFOs. Her stories have appeared in The Sun, Strange Horizons, and Daily Science Fiction, among others. DEVIL AND THE BLUEBIRD is her first novel.

Kathleen Burkinshaw—Signed copy of The Last Cherry Blossom (releases in August) 

Kathleen Burkinshaw resides in Charlotte, NC. She’s a wife, mom to a daughter in college (dreading the reality of being an empty nester-most of the time), and owns a dog who is a kitchen ninja. Writing gives her an outlet for her daily struggle with chronic pain. Writing historical fiction also satisfies her obsessive love of researching anything and everything.

Tobie Easton—Signed copy of Emerge

Tobie Easton was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, where she’s grown from a little girl who dreamed about magic to a twenty-something who writes about it. Her YA contemporary fantasy novel Emerge (Book 1 in the Mer Chronicles) offers a secret peek into a world where Mermaids aren’t just real but live among us.

Janet Sumner Johnson—Signed copy of The Last Great Adventure of the PB&J Society

Janet Sumner Johnson is a writer, French translator, mom, and cookie aficionado who has moved from Virginia, to Missouri, to Oregon in the last four years. The Last Great Adventure of the PB&J Society is her debut novel. You can follow her as @MsVerbose on Twitter or find her at

Kathy MacMillan—Copy of Sword & Verse

Kathy MacMillan is a writer, American Sign Language interpreter, librarian, and avowed Hufflepuff. Her debut young adult novel, Sword and Verse, explores questions of power and prejudice in an epic fantasy setting, and has been called “fascinating and unique” by National Book Award finalist Franny Billingsley. Find her online at or on Twitter at @kathys_quill.

So many critiques and books! This time around there will be two rafflecopters—one for the critiques, and one for the books. You are free to enter both, or either one—whatever you prefer. The giveaway will run until Friday, May 13th at 11:59 PM EST. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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