1 Million Pageview Giveaway Winners!

Photo credit: W Mustafeez on Flickr
First and foremost! Thank you to everyone for entering—this was a really exciting giveaway and I had so much fun watching everyone else get excited about it.

There are a lot of winners, so I’m just going to get to it!

Writer critiques!

  • Query critique from Jennifer Blackwood: Kailey
  • Query critique from Vicki Leigh (five winners!): Tiffany Dailey, Erin Beaty, Kimberly VanderHost, Sam Taylor, and Chris Owens
  • First page critique from Riki Cleveland: Chris Owens
  • Query and first chapter critique from Rae Chang: MVB
  • Query and first ten pages critique from KT Hanna: Julia Essenburg 
  • First three chapters critique from Cait Spivey: Kelsey Simon
  • Query and first three chapters critique from Kate Brauning: Ruth Mitchell
  • Query and first fifty pages critique from me: JC
  • Full MS critique (edit letter only) from Naomi Hughes: Annie Nilson
  • Reader report from Kisa Whipkey: Fiona
  • Full MS critique from Nicole Tone: Mel Stephenson

Reader prizes! 

  • UNETHICAL by Jennifer Blackwood (e-book): Heather DiAngelis
  • THE SIGHT SEER by Melissa Giorgio (e-book): Anne Rose Becker
  • UNLEASHED by Rachel Lacey (signed paperback or e-book): Jean Marie Brennan
  • BEHIND THE SCENES by Dahlia Adler (signed paperback): Jamie
  • KINDAR’S CURE by Michelle Hauck (paperback or e-book): Gwen Burke 
  • DARKNESS WATCHING by Emma Adams (e-book): Renée Price
  • EVERLY AFTER by Becka Paul (e-book): Brenda Keller
  • A IS FOR ANGELICA by Iain Broome (signed paperback): Carly Bates
  • HOW TO DATE DEAD GUYS by Ann M. Noser (e-books): Kat Helgeson & Lihn Guyenng
  • COME BACK TO TEXAS by KK Hendin (print or e-book): Gabryelle Konn
  • THE PAPER MAGICIAN (signed paperback + bookmarks): Paige
  • I SEE THE WEB & A SINGLE THREAD by Cait Spivey: Aimee Hyndman
  • THE WICKED WE HAVE DONE by Sarah Harian (e-book): Michelle Domenici
  • THE SOUND OF US by Ashley Poston (e-book): Jessica Harvey
  • MAKE IT COUNT by Megan Erickson (e-book): Heather DiAngelis
  • CATCH ME WHEN I FALL (signed paperback or e-book): Nicole Zoltack

So that’s it! Thanks again to everyone who entered—and to those who see their names here, you should be receiving an e-mail very shortly (if it’s not already in your inboxes!). Keep an eye out today. :)

For Writers, Some Things Don’t Get Easier

Photo credit: sunside on Flickr
So after wrestling my WIP through another round of revisions, I’ve been thinking about how this latest WIP has been one of the toughest books for me to write yet.

I think there are probably a lot of reasons for that, but I found it interesting, because this is far from my first book. This WIP is, in fact, the twelfth MS I’ve written, and so you’d think that I’d have the whole book-writing thing down pat by down.

Except, you know, I don’t.

I mean, sure, I know my process now. I know I do my best first drafts when I fast draft and I need some air between first drafting and editing. I know my general cycle is first drafting, revising, CPing, revising, CPing, revising, maybe more CP/betaing, and maybe more revising before sending it off.

But the actual writing part? And the actual revising part? It is so tough sometimes, you guys, and I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I sat back and wondered if I was wasting my time with this MS.

Because the truth is, writing doesn’t get easier. And neither does having confidence in your work, at least, not all the time. And even after you’ve written WIP after WIP, you’ll still have some days (or even some entire MSs!) that spew out words ridiculously easy, then you’ll still have some days (or, again, even entire WIPs) where you have to fight for every single word. And it’s not because you’re a bad writer, or haven’t learned anything, or you’re doomed to never getting published—it’s just the way it is. And it’s something I’m about 99% sure every writer deals with, regardless of how many books they’ve written or published or not.

Pressing send doesn’t get easier, either. Whether that send is to your CP, or your agent, or the thirtieth query or whatever, sending your work out is scary every single time. And I mean, it helps that I’ve learned that the best thing for me to do is immediately distract myself after pressing send, and absolutely not looking at the manuscript or the e-mail (because, invariably, I will find a typo, or misplaced comma, or something equally horrifying). But it’s still nerve-wracking and I still glance at my e-mail more than I should wondering if today will be the day my CPs nicely tell me this WIP sucks.

So here’s the hard truth: some parts of the writing process really don’t get easier or less terrifying. But being a writer means buckling up and riding the emotional rollercoaster that is known as our careers. And it’s true that some things don’t get easier, but to me? Creating new worlds and characters and stories and sharing them with readers makes it all so very very worth it.

What parts of the writing/revision process do you find difficult? 

Twitter-sized bites: 
.@Ava_Jae says, "some parts of the writing process really don’t get easier or less terrifying." What do you think? (Click to tweet)  
What parts of the writing/revision process do you find difficult? Join the discussion on @Ava_Jae's blog. (Click to tweet)

Vlog: How to Survive NaNoWriMo Week 4

It's the FINAL WEEK of NaNoWriMo! And I've got some encouragement and tips to help you make it to your NaNo goal. Enjoy!


Twitter-sized bite: 
It's NaNoWriMo week 4 & @Ava_Jae has vlogged some tips to help you reach your goal! (Click to tweet)

From Probably Not to Potentially Yes

Photo credit: Antti Kyllönen on Flickr
It’s November 24, 2014, and a year ago today I did not have an agent or a book deal.

A year ago today I was a writer with a bunch of queries out, and one agent with my full manuscript, and I was jumping at every e-mail, and resting after finishing NaNoWriMo early, and I had absolutely no idea that I was weeks away from getting The Call.

So much has changed in a year.

After writing (and trunking) manuscript after manuscript, I’ve kind of had to adjust to a new method of thinking. It used to be, when I wrote, that most of the time I assumed chances were likely no one would ever see it (while not the case for everyone, this kind of thinking is somewhat inevitable when you trunk as many manuscripts as I did). And in a way, that was safe. It meant it didn’t matter how good or bad the manuscript was, how much work it would potentially need, whether the idea was overdone or the characters were weak or what-have-you, none of that mattered. It was freeing, in a way, to write thinking that nothing mattered because chances were likely no one would see it.

Things are different now. And I love that they’re different—really, honestly and truly, I do—but it’s been a weird shift.

Now I’ve gone from probably no one will see this to any one of these could potentially be published. And I mean, that’s not to say I can’t trunk a manuscript if I don’t like it or don’t think it’ll work (I definitely can), but going from probably not to potentially yes has been so so strange.

After trunking nine manuscripts in a row, I’ve got one on its way to you guys (yay!) and three more in my revising queue. And I obviously don’t know for sure that any of the ones I’m working on are going to get published (or even go on submission, for that matter), but each one of them is a potentially yes and that just totally blows my mind.

And you know? Weird as it is, I'm so thankful for the shift. While it’s sometimes terrifying, it’s also ridiculously exciting, and I’m so psyched to share my stories with my CPs and incredible agent and hopefully, eventually, you.

Probably not was a safe place to grow and learn and develop my writing, and I’m absolutely thankful for that stage in my writing journey.

But now that potentially yes is here? I couldn’t be more grateful.

What are you grateful for this year? 

Twitter-sized bites: 
Post agent and book deal, @Ava_Jae shares a shift in the way she sees her WIPs. (Click to tweet
Writer @Ava_Jae shares one big thing she's grateful for this year. What are you grateful for this year? (Click to tweet)

Book Review: HUSHED by Kelley York

Photo credit: Goodreads
Yes, I know I just recently reviewed a book, but I’ve read another great one, and I want to review it before I forget. So.

Before I begin! Here’s the Goodreads summary:
He’s saved her. He’s loved her. He’s killed for her. 
Eighteen-year-old Archer couldn’t protect his best friend, Vivian, from what happened when they were kids, so he’s never stopped trying to protect her from everything else. It doesn’t matter that Vivian only uses him when hopping from one toxic relationship to another—Archer is always there, waiting to be noticed. 
Then along comes Evan, the only person who’s ever cared about Archer without a single string attached. The harder he falls for Evan, the more Archer sees Vivian for the manipulative hot-mess she really is. 
But Viv has her hooks in deep, and when she finds out about the murders Archer’s committed and his relationship with Evan, she threatens to turn him in if she doesn’t get what she wants… And what she wants is Evan’s death, and for Archer to forfeit his last chance at redemption.”
First and foremost! Hushed by Kelley York is a New Adult Thriller/MM Romance! I’ve seen a lot of people call it YA, but Archer and Evan are in college (as are all the major characters) and it’s published by Entangled’s Embrace line (which is a New Adult line). So just clearing that up. (Also, full disclosure: I'm an Assistant Editor for Entangled, but they did not ask me to review this book. I'm reviewing it because I enjoyed it and that's it).

Related to the NA note: for those of you nervous about reading NA because of the potentially graphic content, this book is pretty tame. There’s one (literally) steamy scene, but there isn’t graphic content, and more than anything there’s just a lot of adorable cuddles and kisses. (Though, trigger warning, there’s some sexual assault mentioned throughout the book).

Okay! So as for the actual book, this was such an interesting read. First of all, I can only think of one other book I’ve read from the primary POV of a serial killer (or, I suppose, vigilante, depending on how you look at it) and it made for a totally fascinating read. Mix in the super unhealthy relationship between Archer and Vicki and the ridiculously adorable Evan (who I just want to huggle forever) and I was totally hooked. The plot is interesting, the pacing works well and the relationships are complicated. I was totally emotionally invested and I really really enjoyed it.

Minor gripes: I may have missed it, but I don't think Archer specifically identifies as bisexual, which isn't a deal-breaker, but as he's pretty obviously bisexual, I would have liked to see him identify and help fight against bi erasure. (Though, if I missed it, which is totally possible, then never mind). Also, toward the end, I started getting kind of aggravated with Vivian and Archer's relationship, but I didn't think it was necessarily unrealistic...just frustrating. So.

All in all, I loved reading Hushed and I was so extremely happy to not only see some diversity on the NA shelf, but to see some diversity in a NA book that isn't strictly Contemporary Romance (*double high five!*). If you’re looking for some diversity to add your NA shelf, I absolutely recommend Hushed.

Do you have any diverse NA recommendations for me? I’d love to hear about them!

Twitter-sized bites: 
.@Ava_Jae gives 4.5/5 stars to HUSHED by @elixing. Have you read this gripping LGBTQ+ NA Thriller? (Click to tweet)    
Looking for an intense NA read with a LGBTQ+ protag? Check out HUSHED by @elixing. (Click to tweet)

Why Publishing Pros Must Love Your Work

Photo credit: savvysmilinginlove on Flickr
Over the years, I’ve seen some statements made online about the necessity (or not) of agents and editors loving your manuscript. These statements, which I’ve seen repeated multiple times in various words go a little something like this: 
Agents/editors don’t need to love your work to represent/buy it. They just need to think it can sell. 
This confused me when I first saw it years ago, then made me frowny as I got to know the industry better, and now just makes me a teensie bit annoyed, because you guys? It’s not true. It’s not even a little bit true.

The publishing industry, as it turns out, is not comprised of soulless, money-grubbing robots. Agents and editors (and assistants and copy editors and everyone else involved in the business) are people who genuinely love books and genuinely want to see manuscripts (and authors) they love succeed.

That, right there, is the core of it.

Now, that’s not to say that the potential to sell a manuscript isn’t important—it absolutely is, and writers get rejections along the lines of I really loved this, but I don’t think I can sell it all the time.

But the reverse is equally important, because it doesn’t matter how much selling potential your manuscript has, an agent or editor who doesn’t love your manuscript isn’t the right agent or editor for you. (And vice versa—a manuscript an agent or editor isn’t passionate about isn’t the right manuscript for them).

Think about it: publishing a book traditionally is not a one-man project. It involves writers and agents and editors and copyeditors and assistants and publicists and cover designers and layout designers and probably other people I’m not thinking of at the moment and you know what they all have in common? They all want to make your book awesome. And for agents and editors especially, who are most involved in championing you and your book and making your novel as amazing as possible, trying to do all of that work for a manuscript they didn’t love would not only be difficult, but it’d probably be a tad bit painful.

You don’t want an agent or editor who doesn’t love your work, because they won’t be able to do the best job possible for it (and for you). You want industry pros by your side who love your book as much as you do, because they’re the ones who will be able to help you bring your book to its fullest potential.

And when that happens? It’s pretty incredible for everyone involved.

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree that it’s important for publishing pros to love your work? 

Twitter-sized bites: 
"An agent or editor who doesn’t love your manuscript isn’t the right agent or editor for you." (Click to tweet)  
Is it necessary for agents and editors to love your work? @Ava_Jae weighs in her thoughts. (Click to tweet)

Vlog: How to Survive NaNoWriMo Week 3

It's week THREE of NaNoWriMo! And this time I've got some tips to help you get through the middle NaNo slog.


Twitter-sized bite: 
It's NaNoWriMo week 3 & @Ava_Jae has some tips to help you get you through the middle NaNo slog. (Click to tweet)

What We Talk About When We Talk About Voice

Photo credit: HowardLake on Flickr
Ah, voice. The semi-ambiguous, yet oh-so-incredibly important descriptor of…what, exactly?

Whenever I’m asked to define voice, I will openly admit I tend to struggle. You know, I say. It’s the writing. How the words are put together. The flow and rhythm and word choice and…words. 

The words. Yes, I see now why I’m a writer.

As difficult as it can sometimes be to describe, voice is a huge component when it comes to how people read and interpret your writing. And in the publishing industry, it is, quite frequently, a make-or-break element of a manuscript. For example
The voice didn’t grab me.  
I didn’t love the voice as much as I’d hoped.  
The voice is too X for my tastes.
are all reasons I’ve seen submissions rejected or books poorly reviewed (or even used when recommending a rejection myself). By the same token
The voice is so compelling (or quirky or [insert happy adjective here]). 
The voice is strong and well-written. 
are all praises I’ve seen (and/or given) for submissions and published books.

So, okay, we all know it’s important, but what is it? And why is it so important? (These two questions are related, so the answers will be two-fold).

Voice is everything I said above, and more. It’s every syntax and word choice you make, it’s why you said the color of the sky right before a snowstorm instead of grayish blue or even just gray. It’s why you said Kristoff was completely and utterly drained instead of Kristoff was so so tired or Kristoff was f*cking exhausted.

It's the difference between
"I am an hourglass.  
My seventeen years have collapsed and buried me from the inside out. My legs feel full of sand and stapled together, my mind overflowing with grains of indecision, choices unmade and impatient as time runs out of my body. The small hand of a clock taps me at one and two, three and four, whispering hello, get up, stand up, it's time to  
wake up 
wake up 
'Wake up,' he whispers." —Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi
"There's these two kids, boys, sitting close together, squished in by the big arms of an old chair. You're the one on the left.  
The other boy's warm to lean close to, and he moves his gaze from the telly to you sort of in slow motion.  
'You enjoying it?' he asks." —Half Bad by Sally Green
"XTC was no good for drowning out the morons at the back of the bus.  
Park pressed his headphones into his ears.  
Tomorrow he was going to bring Skinny Puppy or the Misfits. Or maybe he'd make a special bus tape with as much screaming and wailing on it as possible." —Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

It’s what you say, how you say it and it’s embedded in every sentence of your manuscript.

Which is why it’s so important. Voice is a fundamental part of a book—if the reader doesn’t connect with or like the voice for one reason or another, chances are very likely they’re not going to really enjoy the book. For agents and editors, not liking the voice in a manuscript means they aren’t going to love the manuscript, which means they’re not going to offer (because believe it or not, the work behind publishing is very much a labor of love). Not liking a voice means they’re probably not going to offer an R&R, either. (Probably). Why? Because fixing the voice isn’t something you can really do. At least, not without a ridiculously huge overhaul.

Don’t get me wrong, a problem spot here and there where the voice feels off can totally slide as long as the voice in the rest of the manuscript is solid—problem spots, after all, can be fixed. Entire manuscripts with large-scale voice issues? Much more difficult.

So what does this mean? How do you learn to write a compelling voice? How do you know if your voice is any good?

The answer is pretty simple, really:

  1. Read (a lot). 
  2. Write (a lot). 
  3. Trade critiques with CPs (a lot). 
  4. Repeat. 
  5. Also, read. 

This may seem like a simplistic way to answer a complicated question, but there’s really no better way to become a better writer and learn to recognize (and, eventually, produce) compelling voices.

And once it clicks? There’s no going back. Which, in this case, is a pretty awesome thing.

What do you think? Would you add anything to the voice explanation? Also, what are some examples of compelling voices you’ve come across? 

Twitter-sized bites: 
When it comes to writing, what is voice and why is it so important? @Ava_Jae shares her thoughts. (Click to tweet)  
.@Ava_Jae says voice is frequently a make-or-break element of a MS. What do you think? (Click to tweet)  
Voice is "what you say, how you say it and it's embedded in every sentence of your manuscript." (Click to tweet)

Book Review: FANGIRL by Rainbow Rowell

Photo credit: Goodreads
So, okay, I know I’m wayyyy late to this party and people on Twitter have been recommending Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell  to me for ages, but I finally got around to it! And. Um. Well.

I loved it.

Before I go into why, for the few of you who don’t know, here’s the Goodreads summary:

“Cath is a Simon Snow fan. 
Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan...
But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving. 
Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere. 
Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to. 
Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words... And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone. 
For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? 
Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories? 
And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?”

So the number one thing I’ve heard people rave about with Fangirl is that they found it really relatable, and, well, I’m going to jump onto that bandwagon because reading Cath was like reading me (I mean, awkward, anxiety-prone, introverted writer? IT’S LIKE YOU KNOW ME, RAINBOW ROWELL). There were so many moments that I thought wow, I’ve done that or wow, I’ve felt exactly like that and I have to say? That doesn’t really happen often. In fact, I can’t really think of even one other time where that’s happened before.

But what I really really really loved about Fangirl was something I wasn’t even aware the book covered at all: mental illness representation.

I don’t think this is a spoiler, since we kind of learn this pretty early on: Cath’s dad is bipolar and she deals with some major anxiety struggles. Cath, at least, is never officially diagnosed with anything, but we can see right from the beginning that the anxiety she struggles with is much more than the norm. And it wasn’t just that it was included that I loved (though that’s part of it), but it was the way Rowell handled it so respectfully and without judgment.

I’ll openly admit that I haven’t had the chance to read many anxiety-prone protagonists (though not because I don’t want to!), but I can say, at least for Cath, that reading her perspective, and what things made her nervous, and how that anxiety manifested felt so real to me, largely because I’ve experienced many of the same thoughts and anxiety grossness and seeing it represented so honestly was so wonderful to read.

So go read Fangirl for the wonderful writing, the lovely characters, the gay vampire/mage fan fiction (yes, really), the realistic-yet-adorable romance and emotional ups and downs. But also read Fangirl for the way Rowell so respectfully portrayed characters with mental illness, without judging or stereotypes or harmful language or assumptions.

I’m giving Fangirl five stars and a huge high five to Rainbow Rowell. Fangirl is so very well done and I can’t recommend it more.

Have you read this book? Do you have any recommendations for me (particularly ones that portray mental illness respectfully)? 

Twitter-sized bites: 

.@Ava_Jae gives 5/5 stars to FANGIRL by @rainbowrowell. Have you read this wonderful YA Contemporary? (Click to tweet)   
Looking for a great YA read w/ respectful mental illness representation? Try FANGIRL by @rainbowrowell. (Click to tweet)

One Million Pageview Giveaway (Part II)!

So as promised, today kicks off PART II of the celebration here at Writability with yet another giveaway! And this time, it's for READERS.

That's right, today we're giving away seventeen books that'll go to sixteen winners! Some are e-books, some are signed paperbacks and many are available internationally, so there's a little something for everyone. :) 

As you may have guessed, this is another long post, so I'm just going to cut to the chase and start the giveaway of awesomeness.

Amy McNulty

Amy McNulty is a YA author whose debut novel, NOBODY’S GODDESS (Book 1 in THE NEVER
VEIL SERIES), releases in 2015 from Month9Books. She's also a daily streaming reviewer for Anime News Network and a freelance writer and editor.

However! Amy is actually giving away Melissa Giorgio's YA Paranormal THE SIGHT SEER (Kindle). 

"Gabi Harkins likes to think she’s a pretty normal sixteen-year-old. She goes to school, suffers though an awful part-time job, and deals with a bratty younger sister. But when a potential shoplifter morphs into a monster right in front of her, Gabi realizes her life is far from normal—especially when that monster follows her home and ends up battling a boy wielding a sword in her backyard. 
The boy, Rafe Fitzgerald, is a member of Silver Moon, an organization devoted to eradicating demons before they kill humans. If this little bit of news isn’t earth-shattering enough, Rafe reveals that he needs Gabi’s help. As strong as Rafe is, he does not possess
the Sight—a rare ability that allows a hunter to See through a demon’s glamour, enabling them to strike before the demon does. But guess who does? 
While Gabi is reluctant to face another demon, she knows she owes Rafe big time for saving her. Together, they’re thrown headfirst into heart-stopping situations as they battle newer and more frightening demons. When she starts to fall for Rafe, Gabi knows her normal life is gone forever." (Goodreads)

Vicki Leigh

Adopted at three-days-old by a construction worker and a stay-at-home mom, Vicki Leigh grew up in a small suburb of Akron, Ohio where she learned to read by the age of four and considered being sent to her room for punishment as an opportunity to dive into another book. By the sixth grade, Vicki penned her first, full-length screenplay. If she couldn’t be a writer, Vicki would be a Hunter (think Dean and Sam Winchester) or a Jedi. Her favorite place on earth is Hogwarts (she refuses to believe it doesn’t exist), and her favorite dreams include solving cases alongside Sherlock Holmes.

Vicki is an editor with Curiosity Quills Press and is represented by Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Literary Agency. You can find her at her website or on TwitterFacebookGoodreadsYouTubePinterestGoogle+, and Instagram.

Vicki is giving away a signed paperback (if in US) or e-book (if International) copy of her YA Paranormal debut CATCH ME WHEN I FALL!

"Recruited at his death to be a Protector of the Night, seventeen-year-old Daniel Graham has spent two-hundred years fighting Nightmares and guarding humans from the clawed, red-eyed creatures that feed off people’s fears. Each night, he risks his eternal life, having given up his chance at an afterlife when he chose to become a Protector. That doesn’t stop a burnt-out Daniel from risking daring maneuvers during each battle. He’s become one of the best, but he wants nothing more than to stop. 
Then he’s given an assignment to watch over sixteen-year-old Kayla Bartlett, a clinically depressed patient in a psychiatric ward. Nightmares love a human with a tortured past. Yet, when they take a deep interest in her, appearing in unprecedented numbers, the job becomes more dangerous than any Daniel’s ever experienced. He fights ruthlessly to keep the Nightmares from overwhelming his team and Kayla. Soon, Daniel finds himself watching over Kayla during the day, drawn to why she’s different, and what it is about her that attracts the Nightmares. And him. 
A vicious attack on Kayla forces Daniel to break the first Law and reveal his identity. Driven by his growing feelings for her, he whisks her away to Rome where others like him can keep her safe. Under their roof, the Protectors discover what Kayla is and why someone who can manipulate Nightmares has her in his sights. But before they can make a move, the Protectors are betrayed and Kayla is kidnapped. Daniel will stop at nothing to save her. Even if it means giving up his immortality." (Goodreads)

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Emma Adams

Emma spent her childhood creating imaginary worlds to compensate for a disappointingly average reality, so it was probably inevitable that she ended up writing bizarre, fantastical stories. She was born in Birmingham, UK, which she fled at the first opportunity to study English Literature at Lancaster University. In her three years at Lancaster, she hiked up mountains, skydived in Australia, and endured a traumatic episode involving a swarm of bees in the Costa Rican jungle. She also entertained her creative writing group and baffled her tutors by submitting strange fantasy tales featuring dragons and supernatural monsters to workshops. These included her first publication, a rather bleak dystopian piece, and a disturbing story about a homicidal duck (which she hopes will never see the light of day).

Now a reluctant graduate, Emma refuses to settle down and be normal. When not embarking on wild excursions, she edits and proofreads novels for various publishing houses and reads an insane number of books. At the age of 21, she signed a publishing contract with Curiosity Quills Press for the first book in her creepy urban fantasy Darkworld series. DARKNESS WATCHING was published in October 2013, the first in a five-book series. She also writes adult crossover urban fantasy and quirky novels for younger readers.

Emma is giving away an epub, mobi or PDF copy of her Upper YA Urban Fantasy DARKNESS WATCHING!
"Eighteen-year-old Ashlyn is one interview away from her future when she first sees the demons.  
She thinks she's losing her mind, but the truth is far more frightening: she can see into the Darkworld, the home of spirits– and the darkness is staring back.  
Desperate to escape the demons, Ash accepts a place at a university in the small town of Blackstone, in the middle of nowhere - little knowing that it isn't coincidence that led her there but the pull of the Venantium, the sorcerers who maintain the barrier keeping demons from crossing from the Darkworld into our own world.  
All-night parties, new friendships and a life without rules or limits are all part of the package of student life - but demons still stalk Ash, and their interest in her has attracted the attention of every sorcerer in the area. Ash is soon caught between her new life and a group of other students with a connection to the Darkworld, who could offer the answers she's looking for. The demons want something from her, and someone is determined to kill her before she can find out what it is.  
In a world where darkness lurks beneath the surface, not everyone is what they appear to be..." (Goodreads)

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Dahlia Adler

Dahlia Adler is an Assistant Editor of Mathematics by day, a Copy Editor by night, and an author The Daily DahliaYA Misfits, and Barnes & Noble, or on Twitter as @MissDahlELama.
and blogger of YA and NA at every spare moment in between. She lives in New York City with her husband and their overstuffed bookshelves, and she would really like a macaron right now. You can find her at

Dahlia is giving away a signed paperback of her Contemporary YA Romance BEHIND THE SCENES (US only)!
"High school senior Ally Duncan's best friend may be the Vanessa Park - star of TV's hottest new teen drama - but Ally's not interested in following in her BFF's Hollywood footsteps. In fact, the only thing Ally’s ever really wanted is to go to Columbia and study abroad in Paris. But when her father's mounting medical bills threaten to stop her dream in its tracks, Ally nabs a position as Van's on-set assistant to get the cash she needs. 
Spending the extra time with Van turns out to be fun, and getting to know her sexy co-star Liam is an added bonus. But when the actors’ publicist arranges for Van and Liam to “date” for the tabloids just after he and Ally share their first kiss, Ally will have to decide exactly what role she's capable of playing in their world of make believe. If she can't play by Hollywood's rules, she may lose her best friend, her dream future, and her first shot at love." (Goodreads)

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Charlie N. Holmberg

Born in Salt Lake City, Charlie N. Holmberg was raised a Trekkie alongside three sisters who also
have boy names. In addition to writing fantasy novels, she is also a freelance editor. She graduated from BYU, plays the ukulele, owns too many pairs of glasses, and hopes to one day own a dog. She currently lives with her family in Utah.

Charlie is giving away a signed paperback copy of her YA/crossover Fantasy THE PAPER MAGICIAN with a bookmark (US only)!

"Ceony Twill arrives at the cottage of Magician Emery Thane with a broken heart. Having graduated at the top of her class from the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, Ceony is assigned an apprenticeship in paper magic despite her dreams of bespelling metal. And once she’s bonded to paper, that will be her only magic…forever. 
Yet the spells Ceony learns under the strange yet kind Thane turn out to be more marvelous than she could have ever imagined—animating paper creatures, bringing stories to life via ghostly images, even reading fortunes. But as she discovers these wonders, Ceony also learns of the extraordinary dangers of forbidden magic. 
An Excisioner—a practitioner of dark, flesh magic—invades the cottage and rips Thane’s heart from his chest. To save her teacher’s life, Ceony must face the evil magician and embark on an unbelievable adventure that will take her into the chambers of Thane’s still-beating heart—and reveal the very soul of the man." (Goodreads)
Ann M. Noser

Growing up an only child, I learned to entertain myself. During summer vacations, my greatest form of exercise consisted of turning the pages of a book. Now I’m all grown up, and full of stories half-written in my head. I have to write them down so I can find out what happens next.

Ann is giving away TWO e-copies of her NA Urban Fantasy novel HOW TO DATE DEAD GUYS!
"When Mike drowns in the campus river under her watch, Emma’s sheltered life shatters. Haunted by nightmares, she turns to witchcraft and a mysterious Book of Shadows to bring him back. Under a Blood Moon, Emma lights candles, draws a pentacle, and casts a spell. The invoked river rages up against her. As she escapes, a stranger drags himself from the water and follows her home. Instead of raising Mike, Emma uses witchcraft to assist other victims stolen back from death. But her powers may not protect her against the vengeful river and the killers that feed it their victims." (Goodreads
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Rebecca Paula

It began with a boy who survived a plane crash in the wilderness.
I discovered my love of writing during a fifth grade writing assignment for Hatchet. After that, I knew I wanted to be a writer.

Always the hopeless romantic, I write late Victorian and Edwardian historical romances as well as contemporary New Adult romances.

I am a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA), as well as the New Hampshire chapter (NHRWA) and the New England chapter (NECRWA). I contribute regularly to the Modern Belles of History blog, a site dedicated to writing, reading, and researching 20th century women’s historical fiction.

When I’m not writing, I’m most likely reading or daydreaming about my next travel adventure. I live in New Hampshire with my husband and our cat, Bella.

Becka is giving away an e-book copy of her NA Romance EVERLY AFTER (International)!

"All truths burn bright and clear. I’m still waiting in the dark. 
Everly Monteith has traded her life of glitter, parties, and self-destruction for waitressing at a Parisian café. She’s put the tragedy that sent her across the Atlantic in the past—until her toxic ex shows up and sends her reeling once more. Her fresh start begins slipping away until a smug British war correspondent crashes her party. But falling for Beckett means letting down her guard, something that might pull them both into the dark. 
There are beautiful lies in this world, and it takes me being chased through a hallway at a rave to decide this girl is one of them. But even the most beautiful lies aren’t worth chasing. 
Twenty-five-year-old Beckett Reid is forced into sabbatical after being kidnapped on assignment in Afghanistan. Back in Paris, he locks himself away to work on a novel, focused on saving his budding journalism career. But when he meets an enigmatic American heiress, his plans are quickly neglected. Everly is the perfect replacement for dangerous war zones, even if she does leave glitter on everything he owns. Reckless and wild, she runs through life making more mistakes than anyone he’s met, but Beckett is determined to fight for her, even if he must face the messy truth that he must fight for himself first." (Goodreads
Jennifer Blackwood

Jennifer Blackwood is an English teacher and New Adult author. She lives in Oregon with her husband, son, and poorly behaved black lab puppy. When she isn’t writing or teaching, she’s binging on Veronica Mars episodes and white cheddar popcorn. Her debut novel, UNETHICAL, is out now from Entangled Embrace.

Website: www.jenniferblackwood.com
Twitter: @jen_blackwood
Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorJenniferBlackwood

Jennifer is giving away an e-book copy of her NA debut UNETHICAL (International)!
"Two years ago, the medical world was shaken by scandal, and Payton Daniels's family was at the center of it. The second she graduated, Payton left everything behind―her high school sweetheart, her family, and the controversy surrounding her mother's death—and hid within the anonymity of college. But Payton’s ex, Blake Hiller, hasn't forgiven her for leaving, and when he enrolls in the same medical ethics class, she panics. She can’t run the risk of him telling everyone who she really is.  
As if being at the same university isn’t enough, both Blake and Payton land the same internship. Forced together, their passion for each other reignites, but when Payton is asked to testify in her father’s high-profile trial, she must choose between risking her acceptance into medical school to help her father, and losing every connection to her past—including the only guy she’s ever loved." (Goodreads)
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K.K. Hendin

KK Hendin's real life ambition is to become a pink fluffy unicorn who dances with rainbows. But the schooling for that is all sorts of complicated, so until that gets sorted out, she'll just write. Preferably things with angst and love. And things that require chocolate. 

She's the author of NA contemporaries HEART BREATHS, ONLY THE GOOD DIE YOUNG, and the TWELVE BEATS IN A BAR series. She spends way too much time on Twitter, and rambles on occasion over at www.kkhendinwrites.blogspot.com.

KK is giving away a paperback (if in US) or e-book (if International) copy of her NA Contemporary Romance COME BACK TO TEXAS!
"Hayley and Nate had the perfect love story before life crashed through it. Now, three years, one deployment, and a few YouTube videos later, everything's about to change." (Goodreads)

Cait Spivey

Cait Spivey is a speculative fiction writer, author of the paranormal novella series, "The Web." In projects, she is a freelance editor, on staff for Curiosity Quills Press and REUTS Publications, as well as a managing member of Bear and Black Dog Editing, LLC. She is currently assistant to Saritza Hernandez of Corvisiero Literary Agency, and a lover of all things Whovian, Whedonite, Austenian, and chocolate.
addition to working on these and many other

Cait is giving away e-book copies of her Paranormal novellas I SEE THE WEB and A SINGLE THREAD (International)!

"Seventeen-year-old Erin has a lot to look forward to, even if it suddenly seems like everywhere she turns there’s a spider staring at her. She’s finally out to her friends and family, surprising exactly no one. When Dawn, the love of her tender teenage dreams, corners her in the library, a whole new world opens up to Erin. From here on out, it’s all make-out sessions with her beautiful girlfriend in rooms stacked high with books.
Until the spiders start whispering. 
Turns out the spiders aren't just stalking her for kicks. They need her to be their voice, their vessel, whatever that means. But their timing is crap, because there's no way Erin is giving up her human life just when things are starting to get amazing. Too bad the spiders just won't quit. Like it or not, Erin will have to choose, and it won't be nearly as easy as she thinks." (Goodreads
"It’s been two weeks since Morgan Fletcher’s little sister, Erin, disappeared before his eyes in a flurry of spidersilk and blood. Probability says she’s dead; but when Erin comes to him in a dream, Morgan’s eyes are opened to a level of reality where probability doesn’t mean jack. His sister sees the web of time, and she’s got news for him: trouble is coming. 
A cryptic riddle and flashing images of the future are all Morgan has to go on in order to save a mystery boy from a gruesome death. That’s if he even believes what’s happened to Erin. Is her spider-whisperer persona for real, or has his grief at losing her caused him to totally crack? 
With a life at stake, Morgan isn’t taking any chances. Madness or no madness, he has to solve Erin’s riddle before it’s too late." (Goodreads)

Iain Broome

Iain Broome is the author of the novel, A is for Angelica. He grew up in a small town in Derbyshire
and lives in Sheffield with his wife and identical twin boys. A graduate of Sheffield Hallam's MA Writing programme, Iain has edited literary magazines, co-run a successful monthly spoken word event and currently maintains a popular website and podcast about writing, reading and publishing.

Iain is giving away a signed paperback of his Literary/Contemporary novel A IS FOR ANGELICA (International!). 
"Gordon Kingdom struggles with the fate of his seriously-ill wife while patiently observing and methodically recording the lives of those around him: his neighbours. He has files on them all, including Don Donald (best friend and petty thief), Annie Carnaffan (lives next door, throws footballs over the fence), and Benny (the boy who paints with his eyes closed). 
Then there's Angelica, the new girl (42) on the street, with her multi-coloured toenails and her filthy temper. It's when she arrives that Gordon's world of half-truths really begins to unravel. Faced with a series of unexpected events and a faltering conscience, he's left with an impossible decision. 
Because in the banality of everyday life, what would you do if the unthinkable happened?" (Goodreads)
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Michelle Hauck

Michelle Hauck lives in the bustling metropolis of northern Indiana with her hubby and two teenagers. Besides working with special needs children by day, she writes all sorts of fantasy, giving her imagination free range. She is a co-host of the yearly query contests Query Kombat, Nightmare on Query Street, New Agent, PitchSlam, and Sun versus Snow. Her epic fantasy, Kindar's Cure, was published by Divertir Publishing. She’s represented by Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Literary.

Michelle is giving away a paperback (if in US) or e-book (if International) copy of her High Fantasy debut, KINDAR'S CURE!

"Princess Kindar of Anost dreams of playing the hero and succeeding to her mother’s throne. But dreams are for fools. Reality involves two healthy sisters and a wasting disease of suffocating cough that’s killing her by inches. When her elder sister is murdered, the blame falls on Kindar, putting her head on the chopping block. 
No one who survives eighteen years of choke lung lacks determination. A novice wizard, Maladonis Bin, approaches with a vision—a cure in a barren land of volcanic fumes. As choices go, a charming bootlicker that trips over his own feet isn’t the best option, but beggars can’t be choosers. Kindar escapes with Mal and several longtime attendants only to have her eyes opened that her country faces dark times.  
Her mother’s decision to close the prosperous mines spurs poverty and joblessness, inciting rebellion and opening Anost to foreign invasion. As Mal urges her toward a cure that will prove his visions, suddenly, an ally turns traitor, delivering Kindar to a rebel army, who have their own plans for a sickly princess. 
With the killer poised to strike again, the rebels bearing down, and the country falling apart, she must weigh her personal hunt for a cure against saving her people." (Goodreads)
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Rachel Lacey

Rachel Lacey lives in North Carolina, with her husband, son, and their own rescued pup. She
volunteers her spare time with Carolina Boxer Rescue and truly has a passion for helping our furry friends. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America as well as her local Heart of Carolina RWA chapter.

Rachel is giving away a signed paperback (if in US) or e-book (if International) copy of her Contemporary Romance UNLEASHED!
"Cara Medlen has a serious case of animal attraction. And it's not because of all the foster dogs she's rescued. She's got it bad for her incredibly sexy neighbor. Her one rule: Don't get attached. It's served her well with the dogs she's given to good homes and the children she's nannied. Yet the temptation of Matt's sexy smile might just convince her that some rules are made to be broken. 
Matt Dumont doesn't need his skills as a private investigator to detect disaster on the horizon. Cara is everything he thought he'd never find-gorgeous, funny, and caring. But there's no way he can start a relationship just as he's about to move to another state. Talk about bad timing. As their attraction sizzles too hot to deny, they'll have to make a decision: forget the consequences and let loose, or forget each other and let go..." (Goodreads)
Finally! I don't have a book of mine available to give you guys, so I've decided to give away three excellent NA novels that I really enjoyed reading.

First up, an e-copy of Sarah Harian's NA Sci-Fi THE WICKED WE HAVE DONE (International)!
"Evalyn Ibarra never expected to be an accused killer and experimental prison test subject. A year ago, she was a normal college student. Now she’s been sentenced to a month in the compass room—an advanced prison obstacle course designed by the government to execute justice. 
If she survives, the world will know she’s innocent. 
Locked up with nine notorious and potentially psychotic criminals, Evalyn must fight the prison and dismantle her past to stay alive. But the system prized for accuracy appears to be killing at random. 
She doesn’t plan on making friends. 
She doesn’t plan on falling in love, either." (Goodreads

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Second, an e-copy of Ashley Poston's super adorable NA Contemporary Romance THE SOUND OF US (International)!
"America's favorite pop band, Roman Holiday, is done, dead, and so totally last year. For eighteen-year-old rockoholic Junie Baltimore, this is music to her ears. But when she discovers their sexy ex-lead singer hiding out on the boardwalk, her summer vacation becomes the cover story of the year. 
She's willing to keep him a secret, but when a sleazy paparazzo offers her the cash she needs to save the bar her father left behind, could she sell out for the chance to save her future? Who is she kidding? That's a no-brainer...but she never planned on falling head over heels for the lead singer." (Goodreads)

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And last, but certainly not least, an e-copy of Megan Erickson's NA Contemporary Romance debut MAKE IT COUNT (International)!
"Kat Caruso wishes her brain had a return policy, or at least a complaint hot-line. The defective organ is constantly distracted, terrible at statistics, and absolutely flooded with inappropriate thoughts about her boyfriend’s gorgeous best friend, Alec…who just so happens to be her brand new math tutor. Who knew nerd was so hot? 
Kat usually goes through tutors like she does boyfriends—both always seem to bail when they realize how hopeless she is. It’s safer for her heart to keep everyone at arm’s reach. But Alec is always stepping just a little too close. 
Alec Stone should not be fantasizing about Kat. She’s adorable, unbelievably witty, and completely off limits. He’d never stab his best friend in the back… 
But when secrets are revealed, the lines of loyalty are blurred. To make it count, Alec must learn messy human emotions can’t be solved like a trigonometry function. And Kat has to trust Alec may be the first guy to want her for who she is, and not in spite of it." (Goodreads)

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So that's it! Go forth an enter away! And thank you all for your super incredible support! 

Vlog: How to Survive NaNoWriMo Week 2

It's week TWO of NaNoWriMo! And I've got some tips to help you get one week closer to your NaNo goal of awesomeness. :)


Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? 

Twitter-sized bite: 
It's NaNoWriMo week 2 & @Ava_Jae has some tips to help you get one week closer to your goal! (Click to tweet)

One Million Pageview Giveaway (Part I)!

So some of you may have seen on last week's post (and Twitter and Facebook before that) that Writability has officially reached 1,000,000 pageviews! Which is SO EXCITING.

Really guys, this is such a hugenormous milestone and I can't begin to tell you how happy and grateful I am to all of you, because it wouldn't have happened without your wonderful support.

And so I want to give back. With the biggest giveaway Writability has ever had.

In fact, this giveaway is SO big that I had to split it into TWO giveaways! And today is part one.

Today's giveaway is for WRITERS, because Giveaway Part I is allll about the critiques. We've got everything from a query critique to a full manuscript critique up for grabs (fifteen critiques for fifteen winners in all!), so make sure you scroll all the way to the bottom (hint: the largest critiques are at the bottom of the page)!

(NOTE: Part II which is for READERS (aka: win ALL THE BOOKS) is now live!)

Jennifer Blackwood

Jennifer Blackwood is an English teacher and New Adult author. Blackwood has been an editorial intern for two publishers and has mentored writers in Pitch Wars. She lives in Oregon with her husband, son, and poorly behaved black lab puppy. When she isn’t writing, teaching, or editing, she’s binging on Veronica Mars episodes and white cheddar popcorn. Her debut novel, UNETHICAL, is out now with Entangled Embrace.
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Vicki Leigh

Adopted at three-days-old by a construction worker and a stay-at-home mom, Vicki Leigh grew up in a small suburb of Akron, Ohio where she learned to read by the age of four and considered being sent to her room for punishment as an opportunity to dive into another book. By the sixth grade, Vicki penned her first, full-length screenplay. If she couldn’t be a writer, Vicki would be a Hunter (think Dean and Sam Winchester) or a Jedi. Her favorite place on earth is Hogwarts (she refuses to believe it doesn’t exist), and her favorite dreams include solving cases alongside Sherlock Holmes.

Vicki is an editor with Curiosity Quills Press and is represented by Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Literary Agency. You can find her at her website or on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, YouTube, Pinterest, Google+, and Instagram.
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Riki Cleveland

Riki has a long-standing love affair with all things books and writing. She indulged her love for all things literary with a degree in English Literature from Arizona State University and is currently studying at the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing.

Riki is an intern with Entangled Publishing and a member of SCBWI. She authors the blog Refreshingly Riki where the discussion is lively and no book goes unloved. She is the first-place recipient of the Arizona Authors Association Literary Contest and has been published on the virtual pages of MySportsArena.com and the actual print pages of the State Press. You can visit her at http://missriki.com and follow her on Twitter (@missriki).
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Rae Chang

Rae Chang is an author, freelance editor, and assistant to @BrendaDrake, the author of LIBRARY JUMPERS. When she's not doing all of that, she's a composer, food blogger, nerd, cooking instructor, youth mentor, and school speaker.
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KT Hanna

K.T. Hanna is an Australian expat who lives in Kansas (long story), with her husband, baby girl, two corgis and a cat.

She’s a binge writer, who edits ruthlessly. Dictionaries are her nemesis as singular words inspire plot bunnies for science fiction, fantasy and horror in the MG, YA and adult categories.

She is represented by Bree Ogden of D4EOLiterary Agency.
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Cait Spivey

Cait Spivey is a speculative fiction writer, author of the paranormal novella series, "The Web." In addition to working on these and many other projects, she is a freelance editor, on staff for Curiosity Quills Press and REUTS Publications, as well as a managing member of Bear and Black Dog Editing, LLC. She is currently assistant to Saritza Hernandez of Corvisiero Literary Agency, and a lover of all things Whovian, Whedonite, Austenian, and chocolate.
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Kate Brauning

Kate is an author of young adult fiction. She earned her B.A. in English literature, then went on to teach high school English, and intern with a publishing house and a literary agency. She now edits adult and YA fiction for Entangled Publishing. She’s represented by Carlie Webber of CK Webber Associates, with her debut YA suspense HOW WE FALL releasing November 2014 from Merit Press, F+W Media. Kate loves high concept suspense, speculative or contemporary, and fresh, quirky contemporary stories. Diversity, messy relationships, and clever, voicey writing will catch her eye. Regardless of genre, she loves fast-paced character-driven stories that make her think and carry her into the pages. She can be found on Twitter at @KateBrauning or on her website at www.katebrauning.com.

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Ava Jae (me!)

Ava Jae is a YA and NA writer, an Assistant Editor at Entangled Publishing, and is represented by Louise Fury of The Bent Agency. Her YA Sci-Fi debut, BEYOND THE RED, is releasing 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, or YouTube channel.
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Kisa Whipkey

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 Editorial Director for YA/NA publisher, REUTS Publications. She developed a passion for storytelling at a young age and has pursued that love through animation, writing, video game design, and demo teams, until finally finding her home in editing. She believes in good storytelling, regardless of medium, and applauds anything featuring a snarky lead character, a complicated narrative structure, and brilliant/uncommon analogies. Currently, she lives in the soggy Pacific Northwest with her husband and plethora of electronics.

Her personal blog -- featuring sarcastic commentary on all things storytelling -- is located at www.kisawhipkey.com. Or connect with her via Twitter: @kisawhipkey. And, of course, to learn more about REUTS Publications, please visit www.reuts.com.
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Naomi Hughes

Naomi is a freelance editor with a passion for potential, and loves to help make stories into the best possible versions of themselves. She has served as a mentor in several online writing/pitching contests over the last few years, including Pitch Wars, Query Kombat, and Nightmare on Query Street. She writes quirky kidlit (mostly about unicorn riders) and is agented by Louise Fury of the Bent Agency. She's also an editorial intern at Entangled Publishing.
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Nicole Tone

Nicole is a MFA in Creative Writing student at Chatham University and an Editorial Intern with REUTS Publications. She currently lives in Chandler, Arizona, where she tries to find time to enjoy sunshine everyday when she's not writing, working, or running off to Seattle. 
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