This Is the Book, For Reals

I’ve been holding off writing this post because I feel like I need to say something epic, because I’m just so freaking happy right now. It’s the book birthday of my delightful, amazing, truly fabulous critique partner and bestie, A.J. Pine.

IF ONLY is live in the world.

Oh book birthday you might pooh pooh. But I’m telling you: this book. this author. I would tell you to one click buy it even if it cost $13.99. Because it’s a sweet love story, a delightful life abroad coming-of-age as an adult, spectacular and SMART book. For some odd reason, it’s being sold at 99 pennies. Which means you probably should buy at least 14 copies. For your college roommate. For the first person you shared an apartment with (haha thin walls). For the best friend who held you hand as you mourned your first failed romance. And then your second. And definitely one for each person who adores books with movie quotes and who loves literature.

I’m telling you, this is the book.

About If Only:


Sometimes it takes crossing an ocean to figure out where you belong.

It’s been two years since twenty-year-old Jordan had a boyfriend—which means it’s been forever since she, well, you know. But now she’s off to spend her junior year in Aberdeen, Scotland, the perfect place to stop waiting for Mr. Right and just enjoy Mr. Right Now.

Sexy, sweet (and possible player) Griffin may be her perfect, no-strings-attached match. He’s fun, gorgeous, and makes her laugh. So why can’t she stop thinking about Noah who, minutes after being trapped together outside the train’s loo, kisses Jordan like she’s never been kissed before? Never mind his impossible blue eyes, his weathered, annotated copy of The Great Gatsby (total English-major porn)…oh, and his girlfriend.

Jordan knows everything this year has an expiration date. Aberdeen is supposed to be about fun rather than waiting for life to happen. But E. M. Forster, Shakespeare, and mistletoe on Valentine’s Day make her reconsider what love is and how far she’s willing to go for the right guy.

Find If Only Online:


Find A.J. Online:



Prize description:
If Only Swag Pack -An “I love you from here to Scotland” print, Ahava pendent, A pack each of Much Ado about Nothing and A Room With a View confetti, Much Ado about Nothing travel mug and A Room With a View Blu-ray (a $25 Amazon gift card will be substituted if winner is outside the US)
Here is the code for the Rafflecopter for the If Only blog tour:
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and the link:


Cover Reveal — Lex Martin’s Dearest Clementine

I am beyond excited to be part of the cover reveal for my fabulous CP and bestie, Lex Martin. I’ve read Dearest Clementine several times now and each time, I fall a little more in love with Clem and Gavin. April 18th can’t come fast enough because everyone needs to read this smart, funny and super sexy story.

Without further ado, the gorgeous cover!


TITLE: Dearest Clementine (Dearest, #1)

AUTHOR: Lex Martin

RELEASE DATE: April 18, 2014

GENRE: NA contemporary romance

MODEL: Zoe Chait



Twenty-year-old Clementine Avery doesn’t mind being called bitchy and closed off. It’s safe, and after being burned by her high school sweetheart and stalked by a professor her freshman year of college, safe sounds pretty damn good.

Her number one rule for survival? No dating. That is until she accidentally signs up for a romance writing class and needs material for her latest assignment. Sexy RA Gavin Murphy is more than happy to play the part of book boyfriend to help Clem find some inspiration, even if that means making out…in the name of research, of course.

As Gavin and Clem grow closer, they get entangled in the mystery surrounding a missing Boston University student, and Clem unwittingly becomes a possible target. Gavin tries to show Clem she can handle falling in love again, but she knows she has to be careful because her heart’s at stake…and maybe even her life.

DEAREST CLEMENTINE is a stand-alone novel with two companion novels. This New Adult contemporary romance series is recommended for readers 18+ due to mature content. Look for the second book, DEAREST DANDELION, this June.


The laundry room is dark when we walk in, so Gavin flips on the lights. A row of washers and dryers line both sides of the small room. He opens up a washer and dumps in his basket of clothes.

“Gavin, why are you washing clean laundry?” I can’t help the laugh that escapes.

He drops in a few quarters and starts the machine before he turns to me, grinning.

“I’m helping you get in the zone. Come here.” He wraps his hands around my waist, and I let out a surprised squeak when he lifts me up onto a washer. I can’t believe he just picked me up. Okay, that’s a stupid thought to have. He did carry me home two weeks ago.

His grip is firm on either side of me as he leans down to look into my eyes. I lean back slightly. He’s so far in my personal space that my shadow is crowded.

“Clementine, I want to warn you.” His voice is husky and deep. “I’m going to kiss you, and you’re going to like it. A lot. But I want to be clear that I’m not going to sleep with you because I want you to respect me in the morning.” His mouth lifts up in a wry smile. “This is simply one friend helping out another. Okay?”

Wait. Is he serious?

He must sense my apprehension because he rubs his thumb softly across my cheek. “It’s just an exercise, to get you into your story. I promise.”

I laugh, embarrassed, intrigued, and a whole lot turned on by the idea. He smiles again, but this time it’s different. His eyes darken as his hands glide over my hips. My breath catches in my chest.

“Gavin, I don’t think—“

He rests a finger over my lips.

“I’m doing this in the name of academics. You need inspiration? You’re looking at it. Now shut up and let me kiss you.”



Lex Martin writes new adult novels, the sexy kind with lotsa angst, a whole lotta kissing, and the hot happily ever afters. When she’s not writing, she lives a parallel life as an English teacher. She loves printing black and white photos, listening to music on vinyl, and getting lost in a great book. Bitten by wanderlust, this native Texan has lived all over the country but currently resides in the City of Angels with her husband and twin daughters.


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In Praise of Query Contests and a PSA

I love writing contests, pitch contests, twitter contests, the like. I loved participating when I was looking for an agent and I love watching them now that I have an agent.

I’ve done several: Miss Snark’s First Victim, Query Kombat, two rounds of twitter pitch parties, Writeoncon, and finally #Pitchmadness.

I love them because they bring writers together to cheer each other on. You can find critique partners (waves at Lex Martin, Amy Pine and Megan Erickson — hello Writeoncon 2013!), you discover amazing other authors who become your friends on Twitter and might beta read for you, you refine your pitching skills, and sometimes, you can find an agent.

I did. The marvelous Carly Watters of P.S. Literary found me thanks to #Pitchmadness and the countless people who sifted through entries and hosted us on your blog. (See more in a blog post I wrote with Megan and Amy.)

And I’m so grateful for everyone who donates their time (and time is so valuable for all of us) to run these contests and to sift through the entries, to offer critiques and to really make a difference in so many writers lives. It takes so much time to run these contests and to judge them, time that comes out of writing time and family time and work time. And they are under no obligation to run them. They do it to help other authors, to give back to the writing community. It’s something I’ve done a little of and I hope to do much, much more. Because contests help writers. And they work sometimes.

But here’s the thing: we writers are an anxious people. We invented Goodreads stalking. We probably created the vomiting emoticon that I believe is used exclusively for when people read our writing. We lose sleep when our CPs read our stories too slowly (it must be boring) or too fast (they must think it’s such drek they need to be done with it). I could fill this blog with writer anxieties.

So here’s my PSA: please, those who are sifting through the slush piles, think about what you’re tweeting out there. Think about how it’s being read by a writer who is one of the 500 people who entered this contest. Who believes every negative thing you say is about their book. Ask yourself: Is this comment going to be helpful in someone looking at their query/ pitch next time? Is it constructive criticism, helping writers remember to make their stakes clear, or make sure that their query/ pitch focuses on their uniqueness?

Remember that just like every writer who entered these contests, you were once a writer looking for an agent, thinking your book would never be an actual book. There are plenty of people out there who will rain on their parade, from agent rejections to editor rejections to bad reviews. They don’t need that now. They need encouragement and they need to know how to make their work better. But nicely. Gently. Please.

Like this tweet:

#PItchMadness I actually found an entry I would buy in a heartbeat in a bookstore. Very few capture me like this. Well played, good writer.

— Fiona McLaren (@BookOmnivore) March 13, 2014


Just my opinion.

And writers out there? Thank the contest creators and slush readers and blog hosters and agents who participate. Because they are doing a wonderful thing.