Yeee!!!

Check it out! I did an interview with my critique partner Elizabeth Briggs over at her blog Liz Writes. She. Is. Crazypantsawesomesauce.

And now I need to go get the Pea ready for a Chick-fil-A playdate with his sweet little spitfire friend K. She's pretty much his favorite person in the entire world. When we say bedtime prayers, he always thanks God for K first thing. They've been in the same Kids Day Out class for two years straight, and last Monday was his last day of school. On the drive home, I said, "We should do a playdate with K soon." The Pea's response, "Why don't you call her mommy right now?" And then this morning, I asked him what he wanted to wear, and he said, "My Lego shoes. I think K will like them.

It's Like...

That thing when you fall in love with your WIP all over again and suddenly your characters have sprouted personalities.

Also, if you haven't yet, go enter my Share The Lubov critique giveaway here. Go. Go!

Share the Lubov Critique Giveaway

Funny story. I actually had this giveaway planned before I knew about my book deal. Then everything kind of exploded for about a week there, so I postponed for that reason. Then, I thought, hey, this will be a great way to celebrate after my announcement, so I postponed for that reason. Now the timing is perfect. (Oh, and don't worry, I know this giveaway is tailored to writers, but there will be many more celebrations and giveaways to come.):

Since I first started writing, I've wanted to use my writing to make a difference. Not just by entertaining or encouraging people with my stories, but a real and tangible difference.

How about bringing an orphan home?

For those of you who don't know, I have a huge heart for adoption. Before I  had the Pea, I was the regional director of a non-profit adoption agency. I had the amazing privilege of working with adoptive families and children and birthmothers. 

The other day, I got an e-mail from my dear friend Shelli. She and her husband are adopting from Bulgaria. So...here's the thing. International adoption is expensive. Dang expensive. And they are in a unique position, fundraising-wise. They actually live in Asia and work for a non-profit organization called The Starfish Project, which helps to empower exploited women. (Seriously, check out their jewelry line here. It goes to a great cause!) So Shelli and Justin are not only raising funds for their adoption, they also raise their own salary.

Anyway, I really love win-win situations. I thought about it and realized I had a total win-win right in front of me. How I could help Shelli raise funds for their adoption AND help another writer at the same time.

I give you the SHARE THE LUBOV Critique Giveaway (As Karen just found out As everyone knows, Lubov means Love in Bulgarian.)

Here's how it works.

I'm giving away a FULL MG/YA MANUSCRIPT CRITIQUE*

To enter:
1.) You must fill in the form.
2.)You must share this contest in some way (tweet, blog, facebook, skywriting) and leave a link.
3.) You can also make a tax-deductible donation to Shelli & Justin's adoption fund for 20 EXTRA ENTRIES. (Note: You are *not* required to make a donation to participate, but...ummmm...20 EXTRA ENTRIES, people! Also. You're HELPING AN ORPHAN. There's no minimum donation amount, but every bit helps.)

Wait a minute.

THERE IS MORE!

So I have one of the coolest, nicest agents in the world. No, really. She's amazing-pants. And she has amazing insights. And she offered to up the ante a little. So not only will you win a full manuscript critique from me, you will win a FIRST THREE CHAPTERS CRITIQUE FROM VICTORIA MARINI

**Insert squealing because that is what you should be doing**

To make a donation, go to this link. When prompted, you need to designate "For the child to be adopted to Justin and Shelli Jones." (Note: This is a faith-based adoption fund. If that's problematic for you, just let me know, and we can arrange for a different donation option.)
Seriously. Do you need more cuteness incentive?

This contest will close 11:59 p.m. Friday June 1st, and I'll announce a winner the following Monday.

*As noted above, this contest is for MG/YA manuscripts only, up to 75K word count (but if yours is over 75K, still feel free to enter, I just may not be able to provide detailed comments over the 75K mark). This contest is open to all sub-genres except for high fantasy (because I'm just not the person to critique it...sorry), really scary horror with, like, demons or the occult (because I get nightmares), and erotica (because...y'know what? If you're writing MG or YA erotica, we need to have a little chat). This critique will be most helpful to you if your manuscript has already been revised and polished, NOT a first draft. You can take your time in getting it to me. :) I'm happy to answer any questions in the comments section.




Oh, and I have my Facebook Author page set up! You can go Like it here.

Thanks, Mom!

Well, I think my deal news is finally real to my mom. (I'm still in a little bit of shock, myself.) I've kept her updated all along the way, and she's been, y'know, very mom-like about it. Encouraging, happy for me, etc.

Then when I got the offer, I explained it was with St. Martin's Press, an imprint of Macmillan. She'd heard of Macmillan, of course, and she's an avid reader, especially of legal thrillers, but she doesn't pay attention to things like imprints or even publishers. She follows authors. So I thought about some of her favs. The conversation went down like this:

Me: Well, let's see, they've published several of Lisa Scottoline's books.
Mom: (((silence)))
Me: Isn't she one of the authors you really li--
Mom: LISA SCOTTOLINE???
Me: Yes.
Mom: I've read everything she's written. I love her.
Me: You love me more. (((pause))) Right?

I have a giveaway planned to celebrate starting tomorrow, and I promise you do not want to miss it.

You'll come back to celebrate with me? (((pause))) Right?

So...This Happened.


Who has two thumbs and a book deal? THIS GIRL! (Totally tried to get the Pea to pose for a picture with his thumbs up, but he was having none of it.)

In case you can't read it, it says:
 Karen Akins's LOOP, in which a time traveler accidentally brings a boy from the past into the 23rd century, only to discover he's already in love with her future self and is keeping his own set of secrets, pitched as HEIST SOCIETY meets BACK TO THE FUTURE, to Terra Layton at St. Martin's, in a two-book deal, by Victoria Marini at Gelfman Schneider (world).

If you want the long story of how I wrote said story, you can go here.

To be honest, this has all happened so fast that it's still setting in. I'll be sitting at my computer working one minute and then all of a sudden, I'll scream, "I'm going to have a book! With a cover!" And then I'll go back to typing. It's a good thing the Pea is the only one listening.

Wait just a second. Outburst coming...ST. MARTIN'S PRESS! I AM FLAILING AROUND LIKE A MUPPET!!

And don't get me started on my editor. Squee!!! My editor. Terra is ah-mazing! When we chatted on the phone, I felt like I couldn't string two coherent thoughts together, but somehow I didn't scare her away. And she even talked me into watching my first episode of Dr. Who (okay, I may not have stopped at one). Yes, I realize that it's ridiculous that I haven't seen it before now. Good gravy, I am in such excellent hands. And my story's in excellent hands. The whole team there.  ST. MARTIN'S!! MORE FLAILING!!

Oh, and this is so cool...Terra actually peeked in on the Baker's Dozen Auction (where I initially connected with Victoria) and she jotted down LOOP as one of the projects that she thought sounded great. She found the post-it note yesterday afternoon. Ha! It was meant to be.

I am. Just. So. Thankful. 

Okay, one final picture of a kitten riding a unicorn, and then I'm done.


The Writer's Voice

So...yeah. I'm not even going to pretend to be neutral, folks. I'm cheering for this entry. And this entry. (And you should, too. Because they're full of awesome.)

It Is Monday.

And you know what that means around here. 
Sherlock on my iPad PBS Player during lunch. Ahh, yeah!

Not Much To Say

My apologies that I've been so quiet lately. There always seem to be one of two reasons why I don't blog often enough. Either too much stuff on my plate or not enough.

I'll let you, my astute readers, guess which one it is.