Cover Reveal: A Hold On Me by Pat Esden



Hello there! I’m very excited about today’s post. Pat Esden and I met in cyberspace a few years ago during an online pitch contest and have been friends every since! She participated in a bloghop I co-hosted called Thursday’s Children and we got to know each other even better.

Author Pat Esden

Author Pat Esden

Because we’re both infatuated with all things gothic, we frequently bump into each other on Pinterest. We’ve also both written about Maine (surely the most gothic of the fifty states…). I have no doubt her New Adult book A Hold On Me will be right up my (shadowy, eerie) street!

Here’s more about the book —

A HOLD ON ME (Dark Heart Book #1) by Pat Esden

Kensington Books

Release date: March 2016

She never wanted to return.

He wants nothing more than for her to leave.

But the fire between them is as strong as the past that haunts them.

Annie Freemont grew up on the road, immersed in the romance of rare things, cultivating an eye for artifacts and a spirit for bargaining. It’s a freewheeling life she loves and plans to continue—until her dad is diagnosed with dementia. His illness forces them to return to Moonhill, their ancestral home on the coast of Maine—and to the family they left behind fifteen years ago, after Annie’s mother died in a suspicious accident.

Once at Moonhill, Annie is shocked when her aunt separates her from her father. The next time Annie sees him, he’s a bizarre, violent shadow of his former self. Confused, she turns to an unlikely ally for support—Chase, the dangerously seductive young groundskeeper. With his dark good looks and powerful presence, Chase has an air of mystery that Annie is irresistibly drawn to. But she also senses that behind his penetrating eyes are secrets she can’t even begin to imagine. Secrets that hold the key to the past, to Annie’s own longings—and to all of their futures. Now, to unlock them, she’ll have to face her greatest fears and embrace her legacy…

Click here to add A HOLD ON ME on Goodreads.

You can also follow Pat on Twitter and at her website  (You’ll definitely want to follow her on her Author Facebook page to participate in the giveaway).

Now without further ado, let me reveal the gorgeous cover, drum roll please…


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Future Attractions!

Stay tuned for the Cover Reveal of Pat Esden’s debut NA novel A HOLD ON ME. Book 1 of the Dark Heart Series. Coming from Kensington Books, starting February 23, 2016!

Pat and I met several years ago during a writing contest (we were both contestants) and I’m so excited to be part of her future success!

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Post-It-Forward 2015 Has Arrived!


Today is day-1 for Post-It-Forward 2015.

I’ve posted my list of pitches here (and my feedback in the comments below) & you’ll find Nik’s list of pitches here when she’s had a chance to put them up.

This year we’re thrilled by the wonderful cross-section of categories & genres we received!

So how does it work?

The pitches will not have the author’s name or the title of the MS. This is a pitch workshop and therefore the only thing that should count is the category/genre and the pitch. Nik  and I will offer feedback on our own and each other’s lists — that way every single pitch will have receive feedback from at least two people.

If you sent your pitch to us within the scheduled window and followed the (very basic) rules, you’ll find your pitch either here or the Nestpitch blog. As the author you’re welcome to volunteer your ownership of the pitch – that’s entirely up to you. However, as part of the terms of entering, you are obligated to participate with feedback for other pitches. As stated: everyone who has a pitch selected & featured, must, within a week, comment on at least 2 other pitches – at least one on each blog – you have ONE WEEK to post at least one helpful comment on each blog. Of course you CAN offer feedback on more than one pitch per blog, but one per blog is the minimum.

Please note: the comments are moderated, so play nice folks!

Feel free to tweet about your pitch and encourage others to participate. The more feedback, the better for you and for everyone!

We hope the advice and suggestions will offer insight into that mystical and totally subjective creature commonly known as “the perfect pitch.”

Nothing is more contagious than enthusiasm. The more you sprinkle around, the more you have.

The pitches will be distinguished by a number only, e.g. R-1 for mine and N-1 for Nikola’s. 

Comments should read something like:

R-7: “Loved the voice but I wasn’t sure who was the MC, I would suggest removing at least one of the characters in the pitch and leaving it for the query”

Got it? Great! Go forth and post-it-forward folks!

R-1  Category/ Genre: Middle Grade Urban Fantasy

35-word Pitch
Twelve-year-old Cat sees the descendants of fairytale creatures living among us. To stop a ruthless changeling from dominating both worlds Cat must abandon her dream of becoming the fae princess and embrace her trollish qualities.

R-2 Category/ Genre: MG Science Fiction

35-word Pitch

Twelve-year-old, havoc prone, Xavier Howell has a microchip in his head containing super-secret artificial intelligence research, and “The Man” (evil head of the Cornucopia Conglomerate) wants it, even if means cutting off Xavier’s head.

R-3 Category/ Genre: NA Fantasy

Category/ Genre: NA Fantasy

35-word Pitch

After a spell tosses Crysta through time, this medieval princess appears in the modern world with a killer on her trail. Loved ones caught in the crossfire, Crysta faces deadly sacrifices to fulfill her destiny.

R-4 Category/ Genre: YA Thriller

Category/ Genre: YA Thriller

35-word Pitch

For centuries, the children of Blaylock Bay’s founding families have disappeared into the fog, never to return. When her brother joins the missing, Sophie vows to save him, but discovers ghost witch, Jenny Greenteeth, instead.

R-5 Category/ Genre: YA contemporary

35-word Pitch

Convinced her sister’s drug overdose was murder, Mira defies her strict Indian parents & joins Shaun to trap a killer. Shaun’s the only one who believes her. He’s sure his brother’s suicide was murder, too.

R-6 Category/ Genre: YA Fantasy

35-word Pitch

Delania can spy on dreams, making her a coveted ally in a deadly war. When she spies for the enemy king, she risks losing her family and her life. REIGN with magic.

R-7 Category/ Genre: Adult Mystery

35-word Pitch

Kathleen can’t reach the family whose car she hit. And she needs to find out what happened to them, because someone’s setting her up to take the fall for their disappearance – and possibly their murder.

R-8 Category/ Genre: NA Fantasy

35-word Pitch

Kel Adrian, branded and exiled for murder, is bound to a ruthless avatar waging war on Kel’s homeland. Worse yet, a schizophrenic dragon shows him there are even greater monsters.

R-9 Category/ Genre: LGBT YA Speculative Fiction

35-word Pitch

MINDERS meets X-MEN. Assuming his dead twin’s identity, closeted seventeen-year-old Micah must stop crushing on his brother’s roommate and infiltrate an island of teenage telepathic terrorist before a madman brainwashes the world.

R-10 Category/ Genre: YA Sci-Fi/romance

35-word Pitch

Honor and Courage are twins hiding their station-born abilities until Honor spills their secrets, then Courage disappears. To find him, rules-following Honor must join an Earth-born rebel who thinks rules are made to be broken.

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Gearing up for NestPitch/Post-It-Forward

I was thrilled when Nikola Vukoja asked me to help out with Post-It-Forward again. Last year was so much fun! If you’re a writer looking to snag an agent, and you qualify for the contest, I hope to see your pitch soon and good luck!

For all the details, rules, dates, etc. please go here.

And tell all your writer-friends too!



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Happy Holidays!

It’s rainy and nearly 70 degrees so it doesn’t look a lot like Christmas OUTSIDE, but inside…

To all my friends, or anyone who accidentally lands on this page, heartfelt wishes for a lovely holiday season!

Post-present relaxation © Rhiann Wynn-Nolet

Post-present relaxation © Rhiann Wynn-Nolet

Daisy ripping Santa's face off © Rhiann Wynn-Nolet

Daisy ripping Santa’s face off © Rhiann Wynn-Nolet

Buster helping to play Santa © Rhiann Wynn-Nolet

Buster helping to play Santa © Rhiann Wynn-Nolet

Mantel Closeup © Rhiann Wynn-Nolet

Mantel Closeup © Rhiann Wynn-Nolet

Presents © Rhiann Wynn-Nolet

Presents © Rhiann Wynn-Nolet

Ornaments © Rhiann Wynn-Nolet

Ornaments © Rhiann Wynn-Nolet

The Tree © Rhiann Wynn-Nolet

The Tree © Rhiann Wynn-Nolet

We give her a special crown for Winter Solstice © Rhiann Wynn-Nolet

We give her a special crown for Winter Solstice © Rhiann Wynn-Nolet

Snowmen © Rhiann Wynn-Nolet

Snowmen © Rhiann Wynn-Nolet

Snowbaby Village Scene II  © Rhiann Wynn-Nolet

Snowbaby Village Scene II © Rhiann Wynn-Nolet

Snowbaby Village Scene © Rhiann Wynn-Nolet

Snowbaby Village Scene © Rhiann Wynn-Nolet

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It’s my great pleasure to share a bit about Joshua David Bellin’s debut novel SURVIVAL COLONY NINE. It releases today!  So, without further ado…

Fourteen-year-old Querry Genn’s world is a desert where small groups of survivors struggle against heat, starvation, and the creatures known as the Skaldi, monsters that appeared on the planet after war swept away the old world. Suffering from amnesia brought on by an accident, Querry struggles to recover the lost memories that might save the human race. But the Skaldi are closing in, and time is running out on Survival Colony 9.

In this excerpt, a scouting party investigates the western desert, where the colony has been driven following a Skaldi attack. There they find an abandoned settlement. Through Querry’s eyes, we meet some of the novel’s main characters: the commander of Survival Colony 9, Querry’s father Laman Genn; Laman’s second-in-command, Aleka; and Querry’s nemesis, Yov. We also hear rumors of the Skaldi, who are an ever-present threat in this world.

The trucks crawled up the hill, coughing and wheezing, pulled up on bare dirt and stopped with a squeal. My dad, moving faster than I’d seen him move in weeks, jumped down from the cab. He took a long look at the place, hands on hips, nodding slowly. Then he turned to us.

“Who found it?” He directed his question at Aleka, but I could tell he hoped the answer was me.
“Yov,” she said. “The kid’s got eyes like a hawk.”
My dad stepped over to Yov and reached up to pat him awkwardly on the shoulder. Yov had a calm look on his face, like he was saying, “hey, just doing my job,” but I knew I’d be hearing about this later. From both of them.
“Good work,” my dad said.
Sure enough, Yov looked sidelong at me and smirked.
“We’ll have to double-check,” my dad said. “Aleka, have your team sweep the perimeter. Querry,” he signaled. “Get over here.”
While Aleka and the others fanned out to circle the compound, I accompanied him to the interior, near the crater. For an hour he had me get down on my hands and knees to peer in the dust for signs of Skaldi. He’d taught me how to detect their presence, but it’s not easy. When they leave a body behind, there’s nothing much to see. Emptied, like a sack of skin.
He kept up a running commentary as I crawled around in the dirt searching for evidence. “It doesn’t have to be much,” he reminded me. “Scraps, flakes. Teeth. Anything they might have left behind.”
“What about this?” I lifted a long, thin strip of some translucent material from the floor of a ruined house.
He scrutinized it. “I don’t think so. Bring it back, though. I’ll have Tyris take a look at it.”
Eventually we came to the very lip of the crater. He considered sending me down inside, but the walls fell away steeply and the rock looked precarious. He made me hunt around the edge anyway.
“Seems clean,” I told him when I was done.
“Check again,” he said.
I dropped to the dust and searched once more for signs I couldn’t see.
We strolled back to the others when he was satisfied with my inspection. “Something about this place,” he said. “Familiar. Like I’ve heard someone talk about it before.”
He shook his head, remembering, not remembering. He’d told me stories about what cities used to look like, with shining towers of steel and legions of cars streaming down the avenues. But he’d never seen one himself, not that he could remember. Only the old woman had, and the holes in her memory gaped as wide as the cracks in the houses that were left.
When we returned to the others, I could feel the anticipation in the air. No one budged, but all eyes zeroed in on him.
“Aleka,” he said. “Report.”
“No sign,” she said. “And Laman—there’s food.”
The magic word shivered through the crowd. His face remained composed, but I saw his eyes light up. “Where?”
Aleka led the two of us to the structure farthest from the nucleus of camp, a windowless square of gray cinderblock overlooking the hill’s eastern edge. My dad said it looked like a bomb shelter, but even if bombs had been flying or Skaldi breathing down our necks, there was nowhere near enough room for our whole camp. Probably it had belonged to a single family in the time before. It seemed to be the only building in the compound with working locks, two in fact, one in front and one on a trapdoor that led to a basement level. But the doors stood open, the deadbolts sprung. A flight of rickety wooden stairs led below. And in a corner of the basement, on the packed dirt floor, sat a pyramid of wooden cases filled with rusty metal cans.
“You’re sure it’s edible?” my dad asked, holding one of the cans up in the glow of Aleka’s flashlight.
“According to Tyris, properly canned goods have an effective shelf life of forever,” she answered. “But Laman. . . .”
He lowered the can. “I’m listening.”
“It might be best to take what we can carry and go. I’m not—comfortable here. We’re exposed. There’s only one way out. If they were to block the road. . . .”
“Not their typical behavior,” he said. “And you told me the perimeter’s clean.”
“So far as we can ascertain,” she said. “But this room—I suspect it’s been looted.” She shone her flashlight on the floor, revealing parallel tracks where cases had been dragged. “We may not be the only colony to have visited this place.”
“And the ones who beat us to it are plainly gone,” he replied. “Driven away by Skaldi, most likely. Leaving nothing but food the Skaldi won’t return for.”
“Unless they return for us.”

SURVIVAL COLONY 9 is available now from Simon & Schuster, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, select Wal-Mart stores, and other online and physical retailers!

About me:

I’ve been writing novels since I was eight years old (though the first few were admittedly very short). I taught college for twenty years, wrote a bunch of books for college students, then decided to return to fiction. SURVIVAL COLONY 9 is my first novel, but the sequel’s already in the works!

To connect with me and learn more about SURVIVAL COLONY 9, check out the following links:






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Cover Reveal!

I’m super excited to bring you the reveal for this gorgeous cover! Chris Allen-Riley was one of the faithful Thursday’s Children when I co-hosted that weekly blog hop and I have a little bit of a Mother Hen feeling about this… Chris is funny, sweet, and extraordinarily supportive of other writers. Some time ago I was lucky enough to read a little snippet of this book and let me just say, Chris has a real talent for creating imagery that stays with the reader.

Eventide (Iron Falls, #1)
Release Date: 10/2014
Summary from Goodreads:
The driver in a tragic
car accident that killed her best friend, Devon Greer is consumed by guilt.
When powerful hallucinations convince her that she’s seeing Rachael everywhere,
Devon thinks she’s going crazy. But her friend isn’t truly gone.
To save Rachael from the faeries who stole her, Devon must pit herself against
the Court of the Sidhe. Once she witnesses the true form of the fey, Devon’s
life is in danger—and so are the lives of everyone she loves.
Now, Devon must not only protect herself, but also Jonah Seafort, Rachael’s
cousin and the only person Devon can trust to help her. While the Sidhe walk
among them, no one is safe…
About the AuthorLover of books, nature, cats and shiny things. Active disliker of
cooking, cleaning and stress. Mom, freelance editor & YA author – also a
bit of a nerd.
Author Links:
 photo iconwebsite-32x32_zps1f477f69.png  photo icongoodreads32_zps60f83491.png  photo icontwitter-32x32_zpsae13e2b2.png  photo iconfacebook-32x32_zps64a79d4a.png
Cover Reveal Organized by:
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The Writing Process Blog Tour

An invitation from my North-Of-The-Border friend Cassandra Griffin


to join The Writing Process Blog Tour has prompted me to dust off my poor neglected blog. Cassandra was a regular at Thursday’s Children, for those of you who remember that awesome weekly blog hop. She’s represented by Pooja Menon of Kimberley Cameron & Associates and writes YA fiction. Check out the description of her WIP, working title PORCELAIN PRINCESS here . I think you’ll agree, it sounds like a great read!

You can also follow her on Twitter @chgriffinauthor

Now, without further ado, the question and answer part of our show…

 What am I currently working on?

A deep, dark psychological suspense story which was inspired when I found a dead dog on a beach in Maine. In my story the dog isn’t a dog at all, she’s a mermaid (equally dead). One of my narrators is the mermaid’s sister. She’s taken a vow of silence. Not total silence–she does text. The other narrator is a boy. He’s the one who discovers the dead mermaid, and then becomes obsessed with her, because he has his own twisty secrets which make a dead mermaid seem like the perfect girlfriend. Of course.

yes animated GIF

My MCs are in high school, but because of some of the things that happen to them, they have to be eighteen. Apparently I’m writing my first NA.

My protagonists, Orla and Owen, unravel what happened to Miren (the mermaid). They have to work together, which isn’t easy, since neither of them trusts a soul. They don’t even trust themselves. While uncovering Miren’s secrets, they inadvertently unearth some of their own, and other peoples’ too. These secrets are glittery diamonds emitting rays of hope throughout this moody tale…
no animated GIF

*Thank you, Johnny.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Well, that remains to be seen, because it’s only about halfway done. This WIP’s bag of tricks does include throwback psychological tests,


Christian martyrs,

Saint Agnes of Rome                c. 291-304

Saint Agnes of Rome                   c. 291-304

Irish folklore,



and a Jack Russell terrier named Gyp.

"Gyp", as played by Daisy

“Gyp”, as played by Daisy

They say, “Write about what interests you”, so I make no apologies.

Why do I write what I write?

I “enjoy” exploring relationships, trauma, memory, and coping mechanisms. YA/NA provides characters who are extremely vulnerable emotionally, and yet able to contemplate things with more sophistication than children. Traumatic events and the memories of them have profound power to shape who a teenager is and who he or she will become.

How does my individual writing process work?

Sometimes it’s like plucking the fuzz off a peach and sometimes it’s like riding a headstrong horse at breakneck speed along an oceanside cliff. In more literal terms, my writing process changes a bit with each book I write. This WIP/gnarly beast is taking FOREVER to write and presenting more challenges than any of its predecessors (plucking peach fuzz in the dark while wearing mittens). Silly me, thinking things might get easier. Sigh. Things have gotten deeper and more intuitive, but messier. Generally, I reread a chapter or two to get back into my characters’ heads and to make sure transitions are smooth. I spend a lot of time thinking about my story while walking my dogs, driving, and falling asleep (either in bed or at my computer). I make scribbly notes for themes, characters, back-story, and specific scenes. There’s a timeline to ensure things work chronologically.

Ultimately once the damn thing is written, I’ll assess the need for major overhauls. Then off to CPs/betas and more revising/editing.

And now, to tag some friends!

I’ve persuaded the following lovely writers to share the fun. Once they let me know their posts are up, I’ll tweet links to their blog posts.


Jamie Rae writes YA/NA. Her debut CALL SIGN KARMA is coming January 2015. Many of you may also know her as the agent Jamie Bodnar Drowley of Inklings Literary. She’s also Dr. Drowley, orthodontist. Clearly the woman never sleeps…and maybe she consumes lots of Red Bull. Here’s a link to her blog. She can also be found on Twitter @JamieRaeWrites

2. Louise

Louise D. Gornall writes Urban Fantasy and Horror YA and is rep’d by Mandy Hubbard of D4EO. You can read about her debut IN STONE on Goodreads here. Her blog is here , and you can find her on Twitter @Rock_andor_roll as well as at The Midnight Type and World of YA. Fun fact: Louise is an identical twin!

3. DDFalvo

Denise D. Falvo was captured and released by faeries as a child and is still trying to find her way back. She writes fantasy and adopts stray dragons as consolation. You can find her blog here and follow her on Twitter @DDFalvo . She’s also one of the guiding lights at Writer Unboxed and an all around fantabulous person.

4.  EMCastellan

EM Castellan lives in a castle in England. Seriously. I wouldn’t kid you about something like that-follow her on Twitter @EMCastellan and ask her yourself. Her blog is here and she’s also a frequent contributor to There and Draft Again. She’s represented by Erin Niumata of Folio Lit and writes YA Fantasy. If you have a question about Victorian-era London, look no further.

5. KateMichael

Kate Michael and I met ages ago during various writing contests and she was a frequent contributor to the Thursday’s Children blog hop. You can follow her on Twitter @_KateMichael and find her blog here. She writes YA/NA and is one of my go to people when I need a beta double-quick, as in “can you read this NOW and get back to me TONIGHT?!?”, and/or a shoulder to cry on regarding the roller coaster otherwise known as traditional publishing.



Rebeca Schiller – she and I met on the Writer Unboxed Facebook group. We share a love of writing (of course) and a love of animals, especially Jack Russell Terriers. Hers is named Mr. Bessie. She’s an expert on the Spanish Civil War, lefty politics, and Scrivener. She can be found on Twitter @SchillerRebeca and on her blog .



Kathy Palm – her Twitter bio explains exactly why we’re friends – she loves all things scary, magical, and weird (emphasis for me on the scary and weird, with a dash of magical). Speaking of Twitter, you can and should follow her @KathleenPalm . You can also find her at her blog . She writes YA Fantasy and was on vacation (a real one, not a make-believe one) when I initially asked her to play the blog tour game. Now that she’s back, she’s on board, yay!

If you’re not one of those I’ve tagged, I’d still love to hear your answers to the writing process questions. Use the comments section!

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Like A Virgin 2014 Grand Finale!



The Like A Virgin Contest doesn’t just happen. It takes a village…eventually. But before we get to the village point, there’s just the pair of us — recruiting judges and crit angels, publicizing, organizing, and for Kristina (whose tech expertise far exceeds mine), a helluva lot of formatting. Sometimes it feels a little like this…
lucy animated GIF
Why do we do it?

Speaking for myself, meeting new friends and reconnecting with “old” ones, feeling the excitement build, trying to ensure that writers have a positive experience with what may be their first public critique as well as their first contest…these things make the time and effort totally worthwhile. Oh, and when a former virgin gets an agent, and or a pub deal? That’s the best!

If you participated in #LV14, I hope you had a fabulous time and learned a thing or two (please feel free to tell me in comments). If you didn’t participate, and you’re a writer…

LV15Stay tuned! We’re tentatively planning #LV15 for spring of next year.


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Like A Virgin Blog Hop

Welcome Like A Virgin Contestants and Writer-Judges! My original intent was just to make sure the Linky code works for WordPress. But now that I’ve got a post going, might as well answer the questions, right?

1. How do you remember your first kiss? Hmm, claustrophobic? He had very big lips… 

2. What was your first favorite love song? I have no idea. Honestly, I can’t remember back that far.

3. What’s the first thing you do when you begin writing for the day? Make sure I have coffee handy. Then I usually read through at least a chapter’s worth of what I wrote the day before.

4. Who’s the first writer who truly inspired you to become a writer? Stephenie Meyer. Really. My daughter was SO into those books and after reading them I thought there was nothing all that extraordinary about them. That gave me the courage to try.

Did the final revision of your first book have the same first chapter it started with? Yes. But it had a different first chapter for a while during revisions.

5. For your first book, which came first: major characters, plot or setting? Plot/characters kind of developed as one.

6. What’s the first word you want to roll off the tip of someone’s tongue when they think of your writing? Wow.

Alright, now go visit the other contestants and writer-judges who are participating! If you are not part of the Like A Virgin contest, please do not try to join this blog hop.

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