Friday, March 20, 2015

Mystery Twitter Theater

You're not going to believe this. I just found out I'm a suspect in a crime. Noted YA blogger Ensconced in Lit was murdered yesterday and her body has been found on Twitter. Yep, you read that right--Twitter. Apparently the killer made off with a super-epic LIARS, INC. prize pack and now everyone thinks maybe it was me. Well guess what, it wasn't me because Ensconced in Lit is one of my best twitter buddies. We even go out for coffee! But on that night I wasn't with her. I headed home from work to grab my laptop so I could meet some local writers at the coffee shop. I was there writing until about 9pm when I headed home and snuggled up with my dog.

I mean... how could anyone with a dog that cute murder a friend? Will you help prove my innocence? Head over to Paula Stokes's blog for all the information about the crime. If you can figure out who the real killer is and how they did the deed, Paula is going to award YOU the super-epic LIARS, INC. prize pack, which includes a hand-painted tote, a signed book, a deluxe swag pack, and additional mystery prizes. Come to think of it, I might just have to do a little investigating myself. After all, that prize pack is kind of to die for.

Or should I say to kill for...

#MysteryTwitterTheater was created to celebrate the release of LIARS, INC. a twisty YA mystery/thriller!

For fans of Gone Girl, I Hunt Killers, and TV's How to Get Away with Murder.

Max Cantrell has never been a big fan of the truth, so when the opportunity arises to sell forged permission slips and cover stories to his classmates, it sounds like a good way to make a little money and liven up his senior year. With the help of his friends Preston and Parvati, Max starts Liars, Inc. Suddenly everybody needs something and the cash starts pouring in. Who knew lying could be so lucrative?

When Preston wants his own cover story to go visit a girl he met online, Max doesn’t think twice about hooking him up. Until Preston never comes home. Then the evidence starts to pile up—terrifying clues that lead the cops to Preston’s body. Terrifying clues that point to Max as the murderer.

Can Max find the real killer before he goes to prison for a crime he didn’t commit? In a story that Kirkus Reviews called "Captivating to the very end," Paula Stokes starts with one single white lie and weaves a twisted tale that will have readers guessing until the explosive final chapters.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Missing Pieces Cover Reveal

“Your family is the most important part of your life. Your families are the people you love, and love is what separates us from scoundrels and criminals. It maintains order. Your parents, your sibling, and your Partner are the ones you love. There should never, ever, be anyone else who comes close to that bond. You have only one best friend, and that is the person you’ll be marrying some day. We must learn to differentiate the relationships in our lives: the people we love, and the ones we don’t. It’s inappropriate, it’s foolish, and it’s forbidden to think otherwise.”

Trace Bailey’s mouth is her worst enemy—somehow it always gets her in trouble. Luckily, she has a partner in crime—her best friend and neighbor since age seven, Piren Allston. He can’t get enough of her crazy sense of humor, and she loves that he’s always up for another adventure.

They can’t be friends, though, not in their world. Trace and Piren were Assigned to other people at the age of six, and they’re supposed to marry their Partners when they turn twenty-four. Failure to comply leads to Banishment, a fate worse than death.

Worse still is the growing realization that their bond is stronger than just friendship.

In a world without freedom, there are still choices to be made. Following their hearts means losing their family, but following the law means losing each other.

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Author Bio:
A proud New Hampshire native, Meredith Tate lives in St. Louis with her husband. She loves reading and writing in all genres, but has a soft spot for dark young adult and new adult speculative fiction. Meredith has a master's degree in social work from the University of New Hampshire. She is a contributor to the St. Louis Writer's Guild's "Write Pack Radio Show" every Sunday afternoon. When she’s not writing, Meredith enjoys traveling, playing the piano, befriending wild geese, and spending time with family and friends. Much like her characters, she’s always up for another adventure.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Common Problems With Sci Fi

Over the weekend I saw Jupiter Ascending. While I enjoyed it, I couldn't help but notice some common problems with sci fi, running rampant in this movie.

For a little clarity I'm going to give you a quick run down of the opening of the movie then use that to explain some common mistakes that occur in sci fi stories that don't quite work. See if you can spot some of the problems as I explain. And if you get lost in the explanation skip to the bold *** section and see why you got lost.

Meet the parents
The movie opens with a narration and meeting Jupiter's parents as they first find each other. Dad likes science and astronomy, Mom likes that he's crazy and into science. Fast forward, boom Mom is pregnant, and Dad wants to name the kid Jupiter. Mom says you can't name a kid after a planet, and then they get robbed in their own home. Dad tries to stop them from getting his precious telescope and gets shot and SPOILER **DIES**. At this point we aren't sure what this has to do with the story other than how our main character came to be.
Meet Jupiter
Fast forward some more and here's Jupiter. She wakes up at 4:45 am every morning, cleans toilets with her mom in fancy homes, and dreams of something more. Her life is boring and it sucks. YAWN. We get it Jupiter doesn't like things as they are, and feels like she should have more out of life.

Meet the sibling aliens
We are on some beautiful planet with tall shiny buildings and it's deserted. Oh wait who are those two? They are wearing fancy clothes and talking about inheritance. A third guy materializes out of mid air. One guy wants to make a trade and the other thinks it's cause he squandered his inheritance. They seem to tolerate each other and be related, but we don't know who they are, why we should care about them, or what they have to do with Jupiter who we just met.

Jupiter and her cousin
We know Jupiter wants nice things and can't afford them so she is getting her eggs harvested cause she wants to buy a telescope like the one that got stolen from her Dad. Her skeevy cousin has talked her into this and is using her for money. Again why do we care? What does this have to do with Jupiter and her story.
Meet more crazy aliens
We have some new crazy aliens with cool hair and tattoos on a roof watching another alien on the ground. Oh he's got cool boots, he's called a something or other that I never caught the name of. And oh hey, we can't let him live, but we won't tell you why.

Alien with the cool boots uses some cool tech to walk through a solid door into a fertility clinic to look at some records.

Aliens on the roof descend to the ground, one has a cool hover bike.

Alien with the boots emerges with a cool energy shield and they all fight in this epic fight scene with laser weapons and hover boots, but we aren't quite sure why.

Jupiter sees aliens
We've got some crazy lady Jupiter works for and cue the aliens mind probing the weird lady. Jupiter takes a picture on her cell phone that she later can't remember.
Crazy alien sibling wants someone dead
Cue crazy alien sibling number one. He wants what's rightfully his. What is that? We aren't really sure. He also wants someone dead. We aren't sure who said person is or why.

Jupiter goes to get her eggs harvested, uses a fake name
The aliens find her and scan her. She's the one, let's kill her! Cue crazy alien with the hover boots and she's rescued in some grand fight/chase scene. It's super cool. I SWEAR! But I still have very little clue as to what's happening to her or why.
Jupiter wakes up with alien
Every time he opens his mouth, it's to explain the world as he knows it, and to explain how everything Jupiter knows is only a partial truth. He was sent to rescue her by some guy and cue the info dump.

Are you still here or did you get lost? If you got lost, there's no shame. I saw the whole movie, and I'm still not quite sure I understand what happened. The problem is, by this point we are so far down the rabbit hole, I'd say at least 30 to 40 minutes deep in this movie, and we have nothing to latch onto. There's a million different story lines and characters, and very little grounding. But hey everything looks really cool! They are trying to build this amazing world with awesome tech, and keep secrets from the audience, but in the process all they have done is create confusion and little connection to the characters. And spoiler, as the movie goes on every time an alien opens his or her mouth, there's more giant dumps of information.

So what went wrong?
Cool Scenery
Hey everything was gorgeous, visually stunning in fact, but none of it seemed to have any point in the story. In fact sometimes we had no idea what planet we were on or why it mattered. It very often gave the audience a "why are we here" and "why should we care" feeling.

Cool Tech
What is sci fi without cool tech? I love fun things like hover boots, hover bikes, and energy shields. But if it's just floating around early in the story to say hey this is different than the world we know today, and it doesn't seem to fit with in the context of the story, it will probably confuse your readers. Put the cool tech in by all means, but at least make some of it serve a purpose with the plot and/or characters.

Character Development
Sometimes we get so excited about sci fi and all the possibilities that we forget the reader needs to connect with our characters. We can throw cool characters in there, but if we have no reason to care about them or connect with them from the beginning, we as a reader are going to give up and move onto something else.
Dropped in the Action
Fight scenes, yes they are cool and full of action and excitement. The problem with them is, if they are done incorrectly, you feel dropped in the middle. Even worse when there's crazy tech and characters the audience doesn't care about, this creates chaos and confusion. We get those, "who are these people", "why are they fighting", and "why should we care" feelings. If you are going to have an action sequence or a cool fight scene make sure the reader is grounded in it so they know why the parties are fighting, and why it's so exciting.

Back Story
This is a common problem in a lot of books not just sci fi. That said, in Jupiter Ascending did we really need 20 minutes of movie to explain how Jupiter's parents met, how she came to be, and that her life sucks cause she cleans toilets? Nope. Sure it told us she had money problems, wanted greater things for her life, and got her to the clinic where she was attacked by aliens, but a much more interesting story may have shown Jupiter's struggle with money in some fun way and let the dad's telescope thing come out a little more organically.
Show vs Tell / Info Dumps
Now I put these together because they seem to go hand in hand. While sci fi can have slightly more telling than say a contemporary story, there still needs to be a balance between show and tell. There are ways to show different worlds, alien species, and what they are all about without telling the audience everything about them. And if every time an alien opens his or her mouth it's to dump a million pieces of information on the reader, then you are just going to overwhelm them with weird names, facts, and plot with a lot of unnecessary back story. So there needs to be a way the reader can be informed of the important information organically and gradually. It needs to be woven seamlessly throughout the story instead of like word vomit on the page.

All that said, Jupiter Ascending had a lot of potential. And if you take it for a visually stunning movie with some cool ideas then you will enjoy the movie. If you rip it apart for it's many plot problems, you may not like it as much. I found myself having to turn my brain off at times and just enjoy the pretty scenery and awesome technology. So if you write sci fi, use this as a lesson to create cohesive, exciting sci fi with awesome characters and a kick ass plot that unfolds before the readers eyes and entices them to keep reading.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Naked Cover Reveal

Release Date: 07/07/15
Entangled Teen
305 pages

Summary from Goodreads:
The best place to hide is in a lie…

I could never fit in to the life my parents demanded. By the time I was thirteen, it was too much. I ran away to New York City…and found a nightmare that lasted three years. A nightmare that began and ended with a pimp named Luis. Now I am Dirty Anna. Broken, like everything inside me has gone bad.

Except that for the first time, I have a chance to start over. Not just with my parents but at school. Still, the rumors follow me everywhere. Down the hall. In classes. And the only hope I can see is in the wide, brightly lit smile of Jackson, the boy next door. So I lie to him. I lie to protect him from my past. I lie so that I don’t have to be The Girl Who Went Bad.

The only problem is that someone in my school knows about New York.

Someone knows who I really am.

And it’s just a matter of time before the real Anna is exposed…

Pre-Order Links:
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About the Author
Stacey Trombley lives in Ohio with her husband and the sweetest Rottweiler you’ll ever meet. She thinks people are fascinating and any chance she has, she’s off doing or learning something new. She went on her first mission trip to Haiti at age twelve and is still dying to go back. Her “places to travel” list is almost as long as her “books to read” list. 

She wants to bring something new to the world through her writing, but just giving a little piece of herself is more than enough.

Keep a look out for her debut novel NAKED, coming from Entangled Teen in 2015

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Pitching with a Twist

As most of you know I'm a giant space nut. So when I heard about SyFy's new space drama Ascension, I got pretty excited.

But upon finishing episode one I felt a bit cheated by that description. You see, there's a twist at the end of the first episode. (Really stop reading if you don't want to be spoiled.) Viewers discover in the last five minutes that the people who were launched into space in the sixties for a 100 year space mission, are really just part of a government experiment that never left Earth.

I did a double take. How could that ship shown in space not actually be there? And while I suspected earlier on in the episode this might be the case because there was little to no explanation as to how sixties technology would support this kind of long range space mission, I was still really shocked. But not in a good way. And that wasn't the only emotion surrounding me. I honestly felt extremely let down. Here SyFy was pitching this epic space drama (which they haven't done in quite some time), and in reality... there was zero space involved.
So all this got me thinking. How do you pitch a grand idea that has a giant twist, and not piss off your audience?
The pitch
The first thing you focus on is the pitch. Pitches are meant as a tease. They are also meant to entice the audience. In this case, I was teased by the space end of things, and I was definitely reeled in by the idea of a murder mystery on a space mission. But because the pitch is only meant to tease and not to spoil, the pitch should only focus on the initial part of the story, the inciting incident if you will. As far as Ascension goes, SyFy did everything right with their pitch. They teased me (maybe a little too much), and they definitely got my attention. So pitch well done! If you are pitching something with a twist, it's best to leave the twist out of the pitch.
The twist
The second thing to work on is the execution of the twist. This is where things can go south really quickly. You have to build up to the twist in such a way that when you do inevitably deceive your audience, they don't feel cheated, but feel enlightened and excited about the result. The clues and the story need to work together seamlessly, so that when the big reveal is dropped, it makes sense to the audience rather than leaving them rolling their eyes and/or feeling hoodwinked.
This, I think, is where SyFy didn't execute as well as they could have. In episode one, there weren't many, if any clues that supported the giant twist. While it's a really cool idea, there wasn't enough lead up to the twist. There was a lot of focus on the main plot, a girl who is murdered, and how one of the crew members managed to get a gun on board the ship. Which if this is the main plot of the story, that's fine to focus there, but the twist of not being in space needed to be tied into the main plot somehow. Thus far, it hasn't been (stay tuned for episodes two and three Tuesday and Wednesday).

Instead toward the end of the episode, we got a hint that the government was watching the Ascension's every move; which if they are on a long range space mission they should be. But unfortunately there wasn't a hint that this was some grand experiment that never even went into space, other than my deductive reasoning that developing this kind of technology in 1963 would have been extremely difficult.
The few breadcrumbs unfortunately didn't lead to the twist. This was a problem because when the bomb was dropped, we weren't even in the vicinity to take on the full blast. Instead, we were watching from afar shaking our heads at the devastation it caused. Which is not where you want to be when you reveal something huge. You want your audience so reeled in, they go how did I miss that? That's awesome, but... yeah, you want them speechless.
So if you want to plot out a grand sweeping twist for you story, great. Just make sure you build it so that's it entirely believable. Otherwise you risk upsetting your audience. On the flip side, a great twist will set off a series of emotions from your audience, but if you do everything right, they will be the right kind, not the feeling that someone cheated you out of something really cool.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Barrowmen's School of Immortality

John Barrowman's school of immortality



Step 1: Gain their trust

Step 2: Up the suspense

Step 3: Have an exit strategy

Step 4: Tear their hearts out

Step 5: Return with a vengeance

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Only Girl in the Room

This week I spent time in two all day meetings that were long and exhausting. But on the first day it didn’t take me more than five minutes to realize something significant about the group. I was the only female engineer in the room. Not just engineer, the only female. Sure we had a female office administrator setup the meeting (and that’s a discussion for a whole other day), but when she left, I was the lone female. The only girl in the room.

Now I have to say in general the divide in engineering is getting much better. In the last couple years my group alone has more than doubled its number of female engineers from two to five. And this past summer we had two female interns. Sounds awesome right? Not quite. In a growing group of thirty five plus engineers, this is not an accurate representation of the world. When you go to the grocery store or the mall or the gas station you don’t look up and say hey I’m the only female here. So why is that the case in a large engineering corporation? And what message does this send to up and coming females seeking out technical fields?

Without a single person opening their mouth, the room says, women aren’t welcome. Now I’m not saying that’s actually the case. Every person in the room respects me as an engineer—a respect that I unfortunately had to work long and hard to earn. And on the surface, they don’t treat me any differently than anyone else. But there are comments that sometimes inadvertently alienate me as a female. And as the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words”. So in a room full of men, how do we show women that they are welcome? Because when I’m the sole female representative, I don’t even have to notice that I’m alone to feel that pressure to prove myself. To prove that I know what I’m talking about, to prove that I’m good enough, to prove that I belong. And that is exhausting.

All it takes is the realization that I’m alone, for a minority to go to that place where they feel isolated in a room full of people. To feel like they don’t belong. Like they aren’t qualified. And as a society I think we can send a better message just by changing the dynamics of a room. I’m not saying hire someone or bring them into a room to fill a quota. We should be hiring the best and the brightest no question. But just being aware of there’s a problem is a huge first step. Realizing that sometimes the uneven dynamics create isolation that may not be visible on the surface. And showing the future of STEM fields that this is the reality right now, but it doesn’t have to continue to be this way.

Women are strong enough, smart enough, and are qualified enough to fill the room. We belong. We shouldn’t let the look of a room tell us otherwise. We shouldn’t give up just because we are alone. One day we can change the look of the room. One day I will look up and realize, I’m not the only girl in the room.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Writing Contests Aren't Everything

I know we all get excited when we see writing contests that give us the opportunity to get our work in front of agents. I mean how cool would it be to get an agent through a contest? But I've got news for you. As great as contests are, they aren't the end all be all. They aren't the only path to finding an agent.

Contests are great learning experiences don't get me wrong. And you can meet loads of awesome writers, so by all means enter away. But make sure when you do, you don't agonize over them too much. Put all that energy into shining up your query, polishing your pages, absorbing all the writing tips you can, and building an awesome network of writers and critique partners.

Cause here's the thing, even if you make it into a contest and get in front of the agents, you might still come up empty. I've been there, all excited someone saw promise in my work only to get zero requests from the agents in the contest. It sucks, but rejection if part of the business.

So how is it possible that you busted your butt to get into a contest and then you get no requests? I have a theory, certainly subjectivity and marketability come into play here and what one person loves someone else might not, but sometimes it's a matter of who's involved. Sure you should be thoroughly researching the agents in contest before you enter to make sure a good chunk of the agents are looking for what you have. That said, when you're in a contest you're stuck with that limited set of agents.

On the other hand, when you query, you take control over who you submit to. You have the opportunity to show you've done your homework and to personalize your submission to each agent you send to. Many agents request pages in their submission guidelines and do read them which can also be to your benefit to submit more than just 250 words. (Yes, you should be able to hook someone in 250 words, but some agents are more forgiving than others if they see something there.) And you definitely get to submit your query, whereas in many contests you are limited to a short pitch. Sure, there's merit in being able to boil your book down to a sentence, but sometimes you need more real estate to really let your voice, and the unique aspects of your book shine.

The other advantage querying gives you is time. You can send them out in batches see how things go and reevaluate if needed. In contests it's a one shot deal. The submission windows are short, the contests don't usually last long, and you are often stuck showing agents what you sent in (although some contests have a rework/resubmit period it usually is on a tight deadline.) But when you query, you get rejections, and sometimes personalized feedback, and then you can take as much time as you need to perfect your submission package for the next round. Finding an agent is a marathon not a sprint so take every opportunity you can to perfect your work.

Another thing to consider about contests is there's a limited number of people selected. It's a firm number and a lot more people are going to enter than will actually get in. But if you query, an agent (or qualified intern) will see your work. And while they can only take on a limited number of clients, if they are open to queries, they are open to new clients. There's little limit to the number of requests they can make (other than reading time), and they can take on as many clients as they think they can adequately handle. So querying in many ways gives you a much larger window of opportunity.

So all that said, try not to stress too much about contests. I know easier said than done, we all stress over them, myself included, but take a minute and breathe. If you make it into a contest great! Congrats, someone saw something awesome in your work. If you get requests, even better you rock! But if you don't get requests or don't make it in, that doesn't mean your stuff isn't awesome or that someone didn't think your writing is good. Sure we all need to work on our craft, no one is perfect. But shine that sucker up and get into the query trenches. When the world shuts a door on you, go find a window to open. Cause let's face it, climbing out of windows is way more fun anyway. ;)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

When Life Gets in the Way

Some of you may have noticed my lack of blogging and even lack of social media use recently. And that is in large part because of the crazy going on in my life right now. If you read my post on Inflection Points, you know I’m selling two condos, house hunting, and planning a wedding. Well the last two weeks have added to the fun. In the matter of a week I’ve been in eight, yes EIGHT different airports. And that doesn’t count the multiple trips to the St. Louis airport (there were four of those).

In addition to all the crazy life has thrown me, I visited the future in-laws in Florida, followed immediately by a weeklong work trip to Connecticut. To say I am unsure what day it is, is an extreme understatement. I think by about the third trip to the St. Louis airport I didn’t know which end was up. There’s something about all the up and down, and not sleeping in your own bed that really messes with your head and your sleep patterns.

And while all the exhaustion was a lot to handle, the thing buzzing through my head the most was the fact that I wasn’t writing and didn’t have time for it. Even worse if I was writing, I’m not sure which of the many projects I’ve started I’d actually be working on. I’m at a crossroads in all senses of the word. The only thing I’m managing to work on at the moment is edits on the manuscript I’m getting ready to query and enter into pitchwars. At least I’m being a little bit productive.

But all this craziness has me wondering how in the world I’m going to get back into a writing a grove after having it disrupted for the last few months. What project do I work on?  How do I make myself sit in the chair and write when all I want to do is collapse in my bed and sleep? How do I shut my million mile per hour brain down long enough to focus on writing? How do I get excited about writing again? And where do I even start?

I have a lot of anxiety about jumping back in when I should be enthusiastic about shiny new ideas. I know I have some painful writing sessions ahead of me, and I’m honestly dreading them. But I will get back into it if it kills me. And for the moment, I have a shiny shiny manuscript I’m ready to send out into the world, that I’m super and I mean SUPER excited about it. For now that is what is keeping me going.

Monday, July 14, 2014


Hi! My friend Jamie has invited me onto her blog to talk about how the city of St. Louis influenced my first YA contemporary novel, THE ART OF LAINEY.

Let me start with a confession—I did not adhere strictly to the geography and layout of the city when writing the book. Many of the places Lainey and her friends go are fictionalized, though several are based on real places. Why did I do this?

First, setting your book in a real place is very limiting. I wanted scenes at the airport, scenes at a concert hall, scenes at a coffee shop, scenes at a dance club, etc. To make all of these real places might have meant accounting for a lot of driving between current real locations. Driving (or even taking MetroLink) makes for some boring reading. Instead, I created a fictional suburb, Hazelton, based loosely off Hazelwood and Bridgeton, where I grew up.

Second, adhering strictly to reality can quickly date your book. The rock club where Lainey and Micah go to see some of his favorite bands (also made up) play is based off Mississippi Nights, a club where I used to go to shows. That club is now closed. Even if I used a current club, like The Pageant, there’s nothing to say five years from now it won’t be closed or moved or renamed or redesigned to look completely different. I didn’t want readers a couple of years from now to read and go “but wait, that’s not what the Pageant looks like” so I made the decision to create fictional places for my fictional suburb.

Third, sometimes reality just isn’t as fun as make-believe. Mizz Creants House of Torture doesn’t exist, but I had a blast designing my own super-creepy restaurant for Micah to take Lainey to. There’s just no real life place that would have substituted in for that.

But other than the restaurant, I tried to keep it real when Micah and Lainey actually go to St. Louis. For example:

They take the MetroLink to a Cardinals game at new Busch Stadium. Not just a Cards game, a Cards-Cubs game…and of course we win :-)

They go to the sports fields at Forest Park, passing Art Hill and Washington University (my alma mater!) in the process. Barnes-Jewish, my former place of employment, is referenced without being named.

They see the Arch while they’re driving on Market Street, passing Union Station and cutting across town on one-way streets. Micah invites Lainey to a free concert at Fair St. Louis.

Denali, the coffee shop where the main characters work, is based off Kayaks on Skinker and Forest Park Parkway. This is actually where I wrote most of the book. (No worries, the coffee shop employees are all fictionalized. There is no crazy guy named C-4 making your food, I promise).

There was a scene at the City Museum that I unfortunately had to cut because it wasn’t advancing the story, but I did include part of that scene in my Canada blog tour so I could share it with readers. I LOVE the City Museum. (If you’ve never been there, quit wrinkling up your nose. It’s not your ordinary museum!)

And finally, St. Louis is much more than its places. I worked hard to capture the FEEL of the area, incorporating urban sprawl and traffic and humidity, etc. This book takes place in June and July and you’ll find lots and lots of hot weather and frizzing hair and rainstorms that blow up out of nowhere.

So although part of The Art of Lainey is fictionalized, I hope St. Louis readers feel like I did a good job of capturing the essence of the city. I spent over thirty years in the STL area, and even though I don’t live there anymore, growing up in “the Lou” was fabulous and will continue to impact the person I am for the rest of my life. Part of the dedication is actually to the city itself, and the book is absolutely a love story to the place that did such a good job of raising me.

Can’t make the event? Paula’s got you covered with a giveaway of THE ART OF LAINEY in honor of the #MMBB tour. This one is U.S. only. Just fill out the rafflecopter below.

About The Art of Lainey:
Soccer-star Lainey Mitchell is gearing up to spend an epic summer with her amazing boyfriend, Jason, when he suddenly breaks up with her—no reasons, no warning, and in public no less! Lainey is more than crushed, but with help from her friend Bianca, she resolves to do whatever it takes to get Jason back.

And that’s when the girls stumble across a copy of The Art of War. With just one glance, they're sure they can use the book to lure Jason back into Lainey’s arms. So Lainey channels her inner warlord, recruiting spies to gather intel and persuading her coworker Micah to pose as her new boyfriend to make Jason jealous. After a few "dates", it looks like her plan is going to work!  But now her relationship with Micah is starting to feel like more than just a game. 

What's a girl to do when what she wants is totally different from what she needs? How do you figure out the person you're meant to be with, if you're still figuring out the person you're meant to be? 

About Paula:
Paula Stokes is half writer, half RN, and totally thrilled to be part of the world of YA literature. She grew up in St. Louis, Missouri where she graduated from Washington University and the Goldfarb School of Nursing. When she's not writing, she's kayaking, hiking, reading, or seeking out new adventures in faraway lands. Paula loves interacting with readers! Find her online at or on twitter as @pstokesbooks.

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