Monday, April 27, 2020

And the winner is . . .

Thank you for everyone that played along with the contest to win Jennifer A. Nielsen's books and my books. The winner of Jennifer A. Nielsen's books was Carson L.! We will contact you to get you your books.

The winner of my books was Ems! Congratulations. I will be contacting you today for your prizes. Thanks to everyone who participated.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Jennifer A. Nielsen Cover Reveal Contest!

Ever since I read THE FALSE PRINCE by Jennifer A. Nielsen, I have been in love with her writing and stories. Her books are clever, timeless, fun, heart-wrenching, and manage to draw in a large span of age groups no matter what genre she writes.

Win a copy

When I found out she had a new book coming out next year, I had to be a part of a contest with her books as a prize!!

EDITED TO ADD: The contest is now over. The winner of Jennifer A. Nielsen's books was Carson L. YAY!! We will contact you. The contest for my books has also ended. The winner was Ems! YAY!! I will contact you today too!


Below is a grid that you will also find on Jennifer’s website. There are 15 squares and 15 questions to answer. To enter the contest, just answer one question correctly. Each corresponding square has a different blog post with a different question (I’m #12 - see below). When the question is answered correctly, Jennifer will unlock that square on her website to reveal the cover and title of her newest book. Even if the square is unlocked, please visit the blog to get an entry point. The contest is open until every square is unlocked and the full cover is revealed. This means if you visit every blog before the cover is revealed, you can get up to 15 entries.

Win a copy


THREE signed books from Jennifer A. Nielsen, INCLUDING the choice of THE CAPTIVE KINGDOM – or – the first ARC of this new historical book when Jennifer gets a copy.

Win a copy
You can win THREE of her books, including this one that hasn't even come out yet!!

Here's the question you need to answer to enter the contest:


During the German occupation of France, which of these issues was the biggest concern for regular French citizens?

a. Getting enough food
b. Protecting the Jewish people
c. The loss of French freedoms
d. Allied bombings

Just post your answer below in the comments and if you get it right, not only will the square be unlocked on her website, but you will get a chance to win 3 of HER BOOKS! If you go to her website, and follow the links to the other 14 questions, you have a chance for 15 entries!

Do it. You won’t be disappointed. 

(Did you totally read that like an infomercial voiceover?!?)

I will draw a name from those that answer correctly below and you can get 3 of MY BOOKS (Remembrandt series) too (signed, sealed, and delivered). If you already have them, you can choose to get the audiobooks of all three of my books or I’ll send all my books to your favorite person. And if that’s not enough to convince you, you’ll also get an ARC of my next book that releases. Did I convince you yet?

Comment your answer below!

Monday, February 24, 2020

How I Got Published

I've had so many people ask about my publishing journey. Sometimes, I forget that I've been published before because I just got a superstar agent last October (Liza Fleissig at Liza Royce Agency). So how does it all work? How did I traditionally publish three books and not have an agent?

I finished writing my first book, Remembrandt, in 2013. Although it took me about a year to write and edit the book. I had a great writing group that read through the whole book and gave me feedback, as well as beta readers. I started querying the book (i.e. sending letters to agents to see if they were interested), and I actually had some interest, including several requests for the full manuscript. But no one offered to represent me. Truth be told, I was only actively searching for an agent for about a month. But I kept writing. I decided that I needed to get some more words under my belt before I started querying again. I wrote another book (a contemporary fantasy that I haven't yet tried to get published) and started a third one. During this time, I'd periodically get a rejection letter from an agent who I had sent to months before.

Then, about a year after I started querying, a got an email from an editor for Walnut Springs Press. They had originally been interested in my story, but because they were a smaller publisher (and my life was crazy busy with a new baby and living in Texas for the summer), I hadn't accepted their offer. Well, a year later, they noticed it hadn't been published and were still interested. Since I loved Remembrandt so much and it had been gathering dust, I pulled it out. I'd already done an overhaul revision of the book, but did another one before I sent it off to Walnut Springs Press.

A few weeks later, I was signing a publishing contract and only a few months later I was approving a book cover and pages. Remembrandt was published in October 2014.

That fall, I wrote most of Van Gogh Gone (Remembrandt #2), during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). It was published by Walnut Springs Press in October 2015. I wrote Memory of Monet (Remembrandt #3) over the next few months and it was published October 2016.

I loved the experience of being published, my book launches, book signings, teaching at conferences, visiting schools, audiobooks. It was a great learning experience. But I wanted more. I wanted an agent who could get me with the big publishing houses.

I started querying a fantasy I wrote in 2016. I'd got a lot of requests for a full manuscript. I even met with two agents, but ultimately, it seemed like I'd broke into young adult fantasy when the market was saturated with it. After sending out about a hundred queries and still having no agent, I decided that I should start writing something else (even though I'd already written over half of the sequel to that book).

I wrote most of a young adult contemporary novel, The Girl with Two Hearts in November of 2018. It's the story of heterotrophic transplant survivor, Grace, who has one last wish before her two hearts give out: get a standing ovation, but when a singing performance sends her to the hospital, Grace has to decide if giving up singing will break her hearts, instead of saving them. I finished the book in February 2019. After only querying about 15 agents and having a lot of interest, I knew this book was something I wanted to fight for no matter what. I revised it a few times, debating at the ending several times, and then started querying even more. By September, I had about 5 full manuscripts sitting with agents. Liza Fleissig made me the first offer. I had 3 offers after that, but I felt strongly that they were the right fit for me.

And that's where I'm at now. We are submitting the novel to publishers in hopes that one will be interested in publishing the book. While I wait, I'm working on finishing two other contemporary YA books. So, my publishing journey isn't over. I feel like it's just beginning.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

The Making of a Book Cover: The Girl with Two Hearts

I'm so excited that I decided to be a part of Swoon Reads and make a mock book cover for my most recent manuscript, The Girl with Two Hearts. Obviously the final published cover will probably not look anything like all my mock covers, but I wanted to share some of the ones I came up with before I decided on the final one.

I first started out with a Pinterest board of the feel for my book, which is a young adult contemporary romance about a girl with a heterotrophic heart transplant (an extra heart grafted to her weak one) who wants nothing more than to get a standing ovation before her two hearts give out. The story is set in Seattle, the main characters meet doing tai chi together, and the boy helps the girl conquer her fear of singing on stage to help her win a singing competition.

After I scoured the internet for images that had the feel I wanted, then I just started playing around. This was the first round of covers I came up with:

I had some friends and my writing group vote. Many liked #2 and #11. But then everyone else had a different one they liked. Since several liked the idea of the photo in #8, and I still wanted to give the photo a hint of Seattle and also that the story has romantic elements, I decided I wanted a couple on the front cover, even though I wanted to focus on the fact that all Grace wants is to sing. This made me come up with some other ideas and this was what I came up with next:

With this round of covers, I got the most votes on #5 and #17. I loved so many aspects of that one (Seattle, couple, I added the guitar). I personally liked #5, #16, and #12 the best. In the end, I decided that I needed to keep the couple, and the font was easier to read on #17, so it's the one I'm going with for now:

What do you think? Which cover was your favorite?

If you'd like to beta read the manuscript on Swoon Reads, you can read it here for a limited time. Be sure to make comments as you read (a comment box pops up at after chapter two and then again at the end). If you find any edits, please email them to me so I can fix them in my version (once the book is uploaded to the site, I can't make changes to the one on Swoon Reads). I'd love to hear what you think of the book!



Friday, June 28, 2019

DIY: Make Your Own Harry Potter Monster Book of Monsters Journal

Admit it. You’ve always wanted one. Ever since I read Harry Potter, I knew I needed a book that looked like it could devour me just like I eat up all the books around me. Not to mention the soft furry cover. Maybe I’ll just sleep with it. Now you can too!
Debra and her adorable daughter team up to make this awesome Harry Potter-inspired Monster Book of Monsters Journal. You could also cover a book too if you want to just use it as a decor item (or something to hug in bed . . .).
Here are the Supplies you will need to get started:
Faux Fur Fabric (You can buy it by the yard at the craft store)
a notebook (not spiral bound)
hot glue
2 flat marbles
felt in red and white
orange paper
a black marker
mod podge
Watch the video for instructions:

Also, Debra has put together this awesome post on her blog on making your own Book of Monsters Valentine too! Who else wants to be Debra’s best friend? *timidly raises hand*
About the Author: Robin M. King is the author of three young adult novels (Remembrandt Series), devourer of books, and lover of brownie batter.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Make Your Own Harry Potter Hogwarts House Flags

DIY Harry Potter House Flags
If you didn’t know, I have an obsession with all things magical. In fact, LitJoy has a crate that they release twice a year that is based on that obsession. Their Magical Edition crates have been one of my favorite things to receive (sign-up for news on Year 6). But let’s say you *might* be even a little more obsessed. Like, let’s say your book club did a whole retreat based on the Harry Potter series and they pulled a near all-nighter discussing all the books. Everyone dressed like a different character from the Harry Potter series. All the food was Harry Potter inspired. The whole space was decorated in Harry Potter decor and the weekend ended in a search for Horcruxes as part of an extravagant scavenger hunt. That would never happen, right!?!
Well, it did. All of my nerdy Harry Potter fanatics participated in this event (see costume ideas and more here). As part of it, I had the opportunity to make some Hogwarts house flags for the event. Griffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff, and Ravenclaw had to be represented. But I couldn’t find large flags that were of the quality I wanted. So I made them. Now you can too!
Here’s what you need:
  • 1 yard of each house color fabric – red, blue, yellow, and green (I used fabric from the quilting section of Jo-Ann Fabric. It is cheap without being too thin).
  • Thread to match your flags
  • Fabric Iron-on Kit with at least 4 transfers (I bought this one)
  • Ink Jet printer with color ink
  • 4 Wooden dowels (I got 1/2″ diameter ones that were about 36″ long at my local walmart)
  • Black craft paint
  • Rope or string to tie on the dowel 


  1. Paint the wooden dowels black and set aside to dry.
  2. Fold your fabric in half (it usually comes this way) and iron it flat so that is is about 24″ wide and 36″ long.
  3. Cut into the pendant shape (see picture). I used a ruler to measure halfway across the shorter length and then about 12″ up from the bottom and put a dot there. Then I used a ruler and a pencil (you could use a fabric marker) and drew from each bottom corner to the center.
  4. Turn with right sides together. Sew around the edges with a 1/4″ seam, leaving about a 6″ opening. Snip the tips of the pendant (see this tutorial on making corners). Turn right side out. You might need to use a pointed object (I use closed scissors) to push out the tips. Iron around the edges and the opening so that it matches the seam.  Sew it shut right on the edge of the opening. 
  5. Fold the top edge over about 2″ (see photo above). Sew it down to make a pocket to slide the dowel through.
  6. Print off your Hogwarts House images. I scoured the internet and I found these made by (I can’t find the artist’s name, but if you know who it is, PLEASE let me know to give them credit). Follow the instructions on the iron-on package.
  7. Slide in the black painted dowel, tie your rope/twine/ribbon and hang! 

DIY Harry Potter House Flag
Hogwarts House Flag – Gryffindor 8.5x11
DIY Harry Potter House Flag
Hogwarts House Flag – Hufflepuff 8.5x11
DIY Harry Potter House Flag
Hogwarts House Flag – Ravenclaw 8.5x11
DIY Harry Potter House Flag
Hogwarts House Flag – Sytherin 8.5x11
DIY Harry Potter House Flag
I’d love to see your finished projects! If you like Harry Potter-inspired food, check out this yummy butterbeer cupcakes tutorial by our very own Debra. And don’t forget to get on our Harry Potter VIP list for info about our Magical Edition Year 6 crates!
About the Author: Robin M. King is the author of three young adult novels (Remembrandt Series), devourer of books, and lover of brownie batter and cheesy superhero shows.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Author Stalker: Erin Summerill

I love chatting with my authors. And by my, I mean the authors that I meet that sign my books. But let’s just keep calling them MY authors because after I work with them once, I kind of stalk them. Just a little bit. I love it when authors are willing to do silly things, like take over an Instagram account for the day or do a live interview. Surprisingly, they sometimes jump at the chance! Erin Summerill was one of those authors. Erin’s book, Once a King, was also included in LitJoy Crate's December 2018 box (which was to-die-for). We read her first books, Ever the Hunted and Ever the Brave so it was a no-brainer to read this one too.
Here’s a little summary of Once a KingFor twenty years, Channelers—women with a magical ability—have been persecuted in Malam by those without magic. Now King Aodren wants to end the bloody divide and unite his kingdom. But decades of hatred can’t be overcome by issuing decrees, and rumors of a deadly Channeler-made substance are only fueling people’s fears. Lirra has every reason to distrust Aodren. Yet when he asks for help to discover the truth behind the rumors, she can’t say no. With Lirra by his side, Aodren sees a way forward for his people. But can he rewrite the mistakes of the past before his enemies destroy the world he’s working so hard to rebuild? Erin Summerill returns with a high-stakes fantasy full of romance, magic, and revenge!
Erin was such a sport to do an instagram takeover for @litjoycrate! She showed us her office, some favorite books, showed us where she sometimes writes or works, introduced us to Tricia Levenseller, author of Daughter of a Pirate King and Warrior of the Wild, and more! We love her so much!
A little more about Erin: When she’s not writing, Erin is devouring a book, photographing one, or talking to teens about her latest favorite read. She is proud to be an Air Force brat. She was born in England. Shortly after, her family’s Hawaiian heritage drew them back to the islands. Now, she lives in Utah with her husband and four children. Erin holds a B.A. in English from Brigham Young University and is currently working on an MFA in Writing Fiction For Children at Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Photo Credit: @xenatine
We hope you’ll check out Erin Summerill’s books (sadly, LitJoy sold out of her book and crate, but you can get the book still here). Let us know what you think!
About the Author: Robin M. King is the author of three young adult novels (Remembrandt Series), devourer of books, and lover of brownie batter and cheesy superhero shows.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Book Boyfriends: Favorite Literary Romances

I love a good romance. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a book that is just a romance, but I love it when there is a romantic storyline in my books. It's time to talk in depth about some recent men in fiction that we love.
Some of my favorite book boyfriends are:
  • Laslo and Sarai (from Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor) – if you love them too, LitJoy has a notebook that is to-die-for and some amazing trading cards featuring this lovely couple.
  • Kai and Cinder (from Cinder in the Lunar Chronicles series)
  • Rowen and Calaena/Aelin (from Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas) – For fans, check out these fae warrior leggings!
  • Rose and Dimitri (from the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead)
  • Jamie and Claire (from Outlander by Diana Gabaldon)
So sit back and swoon with me as Alix and Ali give us all the goods on our literary lovers in this LitJoy Live:
If you love boys in fiction, particularly Mr. Darcy, Rysand (from A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas), Edward (from the Twilight series by Stefanie Meyer), and Jace (from the Shadow Hunter series by Cassandra Clare) then you will love taking a bath with them. Now you can get dirty while getting clean with our Litjoy Exclusive Book Boyfriend Bath Bombs!
You might also be interested in our Magical Men Tote (hello Rysand and the Darkling!).

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Catwoman Cosplay

“Cat-woman was a good way to describe her. The ears on the dark helmet, the oversized lenses, the claws that she’d just retracted after that spectacular jump… Even her steps toward him oozed feline grace.”  ― Sarah J. Maas, Catwoman: Soul Stealer ― 
I loved this new young adult novel! Sarah J. Maas has to be one of my favorite authors. Her series, Throne of Glass and A Court of Thorns and Roses are some of my favorite books. So it made sense that Litjoy Crate pounced on her newest book in the DC Icons books: Catwoman: Soul Stealer for their August Crate.
Since Halloween is coming up and we all love a good costume idea, we thought we would ask our beautiful friend Jen (@classycozmetics) to help us out. Guys, she really did amazing on this one! Check it out.
Litjoy did an Instagram Live with Jen and she chatted with us while she transformed into the famous antihero. Jen’s personality is way too cute to actually be the rebellious Catwoman, but her cosplay and makeup is spot on!
You can also check out this quick video with more info on her transformation. Make sure to watch to the very end where she shows off some of her other amazing cosplay, including Jack Sparrow and Lucille Ball!
If you love Catwoman as much as I do, don’t forget to check out LitJoy's Catwoman Crate where you can get a signed copy of Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J. Maas as well as several awesome items to accompany the book. Or if you just want to enjoy reading the signed book, they now have a book-only option, which still includes the exclusive LitJoy trading cards and a letter from the author of Catwoman: Soulstealer.
Maaorrao! Sorry, that was my attempt at a cat noise . . .

About the Author: Robin M. King is the author of three young adult novels (Remembrandt Series), devourer of books, and lover of brownie batter.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Author Stalker: Django Wexler

This week, I lucked out and got to be a part of LitJoy Crate's interview Django Wexler, author of Ship of Smoke and Steel (which they included in their January 2019 crate). 
Django Wexler graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with degrees in creative writing and computer science, worked in artificial intelligence research and as a programmer/writer for Microsoft, and is now a full-time fantasy writer. Django is the author of The Shadow Campaigns, a flintlock fantasy series for adults, and The Forbidden Library, a classic fantasy series for middle-grade readers.
I LOVED Django’s new YA book! Ship of Smoke and Steel is about a young protagonist who is forced into the adventure of a lifetime aboard a ship so magical and mysterious, it may lead to her ending! But to protect her family and conquer her foes, she will risk everything! We fell in love with the incredible world-building, appreciated the LGBTQIA and diversity represented, and couldn’t put this book down!
Now to the geniuses behind LitJoy Crate, Kelly and Alix (Django joins us at 11 minutes):
If you missed it, Django Wexler was named after Django Reinhardt, the Jazz guitarist and composer. I think that is so cool! If you want to read the book, and don’t have it yet, you can still get a LitJoy exclusive copy of the book with a custom dust jacket with art by Diana Dworak and signed by the Django! It also comes with two LitJoy trading cards. 
Get a copy here of Ship of Smoke and Steel by Django Wexler with this beautiful interior dust jacket.