2016 Wrap-Up

2016 Wrap-Up

Well, we’ve made it to the end of 2016.

Maybe not quite in the same shape as when we started the year, but if you’re reading this, you’ve survived.

As we put 2016 to bed, I thought I’d share some of the things that were good in my world this year.

1.  I sold a second book!  It was a dream come true to see one book become real, but to be given the chance to do it again is overwhelming.
2.  I went to Las Vegas for the first time and celebrated 10 years of marriage.
3.  I retreated with some inspiring authors in the fall.

4.  I gave my first professional (not writing related) conference presentation.
5.  I held my words in my hands–it’s almost a real book!

I was also very entertained by the following books:

1.  Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard
2.  My Sister Rosa by Justine Larbalestier
3.  Great Small Things by Jodi Picoult
4.  Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
5.  Exit, Pursued By A Bear by E.K. Johnston
6.  Wild Swans by Jessica Spotswood
7.  Defending Taylor by Miranda Kenneally
8.  Frannie & Tru by Karen Hattrup
9.  Liars And Losers Like Us by Ami Allen-Vath
10.  Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell

2017 debuts to look forward to (these are the ones I’ve been privileged to read already):

1.  Kissing Max Holden by Katy Upperman
2.  It’s Not Like It’s A Secret by Misa Suguira
3.  The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich
4.  The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
5.  After The Fall by Kate Hart
6.  How To Break A Boy by Laurie Devore
7.  In 27 Days by Alison Gervais
8.  Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson
9.  The Girl With The Red Balloon by Katherine Locke

I’ll share more 2017 debuts as I make my way through them.

Favorite movies this year:  Moana, Ghostbusters, Sing Street, Love & Friendship, The Edge of Seventeen, How To Be Single, and Rogue One.

Things to look forward to in 2017:

1.  I feel like this goes without saying, but May 9, 2017 is going to be a pretty momentous day.  My debut novel IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE will officially be published and available for public consumption.
2.  My launch party will be May 13, 2017 at One More Page in Arlington, VA–I’d love to see you there!
3.  I’m signing copies of my ARC at the American Library Association’ Midwinter Conference AND I’m on a panel with some fabulous authors.

4.  I’m appearing at YABBAFest in Warrenton, VA in October.
5.  I’ve got a few more signings/readings ideas in the works, so stay tuned.

Whether you’re celebrating this time of year or not, I hope you’re ushering in the new year with loved ones and doing something that brings you joy.

Interested in preordering my book?  Here’s all the info.  AND!  There’s a bonus chapter in it for you.

Feel like asking your library to add my book to their collection?  Here’s how.

This post was originally sent to my newsletter subscribers.  Miss a previous newsletter?  Catch up HERE.



Did you know you can preorder IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE and have it delivered right to your mailbox on release day?  Scroll down and find out how.

iswg final cover

On sale at bookstores everywhere 5-9-17

Preorder Here:

One More Page Books (signed copy!)

Barnes & Noble





Book Depository


Book Summary:

Sixteen-year-old Tatum Elsea is bracing for the worst summer of her life. After being falsely accused of a crime, she’s stuck under stepmother-imposed house arrest and her BFF’s gone ghost. Tatum fills her newfound free time with community service by day and working at her covert graphic design business at night (which includes trading emails with a cute cello-playing client). When Tatum discovers she’s not the only one in the house keeping secrets, she finds she has the chance to make amends with her family and friends. Equipped with a new perspective, and assisted by her feisty step-abuela-slash-fairy-godmother, Tatum is ready to start fresh and maybe even get her happy ending along the way.

A modern play on the Cinderella story arc, Christina June’s IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE shows us that sometimes going after what you want means breaking the rules.

Check out the book on Goodreads.

Anyone who is so kind to preorder can send me a picture of your receipt and I’ll add you to my super secret list to receive bonus content.  Hit me up here:  Contact

Other fun stuff coming down the road:

  • a graphic design contest!  Want to be like Tatum and create a band poster?  Blink is generously hosting a a little competition and I can’t wait to see what you come up with.  Watch this space for more info.
  • a playlist of the songs Tatum listens to in the book, as well as what I listened to while writing ISWG.
  • a local launch party!  I’m already starting to think about what kind of cupcakes we’ll have, so if you’re in the DC metro area (or feel like taking a road trip), stay tuned for the details.

For more information, visit BlinkYABooks.com.


In a Year….

In a Year….

….my book will be available.  In a year, the words I have worked on since December 2013 will be released for public consumption.  Sometimes people say that once a book is published, it no longer belongs to the author, but instead to the reader.  That is, of course, the goal, but it doesn’t make it any less terrifying.

My editor and I are starting to have conversations about promotion and book events, about my launch party (!!!) and bonus content.  We’re discussing preorders and buy links and all the things that happen as a publisher prepares to turn that word document into a book you can buy and hold in your hand.

A lot can happen in a year

Looking back on where I was a year ago, a lot has definitely changed.  I was on submission and was feeling like this book just wasn’t going to find a home.  I was working on a new book I loved and trying to convince myself that second books have a better track record with sales….no idea if that’s true, but it sounded good at the time.

And then, the book sold!  After a really long time, the very wise “it only takes one” came true.

With one year to prepare and make sure everything is just right, I know there will be many more things to learn.  More changes are coming.  But I’m ready.   I think.

Only 365 days to go!

What’s Been Happening

What’s Been Happening

Long time, no blog.  I’m quickly learning that working on a contracted book plus day-jobbing plus parenting plus adulting plus having any kind of down time is hard.

That said, it’s been a really great, productive couple of months!

Where are you with IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE?

Well, I’ve just turned in the second round of developmental edits (plot and character changes) and the next step will hopefully be copy edits.

2016-04-16 13.13.18-2

Me and the esteemed Lisa Maxwell, working hard.

Have you seen your cover yet?

YES!  And it is beautiful, gorgeous, perfect, etc etc etc.  The designers at Blink REALLY paid attention to my preferences and those of my editor, while also finding a way to work in some key elements from the story.  It is a thousand times better than I ever imagined it could be and I’m so very grateful for it.

Well, when can we see it??

My cover reveal will be June 14 on YA Highway, so set your calendar!

Will there be ARCs?

Sometime over the summer!  My editor is working on getting endorsements right now, which is both awesome and terrifying.

In fact, you can win a signed ARC if you make a donation to #YARunsA5k.


What are you working on now?

A bunch of things.  BUT I’ve found that when I’m making revisions, it is very very difficult for me to get in the head space of another character, so writing new words has been sporadic.  I’ve definitely been doing some plotting though.

What else have you been up to?

I’ve done a pitiful amount of reading in the last few months.  This is in part due to revision brain and part because my husband and I binge-watched all 6 seasons of THE WALKING DEAD.  I was pretty dead set against watching, even though he’s been a fan for a long time, but then we went to a panel with the show runners, plus also Andrew Lincoln, and I decided it was time to give it a try.


It was a solid life choice, except that now I have to wait months to find out who got Lucille’d.

I went to the Walter Award Ceremony at the Library of Congress with We Need Diverse Books.

I’ve done some fun beta reading for Heather Van Fleet and Kelly DeVos.

I read WILD SWANS by Jessica Spotswood, DEFENDING TAYLOR by Miranda Kenneally, ME BEFORE YOU by Jojo Moyes, and THE SERPENT KING by Jeff Zentner.

I listened to the audio of SOMEDAY, SOMEDAY MAYBE by Lauren Graham, BITTERSWEET by Sarah Ockler, and finally, FINALLY, I cracked and listened to PRIDE & PREJUDICE by Jane Austen.

I’ve also been vacation planning.  My husband and I are celebrating our 10 anniversary this summer and we’re going to Las Vegas, the first trip for both of us.  (Any and all tips and recommendations are appreciated)


Annnnnnd, that’s about it for now.  Hopefully I’ll have things to share before another 3 months passes!


Latest Great Reads

Latest Great Reads

I’ve gotten a lot of reading done lately, which is always awesome.  If you’re looking for something to read, or to add to your TBR list, here have been my recent favorites:



I’ve also been flying through some audiobooks and have discovered a fantastic narrator – Clare Corbett.  I will now auto-download anything she reads.


2015 Was…

2015 Was…



….. a pretty great year!  There were a lot of firsts for me and a lot of interesting milestones and happenings.  This was the year that:

  • I sold my first book! This is definitely top of the list of exciting things.  The road to traditional publication is something I’ve been dreaming about for the last almost four years, and really my whole life in abstract, so to have made it to the starting line is monumental in my book.  I’m so grateful to everyone who has supported me along the way.  2016 is now the year I get to say “my book comes out next year!”
  • I sent my baby to kindergarten.  Everyday I’m amazed at how fast she’s learning and growing up.
  • I took on more responsibility in my day job.  Some of it has involved defending for things I believe in, occasionally loudly, which really isn’t in my nature, so I’m proud of myself for being able to speak up.
  • I got to meet my lovely agent in person, which was completely delightful.  I’m blessed to have such a caring advocate in my corner.
  • I went to New York 4 times, in three different seasons.  It remains one of my favorite places in the whole world.
  • I started listening to audiobooks.  It seems small but having a little bit of time to myself on my commute to add in “bonus” books has been really fun.
  • I joined RWA and my local chapter, WRW.  Both organizations have been helpful and also rejuvenating.  I look forward to their newsletters in my inbox and to attending monthly meetings to learn about craft.  Plus, the fellowship is excellent.
  • I completed a new book, start to finish, that is shiny and fun and I love it.  I hope it gets it’s chance to go out into the world.
  • I entered said book in a handful of contests (and finaled in one!) and have found the kind feedback of experienced authors to be very enlightening.
  • I won NaNoWriMo for the fourth time.  That book hasn’t been touched since Nov. 30, but I plan to finish it up soon.
  • I generated a number of new ideas and plan to try something totally new for me with my next project, which is exciting and scary.
  • I read 61 new books.  That’s half my total from the previous year, but it makes sense, given everything else that’s been going on with my time.  I’ll aim for a similar number for 2016.
  • I made new and continued ongoing friendships with wonderful writing community friends.  This is most definitely not a solitary endeavor and I love having so many hands to hold as we walk along this road together.

2016 is going to be full of even more accomplishments and surprises and gifts.  Cheers to a new year and thank you to everyone who made 2015 amazing!

Cover Reveal UNHOOKED by Lisa Maxwell

Cover Reveal UNHOOKED by Lisa Maxwell

Today Lisa Maxwell and a few author and blogger friends are revealing the cover for UNHOOKED a YA Fantasy releasing in February 2016! Check out the gorgeous cover and enter to win an awesome book pack and an ARC of UNHOOKED!
On to the reveal! 
Author: Lisa Maxwell
Pub. Date: February 2, 2016
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Hardcover: 352 pages
Find it: Goodreads| Amazon | B&N | iBooks
From “talented wordsmith” (Publishers Weekly) Lisa Maxwell comes a lush, atmospheric fantasy novel filled with twists and turns about a girl who is kidnapped and
brought to an island inhabited by fairies, a roguish ship captain, and bloodthirsty beasts.
For as long as she can remember, Gwendolyn Allister has never had a place to call home. Her mother believes they are being hunted by brutal monsters, and those delusions have brought them to London, far from the life Gwen had finally started to
build for herself. Gwen’s only saving grace is that her best friend, Olivia, is with her for the summer.
But shortly after their arrival, the girls are kidnapped by shadowy creatures and dragged to a world of flesh-eating sea hags and dangerous Fey. And Gwen begins to realize that maybe her mother isn’t so crazy after all…
Gwen discovers that this new world she inhabits is called Neverland, but it’s nothing like the Neverland you’ve heard about in stories. Here, good and evil
lose their meaning and memories slip like water through your fingers. As Gwen struggles to remember where she came from and tries to find a way home, she
must choose between trusting the charming fairy-tale hero who says all the
right things and the captivating pirate who promises to keep her safe.
Caught in the ultimate battle between good and evil, with time running out and her enemies closing in, Gwen is forced to finally face the truths she’s been hiding from
all along. But can she save Neverland without losing herself?
About Lisa: 
Lisa Maxwell is the author of Sweet Unrest, Gathering Deep (Flux, Fall 2015) and Unhooked (Simon Pulse, Spring 2016). When she’s not writing books, she’s an English professor at a local college. She lives near DC with her very patient husband and two not-so patient boys.
Giveaway Details:
As a thank you to the lovely authors who blurbed UNHOOKED Lisa is giving away…
(1) winner will receive Sara Raasch’s books, Snow Like Ashes & Ice Like Fire. Ellen Oh’s books Prophecy & Warrior. Christina Farley’s books Brazen & Silvern. AND an ARC of Unhooked! US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Library Book Conundrum

The Library Book Conundrum

Have you ever noticed that when you put holds on several library books, they all become available at once?  When it rains, it pours.  It feels like every single time I wish for a book or two or five, the universe conspires against me and my lack of free time and makes them all show up within a few days of each other.  One time, three e-books arrived on the same day.  That was the day I learned to turn off the “auto-check-out” feature.


So, this weekend, an almost-record four books came within three days of each other.  Bust, as my favorite reading friend Amanda at Gun In Act One would say.  Here’s what I got:


  1.  The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick – Loved loved loved My Life Next Door, couldn’t wait for this.  It was the first book that showed up and I started it immediately.  I’m 10% in as I type this.  (e-book)
  2. The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma – I haven’t read any of Nova’s books yet, but I adore her online and picked this one out to study, as I’ve got a brewing idea for a mystery novel and I know zero about writing mysteries.  (e-book)
  3. Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas – I was certain this would take longer than a few days to get to me, as I was 14th in line, but this being SJM, of course the library ordered a ton of copies.  (hard copy)
  4. China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan – I devoured Crazy Rich Asians this summer and have been dying to get my hands on this.  (e-book)

How to decide?

As QoS is 656 pages and no doubt ridiculously heavy, I requested the library buy an e-book, which then puts me at the front of the line when they buy it.  I just cancelled my hold, I’ll wait for that one.

The Walls Around Us, being “research” for a book that’s at least 2nd in line for me to write, I’m going to save for a little later, when I get closer to needing it.

The Boy Most Likely To, since I’m already invested, I’ll finish probably this week or early next week.

China Rich Girlfriend is the one I want to read the most out of all of these.  I started it literally 20 minutes after it showed up in my inbox and I’ll stick with it tonight.  I’m okay reading 2 books at once, so I’ll alternate with TBMLT as well.


This is basically the process I go through anytime a million books show up at once.  Inevitably there is something I really want to read that I have to put back or let go because I couldn’t finish and then I have to wait all over again because everyone else wants to read them too.

The struggle is real.  Anyone else have this problem?

(and really, if this is the worst problem I have this week, I’m doing spectacularly).

Summer Reading Round-Up

Summer Reading Round-Up

On the official last day of my summer vacation *cries* I’m sharing what I’ve read over the last two months.


This is my sad no-more-summer face.

It’s been a great summer for books and I’m proud of myself for branching out of my little YA contemporary bubble.


Here’s what I really enjoyed, in no particular order:

One Night by AJ Pine – loved the chemistry between the main characters, this one was so sweet.

Stealing Parker and Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally – I read her series backwards and I think Stealing Parker is my new favorite.

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan – SO funny.  And now I want to go to Singapore and eat all the street food.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins – did not live up to the hype for me, but it did keep me interested until the end.  Very readable despite unlovable characters.

The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan – so much love for this one.  REALLY long but worth it.

Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas – Finally got around to this one.  I enjoyed it but again, not as much as I expected, given the hype.  Figured out the ending ahead of time.

Sweet by Emmy Layborne – this was so disturbing and so much fun.  You really have to suspend your disbelief.  Loved it.

Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen – not my favorite SD book, but I think the storyline about unwanted affection was so so important and I’m glad it’s in there.

What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler –  a tough read, but also important.  We need more books about the bystander.

Loving Dallas by Caisey Quinn – enjoyed this one, it’s frothy fun.  Looking forward to the 3rd book soon!

Taste The Heat by Rachel Harris – another book that made me hungry!


Stuff I’ve Been Reading

Stuff I’ve Been Reading

For the first time in a long time, I’ve been in a reading slump.  I’ve put several down.  I’ve struggled through others that just didn’t connect.  Then last week I was home sick for several days and managed to blow through a handful of really solid books and for that I’m thankful.


1.  Devoted by Jennifer Mathieu – inspired by families like the Duggars who follow the Quiverful movement, I found this book to be incredibly powerful and quietly moving.  It won’t be for everyone – the religious aspect could be a turn off for some, but if you enjoy character-driven stories with strong voice, this could be a winner.  I enjoyed Mathieu’s previous novel but this one blew me away.

2.  I Was Here by Gayle Forman – this was a really difficult book to read.  It deals with suicide and the characters are never particularly likable, but the writing has such beauty that I couldn’t put it down.  Forman knows her way around an inner monologue!

3.  No More Confessions by Louise Rozett – the third in the Confessions series was the result of fans like me begging Rozett to write it.  I love these characters so much and will carry them with me.  I’m grateful for the realistic conclusion!  If you haven’t read this series, please give it a try.  One of my very favorites.

4.  Leaving Amarillo by Caisey Quinn – my first CQ book!  This is a smart, steam New Adult novel perfect for fans of Nashville.  Really looking forward to the next in the series and following up with these complex characters.


I’ve also been doing some beta/advanced reading for some of my agency sisters and two books you want to add to your list are The Stars Turned Away by Lisa Maxwell and The One Thing by Marci Lyn Curtis.


What are you reading?  What’s blown you away that I need to try?