WANT AN ARC OF STEPPING STONES?

If you haven’t heard by now, I have a NEW book coming out August 25! Stepping Stones, a YA Urban Fantasy, is a story of loss, endurance, hope, and of course, love, and it needs early reviews! (Goodreads Here!)

Onnaleigh Moore is part of a plan—and it isn’t hers. When her brother dies in a car accident, Onna is desperate to preserve the tatters of her family. Any hope of finding normalcy vanishes when her mother runs off and her dad turns to booze to numb his pain. Onna’s grief is crippling, but the boy who showed up just when she needed him is helping her cope.

Everett’s presence is comforting, though he knows things—Onna’s name just before they met, where she lives, and sometimes he comments on thoughts she doesn’t say aloud. She pegs him for a stalker, or maybe psychic, but the truth is deadlier than she imagines. As their feelings for one another deepen, Everett confesses a horrifying secret: Onna’s brother is only the beginning of the plan, and some fates are worse than death.

If you’re a book blogger and want to get your hands on a copy, please fill up the form below and I’ll be in contact if you’re chosen. ARCs will be available in early July and reviews should post before the last week in August. I look forward to sharing Onna and Everett with you!

STEPPING STONES (NEW BOOK ANNOUNCEMENT!)

For those of you who pay attention (or creepily stalk me, because let’s be real), you might’ve noticed some super secretive things going on today. As in: I announced a new book on Goodreads!

Stepping Stones, the first book in The Stone Series, will release August 25, 2015.

Onnaleigh Moore is part of a plan—and it isn’t hers. When her brother dies in a car accident, Onna is desperate to preserve the tatters of her family. Any hope of finding normalcy vanishes when her mother runs off and her dad turns to booze to numb his pain. Onna’s grief is crippling, but the boy who showed up just when she needed him is helping her cope.

Everett’s presence is comforting, though he knows things—Onna’s name just before they met, where she lives, and sometimes he comments on thoughts she doesn’t say aloud. She pegs him for a stalker, or maybe psychic, but the truth is deadlier than she imagines. As their feelings for one another deepen, Everett confesses a horrifying secret: Onna’s brother is only the beginning of the plan, and some fates are worse than death.

I’m so excited to share this story with you. I’ve been in contact with my designer and we’re planning an amazing set of covers for the trilogy.

I love everything about this book and hope you will too. Everett and Onna are old friends to me, a story I know by heart, one that begs to be told. August can’t get here soon enough!

To stay updated, make sure you sign up for my newsletter HERE. And don’t forget to add Stepping Stones to your to-read pile on Goodreads!

All the best,

Kacey

(Now, I know what you’re thinking. Isn’t Torch Rock releasing this year? Yes. That is the plan. Torch Rock will (hopefully) be ready for publication in December, just in time for Christmas.)

IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT MAKING IT BIG

It’s not news how much I want an agent. I’ve wanted one for years, but maybe it’s only lately that I’ve begun to think my writing will actually snag me one. My friends accuse me (lovingly) of romanticizing the idea of having an agent. They’re not magical creatures who will suddenly make me rich and famous. I realize that. I don’t even think I want one for the sake of being “rich and famous.” Sure, that’d be nice, maybe, but my goals in having an agent have a lot less to do with fame and a lot more to do with personal growth.

I’m a member of a couple of writing groups. I get a lot of feedback, a lot of it complimentary. Does that go to my head? Not really. I’m a writer, so I suffer from crippling self-doubt on a daily basis. It’s awesome that people like my work, it makes me feel good, but feeling good isn’t getting me an agent. Feeling good isn’t making me a better, more rounded writer.

My intense desire to be repped stems from my own personal drive. I’m an over-achiever, eager-beaver, always-have-too-much-on-my-plate kind of girl. Sure, I’m a good writer. People tell me all the time I can string two sentences together, but I’m not a great writer, and I want to be GREAT. I want someone to tear into my writing and comment on things like plot and character arcs and theme. I want someone to get down and dirty about word choice and blocking and structure…and…oh gosh. It’s like a writer’s dream to talk long and low about words, like two friends whispering in the dark. I want these things so badly. Because I want to be great. Because I can’t settle for good.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Why don’t you just get an editor? These words and phrases you’re talking about sounds like editor business. You are correct. It IS about having an editor, too. But do I have $800-$2,000 laying around to pay someone to edit EVERY manuscript I’ve written? Sadly, the answer is no. I can’t afford to pay someone to get down and dirty with my work, no matter how much I want it. Wishes don’t pay the bills.

So my logical course of action in all this is to get an agent. And I’m trying SO HARD to make it work. I’m eyebrows-deep in manuscripts and edits and rewrites. I know that I’m working towards a goal, yet most days it feels like I’m spinning my wheels and watching everyone else pass me at light-speed. It makes me wish I were younger, or that I lived in California or New York, or that I was rich kid with a trust fund to support my writing habit.

I want an agent NOT because I hate being an indie writer. Indie writing is fun. I’ve gotten quite the following this way, and I love each and every one of you for having faith in me and my work. I want an agent so that I can learn how to be a better writer, so that I can plot a course for my future work, so I can have someone to bounce ideas off of, someone who will champion my work as much as I do.

I need a partner in crime, someone invested, someone who will love my characters and give me the harsh criticism. I want to put in the hard work, the hours, the pain and frustration.

Because I want to be great. I want to learn. I want to progress. I want to be the very best writer I can. And really? What’s so wrong with that?

WRITING AN UNCONVENTIONAL RELATIONSHIP

Milestones are important to relationships. Most of us are familiar with the stepping stones in a conventional relationship. The first look, first kiss, the increasing sexual tension that usually leads to a sexual encounter. As readers, we enjoy experiencing these things over and over again through characters we love. Young Adult is FULL of conventional relationships. To quote Caroline from The Vampire Diaries (TV version), “Boy likes girl. Girl likes boy. Sex.”

But what about an unconventional relationship? What about relationships where there is a history of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse in one or both partners? Things may not unfold so smoothly. As a writer, I think it’s important that these relationships get just as much attention as their “normal” counterparts. Just because they don’t fall into a perfect mold doesn’t make them any less beautiful.

Case in point: Callie from my Reflection Pond series.

Early on, I knew that Callie would struggle with relationships, not only because she has a rocky past with the foster system, but also because she doesn’t know how to trust people. “Normal” is something she sees other people do. Something she attempts, and fails, to imitate. Think back to your younger days. How many times did you give into pressure and do something you didn’t want to do? And how many times did you regret it?

In the initial scene in Reflection Pond (Listen HERE), Callie stands up for herself by walking away from her boyfriend’s grabby hands. This can be interpreted in many ways depending on a reader’s experience and opinions (And I hope it is!). To me, this is Callie standing up for herself in the only way she knows how, by running away from things she can’t handle. This is a relationship milestone for her—only the first of many she’ll encounter as the story progresses.

But things are never going to be “normal” for Callie, no matter how many attempts she makes. She can kiss a boy and hate it. She can kiss a boy and maybe like it. That’s the beauty of attempting things. Callie is too inexperienced to know her own limitations, so she often finds herself emulating what she thinks others want her to do. She is a work in progress, as all characters should be. If she started out strong and perfect, it wouldn’t be a very exciting or rewarding journey.

Callie is a broken girl. Even so, broken things can be beautiful. As a writer, it’s so important for me to give her the room she needs to breathe and grow, and that may come at a pace that’s frustrating, for me, for readers, and for the other characters in the book. In the end, I’m going to make decisions based on what’s best and true for Callie as a character. She isn’t always going to make the right decision, or even the one that will make me (the writer) or you (the reader) happy. She’s frustrating. I’ll give her that, and she’s going to make mistakes.

What I hope in the deepest part of my writer heart is that readers take away the absolute uniqueness of Callie’s relationships, and realize that while they’re unconventional, they are still beautiful and exactly as they should be. They may not be what I (as a person) or you (as a person) would do, because not all of us have traveled the road Callie’s on, but I refuse to force Callie into a situation that she isn’t comfortable with for the sake of being labeled as traditional “romance”. That wouldn’t be fair to her as a character, and it certainly wouldn’t be fair to all of the women who’ve suffered emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, who are expected to do things they simply can’t. Despite popular belief, a man isn’t going to “erase your past” or “heal your scars” by having sex with you. Sorry Hollywood and sorry men.

You can like or not like Callie. I get a lot of in between opinions on her character. A reader has every right to make any judgment they want. But Callie will always hold a special place in my heart because her journey is so important to me and I want to do her (and the millions of women and girls like her) justice. She’s been the subject of many conversations with my critique group, both positive and negative. It’s not my job to make sure everyone likes a character—it’s my job to offer an experience that may differ from your own, and I’m so proud of Callie’s story. I think it makes people uncomfortable when I talk about things like abuse. They can’t relate to or understand Callie’s experience, so they hate her instead. And that’s totally okay. If writing doesn’t make us feel (something, anything), then what good is it?

I’ll end by saying that Callie’s relationships will continue to be unconventional, but I hope beyond hope that you’ll still find beauty and love in them, because everyone deserves to be loved for who they are. Even if they’re fucked up. Even if they’re abused. Even if they’ll never fall into any sort of “normal” category. Even if they can’t be categorized. Flaws are what make us special, and if I can help even one person see that, then this has all been worth it.

All the best,

Kacey

REFLECTION POND BLOG TOUR

Hosted by YA BOUND BOOK TOURS. They’re awesome, guys, and I’m so excited for this tour. Not only is Reflection Pond featured on dozens of AMAZING blogs, it’s free.

YEP. You read that right, FREE STARTING TODAY. For Kindle, February 2-6. Tell everyone you know. Want to steal a gif and announce it on Facebook or Twitter? Here you go!

Reflection Pond Free Ad

Want a teaser quote?

Reflection Pond Quote 1

Below is the tour schedule. A HUGE THANKS to YA Bound for setting this up.

February 2:

Mom With A Kindle – Promo Post

Musings In Fiction Alley – Review

The YA Club – Promo Post

Once Upon A Time A Review – Promo Post

Fangirl World –  Review

Seeing Double In Neverland – Promo Post

February 3:

kariny’s teen boox frenzy – Review

The Page Unbound – Review

Mythical Books – Promo Post

Sunshine Book Promotions – Promo Post

The Perks of Being a Book Girl – Review

Just Us Book Blog – Promo Post

February 4:

Addicted Readers – Promo Post

Star-Crossed Book Blog – Review

The Written Adventure – Promo Post

Between The Lines – Review

Books and Ashes – Review

February 5:

Clever Girls Read – Review

Pandora’s Opened Box – Review

Curling Up With A Good Book – Promo Post

The Book Rogue – Review

Lovely Reads – Review

February 6:

The Avid Reader – Promo Post

Book Butterfly in Dreamland – Review

Reader Girls – Promo Post

CBY Book Club – Promo Post

MY BEST BOOKS OF 2014!

I set out to read 60 books this year, but fell short at 50. If I add in all the times I read my own manuscripts, I’ve read at least 100 books, so I’ll let it slide. I’ve compiled my favorite books of 2014 for your perusal. (Some of them were published before 2014. Whatever. Books don’t suddenly lose their readability because of their age!) A lot of them were continuations of a series (or the final books, SADNESS!). A lot of the books appear more than once on my list. What can I say? I like what I like.

I’ve got a pile started for 2015. What’s on your favorites list? Leave me a comment!

Top 5 Reads


1. City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare
2. The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (Review HERE.)
3. Third Degree by Julie Cross (Loved, loved, loved this book! Review HERE.)
4. The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson (Review HERE.)
5. Where She Went by Gayle Forman

Romance (The kind with a plot. Don’t be crazy.)


1. Third Degree by Julie Cross
2. Whatever Life Throws at You by Julie Cross (Cross writes non-skanky romance, and I love her for it.)
3. Making Faces by Amy Harmon (This book was SO good. Review HERE.)

Kick Ass Heroines


1. City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare (Clary. I ❤ Clary.)
2. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi (This book surprised me. The writing was AH-MAZING)
3. The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Books with Boys I Love


1. City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare (Jace. Magnus. Simon. I love boys.)
2. The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (Noah. Sigh. I need more of him.)
3. Where She Went by Gayle Forman (Adam. Boys. In bands. Always bad news, haha.)

Books that Wrecked Me


1. Love and Other Unknown Variables by Shannon Lee Alexander (Review HERE.)
2. How We Deal with Gravity by Ginger Scott (Review HERE.)
3. Searching for Sky by Jillian Cantor (Heartbreaking! Review HERE.)

Something a Little Different


1. Lovely Vicious by Sara Wolf (Talk about snark! I loved the MC’s voice!)
2. The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff (Dark, beautiful writing.)
3. The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson (Not your typical YA about a snowflake girl. Nice deviation from the norm.)