We’ve sold more than 1,000 copies!

hp-book-mockupSo I just sat down and did a little math. I’m not very good terrible at math, so I had to run the numbers multiple times to make sure I didn’t punch the numbers into the calculator wrong.

But my math was correct — and we’ve officially sold more than 1,000 copies (1,081 to be exact) of “The Unofficial Harry Potter Insults Handbook: 101 Comebacks for the Slytherin in Your Life” since the book went on sale in November!

Birdy and I are super psyched about this and are so grateful for all of you who downloaded the book or bought a paper copy. You are amazing and we love you!

And for a little more book news: Yesterday I saw that we got our first one-star review on Amazon (Hey, it’s inevitable, right?). It didn’t matter that we have 15 5-star reviews — that one star was just so glaring.

But then I came across this Reddit discussion about the book and this one, and my faith was restored and I was just so darn happy. I love our readers. Thanks again to all of you!

Want to keep up with all our book news? Follow us on Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr.

Cat library: The best bookshelf ever

catlibrary01If you own both furniture and a cat, then you’re well aware that items often don’t stay on the surfaces you place them — books included. That’s why this bookshelf is so ingenious!

The modular bookcase features a kitty staircase that allows your feline friend to make his way to the top without leaving a mess in his wake. Plus, there’s a built-in cat basket at the top! WANT.

Photo: Corentin Dombrecht

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Valentine’s Day YA reads

Whether they’re set in modern times, in a dystopian society or on another planet, there are undeniably some epic YA romances out there. I could write thousands of words on the topic of romance in YA books, but most of those words would likely be dedicated to the brilliance of writers like Stephanie Perkins and Sarah Dessen. And naturally, I’d probably bring myself to tears as I discussed the bittersweet romance of Hazel and Augustus.

But I’m going to spare you a lengthy post about the literary romances I’ve found myself wrapped up in and the fictional teenage boys I’ve fallen for. In honor of Valentine’s Day, here are my recommended romantic YA reads (in which no one dies of terminal illness):

10798416The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight, Jennifer E. Smith

Today should be one of the worst days of 17-year-old Hadley Sullivan’s life. Having missed her flight, she’s stuck at JFK airport and late to her father’s second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon-to-be stepmother Hadley’s never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport’s cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he’s British, and he’s sitting in her row.

Hot British boy. Need I say more?

6936382Anna and the French Kiss, Stephanie Perkins

Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris — until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all…including a serious girlfriend.

And after you finish this one, read “Lola and the Boy Next Door.” You’ll thank me.

11614718Delirium, Lauren Oliver

Lena looks forward to receiving the government-mandated cure that prevents the delirium of love and leads to a safe, predictable, and happy life, until 95 days before her 18th birthday and her treatment, when she falls in love.

One of my favorite books ever. Beautiful prose and a beautiful boy. I just love everything about it — there’s a reason I’ve read it three times.

51737The Truth About Forever, Sarah Dessen

A long, hot summer — that’s what Macy has to look forward to while her boyfriend, Jason, is away at Brain Camp. But sometimes unexpected things can happen — things such as the catering job at Wish, with its fun-loving, chaotic crew. Things such as meeting Wes, a boy with a past, a taste for truth-telling, and an amazing artistic talent, the kind of boy who could turn any girl’s world upside down.

I’m still daydreaming about Wes.

13262783Every Day, David Levithan

Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl. There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Do not interfere.

It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.

What are some of your favorite YA romances? Let me know what I should read next!

And happy Valentine’s Day!

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Dark Days Tour: New books, fried Oreos and chapter 62

bookI woke up this morning with one thought running through my mind: I must read chapter 62 of “Unravel Me.”

If you’ve seen Tahereh Mafi’s spoiler video, which I’ve embedded below, then you already have an idea of what happens in this chapter. And if you haven’t heard the final sentence she utters at the end of the video, then you might have at least seen all the tweets and book reviews about how *hot* this chapter is.

Here’s how Erin Callahan of Kirkus put it:

Swoonworthy Scale: The Chart Has Exploded
Bonus Factors: 50 Shades

Wait, wait, I should clarify. This book is NOT like “50 Shades of Grey.” Because this book is actually hot. If “50 Shades of Grey” is the book for ladies who think that sex is a little frightening, then this book is for ladies who think sex is awesome, and who are going to call up their boyfriend, girlfriend, significant other or total stranger immediately after reading a couple of the more steamy scenes.

If this doesn’t make you want to read “Unravel Me,” then at least check it out for the beautiful prose. (Also, what is wrong with you?)

mainDark Days Tour
Last night I attended the Dark Days tour at Little Shop of Stories and heard Tahereh Mafi, Veronica Rossi, Brodi Ashton and Cynthia Hand talk about their new books. The authors also discussed why they love YA literature and why they enjoy writing it. Here are two things they said that stuck in my mind:

“I was a reader my whole life, but I’d forgotten what it was like to read for fun and get excited about a book and share that with friends. But I found that YA books are a place to do that. Readers of YA are open to much more. They’re creative and not set in their ways.” -Tahereh

“When you’re a teenager you feel everything so strongly and it’s all-consuming, and that’s what I love about YA.” -Brodi

oreoAfter the book signing, we grabbed dinner with the authors, Alison Lisnow — a book publicist from Harper Collins who has one of the coolest jobs ever — and some amazing YA readers and writers from Atlanta. The dinner conversation centered on haunted houses, body part-strewn prison farms, derelict asylums and Beetlejuice shaking me inside a Porta-Potty, so I was tempted to sleep with the light on last night. (Alli has a terrifying photo of a ghost face on her phone and it totally haunted my dreams.)

We also celebrated Tahereh’s book birthday with fried Oreos, which weren’t nearly as bad as I expected — they were actually pretty decent. (I need to do some serious cardio today.)

On a side note, we hear again and again that parts of a first draft hardly ever make it to publication, but last night Tahereh said that the first few pages of “Shatter Me” are exactly the way she wrote them in her first draft. They’re completely unchanged. Pretty awesome.

Anyway, if you need me, I’ll be devouring the rest of Veronica Rossi’s “Through The Ever Night,” and then I’ll be moving on to the infamous chapter 62!

Check out Tahereh’s chapter 62 spoiler video below.

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The loneliest library

rudylibraryIn the middle of America’s heartland, there’s a town with a 5,000-book library and only one resident.

Although the road sign says that Monowi, Neb., is home to a population of two, Elsie Eiler is the only person there. Elsie’s husband, Rudy, died in 2004, halving the population, and today Elsie serves as the town’s mayor, bartender and librarian.

I first heard about Monowi last year while I was researching a story on towns where your visit can double the population. There are quite a few such places scattered across the U.S., but Elsie’s story stuck with me — mostly because of the library.

Rudy Eiler was an avid reader. Elsie says he scoured thrift shops and estate sales for new literature and once bought an entire library when a nearby town closed its school. He had more books and periodicals than he could ever finish, including “The Complete Works of Shakespeare” and copies of “Reader’s Digest” and “National Geographic” that date back to the 1950s.

When Rudy was diagnosed with cancer in 2003, he told Elsie that it was his dream to turn his massive book collection into a public library. So the two of them got to work.

They ordered a one-room building and set it up just outside their home and the tavern they ran together. Their son wired the lights and friends built wall-to-wall shelves to house Rudy’s books. But Rudy died in January 2004 and never got to place a single book on those shelves.

However, friends and family worked together to honor Rudy’s memory, and they packed the tiny building with all of his books.

Today, the little white building still stands outside the Monowi Tavern. It’s less than 350 square feet in area and has a plywood floor and no heat, but it’s packed floor to ceiling with Rudy’s 5,000 books.

The collection is eclectic and there’s no organization whatsoever, but visitors don’t seem to mind.

If you want to check out a book, stop by the tavern to find Elsie — she spends her days there selling $2.50 hamburgers and $2 beers. (As the mayor, she granted her own liquor license.) Elsie will hand you the key and tell you to let yourself into the building she’s christened “Rudy’s Library.”

Once you’re done perusing the books that took a man a lifetime to collect, make your selection, write it down on the pad of paper by the door, and return it when you can.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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Sick-lit: A supposed new trend in YA fiction

6828472591_891e69f870Today I want to address a so-called trend in young-adult fiction that the ever-reputable Daily Mail explored in detail yesterday: sick-lit, a phenomenon that is supposedly endangering the minds and bodies of impressionable teens across the globe.

After reading this article, I’ve gathered that if I were a teenage reader, I’d be easily so easily influenced by the fiction I read that it would essentially amount to brainwashing. Reading John Green’s bestselling novel “The Fault In Our Stars” might even result in my making trips to the local nuclear power plant in hopes of concentrating cancer-causing radiation in my thyroid.

Why? Because I’d want to be like Hazel Grace Lancaster, the cancer patient protagonist in TFIOS. Who wouldn’t? She may have cancer, but she also has a boyfriend.

You see, Hazel apparently makes stage four thyroid cancer look downright glamorous as she totes around her oxygen tank and gasps for breath. And when cancer survivor and amputee Augustus Waters falls for Hazel, the message isn’t “teens with cancer are still regular teens who deal with first love and heartbreak.” No, if the book teaches readers anything it’s that when faced with terminal illness, the most important thing to do is a get a boyfriend.

The Daily Mail even found an expert to say so. Julie Elman, of the University of Missouri, “has studied teen sick-lit [and] is worried the genre encourages young girls to believe that the most important thing to worry about when facing serious illness is whether boys still fancy them.”

And you know those YA books that deal with issues of teenage suicide? At first glance, you might suspect that YA authors address the subject because suicide is the third leading cause of death among youth ages 10-24.

2743973162_62b0297210But here’s what’s really going on: Books like Jay Asher’s “Thirteen Reasons Why,” which tells the story of a teen girl who leaves 13 cassette tapes explaining why she killed herself, is meant to “glamorize teen suicide.

That’s about as logical as arguing that “Thirteen Reasons Why” is literary propaganda meant to encourage teens to embrace archaic technology and purchase Walkmans. (I’m sure the Daily Mail will publish a lengthy exposé on this matter in the coming weeks.)

In conclusion, here’s the message this sick-lit article is sending: Modern teenagers are emotionally and intellectually incapable of understanding books written about them and for them. If we give them thought-provoking literature that deals with relatable characters and real-life issues, we can’t be surprised when they inevitably try to bring these sick-lit stories to life.

So, as the Daily Mail suggests, let’s give these kids books like “Twilight,” which “are clearly fantasy” and spare them details about “the harsh realities of terminal illness, depression and death.” Sure, Bella’s self-worth is determined by her emotionally abusive boyfriend and she even throws herself off a cliff in order to produce more vivid hallucinations of him, but overall she’s a good role model, right?

And if nothing else, teenagers should just stick to the classics — literature like “Crime and Punishment”, “Romeo & Juliet” and Bella’s beloved “Wuthering Heights” — which are devoid of sick-lit issues like illness, violence and suicide.

Your YA sick-lit reading list, according to the Daily Mail:

Photos: rachelkramerbussel.com/flickr, rhcrayon/flickr

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My list of highly ancitipated YA books in 2013

Next year is going to be a great year for books! Here are few of the reads I’m most looking forward to.

9593913Requiem, Lauren Oliver
This is the book I’m most looking forward to. Finally, finally, finally I’ll see what happens — and hopefully what happens is a whole lot of rebellion and kissing of Alex.

Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has been transformed. The nascent rebellion that was under way in “Pandemonium” has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight. After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven. Regulators now infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels, and as Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancée of the young mayor. Requiem is told from both Lena’s and Hana’s points of view.

the_moon_and_more_coverThe Moon and More, Sarah Dessen
This year had no new Sarah Dessen books and my heart felt so empty. Luckily, 2013 will change that.

Luke is the perfect boyfriend: handsome, kind, fun. He and Emaline have been together all through high school in Colby, the beach town where they both grew up. But now, in the summer before college, Emaline wonders if perfect is good enough. Enter Theo, a super-ambitious outsider, a New Yorker assisting on a documentary film about a reclusive local artist. Theo’s sophisticated, exciting, and, best of all, he thinks Emaline is much too smart for Colby.

13401993Dualed, Elsie Chapman
I once had a WIP going with a very similar concept. This sounds way better though.

You or your Alt? Only one will survive.

The city of Kersh is a safe haven, but the price of safety is high. Everyone has a genetic Alternate—a twin raised by another family—and citizens must prove their worth by eliminating their Alts before their twentieth birthday. Survival means advanced schooling, a good job, marriage—life.

12578294Mind Games, Kiersten White
I gave White’s “Paranormalcy” a shot but just couldn’t get into the series. “Mind Games” sounds intriguing though.

Fia was born with flawless instincts. Her first impulse, her gut feeling, is always exactly right. Her sister, Annie, is blind to the world around her—except when her mind is gripped by strange visions of the future. Trapped in a school that uses girls with extraordinary powers as tools for corporate espionage, Annie and Fia are forced to choose between using their abilities in twisted, unthinkable ways… or risking each other’s lives by refusing to obey.

14061955Siege and Storm, Leigh Bardugo
I didn’t expect to enjoy “Shadow and Bone” as much as I did, but now I can’t wait for the sequel.

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

1106852126_b3eadf6da6_mI also can’t wait for the third books in Veronica Roth’s “Divergent” series and Laini Taylor’s “Daughter of Smoke and Bone” series. “Insurgent” wasn’t quite as good as I’d hoped, but I have high hopes for the final installment. And while I haven’t yet read “Daughter of Blood and Starlight,” it’s sitting on my bookshelf right now and promising to be epic.

Happy reading and happy new year!

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Yallfest: Why you should be there next year

stageI spent the previous weekend in Charleston, S.C. for Yallfest and it was amazing.

If you’re not familiar with it, Yallfest is the annual Charleston Young Adult Book Festival, and it’s the largest festival in the South devoted to young-adult literature. This year was the second time the festival was held, and it brought together 47 authors (25 of them New York bestsellers) and more than 3,000 YA readers.

Margaret Stohl (co-author of the “Beautiful Creatures” series), Melissa de la Cruz (the “Blue Bloods” series) and Pseudonymous Bosch (the “Secret” series) helped organize this year’s event, which included 18 panel discussions and book signings by all the authors in attendance.

Here’s why you should put Yallfest on your calendar for 2013:

  • SO MANY AUTHORS. If you enjoy fan-girling and signed books as much as I do, you need to be here.
  • Charleston. Never been? You’re missing out. Beautiful place, gorgeous weather, great eats. (Don’t miss the desserts at Kaminsky’s.)
  • The fans. You may have been to your share of book festivals, but have you ever been to one where the streets were crawling with children, teens and adults all clutching YA books and debating whether they’re Gryffindors or Ravenclaws, Dauntless or Amity, Team Peeta or Team Gale? These are my people. And they were everywhere.
  • YA Smackdown. All your favorite authors on stage with props — and pies. Insanity ensues and many pies are thrown.
  • Oh, the things you’ll hear. My two favorite quotes from Yallfest 2012:
  1. book“Whenever I’m out to dinner with author friends we’re always the loudest, drunkest, most obscene people.” -Cassandra Clare, bestselling author of “The Mortal Instruments”
  2. When asked for advice on how to get an agent’s or editor’s attention, David Levithan, young-adult fiction editor and award-winning author replied, “Have a fucking kick-ass opening page.”

For more on Yallfest, check out this write-up in Publisher’s Weekly.

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Self-publishing: Q&A with author Cally Jackson

My friend Cally Jackson recently self-published her amazing New Adult novel, “The Big Smoke,” and I since I had about a million questions about the self-publishing process, I begged her to answer at least a few of them. If you’re considering self-pubbing, or if you’re just interested in what all goes into it, check out my Q&A with her below. And, of course, check out “The Big Smoke.”

Why did you decide to self-publish?

I decided not to query agents or publishers with The Big Smoke because I knew the novel couldn’t be easily categorized, which is a turn-off for traditional publishers. It’s also longer than their desired word count for a first time author (about 130,000 words). Plus, the idea of being in complete control of the publishing process really appealed to me. You can read more about this in a post I wrote earlier this year — why I’ve decided to go indie — if you’re interested.

What factors did you have to consider (finding an editor and cover designer, etc.) and how have you addressed these things?

I had to consider all of the above factors and more. Finding an editor was particularly challenging for me. I had a few sample edits done by different editors, but their suggested changes seemed to work against the story’s narrative voice rather than with it.

I was starting to get a little worried when I received a sample edit back from an editor named Ken Spillman. His suggestions were fantastic. I felt like he “got” the characters and narrative tone, and his suggestions helped take me closer to achieving my overall goals with the novel. I went with Ken for the copy edit and didn’t regret that decision for a second.

How did I find potential editors? Good, old Google. Would you believe, Ken actually responded to a tweet I sent out asking for recommendations of good editors. Who says social media isn’t useful?!

The story of finding my cover designer is much more simple — he was one of my beta readers! It was wonderful to work with someone who’d read the book because it meant he had a great idea of the characters and what look would best match the feel of the story.

Where/how is your book available and how did you decide what mediums to use?

“The Big Smoke” is available to buy:

  • In paperback from my blog (Australia and New Zealand) or Amazon (rest of the world). I’m also currently in negotiations to have it stocked in some local bookstores (in Brisbane, Australia)
  • In e-book format from SmashwordsAmazon, iBooks, KoboDiesel and other e-stores.

I did a lot of research when deciding how to publish “The Big Smoke.” I looked into a number of self publishing service providers but for the amount they charge and the services they offer, I decided I was better off DIY-ing it.

To produce the paper copy, I went with Createspace’s on-demand service, which allows me to order small quantities (e.g. 25) for a reasonable price. Although it would be a lot cheaper per unit to print with an offset printer, their minimum quantity is in the thousands, and I didn’t want to outlay that much initially nor take on that much risk — or garage space.

I would have loved to use a local Australian printer, but unfortunately they just didn’t compete with Createspace in terms of price, quality and flexibility. I hope this changes in the future.

I also weighed the benefits and drawbacks of Createspace versus Lightning Source, which offers a similar print-on-demand service, but the “hand holding” and free ISBN Createspace offers appealed to me.

For my e-book version, I used Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (for distribution to Amazon) and Smashwords (for distribution to Apple, Barnes & Noble, Diesel, Kobo and Sony).

To format the book for both paper copy and e-book, and to set up all of the publishing accounts I needed, I followed the step-by-step advice of a book titled Self-Printed: The Sane Person’s Guide to Self-Publishing. I’d recommend that book to anyone considering using Createspace, Kindle Direct Publishing and/or Smashwords as the author takes you through the process in intricate detail, which is immensely helpful. She doesn’t cover other providers though, so if you publish with someone else, this book won’t be very useful for you!

How are you promoting the book?

I’m using a number of approaches to market the book, both online and offline. In the lead up to releasing the book, I…

  • Revealed the book cover on my blog and others (including this one — thanks again for helping, Laura!)
  • Sent out Advanced Review Copies to people interested in reading and reviewing the book
  • Set up an author page on Goodreads so eager beavers could add “The Big Smoke” to their to-read lists
  • Set up a pre-order page for hard copies for Aussies on my blog

Since releasing the book, I have:

  • Held a real, life book launch party. More than 60 people came along, listened to a reading from the book, and bought a copy.  Photos can be found on my Facebook page.
  • Toured the blogosphere, guest posting and/or being interviewed on a number of different writing or reading-related blogs. That’s what brings me here today!
  • Hosted a blogfest for people to share memories about the year they turned 18. Every participant got a discounted e-copy of “The Big Smoke” and went in the draw to win a $20 Amazon voucher
  • Started conversations with local bookstores about stocking “The Big Smoke.”

Earlier this week, “The Big Smoke” was announced as the debut book for a New Adult Online Book Club by NA Alley, so I’m really looking forward to seeing how that unfolds.

Once my blog tour is over (and after I get some sleep), I’m going to continue to send out review copies to interested peeps (including local media), approach more local bookstores, and contact high school libraries to see if they’d be interested in having an author visit.

It’s a little too early to say which promotional efforts have been most effective, but I’m keeping a close on everything and will share my learnings on my blog as the situation progresses.

What have been the greatest challenges you’ve faced so far?

Time management. I knew that indie publishing would take a lot of time, but I didn’t realize quite how much! My workload in my day job peaked around the same time as I launched my book and I’m also in my third trimester of pregnancy, so managing my time and my energy levels has been quite a challenge.

One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced on my self-publishing journey happened only a couple of weeks ago, when I had to confront the possibility of having a book launch with no books. Createspace’s website says that you can ship books to Australia within three working days, but when I tried to place my order on Tues., Oct. 16, for my book launch on Sat., Oct. 27, the estimated arrival date was Wed., Oct., 31. Um, excuse me?! I knew that the three working days didn’t include printing, but I didn’t think that printing could account for the extra seven working days Createspace was saying it would take for my order to reach me.

I sent a (slightly panicked) e-mail to Createspace explaining the situation, and they essentially said there was nothing they could do because they don’t guarantee timeframes for wholesale orders. What the?! Where exactly does it say THAT on your website?! Panic stations!

And, of course, because Australia and America’s time zones are so different, I received this email at 2 a.m. Naturally, I woke my husband up so we could try to figure out what to do. We discussed postponing the launch, trying to find a local printer who could print the books within the timeframe, going ahead with the launch without the books (my husband’s crazy idea), but eventually we discovered that if we placed several orders of smaller quantities, it would bring the delivery date forward to Fri., Oct. 26 — the day before the launch. Cutting it very fine, but that was our best option. So, at about 3 a.m. on Wednesday morning, we placed four orders and went to sleep. One of those shipments arrived on Friday and the rest arrived on Monday. Crisis averted! Thank goodness! The lesson I took from this experience? Don’t rely on advertised shipping times. Order as soon as you possibly can!

What advice do you have for someone considering going the self-pub route?

I have three main pieces of advice:

  1. Be aware that you will need to commit a great deal of time to the process to do it justice. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my self-publishing journey (except for the 2 a.m. crisis!), but it has consumed a LOT of my time and energy. You need to be prepared to not only be the author, but to also be the typesetter, the proofreader, the accountant, the distributor, the publicist… and the list goes on.
  2. Engage professionals to help you along the way. A lot of self-published books have great potential but are let down by poor editing or an unprofessional cover — or both. To give your book the best chance of success, it’s worth paying for these two services. If you try to cut corners in these areas, it will show. If you’re not confident in other areas, consider getting help for them as well.
  3. Enjoy the journey! Try to take a step back every once in a while and look at what you’ve accomplished. Self-publishing is hard work, but if you commit to doing it properly, it’s very rewarding. Best of luck! :-)

About ‘The Big Smoke’

Ceara’s desperate for love; Seb’s desperate to get laid. Ceara adores reading novels; Seb hasn’t finished a book in years. Two strangers, both moving from small country towns to Brisbane – the big smoke. As they prepare to attend the same university, their paths seem set to collide, but they keep missing each other. Maybe fate is keeping them apart, or maybe it’s just chance.

When the semester starts, things get complicated. Ceara’s best friend withdraws from her, Seb’s closest mate turns into a sleazebag, and the relentless demands of university make their stress levels soar. Before their first semester is over, both Seb and Ceara will be forced to question who they are and what they want from their lives. Will they have the courage to find the answers, or will they crumble under the pressure? And when they finally meet, will it be love at first sight or a collision of headstrong personalities?

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‘The Unofficial Harry Potter Insults Handbook’

Remember that co-authored project I mentioned a while back? The one that the agent loved so so much … and then passed on?

Well, after that rejection, Birdy Jones and I sent out a couple of queries, got a full request, sent off the manuscript … and got turned down again. At that point we decided to take the first agent’s advice and just self-publish our silly little book. And now it’s published!

Here’s a little backstory on the project: Last year I threw myself a Harry Potter birthday party, Birdy and I drank some butterbeer, and then we began insulting each other Potter-style. (We’re just cool like that.) In the days that followed, the insults continued and we wondered if we could turn it into a book.

So we compiled a list of insults, pitched it to an agent at a writing conference and were pleasantly surprised to hear that she loved it. At that point we went back to the book and began writing additional copy and adding interactive sections. We then conned a talented illustrator and graphic designer to assist with the project, and when our agent talks fell through, we published that baby on our own!

You can now buy “The Unofficial Harry Potter Insults Handbook: 101 Comebacks for the Slytherin in Your Life” for Kindle and Nook. A paperback version will be available soon.

So check it out, let us know what you think, and if you like the book, give us a follow on Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest. We’ll be hosting contests and giveaways — plus we have some really awesome Harry Potter content from across the web. Thanks for reading!

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