Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Writer's GuideBook to Chattanooga

Welcome to Chattanooga, aka Gig City, aka The Scenic City. This cute, upcoming city at the bottom of Tennessee has really developed in terms of art and tourism over the past ten years thanks to the Aquarium. But Chattanooga is a wonderful city for writers. I mean, I can write anywhere. I write on planes, in class, in doctor waiting rooms, occasionally in church (what can I say, God inspires me?). But sometimes, you just need to be somewhere inspiring and calming and conducive to creative thought. Chattanooga has some wonderful locals for this need:

1. Rembrandts Coffee House: This is a charming coffee house/cafe in the Art District of Chattanooga. It's surrounded by the art museum, a bed and breakfast, and a great Italian Restaurant. It's just a short walk to the glass bridge and the walking bridge, so consequently the river. But they have wonderful coffee (the vanilla is my favorite) as well as tasty lunch and a variety of pastries. Their patio (in the right weather) is so peaceful and calming, so I really prefer writing outside there. But inside, during calm hours, can be another great place to just sit. If you think about it, you could be there for hours--get lunch, then a dessert, then coffee. You're good for most of the day.

2. Starline Books: Need a book inspiration or writing break? Stop into Starline Books in the Southside on Market street where you will be greeted by the warm, energetic owner. On the top level, You'll find adult fiction, signed copies, and some nonfiction. Head downstairs, and you'll find children's, young adult, and even more variety. For a small store, they have an excellent selection of books. And the rustic atmosphere is my fave.

3. The Camp House: placed right on MLK Boulevard, come visit The Camp House for an easy atmosphere, comfortable couches, yummy pastries, and counterculture coffee. They also have a patio for nice weather day. I can sit there for hours and write, eat a snack, even have brunch/lunch, and just enjoy the day.

4. Coolidge Park: If you're an outdoor writer, Coolidge Park is the place for you. You have a nice view of the Walking Bridge, which could be good inspiration if you're a people watcher (which, let's be honest, all writers watch people). Again, if you need sustenance, there's a plethora of restaurants and coffee shops in walking distance.

5. Mean Mug: Another great coffee shop, this one just around the corner from Starline, is tiny but quaint. So if you write during odd hours of the day, this is the place to go. They have yummy coffee, a nice selection of food and pastries, and play awesome, quiet, inspiring music. They also have a patio, because it seems that patios are essential for Chatt coffee shops.

So if you're a writer in Chatt or traveling to Chatt, be sure to check these places out, along with the cool outdoor adventures and mouthwatering restaurants that are around every corner!

From the Scenic City,

Monday, October 17, 2016

Southern Festival of Books 2016

Happy book festival season! I started off mine in the good ole city of Nashville with the Southern Festival of Books. SFOB was the first book festival I ever went to four years ago, and I swear, it was like God had sent me a weekend made just for me. It was filled with a HUGE book tent and authors, my role models, galore! Normally, I try to pack in a full schedule, but this year, I was a little bit more relaxed.

Saturday, we heard Ann Patchett, author and owner of Parnassus books, interview the successful novelist Beverly Lowry about her new book exploring the Yogurt Shop Murders in Austin, Texas. I haven't read this book, but if Ann Patchett is singing its praises, I feel like its worth a read.

Jolina Petersheim, author of The Outcast, and Libby Ware, author of Lum, served on a panel together talking about Mennonite and Melungeons in literature. All of Jolina's books take place in the Mennonite community, and Lum intersects with the Melungeon community. Jolene's newest book The Alliance questions what will happen to the Mennonite community people when modern society collapses and they go back to old ways. Will they survive because of their simple way of life or will they die because of their passivity?

We finished Saturday in a Fantasy panel with Victoria (V.E.) Schwa, Maria Dahvana Headley, and Martina Boone, who are, respectively, the authors of This Savage Song among more, Magonia among more, and The Heirs of Watson Island series. Apparently, they didn't have a plan going into the panel, but they ended up with one of the best discussions I've ever had the pleasure of sitting in on. They discussed the very idea of fantasy, female heroines in YA fantasy and their tendency to be very Joan of Arkish, which, let's be honest, how many 16 year olds are self sacrificing? It was a fabulous discussion that broke down walls and barriers and stereotypes, and I felt like I was in a room of genius. A great way to end the day! Also, Maria Dahvana Headley had the best book-dress I've ever seen.

Sunday, I'm not embarrassed to say, was all about Maggie Stiefvater. We got to the library early to get good seats for her talk, and let me tell you, she's one of the best speakers I've ever heard, not just in the author world. She uses the stage, is dramatic yet real, and truly pulls you into her world. It was absolutely fantastic and hilarious and perfect. I had my complete stack of the Raven Cycle for her to sign, and I told her about how I threw the last book of Shiver across the room because I was so pissed about the ending. She was not sorry, but I loved her reaction. I wouldn't be sorry either. That's how I felt when a reader told me that about Ascension. 
We finished the day in the best way possible--vandalizing her car Theif. Now don't worry, she was present for this vandalization. She even provided the spray paint and told us that we were doing this for the sake of individuality. And...she's gonna drive her kids to school in this car through the Election. Mwahaha.

If you haven't yet traveled to a book festival in your life, I HIGHLY encourage you to go. I can't recommend it enough. I'm serious. Just go.

Here's some great quotes and advice I picked up in the panels this weekend from our fabulous authors:
"Everyone should have a journal--just write your life story." - Jolina Petersheim
"I write about the lines between things." - V.E. Schwab
"Within the impossible parts of life, there is glitter." - Maria Dahvana Headley
"Science is magic we've learned how to explain." - Martina Boone
"Fantasy is an armor we can wear while facing difficult topics." - V.E. Schwab
"Moral gray is such a pretty color." - Maria Dahvana Headley
"I use language as spice not as substance. Language makes the world." - V.E. Schwab
"I think show-don't-tell is the most incorrect rule ever." - Martina Boone
"I have a serious objection to write-what-you-know." - Maria Dahvana Headley
"Write what you want to read. You will always be your greatest champion." - V.E. Schwab
"I'm a writing thief. I steal people and places." - Maggie Stiefvater

Monday, October 3, 2016

YA Scavenger Hunt Is ON! (Plus a fun Giveaway of Ascension and some New Orleans-themed SWAG!)

Welcome to YA Scavenger Hunt 2016!

This bi-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck so that readers could have a chance to gain exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors as well as a chance to win fun prizes! During this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize—a book from each author on the hunt in my team! But move quickly: this contest and all the bonus material will only be online for 72 hours.

Go to YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are eight contest going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the PURPLE TEAM—but there is also a red, orange, gold, green, teal, blue, and pink team for a chance to win a whole different set of books.

If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.


DIRECTIONS: Below, you’ll notice that I’ve hidden a special number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the purple team, and then add them up (it’s okay, you can use a calculator).

ENTRY FORM: Once you’ve added up all the number, go fill out the form linked below to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.

RULES: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by October 7, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.


Today, I am hosting Amy Plum on my website for the YA Scavenger Hunt. Amy Plum is the author of Die for Me, an international best-selling YA series set in Paris, which has been translated into thirteen languages. Amy's newest series is a duology, After the End and Until the Beginning. The first book of her YA horror duology Dreamfall will be released by HarperTeen in 2017. Amy grew up in Birmingham, Alabama before venturing further afield to Chicago, Paris, London, and New York. An Art Historian by training, she can be found on most days either daydreaming or writing (or both) in a Parisian cafĂ©. 

Find out more by checking out her website here
And if you like her content, you can purchase An Alphabet of Paris Zombies if you click here


From the internationally best-selling author Amy Plum comes this illustrated series of rhyming couplets memorializing the mysterious deaths of twenty-six residents of the City of Light. For every letter, there's another gruesome end linked to a famous spot, leading the reader on a deliciously ghoulish tour through Paris. The photos were taken by the author as she scurried around the city preparing the ghastly alphabet for her contribution as a Featured Author of the 2014 Twitter Fiction Festival. 

Today, Amy will be sharing a video with you hunters about her book. So be sure to click the link to get some exclusive content! 

And don’t forget to entire the contest for a chance to win a ton of books by me, Amy Plum, and more! To enter, you need to know that Amy Plum caught the writing bug when she was very young; I started Ascension in middle school, and I finally published it now that I’m 20.

To keep going on your quest for all the free books, you need to check out the next author! C.M. McCoy

Please leave me some comments, tell me how you’re doing in the hunt, or anything you want to talk about! I love hearing from you all!

Be sure and connect with me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and my author Website!

On top of the winner receiving a free copy of Ascension, as well as many others, click our Rafflecopter link below for a chance to win this box of awesome Ascension Swag!

** a Rafflecopter giveaway