It’s that time of year again! Proms are going on all over the damn place!

 

 

 

I LOVE proms in the same way I LOVE weddings which is to say because I love dressing up and makeup and dancing and pictures and music and YAY! But, some of my favorite things are the favors — at my prom, we got glasses with the name of the prom (Starry Night? Happily Ever After? Some Enchanted Evening? All Three?) and the year etched in black.

 

 

Weddings often have amazing favors, too – I’ve gotten everything from candy to shot glasses to personalized CDs to ornaments…the list goes on and on!

 

 

 

 

So, when I came across the Promposal footage on MTV today, it reminded me of two things I love about my books, too.

 

 

1. The promposals in JUST LIKE THE MOVIES, which are totally kick ass and super-creative.

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2. The adorable bookmarks I had made for JUST LIKE THE MOVIES – and how I have a ton of them!

 

 

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So, in honor of these bookmarks and the adorable Promposals of 2015 and JUST LIKE THE MOVIES, I’m giving away bookmarks to anyone who does the following:

 

1. Tweet me a picture of you holding one of my books – JUST LIKE THE MOVIES or TASTE TEST.

 

MY TWITTER :) 

 

OR

 

2. Post a picture of you holding one of my books on my Facebook wall.

 

MY FACEBOOK :)

 

(E-books count! Just hold up your tablet!)

 

THEN

 

 

Once you’ve done that, fill out the contact form on my website with your name, the subject line “Bookmarks” and your mailing address in the message. I will send you signed bookmarks for TASTE TEST, JUST LIKE THE MOVIES, and the new AMONG THE SHADOWS  bookmarks that are set to arrive soon!

 

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Here’s the CONTACT PAGE. (The actual form is at the bottom of the page.)

 

A few caveats:

 

1. US entries only

 

Okay…maybe only one caveat… :)

 

So, tweet and post away! Don’t forget to send your address via the contact page! And give the bookmarks 4-6 weeks to arrive at your door; because I’m waiting on the AMONG THE SHADOWS bookmarks, the first sets might not be sent out for a couple weeks.

 

HAPPY READING. HAPPY PROMMING. HAPPY BOOKMARKING.

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I’ve totally slacked on blogging. I’m sorry, really. I think at this point that this site is becoming more of an “I have an announcement!” kind of site. I hope to get back to writing posts about craft and more helpful subjects soon.

 

But for now, we’ll stick with a couple of new announcements!

 

 

1. THICKER THAN WATER has a German cover – and a German title!

 

 

Fiore, Kelly_THICKER THAN WATER_Germany copy

 

The title translates to “The Long Drop Down of Cecelia Price.” I’m kind of in love with the cover.

 

 

2. I’m super pleased to announce the news that I’ll be contributing to an anthology with twelve other YA authors. AMONG THE SHADOWS is a collection of short stories that focusing on the darker, grittier, and more horror-oriented side of YA writing.

 

This is an author-produced endeavor, meaning we’ll be publishing and marketing this collection on our own. Because of this, we’re running a Kickstarter campaign with some great incentives. Check us out here and find out more about the anthology and bid on some books, critiques and more! Click on the cover below.

 

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I’m so so SO excited to announce my happy news to the world!

 

 

Per Publisher’s Weekly:

 

Annie Kelly’s LEARNING CURVE, set at an alternative high school known for being a dumping ground for troubled students and featuring a young teacher who realizes the newest member of her first period class is the guy she met–and made out with–at the bar last week, to Christina Brower at NAL in a three book deal by Suzie Townsend at New Leaf Literary Media. (NA)

 

So, a couple of things:

 

1. Who, pray tell, is this “Annie Kelly” you speak of?

 

 

Annie Kelly is my new pen name (or pseudonym.)  This is a pretty recent development in my writing life. Basically, it’s another brand of Kelly Fiore – and this brand writes romance.

 

My romance novels will be about women in their mid-20s – women graduating college, starting their first jobs, getting an apartment, buying a car, making messes, falling in love, etc.

 

Romance has a similar momentum as YA, but has more sex. It has heat and chemistry and, frankly, it’s pretty explicit in the sex department. I love my YA writing,  but this ain’t it. There’s something far more edgy and intriguing about my romance characters. They’re just starting out. They’re making mistakes. Their humanity is glaringly obvious.

 

2. What made me write romance?

 

 

A couple of things drove me toward this genre. First, I’m a fan of romance. A BIG fan. Like, a flailing, giddy fan. I love almost everything I read that is Romance or New Adult, but my favorite authors are Shayla Black, Cherrie Lynn, Jacie Burton, Lacey Alexander, Jay Crownover, Chelsea Fine, Cora Carmack, Sophie Jordan, Lisa DeRochers, and Penelope Douglas.

Another reason – I want to write stories about adults because I *gulp* sort of am one. So, while I love writing YA and I do feel like a teen much of the time, I do really enjoy remembering the world of my 20s and writing from that perspective.

3. Am I still writing YA?

 

 

Yup. That won’t change. THICKER THAN WATER is probably more of an upper-YA novel because of the language/violence/drug content, but it’s certainly YA. I’ll have another book with Harper after TtW and I’m hoping to continue writing more light contemporary YA, too. And maybe some middle grade. Or literary adult. (Yes, I have a full plate. That’s how I like it.)

 

4. So, how about these romance novels?

 

 

I’m so stoked that these will see the light of day. I’m completely smitten with the characters and I’m excited about working on the future books.

 

Learning Curve is the first book in the series. It follows grad school student Hyacinth “Cyn” Hendricks as she struggles through a student-teaching internship at a tough-as-nails alternative Baltimore high school. She teaches drug dealers, former convicts, students with ankle bracelets – the whole shebang – but nothing knocks her more asunder than when Smith Asher shows up in her classroom. This troubled student is a complete enigma — and an enigma whose seen her almost naked when they hooked up at the bar last weekend.

Hyacinth is caught between the very potent chemistry between her and Smith and the fact that she’s completing her student teaching – the lines of right and wrong are blurry and even harder to define when laden with lust.

 

I love this book SO HARD — partially because it has a really crazy twist toward the end that changes everything for Smith and Cyn. I’m hoping that readers will love these characters as much as I do. I’m carrying them with me constantly.

 

I’ve also started a new blog – Romancing Annie – which will chronicle more of my romance news and posts. You can find it HERE

 

So, YAY! I’m excited to be branching out into the romance realm and I hope I can bring you with me as readers and as friends.

 

 

 

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In the spirit of the season, I tried to think of something creative to do for a giveaway…

 

 

 

 

…and gave up and decided to do what comes naturally. So, I’m giving away three copies of JUST LIKE THE MOVIES, signed, to you :) (And also imbedding Channing Tatum gifs in this post for your viewing pleasure. You’re welcome.)

 

 

 

So, enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below. All drawings will be made on Christmas (not by accident :)) and I’ll be sending you the book between then and the New Year. I’m clarifying this because, while JUST LIKE THE MOVIES would make a great Christmas gift, these copies won’t make it to you by then.

 

 

However, speaking of which…

 

 

Looking for a GREAT holiday gift? Consider giving a copy of JUST LIKE THE MOVIES or TASTE TEST to the teens and adults in your life. They’re appropriate for anyone ages 10-11 and up and I’d be happy to send you signed bookplates and bookmarks – just shoot me a message via the comment section of the website contact page.

 

Oh, look. Here are some gifts to purchase said books!

 

JUST LIKE THE MOVIES

 

TASTE TEST

 

Happy Holidays, friends :)

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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So, remember that time I told you that THE PEOPLE VS. CECELIA PRICE was renamed to THIS IS HOW IT ENDED?

 

Yeah.

 

That’s not true. I mean, it WAS true. But it’s been renamed again.

 

 

Now, my next YA release, due out in Fall 2015, will be called THICKER THAN WATER.

 

And this is actually a really really good thing because I loved that title. When I knew we were retitling, it was my favorite of the bunch. So, while I certainly was getting used to THIS IS HOW IT ENDED, I have to admit that I’m thrilled by this recent, if unexpected, title switch.

So, squee!

 

 

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Popping in to say, “Surprise!” THE PEOPLE VS. CECELIA PRICE has a new title.

 

 

Sorry. I know that’s mildly terrifying.

 

Anyway, THIS IS HOW IT ENDED is now the title of my 3rd book, due out next year. It’s my first book with Harper Teen, and the first book that is of a darker, more gritty and realistic theme in the YA genre.

 

You can add it to your GoodReads list by going HERE

 

YAY!

 

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So, a month or two ago, BuzzFeed dubbed Laura Marano the perfect actress to play Lily in a movie version of JUST LIKE THE MOVIES. Did you miss it? Oh, look at that – here’s the link: THE COOLEST THING EVER.

 

 

Anyway. To say I was stoked would be the biggest understatement, um, EVER. Because she is the perfect person to play Lily — that, and I’d love to see a JUST LIKE THE MOVIES movie find its way to the big screen.

 

Then I watched the Proms and Promises episode of AUSTIN AND ALLY and I was even MORE stoked — because there were scenes that were almost identical to JUST LIKE THE MOVIES.

 

 

Prom proposals! Singing to your potential prom date! Dancing! Mayhem!

 

So, I tweeted about it and BOOM! A whole new segment of fans – Austin and Ally fans – who would also love to see Laura Marano star in a JUST LIKE THE MOVIES adaptation. It was pretty cool to see people get excited at the prospect.

 

Which takes me to the giveaway…

 

AUDIOBOOKS!!!!!!

 

Okay. It’s true. One of the cooler rites of passage as an author is the audiobook release. JUST LIKE THE MOVIES is double the fun because a) it’s my second book and b) there are TWO kick-ass narrators.

 

 

So, here’s a little bit about these two amazing women –

 

Eileen Stevens:

 

Eileen is a performer based in New York. As a voice-over actress, she can be heard on Noggin, Travel Channel, Discovery Health, and Monster.com. She has been a part of many cartoon and animes, including Pokemon, Ah! My Goddess, and Marvel Comic’s Astonishing X-Men. She has voiced numerous audiobooks and educational programs for companies including Audible.com, Scholastic, and Pearson Education. In theater, she has performed in The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Julius Caesar, Dames at Sea, Gifts of the Magi, and The Singing Nun and has written and performed her one woman show, Tings, in New York and Washington D.C.

 

Sandy Rustin

 

Sandy is a voice over artist and narrator who has worked on hundreds of television shows, movies, commercials and books. Currently. She’s a 2014 Audie Awards® Finalist in the Non-Fiction category for her narration of Jenna Miscavige Hill’s memoir, Beyond Belief.

 

Pretty amazing, right? I got the best of the best, guys! And I’m SO grateful!

 

So, to celebrate the release, I’m giving away two free JUST LIKE THE MOVIES audiobooks on Audible.com. Just enter the Rafflecopter raffle below – there are two copies up for grabs, so spread the word!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

*All Gifs courtesy of Reddit, Google Images, and Tumblr*

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The whirlwind of release week is always just that — a whirlwind. I’m so fortunate to be a member of this fabulous YA writing community and nothing reminds me more of that than when something good happens — people are so quick to tweet their love, support, and happy messages on days where you want to shine. It’s both overwhelming and wonderful.

 

Just Like the Movies was a challenging book for me to write – mostly because of the dual narrative. I spent a lot of time working and re-working the voices of my characters to make them both distinctive and relatable. On top of that, I had to carefully select the movies, and thereby the movie strategies, that I would be highlighting.

 

Seeing this book come to fruition – seeing it become a book on a shelf – has been a really wonderful feeling.

 

My launch was really more of a signing, which took place at the Curious Iguana in Downtown Frederick (Maryland.) I got to see some people I haven’t seen in quite awhile and I was thrilled by the support I got and the support the bookstore received. Many people said things like, “I had no idea this was here!” and I know they plan on frequenting this great Indie bookstore more often.

 

The Curious Iguana – an absolutely adorable Indie bookstore! (www.curiousiguana.com)

 

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All set up and ready to sign!

 

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This never gets old — I still love signing books!

 

And this weekend, I’m privelged to be spending an afternoon at Hooray for Books in downtown Alexandria (Virginia) with two other writers – Alex Lidell and my writing-soul-mate Justina Ireland. You should come see us — I’ll have cookies!

 

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The adorable Hooray for Books

 

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My JLTM cookie favors — these might be my favorite book swag of all time!

 

And one of the best parts of release week is the “virtual” attention and coverage you get — mostely because it means people read your book and (hopefully) say nice things about it. I’ve gotten some wonderful responses to JLTM so far, but my favorite review has to be this one over at Mostly YA – it really touched me and I’m so happy I had a chance to read it.

 

So, all in all, it’s been a fantastic release week and I feel both blessed and excited.

 

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It’s been a lonnnnnnng while since I did a food post. I was making our favorite brownies this morning (they are the best gluten-free brownies on the market) and the caramel sauce I make with it, marveling once again about how magical the sauce really is. I’ve told people about it at least a dozen times. So, I’ve decided to share it with the world :)

 

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So, the ingredients are as follows:

 

1/3 cup coconut oil (do not use virgin coconut oil unless you want it to taste like coconut)

 

2/3 cup pure maple syrup

 

1/2 cup nut butter (I used almond butter today, but I’ve used cashew butter with equal, if not more, success)

 

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

 

1/4 tsp kosher salt

 

And that’s it. Well, save one very important tool:

 

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Ya gotta have a blender. It doesn’t have to be fancy, and if you have a food processor, it probably would work, but I’ve never tried it so I can’t speak for its success.

 

So, the directions are simple. You dump everything into the blender. All at once. It’s not particularly appetizing looking.

 

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But then you turn the blender on (I use the puree setting, then the liquify setting) for three minutes. Don’t stir. Don’t stop it. Just let it run. Stay with it if you’ve got a blender that likes to travel on your counter. And when the three minutes are up, life the lid. You’ll have this:

 

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If you can see them, there are little flecks in mine from the almond butter. If you want a caramel sauce that is indiscernible from a traditional caramel, I highly recommend cashew butter. It’s smooth and the color looks exactly like butterscotch.

 

Now, what you do from here is up to you – you can store it in the fridge and use it for ice cream or to dip apple slices in or whatever. But I use ours the same way every time:

 

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A thick caramel topping on top of my brownies. I pour the sauce on while they’re still warm, then let the brownies come to room temparature. Then, I refrigerate the pan for a few hours before cutting the brownies into bars. The caramel doesn’t really solidfy unless you refrigerate it.

 

I hope you’ll try this — I’m telling you, I’ve brought these brownies to a million parties and they’re always a hit.

 

Here’s the recipe in a more condensed form:

 

 

Vegan Caramel Sauce

 

1/3 cup coconut oil (do not use virgin coconut oil unless you want it to taste like coconut)

 

2/3 cup pure maple syrup

 

1/2 cup nut butter (I used almond butter today, but I’ve used cashew butter with equal, if not more, success)

 

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

 

1/4 tsp kosher salt

 

 Directions: 

 

1. Dump all ingredients into a blender.

 

2. Blend on high speed for three minutes without stopping.

 

3. Scrape down sides and give it another pulse or two to make sure everything is well blended, then dump caramel on brownies or into a container to use as a sauce/dip.

 

The sauce keeps in the fridge for up to two weeks (but it’ll never last that long!)

 

(My sauce recipe is a modified version of this one – which is equally delicious.)

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“So, when does The People Vs. Cecelia Price come out?” a friend asked me the other day.

 

“Fall 2015,” I replied.

 

“What?!” she balked. “But you sold it a year ago!”

 

“Yep.”

 

“So it won’t come out for TWO YEARS since it was sold?”

 

“Yep.”

 

“Is that…” shocked face “…normal?”

 

“Yep.”

 

There are a lot of things that the general public doesn’t understand about publishing. The biggest one, at least for me and the people I spend time with, is the amount of time it takes to publish a book through the traditional channels.

 

There are a couple of rules when it comes to books that come out in print – often, ebooks can be released more rapidly because of the very nature of the electronic book. But, when it comes to hard backs, paperbacks, and the like, some things are pretty standard.

 

1. Usually, it takes one year from when your final manuscript is accepted by your editor for the book to be published.

 

This isn’t a hard and fast rule, but it’s pretty normal for most, mid-list authors. For bigger names or books that publishers believe will sell very well/bank on a trend, there will often be an accelerated pace of release. But those situations are rare.

 

2. Publishers buy books as they are, but that doesn’t mean they won’t need revisions.

 

Every author who sells a book gets an edit letter from their editor. It will detail the specifics of things they’d like changed. Some changes are miniscule. Some changes are complete overhauls. It depends on the editor, their style, and the book itself. But there are few authors who think that their book is perfect. On top of those revisions, you’ll also get copy edits AND pass pages, which will check all the grammar and formatting. All of these things are things you, as an author, would need to address. And that takes time.

 

3. There are a lot of things out of your control.

 

This one is important, and it sort of drives the rest of my post.

 

Here’s the thing — sometimes things happen that you have zero influence over. Sometimes your book will get bumped from it’s publication date to another season – from May (Spring) to August (Summer) for example. Sometimes your publisher will have too many books or too many similar books coming out in one season, so they’ll move your release to balance their offerings. Sometimes no one can agree on a cover and it takes too long to pick one. Sometimes your editor is waiting on blurbs from other authors for the cover. Sometimes life just happens.

 

 

Which is why the title of this post is “limbo” — because that’s what most of this career is. There’s some hurry up and wait. There’s some straight waiting. And there are exciting, fun moments. But, mostly, there’s just waiting.

 

Our world is pretty much navigated by instant and near-instant gratification. The idea of waiting a couple of years for a book to come out when you could publish it yourself this afternoon on CreateSpace or Smashwords is difficult to grasp. I totally get that. There are advantages to self-publishing and that time factor is a big one. In the future, if I self-publish, I know that will be a huge difference for me.

 

But there are lots of things that you do get out of traditional publishing. The biggest one is that traditionally published books usually get into bookstores. It is really REALLY hard to get bookstores like B&N to carry your self-published book. (You’ll have more luck with local indies.) You also have more support in terms of publicity. Publicizing your book is a huge part of getting it sold. Otherwise, there’s a lot of shouting into the void. The book might be available, but it can easily get lost in the millions of others that are out there.

 

So, what do writers do with their time? What should writers do with their time?

 

For the most part, I suggest writing something new. I will always suggest that. The best way to combat any sort of limbo-blues is to write something else. That’s actually how The People vs. Cecelia Price was born. I was waiting for Taste Test to come out and waiting for my option book (which is Just Like the Movies) to be purchased.

 

Everything’s a trade off. Self-publishing is more instantaneous, but requires more work from the author in terms of time/effort/publicity. It also doesn’t come with an advance – in fact, you’ll usually shell out some money before you see any. Traditional publishing, on the other hand, takes much longer, but it’s a machine — you have editors, cover designers, publicists, and a dozen other people working on your behalf.

 

Neither option is a bad one and both have their own version of limbo. It’s just up to you as to how you spend that time.

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