Meet me at the Romantic Times Convention in Dallas TX this week!!

Guys, I am so excited to be getting on a plane to Dallas tomorrow. I’ll be headed there for the Romantic Times (“RT”) Convention, which runs from Tuesday, May 12 through Sunday, May 17. If you’re going to be at the convention, I’d love to meet you! Even if you don’t plan on attending the full convention, there is a GIANT BOOK FAIR on Saturday that is open to the public. You can come meet all of your favorite authors! (Seriously, there will be hundreds of amazing authors in attendance.)

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Here are the details about the GIANT BOOK FAIR on Saturday, May 16: click here (all links open in a new window)

Here is my schedule while I’m at RT:

Tuesday, May 12

12 noon – Arrive in Dallas! Where’s the bar? 

10:15pm – YA Spooky Slumber Party (RT Convention Attendees only) 

Put on your jammies and join us for some spooky, silly fun and games! Challenge your favorite YA authors to time-honored slumber party favorites like Truth or Dare and Boy Meets Girl, and create your very own spooky flash fiction. Snacks and prizes abound — and the best slippers win!

Wednesday

3:45 – 4:45 PANEL – YA Burning Questions

Get up close and personal with your favorite YA authors, and ask them all your burning questions. Will your favorite couple ever get together? Why did the heroine’s best friend have to die? Whatever happened to that hot immortal guy in book two — and what is the title of that top secret e-novella anyway? This is your chance to hang out, chat and enjoy photo ops with some of the coolest authors around. You’ll find out their secrets (Cake or pie? Gale or Peeta?) in a lightning-fast round of questions.

Thursday

10 – 11 PANEL – Oops, Your Research is Showing

Need to know the most accurate way to maim your character? Or which undergarment your character would wear in 1755? Finding the right information and using it seamlessly in your story is an art in and of itself. These authors have experience, from giving medical and psychological consultations for writers’ characters to researching for a living as a copy editor and journalist, so they can help you show — not tell! — all you know to make that scene just perfect.

11:40am – Pick up my husband from the airport – NO ONE LET ME FORGET TO DO THIS, OKAY? 

5:15 – 6:45 – Kensington Sweet Heat Party 

Warm your heart with a celebration of Kensington authors and books. Indulge in delicious snacks and refreshments as you chat with your favorite authors, meet the Kensington team and score special prizes. We’ll be giving a special surprise to the first 100 people who line up for love, but all who attend will get fun treats, sneak peeks and their choice of two autographed books!

Friday

1:30 – 2:30 – Kensington Hearts & Kisses

Join the Kensington family for our Hearts & Kisses event, where you can star in your own romance cover and pose with your favorite muscled hero! Write love notes to your favorite authors, which will be delivered after the event.

Saturday

10:30 – 2 – Giant Book Fair

Meet more than 500 authors who will autograph books, posters and bookmarks. Bring your “keepers” and have them signed! This year we will have all authors (traditional, e-book only, and indie/print on consignment) all in one room and fully intermingled!

If you’ll be in Dallas, let me know! I love meeting new people (and seeing old friends!). I always have my smartphone with me, so don’t hesitate to drop me a line at brigidmary@gmail.com if you’re interested in grabbing coffee/drinks/whatever. 

 

 

On perseverance … and whether it’s worth it to “keep writing”

So Facebook has this new “Memories” thing where it will show you your posts from the past on that same date.  (There’s also an app called Timehop that does the same thing, and is a little more comprehensive.) The other day, I stumbled across this post that I put up on April 14, 2009 Six years ago.

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Six years ago.

SIX YEARS AGO.

What’s even more eye-opening is that the book I was querying? It wasn’t Storm. It was A Wicked Little Rhythm, a book about the son of Apollo being banished from his home and setting up a music store in downtown Baltimore, only to be framed for a murder … well, that book is in the vaults for later. It never sold, and now that I’m six books past it, I can see all its flaws, and I understand why it didn’t sell.

I like to look at my life in five year chunks. Anytime I begin to feel frustrated about where I am, I like to look back at what my life was like five years ago, just so I can see how things have changed.

Five years ago, I had one child, and we weren’t sure we wanted any more. We’ve since had TWO more.

Five years ago, I had an agent, but I didn’t have a book contract. I’ve since sold EIGHT BOOKS. And I have a new agent.

It makes me excited to think about what the next five years have in store for me and my family. Five years isn’t a lot of time, if you really think about it.

Has it been quick? No way.

Have I taken a few bullets to the vest? Yes. Have I gotten up, dusted myself off, and kept going? Yes.

Has it been worth it?

YES.

Keep writing.

 

 

Guess what? I have a new book deal!

I am so, so, SO excited to be able to announce the following, from Publishers Marketplace:

STORM author Brigid Kemmerer’s LETTERS TO THE DARK, pitched as a grittier version of YOU’VE GOT MAIL for teens, in which a girl copes with her mother’s death by leaving her letters at the cemetery, until a boy intercepts them and starts writing back, and soon the two find themselves falling for a stranger–except they’re actually classmates who loathe one another, to Mary Kate Castellani at Bloomsbury Children’s, in a two-book deal, by Mandy Hubbard at D4EO Literary Agency (World).

 

I think I’m going to let Zac Efron show you how I feel about this:

Actually, that gif doesn’t really capture an emotion. It’s just awesome. Is hotness an emotion?

*cough*

ANYWAY. I am so excited to be working with Mary Kate and Bloomsbury, and I can’t wait for all of you to read this book. I don’t have many details yet about official release dates, cover, etc., but stay tuned.

While you’re waiting, be sure to check out my next release from Kensington, THICKER THAN WATER, which comes out in January 2016. Have you seen the absolutely amazing cover? 

Because I love you all…here’s the cover for Thicker than Water

Happy Valentine’s Day, friends! I hope you’re all having a nice Saturday. I’ve been thinking of doing a big cover reveal for my next book, but this time, I really just want to be able to share it with you all myself, because I think you’re all so fabulous. If you were here, I’d buy you a coffee and tell you how amazing you are straight to your face.

My next book, Thicker than Water, comes out in January 2016. I am so in love with the cover, I can’t even tell you.

But first, here’s what it’s about:

Thomas Bellweather hasn’t been in town long. Just long enough for his newlywed mother to be murdered, and for his new stepdad’s cop colleagues to decide Thomas is the primary suspect. 

Not that there’s any evidence. But before Thomas got to Garretts Mill there had just been one other murder in twenty years.

The only person who believes him is Charlotte Rooker, little sister to three cops and, with her soft hands and sweet curves, straight-up dangerous to Thomas. Her best friend was the other murder vic. And she’d like a couple answers.

Answers that could get them both killed, and reveal a truth Thomas would die to keep hidden…

Okay, so that’s the story. Are you ready for the badass cover?

Here it is! You can click the image to go to Goodreads and add it to your “to read” shelf!

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What do you think?

Is Michael Merrick your ultimate hero? He needs your help!

Hey, guys! How is everyone?

Guess what? Michael Merrick is in a tournament for the Ultimate Kensington Hero! He needs your help!

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Click on one of the images above, or go here to vote for Michael, to show everyone that he’s the Ultimate Hero!

In honor of the contest, Sacrifice is on sale all over the place. Check with your favorite e-book seller to find Michael Merrick’s story for less than $3.

Release Day Question: What’s next for the Merrick brothers? Is this the end of the series?

Every Friday (or on the occasional release day *cough*), I’ll answer a reader question (anonymously). I’m open to anything (it doesn’t have to be writing or book related), so don’t hesitate to send in a question. Email to brigidmary@gmail.com or use the Contact tab.

Q: What’s next for the Merrick brothers? Is Sacrifice really the last book in the series? Is this the end? I want closure! Are you writing more books? Are ya?

A:

This is such a hard question to answer.

First of all, I need to take a minute. I need to thank you. To thank all of you. I was going to do a video blog, but it’s 4:45am, my hair is wet from the shower, and there’s a good chance my happy sobbing would wake the baby.

Besides, I’m a writer. I’m more comfortable talking to you from behind the keyboard. (That said, if you want to see me cry, you should probably come to the Sacrifice Launch Party on Saturday.)

Where was I?

THANK YOU. Storm came out in April of 2012. In just over two years, I’ve published five books, three novellas, and through those books, I’ve met some of the most amazing people on the planet. YOU GUYS. If you’re reading this post, I mean you. I never imagined the amount of emails I would receive or the number of amazing gif-filled reviews I would get, or the people I would meet, or the Facebook friends and Twitter buddies I would have. I have dozens of friends on Facebook and Twitter that I’ve never met in person, but now we talk about kids and dogs and life and share recipes and I know them JUST BECAUSE I WROTE A BOOK. Do you know how special that is? Do you know how amazing you all are? You are a part of my dream, people. You helped make this happen.

Okay, now I’m crying. These are ugly tears. Seriously, now. I made the right decision in not doing a video.

Besides which, you’re all probably like QUIT WITH THE CRYING AND TELL US ABOUT THE MERRICKS, WOMAN.

Here are the most frequent questions I’ve been getting:

1) So is this the end of the series?

I don’t know.

That’s an ambiguous answer, I know, but I can’t say a whole lot about what’s next. (Yet.) I am currently not contracted for any further books in the Elemental series, but I can cryptically say that this probably will not be the last of what you hear from the Merricks. I can also say that my next book for Kensington / Allen & Unwin is about sexy empaths and a small town where women keep dying. (We’re still working on titles.) The book will be a solid blend of family issues and the paranormal. I’m hopeful you’ll love Thomas and Charlotte just as much as you’ve loved the Elemental boys.

2) Do you want to write more books in the Elemental series?

Yes. 

But there are only so many hours in the day. I want to write other things, too, and I don’t want the Elemental Series to turn into crap that felt forced just because I didn’t have the opportunity to be creative with other stories. Yes, the series is open ended right now. I did that deliberately so I can come back to it in the future.Right now I just don’t know when that will be. I’d love to tell Tyler’s story. And Irish’s. And Adam’s. And … and … and … and …

3) How could you do that to __________?!?!?!?!??!????!!!!

Come on. How could I not? 

Okay, my husband just woke up, came out here and asked how long I’ve been up, and I burst into tears.

You guys.

YOU GUYS.

I love you all. So much.

Thank you. Thank you for everything.

Now someone bring me some tissues, ‘kay?

 

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SACRIFICE LAUNCH PARTY! (And some other upcoming signings…)

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Hey, guys! Who wants to come to the Sacrifice Launch Party?

YOU KNOW YOU DO.

As always, I’ll be giving away gift cards, reading from a new project, and dancing in the aisles of the Barnes & Noble while they blast Iggy Azalea from the loudspeakers.

(Only one of those isn’t true.)

The launch party will be Saturday, October 4, at 2pm, at Barnes & Noble in Ellicott City, MD. 

Click here to join the event on Facebook.

Here is the official event page on Barnes & Noble’s website.

 

(This is the same location where all the previous launch parties have been held.)

I have some other signings coming up in the near future (including Las Vegas in mid-October, and Alexandria, VA in early December), so stay tuned!

 

 

 

WINNERS of the signed Elemental series!! (Check here if you entered)

Remember when I said I was writing that contest post at like 2:30am? Well, I neglected to mention that you guys should probably tell me whether you’re in the USA or elsewhere (though some of you did!), so I just picked two winners at random. If I end up with two in the US or two international winners, I’ll pick one more.

Drum roll, please…

The winners of a full set of the Elemental Series, all signed, are:

Maddie Waugh

and

Chelle818

Unfortunately neither of you filled out the comment form with an email address (which is fine!), but I have no way to contact you directly. Please email me at brigidmary@gmail.com with your mailing address, and I’ll get the books right out to you. Congratulations!

If you guys haven’t noticed, Storm is currently free in the US across almost all e-book platforms, and it’s the iBooks “Book of the Week.” Additionally, all the books and novellas leading up to Sacrifice are at a steep discount, and available for less than $3 each. If you’ve missed any books in the series, or if you have a friend you want to surprise with a cheap present, here’s your chance! 🙂

Feel free to grab the following banner for your blog. Thanks for spreading the word, everyone!

 

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A little bit about Sacrifice. (And a chance to win the whole series, signed!)

Here’s a little story. (You can skip to the end for the contest if you want.) SacrificeCover

So last year, around May, my husband and I talked about having another baby. Nothing happened, and we figured, “Whew, dodged that bullet, we’re so busy that we don’t really want another baby right now. What were we thinking?”

Fast forward to June 29 of last year, when I was standing alone in my bathroom at 11pm, staring at two pink lines. My husband and kids were all at the beach, but I’d driven home because I had to go to ALA the next morning, and I had a 6am flight to catch. (I did not sleep at all that night. If you met me at ALA and you thought I was vaguely nuts, now you know why.)

Now, if you’ve been following me on Twitter or Facebook or if you know me in real life, you may know that I used to do the majority of my writing in the middle of the night. I would get the kids to bed, start writing around 9pm, go to bed around 1am, then get up at 5:30(ish) and start the day. I couldn’t do that every night, of course, but a couple nights a week, no problem. E_Sacrifice_CVR[IMG]

Guess what pregnancy does? It makes you tired. Especially when you already have two young children. Especially when you have a day job. Especially when you’re promoting books that have already been published. First baby? People pamper you. I remember a girl in my office would come around and rub my shoulders. People would offer to make me tea or bring me lunch so I wouldn’t have to get up. Third baby? People wonder if you know how to use birth control. (That’s not a complaint. It’s just reality. It affects the baby, too. I mean, with my first, he got a clean blanket every time I laid him on the floor. Zach gets put straight down on the carpet half the time. :-D)

For some reason, I thought this pregnancy wouldn’t be a challenge when combined with the writing. I’ve done it before (I was pregnant with Sam while writing Spark, and I wrote Elemental in the first month after he was born), but that was before Storm was even published, when all my writing activities were solely focused on actually writing, and nothing promotional.

I’m not going to sugarcoat it. Writing Sacrifice kicked my ass. My editor and I had a few inside jokes about how we never should have chosen this title, because it was really a little too close to the truth. It doesn’t help that I started the book several times and kept scrapping it, because it just wasn’t right. Michael Merrick wouldn’t cry in every chapter! Michael Merrick wouldn’t say that! Ugh, I have to delete this scene because Michael Merrick isn’t a frigging moron!

Then the baby was born early. That meant I was writing Sacrifice like this:

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Or like this:

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Or like this:

Zach Sleeping Mommy Writing

 

They say that when you’re nursing a newborn, you should sleep when the baby sleeps. I couldn’t do that because I was writing when the baby was sleeping. I think I put Michael Merrick through hell just because I felt like I was going through it myself. (“You think a little smoke inhalation is bad, Michael? Try picking up a screaming 35lb. toddler while wearing a newborn in a sling. TRY IT.”)

I finished Sacrifice through the eternal patience of my amazing editor and my amazing agent. There were tears involved. A lot of them. But I got it done.   In looking back, I wouldn’t give up one minute of the experience. It was the biggest challenge I’ve faced in quite a while, and I’m proud of myself for getting it done. Baby Zach is by far my most cuddly, snuggly, happy baby, which helps. I’ve been up since 2:30am (it’s 5am now) because his belly was upset, and I can’t even be irritated with him, because I just love him so much. I don’t mind the missed sleep or the spit up down my shirt or the fact that I’m going to be a zombie by lunchtime. I love how one day I’ll be able to show him those pictures and show him the book and say, “You were a big part of this.” Part of being a parent is the sacrifice, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

So here’s the contest. I’ll give away a signed copy of THE ENTIRE SERIES to two winners: one in the USA, and one international. All you have to do is leave a comment about what sacrifice might mean to you. There are no wrong answers. This contest is open to everyone on the planet, even if you’ve won something from me before.  The contest will be open until Wednesday, September 10, at 9am Baltimore time.  

Good luck!

Signings and book festivals and book recommendations, oh my!

Hi, guys! I was going to do a Reader Question Friday post today, but those take me a while, and I’ve been trying to spend my laptop time actually writing books instead of blogging. But I’ve missed you all! If you’ve sent me a message and you’re waiting for a response, I do still have some emails pending.

Upcoming signing/appearance:SacrificeCover

If you’re in the Maryland area, I’ll be at the Frederick Book Festival next Saturday, June 27, 2014. I’m presenting on a panel with Jodi Meadows, Lea Nolan, Elizabeth Kirke, and Julie Lindsay at 1pm, and signing books afterward. The festival is free, so if you’re in the area, stop by! I have ARCs for Sacrifice, and I’ll bring a few with me. If you ask for one, I’m happy to give you one! Don’t be shy! First come, first served! Don’t worry if you don’t live locally. I’ll be doing a few contests for ARCs in the next few weeks…

Book recommendations:

I recently read the following books and really enjoyed them. Check them out:

These Gentle Wounds by Helene Dunbar (Contemporary YA, somewhat dark)

Five years after an unspeakable tragedy that changed him forever, Gordie Allen has made a new home with his half-brother Kevin. Their arrangement works since Kevin is the only person who can protect Gordie at school and keep him focused on getting his life back on track.

But just when it seems like things are becoming normal, Gordie’s biological father comes back into the picture, demanding a place in his life. Now there’s nothing to stop Gordie from falling into a tailspin that could cost him everything—including his relationship with Sarah, the first girl he’s trusted with the truth. With his world spinning out of control, the only one who can help Gordie is himself . . . if he can find the strength to confront the past and take back his future.

Split by Mel Bossa (Contemporary Adult Fiction with LGBT Themes, this book was AWESOME)

Quiet and imaginative, Derek O’Reilly spends a lot of time watching a movie in his head. His fiancé Nathan, aka “Mr. Alpha”, wonders why Derek hasn’t taken any interest in their wedding planning. Aunt Fran—his spiritual guru—would like to know when her guilt-tripping nephew became some kind of kept boy. One evening, she drops Derek’s childhood journal on his lap, forcing him to remember the name he’s been trying to forget since he was eleven years old. Nicolai Lund.

Nick was Derek’s neighbor—and first love.

Weeks before Derek’s engagement party, a chance meeting with Nick catapults Derek into the past. Nick could flood Derek’s stale existence like a blond tidal wave, but Nick isn’t that sixteen-year-old rebel anymore. He’s a man hardened by invisible scars.

As Derek reads through his diary, Nick and Derek’s powerful relationship sways between past and present, sweeping over their emotional landscape, revealing what they were, still are, and might yet be to each other.

Alienated by Melissa Landers (Paranormal YA, very fun, reminded me of the show Star-Crossed)

Two years ago, the aliens made contact. Now Cara Sweeney is going to be sharing a bathroom with one of them.

Handpicked to host the first-ever L’eihr exchange student, Cara thinks her future is set. Not only does she get a free ride to her dream college, she’ll have inside information about the mysterious L’eihrs that every journalist would kill for. Cara’s blog following is about to skyrocket.

Still, Cara isn’t sure what to think when she meets Aelyx. Humans and L’eihrs have nearly identical DNA, but cold, infuriatingly brilliant Aelyx couldn’t seem more alien. She’s certain about one thing, though: no human boy is this good-looking.

But when Cara’s classmates get swept up by anti-L’eihr paranoia, Midtown High School suddenly isn’t safe anymore. Threatening notes appear in Cara’s locker, and a police officer has to escort her and Aelyx to class.

Cara finds support in the last person she expected. She realizes that Aelyx isn’t just her only friend; she’s fallen hard for him. But Aelyx has been hiding the truth about the purpose of his exchange, and its potentially deadly consequences. Soon Cara will be in for the fight of her life—not just for herself and the boy she loves, but for the future of her planet.

White Hot Kiss by Jennifer Armentrout (Paranormal YA, fun and sexy)

Seventeen-year-old Layla just wants to be normal. But with a kiss that kills anything with a soul, she’s anything but normal. Half demon, half gargoyle, Layla has abilities no one else possesses.

Raised among the Wardens—a race of gargoyles tasked with hunting demons and keeping humanity safe—Layla tries to fit in, but that means hiding her own dark side from those she loves the most. Especially Zayne, the swoon-worthy, incredibly gorgeous and completely off-limits Warden she’s crushed on since forever.

Then she meets Roth—a tattooed, sinfully hot demon who claims to know all her secrets. Layla knows she should stay away, but she’s not sure she wants to—especially when that whole no-kissing thing isn’t an issue, considering Roth has no soul.

But when Layla discovers she’s the reason for the violent demon uprising, trusting Roth could not only ruin her chances with Zayne…it could brand her a traitor to her family. Worse yet, it could become a one-way ticket to the end of the world.

What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton (Contemporary YA dealing with rape in a non-“issue book” way)

Before the ski trip, sixteen-year-old Cassidy “Sid” Murphy was a cheerleader (at the bottom of the pyramid, but still…), a straight-A student, and a member of a solid trio of best friends. When she ends up on a ski lift next to handsome local college boy, Dax Windsor, she’s thrilled; but Dax takes everything from Sid—including a lock of her perfect red curls—and she can’t remember any of it.

Back home and unable to relate to her old friends, Sid drops her college prep classes and takes up residence in the A/V room with only Corey “The Living Stoner” Livingston for company. But as she gets to know Corey (slacker, baker, total dreamboat), Sid finds someone who truly makes her happy. Now, if she can just shake the nightmares and those few extra pounds, everything will be perfect… or so she thinks.

Witty and poignant, Colleen Clayton’s stunning debut is a story about moving on after the unthinkable happens.

45 Pounds (More or Less) by Kelly Barson (Contemporary YA, LOVED this book, very relatable)

Here are the numbers of Ann Galardi’s life:

She is 16.
And a size 17.
Her perfect mother is a size 6.
Her Aunt Jackie is getting married in 10 weeks, and wants Ann to be her bridesmaid.
So Ann makes up her mind: Time to lose 45 pounds (more or less) in 2 1/2 months.

Welcome to the world of infomercial diet plans, wedding dance lessons, embarrassing run-ins with the cutest guy Ann’s ever seen—-and some surprises about her NOT-so-perfect mother.

And there’s one more thing. It’s all about feeling comfortable in your own skin-—no matter how you add it up!

Speechless by Hannah Harrington (Contemporary YA, another one I loved)

Everyone knows that Chelsea Knot can’t keep a secret

Until now. Because the last secret she shared turned her into a social outcast—and nearly got someone killed.

Now Chelsea has taken a vow of silence—to learn to keep her mouth shut, and to stop hurting anyone else. And if she thinks keeping secrets is hard, not speaking up when she’s ignored, ridiculed and even attacked is worse.

But there’s strength in silence, and in the new friends who are, shockingly, coming her way—people she never noticed before; a boy she might even fall for. If only her new friends can forgive what she’s done. If only she can forgive herself.