So, yeah. I met this guy named Dan Savage. And I’m going to give you a signed copy of his book.

When I was nineteen, I stumbled across this weekly advice column called Savage Love, written by a man named Dan Savage. I was immediately hooked. I’ve never missed a week. (I’m thirty-five now. You do the math.) At it’s core, Savage Love is a sex advice column, but it’s so much more than that. Over the years, I’ve learned so much about relationships and people and society and politics and … life, really. No holds barred. He talks about everything in a very honest, no BS way. When I was a teenager, it was refreshing. (And considering I was raised in a very Catholic household, it was very much needed information.)

It’s still refreshing when I read it as a married mother with three kids.

Dan Savage has also written several books (I’ve bought and read — and loved — three of them so far). He and his husband, Terry, are also the founders of the It Gets Better Project:

What is the It Gets Better Project?

In September 2010, syndicated columnist and author Dan Savage created a YouTube video with his partner Terry Miller to inspire hope for young people facing harassment. In response to a number of students taking their own lives after being bullied in school, they wanted to create a personal way for supporters everywhere to tell LGBT youth that, yes, it does indeed get better.

The It Gets Better Project™ has become a worldwide movement, inspiring more than 50,000 user-created videos viewed more than 50 million times. To date, the project has received submissions from celebrities, organizations, activists, politicians and media personalities, including President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Adam Lambert, Anne Hathaway, Colin Farrell, Matthew Morrison of “Glee”, Joe Jonas, Joel Madden, Ke$ha, Sarah Silverman, Tim Gunn, Ellen DeGeneres, Suze Orman, the staffs of The Gap, Google, Facebook, Pixar, the Broadway community, and many more. For us, every video changes a life. It doesn’t matter who makes it.

If you haven’t guessed, I’m a huge fan of Dan Savage. He’s been a tremendous inspiration to me as a writer first and foremost, but also as a spouse, and as a parent.

When I learned that he was going to be doing a book signing in Washington, D.C., I knew I had to go. I told my husband that I really wanted to go, but what I really meant was that I NEEDED TO GO WITH EVERY FIBER OF MY BEING AND NO ONE BETTER GET IN MY WAY THIS MEANS YOU. This was not an opportunity I was willing to miss. I planned what I was going to wear. I planned what I was going to say. I had contingency conversations. Like if I ran into him in the elevator. Or if I had an opportunity to buy him a drink. Or if I tripped and fell on my face in front of him.

So when I got there, it was this stunning cocktail party on the roof of the W Hotel in Washington DC. Everyone was gorgeous. I bought two copies of the book and stood in line with my librarian friend (remaining nameless for her benefit) and tried not to throw up.

I think I was more nervous at his book signing than I was at my own. Seriously. But I was ready. I knew what I wanted to say. How he was an inspiration to me as a writer. How I’d read his book already and what points really moved me. How I had so much admiration for what he was doing for kids all over the world with the It Gets Better Project. I had so many things ready to say.

I ended up staring at him (and possibly drooling) and choked out, “Uh uh uh I like your column.”

Yeah. But I got a picture!


You can’t tell, but I think I’m drooling on his arm.

BUT THEN. Later, Dan was mingling, and the crowd had thinned, and my other friend Jim (who is one of the bravest men alive) asked me if I wanted to talk to Dan. He didn’t even wait for an answer. He walked me up to Dan and started telling him that I was a writer. Then Dan turned to me and asked what I write about. I started describing my series, and he cut me off and said, “Oh, I know it! My neighbor’s daughter is reading your book. She was talking about it the other night.”*

And then I fainted.

No, not really. But I might as well have, because I don’t really remember what else we talked about. I did get to say some of the things I’d planned. I offered to send his neighbor signed copies of my books.

And that was it. An amazing night.

But guess what? One of those copies of his book, American Savage: Insights, Slights, and Fights on Faith, Sex, Love, and Politics? I got one signed for you guys. Unfortunately, I can only give it to one person. So who wants it? Open internationally! Because of the content, you must be over 18 to win. (Or have your parent email me to say it’s okay.)

What are you waiting for? Here’s the rafflecopter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

* – I am fully aware he might have been saying this just to be nice. Don’t mess with my illusions, though, ‘kay? 🙂

A readalong, a contest, and five boys flashing you.

Hi, guys! Guess what showed up in my mailbox this afternoon?

Finished copies of Spirit! Do you want one? Keep reading to the end of the post to find out how you can win one!

First off, in case you hadn’t heard the news, the Spirit blog tour will be hosted by Wendy of the amazing blog The Midnight Garden. As part of the tour, both Cuddlebuggery Book Blog and Starry-Eyed Revue are participating as “Elemental Virgins,” meaning they’ve never read the series — AND they’re hosting a readalong! If you’d like to join in the readalong, sign up on either of their blogs. Psssst, they’re also hosting a contest, too… Definitely worth checking it out.

And if YOU are an Elemental Virgin, or if you know someone who is, check out the amazing button you can put on your site! (Huge props to Sarah from Saz101 for the design!)


Also, I’m still planning on being at the Annapolis Book Festival on Saturday. Guess what showed up at my house this afternoon? FINISHED COPIES OF SPIRIT. I’ll bring a few to the Festival. If you want one, you just have to be the first two people to ask me for one. Don’t be shy!

And finally, the CONTEST! I’m going to give away two finished copies of Spirit right here on the blog. This contest is open internationally. Here’s how to enter:

On Saturday, I need to read a few pages of one of my books. In the comments, recommend a scene for me to read to the audience. It can be a scene from any of the books or novellas. If you don’t want to recommend a scene, or if you haven’t read the books, just tell me you want to enter the contest.

Basically, if you leave a comment, you’re entered.

Sound easy enough? Good! The contest is open until Friday night at 8pm, NYC time.

Want to win a SPIRIT ARC? Now’s your chance!

Good morning! (Or evening, if that’s more applicable. Good afternoon?) spirit

As promised, I’m going to give away an Advance Review Copy of Spirit, which includes Breathless. I’ve tried to make this contest as easy as possible, so even people without Twitter and Facebook can participate. The contest will run until Friday of this week, and is open to everyone on the planet, even if you’ve won something from me before.

Some frequently asked questions about Spirit and Breathless:

When is Spirit coming out?

In the USA, May 28, everywhere else, June 1

When is Breathless coming out?

Everywhere April 30

I heard that someone gets shot in Spirit. Does this mean someone dies?

Come on. Like I’d spoil that on the blog! Let’s just say no one is safe.

I miss the Merrick brothers! Why should I read a whole book about Hunter?

Trust me, there are a LOT of scenes with the Merrick brothers in this book.

I read the short scene from Breathless that you posted a few weeks ago. Is Nick Merrick gay?

You’ll have to read Breathless and decide for yourself. (But I personally don’t think the short scene leaves any doubt…)

And now, for the Rafflecopter! (If you can’t get the Rafflecopter to work, just leave a comment telling me you want to enter.)


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Go ahead. Ask me anything.

This is now an open comment thread!

If you have any questions about the Elemental Series (“OMG who is that hottie on the cover of Breathless?!?!!!1) or about writing (“How do I write a book without, ya’know, actually WRITING it?”) or about boring old me (“What do you MEAN, you still haven’t read Harry Potter?”), please throw a question my way in the comments, and I’ll answer it here, as well as add your question to my FAQ thread.

Let’s have a little holiday giveaway up in here…

Good morning, all!!

This should have been up a week ago, so I apologize to the amazing guy who runs The Elementalists fanpage on Facebook. (If you don’t already like the page, you should check it out! It’s not all about the Merrick brothers. There’s a lot of talk about other books, too, and numerous pictures of hot guys. Sometimes in compromising poses. :-P)

Here’s the big news! We’re going to have a holiday giveaway to celebrate the anniversary of The Elementalists! This is an easy-peasy giveaway that only requires a few clicks on the Rafflecopter.

The prize? A $25 gift card to Amazon, iTunes, or Barnes & Noble.




a Rafflecopter giveaway

Summer Book Club, Storm on Sale, and a #CONTEST!

First, and most exciting for me, is that the fantabulous and amazingly awesome website Smart Bitches Trashy Books has picked Storm for their Sizzling Book Club Pick for July.

SQUEE. (I’ve been squeeing since I got the email.) SQUEE

Now.  I imagine my mother fainted when I texted her the name of the website, but it’s run by the amazing Sarah Wendell, and it’s a very, very smart website, that takes romance novels very, very seriously.

I love SBTB. It’s a daily click for me.

(Please note: this site is best suited for older teens and adults. Their reviews are a mixture of YA and adult romance, and so there are discussions of the content found in adult romance books.)

If you haven’t read Storm, you can buy it through a link on the Book Club page, and you’ll get a 50% rebate on the e-book edition.

Also, Barnes & Noble has the paperback copy on sale for 40% off, so it’s $5.97 if you want to get a physical copy there. Or you can walk into any bookstore, if it suits your fancy. 🙂

Technically, in the book, Gabriel has jeans and sneakers on, but it was hot.

Finally, I’m in the middle of a super-secret-project involving a photo shoot for Spark, and the pictures are so insanely awesome. Here’s a quick click from the photographer, the amazingly talented Leslie Rhodes. I can’t wait to share the details later this summer.

(Technically, in the book, Gabriel has jeans and sneakers on, but it was 110 degrees in Baltimore on Saturday, and the sixty pound fire coat and lined helmet were bad enough.) 

Interested in Spark? Keep scrolling for the contest!

In honor of all these exciting things, here’s your chance to win an Advance Reader Copy of SPARK! If you haven’t read STORM yet, I’ll throw in a copy, so don’t hesitate to enter if you’re just looking to try the series. That’s right – you could win BOTH.

This contest is open to everyone on the planet, so don’t hesitate to complete the Rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Super-exclusive awesome contest

So you know how Storm is being published almost simultaneously in the US and Australia, right?

And you know how I’ve already had a book signing, so there are around 100 copies of signed US copies floating around in the ether, right? (Well, they’re not really floating. And there’s no ether. But you get the gist.)

There are NO signed Australian editions right now. None. 

Do you want one? 

How about if I throw in some of Hunter’s rock bracelets? (They are awesome.)

All you have to do is download the prequel, Elemental. Best part? IT’S FREE.

And it will only be free for a limited time.

Bottom line:

1) Download Elemental from your favorite e-book retailer. It’s free. You do not need an e-book reader; even Amazon has a cloud reader.
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes Store (I can’t find a working link for that, but I hear it’s free there.) 

2) Leave a comment telling me you’ve downloaded the free prequel. 

3) Wait to see if you win. I’ll announce winners on Monday, May 7th, at 8am EST.

This contest is open to everyone on the planet. If you’ve already downloaded the prequel, you can still enter. If you’ve already read STORM, you can still enter. (You just have to download the prequel separately. It doesn’t count if you read the prequel as part of the book.)

To enter, leave a comment that you’ve downloaded the prequel. If you’re selected as a winner, please be prepared to email me a confirmation showing that you downloaded the prequel PRIOR to Monday, May 7th, at 8am. (Meaning, don’t just leave a comment and then wait to download if you’re the winner. You must download before the contest concludes.)

You could have the ONLY signed Australian edition of Storm in existence. What are you waiting for? Go! Download!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes Store (I can’t find a working link for that, but I hear it’s free there.)

Who’s ready to read The Elemental Series??

Lots of news today!

First, Elemental, the short prequel to Storm, is available today. It’s an e-Book only release, but it’s short enough to read on the computer if you don’t have an e-Reader. This story takes place five years before the start of Storm, and you’ll get some insight into what makes Michael Merrick tick. Here’s some linkage to make it easy:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Google Books

Keep reading to the end of this post for an excerpt.

Second, if you’re hankering for a copy of Storm, there are some giveaways going on:

Goodreads giveaway (US and Canada only)

Sarah at I’m Loving Books did an interview with me, and she’s got an INTERNATIONAL giveaway on her blog.

Finally, I’ll do a giveaway of Storm myself. If you download a copy of Elemental and tell me so in the comments, I’ll choose one winner Friday morning. Contest is open until 8am New York City time on Friday morning. Just add a comment that you downloaded Elemental, and you’re entered! This contest is open to everyone on the planet. (i.e., international is okay)

And as promised, here’s an excerpt from Elemental, if you need a little extra motivation:

The thrill of having a summer job wore off about fifteen minutes after Emily Morgan started working. She’d had two customers all day. The sports complex was such a joke. No wonder she hadn’t had any competition for this job.
It wasn’t even a sports complex, not really. Mini-golf that no one wanted to play when it was a hundred degrees outside. Batting cages that no one would use until school started up in the fall. She probably wouldn’t see another soul until after five, when the white collar dads showed up to use the driving range as a last ditch effort to avoid going home to screaming kids.
Even then, in this heat, she’d be lucky if there were many.
Ugh, her hair was already plastered to her neck. Days like these, she wished she had enough power to do more than stir up a gentle breeze.
Then she choked off that thought.
She knew what happened to kids with power.
Besides, sitting here wasn’t so bad. She worked the shop alone, so she could blast the entire soundtrack to Rent and Les Mis and sing along, and no one would give a crap. She didn’t have to watch her brother Tyler light insects on fire with a magnifying glass and a sunbeam, like he’d done last summer. She didn’t have to listen to her parents argue.
She could count the days until she turned eighteen.
Until she could get away from her family.
The shop door creaked and rattled, sticking in the humidity. Emily straightened, excited for a customer, for someone—anyone—to break up this cruel monotony.
Anyone but Michael Merrick.
For a second, she entertained the thought of diving behind the counter.
Real mature, Em.
But her hands were slick against the glass casing.
It wasn’t that he looked all that intimidating. He’d be starting his senior year this fall, just like she was, but sometime over the last six months he’d grown to the tall side of average. He worked for his parents’ landscaping company, she knew, and it couldn’t have been light work—his arms showed some clear definition, his shoulders stretching the red tee shirt he wore.
He was filthy, too. Dirt streaked across his chest and clung to the sweat on his neck. His jeans had seen better days, and his work boots would probably track dirt across the floor. Even his hair, dark and wild and a length somewhere between sexy and I-don’t-give-a-crap, was more unkempt than usual.
Emily didn’t care about any of that.
She had her eyes on the baseball bat in his hands.
He’d gotten into it with Tyler last weekend, had sent her brother home with a black eye and a bloody nose, leaving their parents to argue for an hour about how they were going to handle the Merrick problem.
Emily slid her hand along the counter, toward where they kept the putt-putt clubs for little kids.
“I don’t want any trouble,” she said, her voice solid, but too quick. Her fingers wrapped around the handle of a club.
Michael’s eyes narrowed. “I don’t either.”
Then she realized he hadn’t moved from the doorway, that he was still standing there staring at her, his hand on the knob.
He glanced past her, at the corners of the shop, as if reassuring himself that they were alone. She had no idea what that meant. She watched him take in her stance, the way she’d half-pulled the putt-putt club free.
He followed her gaze to the bat resting against his shoulder.
His expression hardened, and he shoved the door closed. He was halfway across the floor before she realized he’d moved, and she yanked the club free, ready to swing if he gave her an excuse.
Then he was within reach, and she registered the bat leaving his shoulder, and god, her parents were right—
he was going to swing—
he was going to kill her—
His hand shot out and caught the steel bar.
Emily stood there gasping. She’d done it—she’d swung for his head. The end of the putter hung about five inches from his face.
And his bat was leaning against the counter.
She couldn’t move. He didn’t let go of the club either, using his free hand to dig into the pocket of his jeans. A five dollar bill dropped onto the glass counter between them.
“So can I get five tokens or what?”
Tokens. For the batting cages.
Of course
Emily couldn’t catch her breath—and that never happened. Her panic had kicked the air into a flurry of little whirlwinds in the space between them, teasing her cheeks and lifting his hair.
She could catch his scent, though, sweet and summery, mulch and potting soil, honeysuckle and cut grass. A warm fragrance, not something that belonged on someone she was supposed to hate.
He was staring at her, and he had a death grip on the club. She could feel his strength through the slim bar. “Well?”
“Yeah.” She coughed and cleared her throat, using her own free hand to punch at the cash register. “Sure.”
It took effort to look away from the dark brown of his eyes. Wasn’t there some kind of rule about not looking away from an enemy? She fished the tokens out of the drawer, almost dropping them all over the floor. Somehow, she got them on the glass counter and slid them toward him.
Then they stood there comically, connected by the slim rod of the club.
She wanted to let go—but she didn’t.
Especially now that she’d tried to hit him, when he’d never made a move to lay a hand on her.
She swallowed, thinking of Tyler’s bruised face after he’d gone a few rounds with Michael Merrick.
He leaned in. “I come here every Wednesday and Friday.”
Emily nodded.
“You going to try to kill me every time?”
She shook her head quickly.
He let go of the club. She sheepishly lowered it—but didn’t put it back in the bucket with the others.
 Michael swiped the tokens from the counter and jammed them in his pocket. He swung the bat onto his shoulder again.
Emily opened her mouth—for what, she wasn’t sure.
But then he was through the door, pulling it shut behind him without a glance back.

Ready to read more? 

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Google Books

ARC Winners!

Good morning! Thank you all so much for entering. Honestly, it’s a good thing I have a publisher behind me (and a limited supply of ARCs), because I’d seriously be sending everyone a copy. I know some of you have entered every contest, and it breaks my heart that everyone can’t win.

(But, ahem, everyone wins in April when the book is available! *~confetti~*)

Congratulations to our winners!!

Jennifer Rush and Kara D!!

Email your snail mail addy’s to, and I’ll get them in the mail as soon as possible.

Next week:

I’ll be releasing the covers for Spark and Spirit, the next books in the series.

Who wants another chance to win an ARC?

So let’s do this again!

This time, let’s have a little more fun. Storm has a lot of themes, but one involves bullying. (I’m not giving anything away. You can tell right from the book description that it opens with Chris Merrick getting beaten up in a parking lot.)

If you’d like to win an ARC for Storm: The Elemental Series, leave a comment about a time you witnessed a bullying event, whether as the victim, a bystander, or even the bully him/herself. If you can’t think of a time, just throw your name in the hat, and I’ll count your entry. (Hey, I don’t want to make anyone spill uncomfortable secrets.)

This contest is open to everyone on the planet (Yay, international! Sorry, intergalactic readers), and you have until 11:59pm EST Friday night, February 3.

If I get more than 50 entries, I’ll give away two ARCs, so please spread the word via Twitter, Facebook, Google +, email, carrier pigeon, shouting from the rooftops, chalk drawings on your driveway, or any other means possible.