There’s something I never thought about when I was writing books and pursuing publication – trade reviews. It’s a scary thing knowing a professional book reviewer is reading your book. As a rule, I don’t read reviews of my books – not at all. Not Amazon reviews, not Goodreads reviews, nothing. If someone tags me in a review on Twitter, I will click it, scroll down and find their star rating, and if it’s a good rating, I’ll share it with my followers. BUT UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES DO I READ THEM!
Trust me, it’s better this way.
Now trade reviews are a different beast.
I’ll admit it – I read this one. But it was after my editor sent it to me, so I was pretty sure it would be a decent review. I read it with a pounding heart and trembling hands and while on the verge of tears. In the end, I did cry, but it was over happiness that a professional reviewer liked my book!
Here’s the official Booklist review of The Last Wish of Sasha Cade:
Today is exactly one month before the release of my book baby, The Last Wish of Sasha Cade! It’s crazy to think that it’s almost out in the world. I originally wrote the book in June of 2016, got my agent in July of 2016, got my book deal around January 2017 and announced it April 1st, 2017. (only realizing it was April Fool’s Day a few minutes after announcing. Oops!) So now, 2 years and 4 months after writing the manuscript, Sasha, Raquel, and Elijah will be out in the world. I am so excited I could burst.
To celebrate there being 30 days left until the release of my book, I thought I’d share 30 facts about the book with you today.
(Narrator: As the types this, she hopes she’ll be able to think of 30 things. We shall see.)
- I originally titled the book SASHA CADE’S DEATHWISH. Why? Because I thought using the word Deathwish– a term that usually means you’re an idiot about to do something stupid– in the literal sense would be cool. And it did sound cool. But ultimately it sounds a little too much like a thriller, so we had to change it.
- I wrote the book in 30 days. No joke.
- The idea for the book came to me because I wanted to write about two loyal best friends who would never betray each other.
- But that was boring, so I decided one of them had to die.
- I queried 20 agents and received 3 offers of representation. After racking up 100 rejections over 3 failed manuscripts, this felt like nothing short of a miracle.
- After feeling really really bad for needing to reject 2 agents, I signed with Kim Lionetti, who is the very definition of a dream agent.
- I wrote the prologue on a scrap piece of paper when the idea for the book came to me. The real published version is nearly identical to my scribbled first draft.
- Award winning Canadian publisher KCP Loft bought my book.
- My editor is the lovely Kate Egan, who also edited The Hunger Games trilogy.
- The book is set in the town of Peyton Colony, Texas, which is an abandoned ghost town in real life. I like to resurrect ghost towns in my novels so that I can set the stories in “real” places, but they aren’t too real and I can make up the town’s layout as I see fit. Check out the one paragraph of information that’s left about the real Peyton Colony here.
- The original draft was 77,106 words.
- The published book is 81,482 words.
- I have a file of “cut scenes” from the manuscript which is over 10k words long.
- I chose Sasha’s name from the actress who plays Ali on Pretty Little Liars. I had been watching A LOT of that show back in 2016 and she was my favorite actress on the show.
- I named Raquel simply because I wanted Sasha to call her Rocki.
- (Being an author isn’t all magic and unicorns. Sometimes we just make stuff up.)
- Elijah got his name because I just really love the name. I thought of it in like 2 seconds and just went with it.
- I hid the number 336 in the book.
- I hide the number 336 in every book I write.
- Raquel’s mom has the same tattoo as my best friend.
- Sasha’s house is loosely based off a vacation home I once stayed in on Canyon Lake, Texas. Her house is a lot nicer, but the view is the same.
- The fictional band Zombie Radio is based off the real band, Alkaline Trio, that both me and my real BFF love.
- Chapter Twenty Five is my favorite chapter of the whole book.
- Yes, I cried while writing this book. I cried while editing it, too.
- Sasha’s favorite movies are also my favorite movies.
- Sasha didn’t originally have a dog. My editor suggested it, and I love the way it turned out. Sunny is now one of my favorite furry characters.
- I spent hours on Pinterest trying to find the cutest couples Halloween costume idea.
- I once fed deer off a balcony and thought it was the coolest thing ever. So I put it in the book.
- I’ve never written a prologue or epilogue in my life — and I don’t like them in books either, and yet somehow I felt compelled to write them for this book. They are my favorite parts of The Last Wish of Sasha Cade (besides Chapter 25).
- I cried when I saw the cover of the book. It’s stunning and simple and perfectly captures the feel of the novel.
Phew! I did it!
The Last Wish of Sasha Cade releases in exactly 30 days. You can pre-order it now and get a sticker, signed bookplate, bookmark, and wish bracelet by clicking the pre-order link at the top of this page. (or click here)
Want to read an excerpt? Click here!
Add it to Goodreads here.
Have a wonderful weekend!
Now that my book releases in 74 days (eek!) I’ll be attempting to blog every Friday leading up to it. Giving my track record with blogging, I probably won’t be successful, but I’ll try. Today I’m sharing some Novel Aesthetics of The Last Wish of Sasha Cade with some photos I found on Pinterest. To see the full inspiration board click here.
I am also completely in love with the aesthetics from abookin6pictures on Instagram! I was so excited to see her interpretation of the book because it’s so spot on. I really love the pool, the coffee, and the sunset. They illustrate such important parts of the book! Check out her post here:
The Last Wish of Sasha Cade releases on October 2, 2018. It’s up for preorder now, and you can get special swag if you preorder! Click here for details.
I am so excited for my first hardcover book! This is also my first agented book, which makes it very special to me. To celebrate, I’m giving away exclusive swag to everyone who pre-orders The Last Wish of Sasha Cade. You can pre-order the hardback or paperback (both release on the same day) before October 1st, 2018, and fill out the form to receive the gifts.
Here’s what you get:
- A signed bookmark
- A sticker (it’s super cute)
- A signed bookplate (personalized, if you want)
- A wish bracelet.
I also have a grand prize that will be given to one winner chosen at random from all of the people who pre-order. Woot!
To find out more info, or to request your gifts, head over to my Pre-order page.
Why should you pre-order?
A high number of pre-orders tells bookstores that this book is in demand, and they’re more likely to order it for their store. Libraries (including schools) are more likely to order a copy, and most of all, it tells my publisher that they should take a chance on me with a second book deal. 🙂
Plus, you get all this cute swag!
And did you know that if you pre-order on Amazon, they will only charge you the lowest price? For example, books are priced at $17.99, but Amazon always discounts them (usually to around $12) when the book goes on sale. So, if you pre-order at $17.99, Amazon won’t charge your credit card until the book releases, and you’ll get the cheapest price they’re offering it for. It’s called the Pre-order Guarantee. Win win!
I can’t describe the feeling of getting a box of advanced copies of my book in the mail. If you don’t know what ARCs are, they’re “Advanced Review Copies” of a book, books printed and given out to marketing professionals, booksellers, librarians, bloggers — basically anyone who can help build early buzz for a book before its release day. Not every book gets physical ARCs. Some are digital ebooks only, posted to Netgalley or emailed to reviewers. Some books don’t get advance copies at all. That was the case with my first 4 book deals.
It might be silly, but getting a physical ARC of my book has been on my author bucket list for over a decade. It’s something I’ve wanted for at least 13 years. For the last 10 years I’ve been actively pursuing it, writing bad novel after bad novel until they finally started to get a little good. I’ve seen countless authors post photos of their own ARCs over the years and I always wondered, will it ever happen to me? Will I ever get that book deal? Will I see my book in a bookstore? Do I have what it takes?
Honestly more often than not, I thought it was a hopeless dream, but I kept writing. I almost gave up, and then I got a digital book deal. Then a small publisher book deal. Then I got an agent, and now I’ll have hardback books in the bookstore this October.
I wasn’t one of those overnight successes, with debut novel fame, but I’m all the more grateful for this book because of it. There’s something so special about working hard for something and then finally getting it. Sometimes I can’t believe it actually happened, and then I think back to 10 years ago and the person I was, who also thought it would never happen. But I’m so glad the past me kept trying. If you had told me 10 years ago that it would take this long, I’d have probably quit. But that’s the great part about having a dream… every day you have just enough hope that it’ll come true, so you keep working for it. If this is you now, don’t give up. It might take a while, but that time is going to pass anyway, so keep dreaming. Keep working. You’ll be glad you did.
PS- Enter to win a copy before you can buy the book! I’m giving away a signed ARC on May 1st, 2018 to one person who signs up to my newsletter through this form. < Click this link and enter to win!
My beautiful cover for my new book is here! I am so excited to share it with you all. This book is the book of my heart, my favorite book baby of all time, and I was so thrilled that my publisher captured the heart of this book so perfectly with the cover.
You might not know it, but authors don’t get much of a say so in their book covers. We’re at the mercy of the publishers, and I got so lucky with my wonderful publisher KCP Loft!
I’ll stop babbling now… scroll down for the cover of THE LAST WISH OF SASHA CADE!
ISN’T IT GORGEOUS?
Here’s the summary:
The day Raquel has been dreading for months has finally arrived. Sasha, her best friend in the whole world, has died of cancer. Overwhelmed and brokenhearted, Raquel can’t even imagine life without her.
And then a letter from Sasha arrives. Has she somehow found a way to communicate from beyond the grave?
In fact, Sasha spent her final weeks planning an elaborate scavenger hunt for the friend she would have to leave behind. When Raquel follows the instructions to return to Sasha’s grave, a mysterious stranger with striking eyes is waiting for her. There’s a secret attached to this boy that only Sasha – and now Raquel – knows.
This boy, Elijah, might be just who Raquel needs to help her move on from her terrible loss. But can Raquel remain true to herself while also honoring her friend’s final wish?
Add to Goodreads
Today I’m sharing some novel aesthetics for The Last Wish of Sasha Cade! My new book releases over a year from now, but until that glorious day, I want to share some insight and behind the scenes info about this book that is so close to my heart.
[All of the images were taken from Pinterest, and you can view my inspiration board here to see more photos and where I got the ones from this collage.]
Fun fact: I haven’t always used inspiration boards. I’ve only recently started this past year, and I’m really loving what having some great photos can do to the writing process. For example, if I know I want to use an old church in a scene, I’ll look up old churches and pick one I like the best. Then I use that photo when I’m describing it in my writing. I think it makes for more authentic writing and descriptions when I’m not just pulling everything out of my brain. (Let’s face it, my brain is about 75% coffee by now, so it could use some imagery help.)
Now, my favorite part of the outlining process is finding images that fit the tone and vibe of the story in my mind and making them into a collage. I then set the image as my computer’s wallpaper so I’m seeing it all the time and keeping the story fresh in my mind.
Psst: If you’d like to add Sasha to your Goodreads list, you can find it here.
Here are the aesthetics for Sasha:
I’d love to know what you think! As a writer, do you use inspiration photos? As a reader, do novel aesthetics get you excited to read the book? Let me know in the comments!