GIVEAWAY: Signed copy of THE SECRET INGREDIENT OF WISHES & Anthropologie apron!

untitled-designTwo years ago I mentored an author for PitchWars — an online writing contest where authors looking for agents (and publishing deals) get to work with mentors to shine and polish their manuscripts. I’ve always loved books with magical realism, particularly ones that also include food (think Sarah Addison Allen), and was tickled when I came across Susan Bishop Crispell’s manuscript. It’s a story where secrets are baked into pies, wishes that float on tiny pieces of paper come true, and it’s full of all the things I love in a great magical realism story.


I worked with Susan on that manuscript (well, she worked — HARD), and while it wasn’t a direct line from PitchWars to book sale, I’m thrilled that Susan’s debut, THE SECRET INGREDIENT OF WISHES, just hit shelves this past Tuesday.


So to celebrate I’m giving away a signed hardcover copy of Susan’s book, along with this lovely (and book cover matching!) apron from Anthropologie that I wish I could keep for myself. For readers who also love to cook or bake, or who like to look stylish while pretending to chef it up in the kitchen, this is the giveaway for you!


I’ll choose a lucky winner next Saturday, September 17th, via random draw (open to U.S. and Canada). Please visit Susan’s website and give her a little love on Facebook and Twitter if you’re so inclined. And good luck, everyone!


If you want to know more about the book, here’s the synopsis:

51t-vfynk1l26-year-old Rachel Monroe has spent her whole life trying to keep a very unusual secret: she can make wishes come true. And sometimes the consequences are disastrous. So when Rachel accidentally grants an outlandish wish for the first time in years, she decides it’s time to leave her hometown―and her past―behind for good.

Rachel isn’t on the road long before she runs out of gas in a town that’s not on her map: Nowhere, North Carolina―also known as the town of “Lost and Found.” In Nowhere, Rachel is taken in by a spit-fire old woman, Catch, who possesses a strange gift of her own: she can bind secrets by baking them into pies. Rachel also meets Catch’s neighbor, Ashe, a Southern gentleman with a complicated past, who makes her want to believe in happily-ever-after for the first time in her life.

As she settles into the small town, Rachel hopes her own secrets will stay hidden, but wishes start piling up everywhere Rachel goes. When the consequences threaten to ruin everything she’s begun to build in Nowhere, Rachel must come to terms with who she is and what she can do, or risk losing the people she’s starting to love―and her chance at happiness―all over again.

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DIY Bucket List

bucket_PNG7764In Come Away With Me Tegan and Gabe — still reeling from a horrible tragedy — embark on an Eat Pray Love-type of journey to three destinations from a wish list they came up with in happier times. The inspiration for this part of the story came from my own wish list, which I started when I was 17. It now has about 120 items on it (including my goal of writing and publishing a novel *CHECK!*), and has motivated and kept me looking forward for years. I love adding to it nearly as much as checking items off.


Maybe you have your own list – and maybe you’ve even written it down somewhere…if you could only remember where you put it…sound familiar? Or perhaps you want to start a bucket list but have no idea how. It sounds simple — write down the places you want to go, and the things you want to see and do — but like so many things simple doesn’t always = easy.


I believe a lot of people have bucket lists inside their heads, just waiting to be put on paper. So the first thing I would say is WRITE IT DOWN. You don’t need to go overachiever on your first attempt and make it one of those “100 things to do before you die” kind of lists. Although if that’s how you think about it, go for it. When I started my list it had about 15 items on it. And I just kept adding to it. Now it’s much bigger and categorized by Travel, Goals, and Experiences, which works for me.


So if you want to generate your own list, or dust off one you’ve already done, here are a few tips for creating it AND checking items off:


  1. Start with a top 10. You could even do top 10 in different categories, like Travel, Health, Family, or Hobbies, for example.
  2. To generate ideas, ask yourself questions: If I could quit my job, or take an extended leave, with no financial consequences, what would I do? Where would I go? Why is that important to me?
  3. Break the list up, regardless of number of items, into the top 1-3 things for a specific time period (like six months or a year). It’s much more likely you’ll get traction on at least one item if you look at it this way.
  4. Revisit your list every month (put a reminder in your calendar!) and keep it convenient to add items as they come to you. I have a hard copy in a journal my mom brought me back from Thailand, and a copy in a file on my laptop.
  5. Find a bucket list buddy. Invite friends or family in to join you. This makes you more accountable and there’s nothing like a shared experience for fun and lasting memories!
  6. Tell people what you’re doing. Putting it out there keeps you accountable for doing what you say you’re going to do, and you never know who can support one of your goals!


Along with these tips I have two must-haves for creating a wish list:

Make sure everything on your list is within your control.

Only write items down that either really excite or really inspire you.


Finally, write a list of 10 things that scare the living crap out of you but that intrigue you at the same time. I guarantee those are things you HAVE to do.

Come Away with Me – News updates …

Excited about a few upcoming things…

Bucket List Contest! My amazing publisher, Mira/HQN, is running a bucket list contest where simply posting your top 10 list items gives you a chance to win one of them! Up to a $5,000 value, how can you not enter this contest? Runs until August 27th.

BookExpo America (BEA) – I’ll be attending BEA in New York City this year, and will be signing copies of Come Away with Me!

Come Away with Me was chosen as a PublishersLunch Buzz Books (Spring/Summer 2015)!

I’ll be doing a reading at World Literacy Canada KAMA Reading Series – I’m both honoured to have been asked to contribute to such an amazing, worthwhile event, and terrified at the prospect of doing my first, official reading!


In Case You’re Looking for Me

I’m writing/talking about all things debut author over at The Debutante Ball — I have abandoned this blog, for now, because a girl has only got so many words in her that aren’t ones currently under contract!

Hope you’ll visit me and my fellow debut authors — we’re fun (or so I think), and we have plenty of writerly tips and tricks to offer, as well as guest author posts and book giveaways — and I’ll see you back here from time to time, when I have book news to share.

Happy writing, happy reading.


I’ll be writing a post about the adventure known as “submission”, but wanted to update the blog with this little gem:

A huge “THANK YOU!” to my rockstar agent, Carolyn, for helping to make this happen, and I can’t wait to work with Michelle and the rest of the MIRA team!

(And in case you’re wondering how I’m feeling about the whole thing? Here you go …)