Listen to an Excerpt of the Dreaming in Chocolate Audiobook

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One more day. That’s all you have to wait until Dreaming in Chocolate is out in the world. If you haven’t pre-ordered it yet, now’s your last chance! You have your choice of paperback, e-book, or audiobook:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | Book Depository | Indie Bound | Powells 

If audiobooks are your thing, you can listen to an excerpt of Dreaming in Chocolate here.

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Pre-order Dreaming in Chocolate

I’ve been pretty quiet on my blog since the release of THE SECRET INGREDIENT OF WISHES because I’ve been busy writing up a storm. My next book, DREAMING IN CHOCOLATE, is now up for pre-order. It will release on February 6, 2018, but you can pre-order now it at these stores: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indie Bound | Powells

You can also add it to your To Read list on Goodreads. If you’re interested in knowing a little more about it, here’s the official description:

“Come for the life-changing chocolates and opinionated apothecary table, stay for the enchanting eight-year old and complicated secrets.” ―Amy Reichert, author of The Coincidence of Coconut Cake

At twenty-seven, Penelope Dalton is quickly ticking off items on a bucket list. Only the list isn’t hers. After her eight year-old daughter Ella is given just six months to live, Penelope is determined to fill Ella’s remaining days with as many new experiences as she can.

With an endless supply of magical gifts and recipes from the hot chocolate café Penelope runs alongside her mother in a small town nestled in the Appalachian Mountains, she is able to give her daughter almost everything she wants. The one sticking point is Ella’s latest addition to her list: get a dad. And not just any dad. Ella has her sights set on Noah Gregory, her biological father and the only person Penelope knows to have proved her true love hot chocolate wrong.

Now Noah’s back in town for a few months―and as charming as ever―and the part of her that dreamed he was her fate in the first place wonders if she made the right decision to keep the truth of their daughter from him. The other, more practical part, is determined to keep him from breaking Ella’s heart too.

But as Ella’s health declines, Penelope must give in to her fate or face a future of regrets.

Countdown to The Secret Ingredient of Wishes: 2 Months to go

The Secret Ingredient of Wishes Giveaway

Guys, my book comes out in two months. TWO! MONTHS! How amazing is that?

I am beyond excited to have this book out in the world come September. (A little freaked out too, but we’re not going to talk about that now. Now is for celebrating and getting other people as excited as I am. Okay, maybe not that excited but I’ll settle for somewhere close to it.) So to celebrate, I’m giving away a signed ARC! For those of you who don’t know what THE SECRET INGREDIENT OF WISHES is about, read on…

26-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.

Sound like something you want to read? If so, enter the Rafflecopter giveaway! (You can also pre-order it online or from your local favorite indie store if you’re so inclined. Pre-order links are on my website.)

How She Lived (a magical story of life…and death)

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I just spent the most amazing week with some of my best friends at a reunion retreat at Djerassi Resident Artists Program in Woodside, California. It was a week of writing and laughter and being inspired and sharing stories over glasses of wine. On the first night, sparked by one of the writers being instructed not to get murdered while away, we decided to write a short anthology in which we all die while on the retreat. A little twisted, I know. But trust me, it was one of the best decisions we made all week.

The order in which we died was randomly selected. I died first. (That’s a heck of a lot of pressure, by the way.) I spent days trying to figure how I would die. And then halfway through the week, I got inspired by Djerassi itself–the art, the mist, the magical feeling of just being there–and I really kinda love what I wrote. So I thought I’d share it. Don’t worry, it’s short.

The girl had been waiting, waiting, waiting. Waiting so long she thought her chance to be real, to be flesh and blood and laughter and thought, might never come. Big green eyes. Pert red lips. Bare feet perfect for sneaking around unheard. She’d tied her hair back to keep it out of her eyes, but wisps of it pulled free anyway to tickle her cheeks while she kept watch in the dark.

With the way the human girl liked to dream up fantastical—unbelievable—things, she worried she’d somehow be found out. That she wasn’t just ink and near-perfect lines tattooed onto skin. That she stole pieces of the human girl’s soul, siphoning a little bit more every day, making her stronger and the human girl less and less herself.

The other humans here knew her well enough to notice something wasn’t quite right.

“Susan looks tired,” they had said.

“Maybe she’s had too much wine.”

“Maybe the mist is messing with her head. It can do that you know. Make you go a little crazy.”

“The mist. That’s how we all die,” Susan had said.

Then they laughed and laughed. And they forgot they were ever even worried.

But they were right to suspect the mist. To fear it. The chilly shroud of dancing water droplets and slowly swirling air held a secret of the mountain. Creative souls could be taken here, and given to art to grant it life.

The girl held her hands behind her back, the look of innocence frozen on her face. The human girl never even questioned what she was hiding. Her fingers caressed the warm ball of energy nestled in her palms. It pulsed like a heart, and the girl could feel her own growing, growing, growing. Coming to life as she teased the last blue-white tendrils of soul from flesh. She peeled away from the human girl’s arm tangled in the bed sheets. She became whole and vibrant and alive—just as she was always meant to be—and the human girl’s breaths slowed, slowed, then ceased altogether.

No one would know until morning. By then the girl would be deep in the redwoods, discovering what other secrets the mountain had to offer.

Looking down at the human girl’s lifeless body, all she could do was laugh.

And it was the most exquisite sound she’d ever heard.

Giveaway: The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore

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I’ve got another giveaway for you, this time from my amazingly talented friend and editor-sister Anna-Marie McLemore. I’m giving away a signed copy of THE WEIGHT OF FEATHERS (which comes out on Sept. 15!) and a fun mermaid necklace. This book is a stunning YA magical realism novel that has rightfully taken its place as one of my favorite books of the year. Before we get to the giveaway entry, here’s a little about the book:

For twenty years, the Palomas and the Corbeaus have been rivals and enemies, locked in an escalating feud for over a generation. Both families make their living as traveling performers in competing shows—the Palomas swimming in mermaid exhibitions, the Corbeaus, former tightrope walkers, performing in the tallest trees they can find.

Lace Paloma may be new to her family’s show, but she knows as well as anyone that the Corbeaus are pure magia negra, black magic from the devil himself. Simply touching one could mean death, and she’s been taught from birth to keep away. But when disaster strikes the small town where both families are performing, it’s a Corbeau boy, Cluck, who saves Lace’s life. And his touch immerses her in the world of the Corbeaus, where falling for him could turn his own family against him, and one misstep can be just as dangerous on the ground as it is in the trees.

Beautifully written, and richly imaginative, The Weight of Feathers is an utterly captivating young adult novel by a talented new voice.

I promise you that you NEED this book in your life. Now, go enter the Rafflecopter giveaway!

Wishes and Pies: My Pitch Wars Novel Inspiration

My Pitch Wars novel, WISHES TO NOWHERE, is full of magic. The idea came to me as the opening lines of the manuscript, which haven’t changed much in the three years since I first wrote them as part of a NaNoWriMo novel:

Birthday parties made her nervous. Itchy. She didn’t mind the screaming kids, puddles of melted ice cream or even the clowns who twisted dogs out of skinny, colored balloons.

It was the birthday candles and subsequent wishes that did it.

Wishes tended to complicate life for Claire McCallie.

I knew from the start that this was a story of a girl who could make wishes come true just by thinking about them. I knew that this ability would have some serious consequences, you know like accidentally wishing her brother out of existence and having no way of getting him back. I also knew that fate would play a big role in the story because I am fascinated by how fate and human nature play off of each other.

What I didn’t know was that my love of the delightful—and cancelled too soon—TV show Pushing Daisies would infuse the story with even more whimsy and magic. (Oh yeah, and pie. Because you can never have too much pie. Seriously. Go check out my Pinterest board for this novel for some fun pie recipes.)

At its core, this book is about loss and guilt and regrets. It’s about family bonds and accepting who you are and moving on. And it’s about finding happiness once thought lost forever.

But as I started developing my characters and plotting how these things would fuel Claire’s story, it became clear that the things I’m drawn to most as a writer—and as a reader/TV-watcher/story-consumer—are quirky, out-there ideas and characters. And that’s exactly what I wanted to put into this book. What I want to put into all of my books, really.

So I created the town of Nowhere, North Carolina, which is a magical lost and found where emotionally lost people wind up so they can find whatever they are looking for; a spit-fire old woman who bakes the towns’ secrets into pies to keep them from getting out; fruit trees that have personalities like people and can be generous and jealous and loving and spiteful and stingy and a whole host of other things depending on their moods; and wishes that pop out of thin air on small slips of paper and refused to be ignored.

I used these different magical elements to add a whole ’nother layer to Claire’s story, providing even more tension and conflict and emotional upheaval along with the inherent whimsical flair. And they gave me some of my favorite scenes in the whole book.

Pitch Wars Blog Hop

If you want to hear the stories behind some of the other Pitch Wars books from mentees and alternates, click on the links below:

Carleen Karanovic: HOPE ON A FEATHER | Heather Truett: RENASCENCE | Tracie Martin: WILD IS THE WIND | Susan Bickford: FRAMED | Rachel Sarah: RULES FOR RUNNING AWAY | Amanda Rawson Hill: GRIMM AND BEAR IT | Charlotte Gruber: CODE OF SILENCE | Kip Wilson: THE MOST DAZZLING GIRL IN BERLIN | Mary Ann Nicholson: CALAMITY | Nikki Roberti: THE TRUTH ABOUT TWO-SHOES | Anna Patel: EXODUS | A. Reynolds: LE CIRQUE DU LITERATI | Ron Walters: THE GOLEM INITIATIVE | Rosalyn Eves: THE BLOOD ROSE REBELLION | Ashley Poston: HEART OF IRON | Mara Rutherford: WINTERSOUL | Janet Walden-West: Damned If She Do | Kazul Wolf: SUMMER THUNDER | D. Grimm: WITCHERKelli Newby: THORNVAAL | Tara Sim: TIMEKEEPER | Elliah Terry: POCKET FULL OF POPPIES | Alessa Hinlo: THE HONEST THIEF | Rachel Horwitz: THE BOOTLEGGER’S BIBLE | Whitney Taylor: DEFINITIONS OF INDEFINABLE THINGS | Lyra Selene: REVERIE | Natalie Williamson: SET IN STONE | Robin Lemke: THE DANCE OF THE PALMS | Stephanie Herman: CLIFF WITH NO EDGE | Shannon Cooley: A FROG, A WHISTLE, AND A VIAL OF SAND | Ruth Anne Snow: THE GIRLS OF MARCH | Elizabeth Dimit: PHOEBE FRANZ’S GUIDE TO PASSPORTS, PAGEANTS, & PARENTAL DISASTERS | Gwen C. Katz: AMONG THE RED STARS | Jennifer Hawkins: FALSE START | Kelly DeVos: THE WHITE LEHUA  | Gina Denny: SANDS OF IMMORTALITY | Natasha M. Heck: FOLLOW THE MOON | Esher Hogan – Walking After Midnight | D.A. Mages: THE MEMORY OF OBJECTS