Monday, February 7, 2022

Cover Reveal! Unbreakable: The Deception Game #4

This has been a long time coming, but I finally, FINALLY, get to share with you the cover for the 4th and final book in the Deception Game series. This book should have released months ago, but I've had some issues with my editor meeting deadlines, so hence the delay. I'm excited to share with you the cover, blurb, and (dun, dun, dun) a GIVEAWAY! Who doesn't love free stuff, amirite?

This book is the culmination of 5 years of writing and revising and editing (and blood, sweat, & tears). I mean, I wrote a freaking book series! From multiple POVs! :) After more than 2 years, I finally have a book that wraps up the entire Deception Game series. Questions will be answered, and yes, you will finally know who Sienna ends up with (YAY!). I sincerely hope my readers love it (and if they don't that they pretend they do, lol)! Thank you for being on this journey with me, and for loving the first 3 books enough to read the 4th. My readers are seriously the best! Love to you all! <3 <3 <3

Of course, I also have to thank my very talented cover designer, Marya Heidel, with Strong Image Editing. She always does such a fantastic job on my book covers!

So, without further ado, I present the cover for UNBREAKABLE, the 4th book in the Deception Game series!




Book Blurb:

From best-selling and award-winning author Kristin Smith comes the riveting fourth and final book in the Deception Game series.

A terrible discovery that will rock all their futures.

Armed with valuable information, Trey and the other members of the Fringe seek refuge in Pride, a neighboring province. But unable to trust his presidential host, Trey sets out to uncover if this new place holds friends or foes. In the end, it might not matter. Because he will do anything to save his people, including fighting a war for a government he isn’t sure he can trust.

Zane blames himself for the accident that incapacitated Sienna. He’s driven to recreate Re0Gene 2.0, the healing serum his father was working on shortly before his death. But not all ailments are meant to be fixed, and he must accept that he might not be able to cure everyone.

Sienna struggles with her new condition. When a highly experimental cure is offered, she doesn’t hesitate, despite the dangerousness of the situation. It’s her one chance to feel like herself again, no matter how risky the procedure might be. However, nothing can prepare her for the outcome.

Trina finds herself in unexpected circumstances when she and a small group survive the Zenith Camp bombing. Unfortunately, the place she thought would be a haven turns into a nightmare. As she cares for the wounded, she and the others devise a plan for escape. But with no weapons or resources, the chances for success are slim.

Pre-Order the Book!


I know I'm a little biased, but I just love how they all look together! My teenage niece guessed that the last one would be green, and she's right, lol. What do you think? Do you love the cover as much as I do?

About the Author:

Kristin Smith is the best-selling and award-winning author of the Deception Game series. Her first book, Catalyst, was a 2018 IAN Book of the Year Award finalist for the Young Adult category. When she's not writing, you can find Kristin planning her next trip (she LOVES to travel!), beating her boys at Just Dance, or belting out karaoke (from the comfort of her own home). She lives in North Carolina with her husband and sons. For more information on Kristin or her books, please visit her website at


Well, it wouldn't be a cover reveal without a Giveaway, so let's get to it! Enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card! And remember, the more things you do (like Follow me on Instagram or Subscribe to my Newsletter, etc) the more entries you get. Good luck!

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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Interview with Michelle I. Mason, Author of Your Life Has Been Delayed

 I am so excited to have my good friend, critique partner, and former Pitch Wars mentee on the blog today, sharing about her debut YA novel, YOUR LIFE HAS BEEN DELAYED, that released in September 2021. It's about a teenage girl who gets on a plane in 1995 and gets off 25 years later, and she hasn't aged a day.

 Now, this was not the book I read/critiqued when Beth Ellyn Summer and I chose Michelle to be our Pitch Wars mentee back in 2017. It was another amazing book. However, I did get to read an early draft of YOUR LIFE HAS BEEN DELAYED and fell in love with the concept and story. It's such a unique premise (and it was actually written BEFORE the show Manifest even came out). I loved all of the 90's references and differences between then versus today. And then there's Michelle's VOICE, which is spectacular and so perfectly YA.

Okay, enough gushing, let's get on to the interview! Thank you, Michelle, for agreeing to come on my blog and be grilled. :)


First question: How long have you been writing or when did you start?

For as long as I can remember. I loved writing stories when I was a kid, especially when they’d bind them for you at school. For some reason, I was especially fond of horror stories when I was young (must have been all those RL Stine books!). Then as a teenager I was into romance novels and thought I might write those, but I didn’t truly find my niche in YA until I was, ironically, an adult.

Your writer's origin story sounds a lot like mine! :) If you had to describe yourself in just three words, what would those be?

Organized, Encouraging, Persistent

I wish I was a little more organized! What do you need in your writing space to help you stay focused?

Isn’t that the million-dollar question? Honestly, my to-do list—and it’s most effective if I have deadlines associated with every item, including drafting/revising/submitting manuscripts.

I love a good to-do list. If you could spend a day with another popular author, whom would you choose?

Ally Carter! I’ve met her at signings a couple of times, and she’s so fun. I’d love to hang out with her for a whole day and pick her brain about all her books.

Ally Carter would be a great person to hang out with! In YOUR LIFE HAS BEEN DELAYED, what was the hardest scene to write, and why?

The climax of the book, which is technically a few scenes. I had a lot of fun writing it originally, but it was a bit… over the top. That’s about all I can say without spoilers, but my editor warned me before offering on the book that we’d need to change it, and I was fine with that. But it still took three tries before we landed on the right climax for the book.

I didn't realize you wrote the climax three different times! If your book were made into a movie, which actors would play your characters?

I was totally picturing Melissa Joan Hart as Jenny while writing—but as she was in the nineties, of course ☺. For Jenny, I’m going to say McKenna Grace in a couple of years (since she’s only 15 right now) or maybe Kiernan Shipka. I had absolutely no actors in mind for Dylan while writing, so I just now went and searched teen actors on IMBD. Maxwell Jenkins or Jace Norman would work!

I had to go and search those actors, lol. I can totally see them as Jenny and Dylan! :) Okay, if you were to write a spin-off about a side character, which would you pick?

It would probably be someone else from Flight 237, like Valerie Wen, who returned to find her husband remarried with kids. On top of that, one of her former students asks her out. It’s such a great setup for a romance novel! Alas, I am not the one to write this story.

Me! Pick me! I volunteer as tribute. That would be such a cool concept to write about. ;) Let's get into the nitty gritty. What’s your favorite and least favorite part of publishing?

Favorite: Notes from readers who love my book. It’s the best feeling ever!

Least favorite: Waiting! Everything just takes a long time.

I agree, the waiting is the worst. But those notes from readers sure do make it all worth it! I know you're an avid book reader. What book (or books) are you currently reading?

Right now I’m working through my Christmas book haul. I just finished (and loved) SUNKISSED by Kasie West. Of course, I may have read three more books by the time this posts, so check my Instagram to see what I’m loving!

Ooh, I haven't read that one by Kasie West yet. Thanks for the rec! What advice would you give to a writer working on their first book?

Find other writers you trust to exchange manuscripts with and work together to improve your craft. When you’re first starting out, that’s the most important thing you can do. And finish writing that book! For me, getting to the end was one of the hardest parts with the first book.


This is great advice! Thank you, again, Michelle, for sitting in the hot seat and answering my burning questions! Let's take a look at Michelle's book info, including where you can purchase your own copy.

Book Blurb:

It’s August 1995, and seventeen-year-old Jenny Waters is flying back home from an exciting trip to New York City. The biggest things on her mind are applying to Columbia and reuniting with her brand-new boyfriend. But when she and the other passengers disembark in St. Louis, they’re told that their plane disappeared . . . twenty-five years ago.

The world has fast-forwarded. Three of Jenny’s grandparents are gone, her parents are old, and her “little” brother is now an adult. There’s so much in the world she’s missed out on.

When a shocking revelation comes to light, she feels betrayed by her family and once-best friend. She’s also fighting her attraction to Dylan, a cute and kind classmate who has an unusual connection to her past. And then there are the conspiracy theories, coming from a group of people determined to prove that Flight 237—and Jenny’s own existence—is a hoax. Will she figure out how to move forward or will she always be stuck in the past?


About the Author:

Michelle I. Mason is the author of Your Life Has Been Delayed and the forthcoming My Second Impression of You (September 2022), both from Bloomsbury YA. Michelle spent ten years as a PR manager promoting everything from forklift rodeos to Hotel Olympics before deciding she’d rather focus on made-up stories. When she isn’t writing, she’s probably reading, watching too much TV, cross-stitching, baking amazing brownies, or playing the violin. Michelle lives in St. Louis with her husband, two kids, and color-coordinated pets. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

How I Got My Agent

So, truth. I wrote this post a long time ago (over a year ago, to be exact). I'm not sure why I never published it?? But I do still want to share my How I Got My Agent story, even though I've had an agent for almost two years now. Hopefully, my story will help someone who is currently in the query trenches. Here is the original post...


For a while there, I didn't think I'd ever get the chance to write a post like this, so, of course, I'm over-the-moon excited to share that...


When I first started querying years ago, I would scour the internet for the How I Got My Agent stories and I would soak them in. I would read example queries of those that "worked" and later on developed my own How I Got My Agent series on my blog. But that was a long time ago.

Since I loved reading those stories, I'm hoping there will be others who'll benefit from hearing my story, even if it's to convince them TO NEVER GIVE UP!!! So first, I have to tell you my story, and to do so, I have to start at the beginning.

So, here goes...

As most of you know, I published my first books, The Deception Game series, through a smaller press called Clean Teen Publishing. They've been absolutely wonderful. But in between writing, publishing, and marketing my near-future thrillers, I kept writing, switching genres to YA contemporary which is really and truly my first love. I finished ATWTSY (which is an abbreviation—not ready to share the title yet!) around May 2017. It was right before Pitch Wars started, and since I was a mentor, all of my time and energy was consumed by the contest. I loved every minute, but by the time the agent round was finished in October, I hadn't looked at my own manuscript in months. I started revising again in January or February, sent it to my critique partners in March or April and started querying in June. I sent the queries out in batches.

I immediately got lots of requests, mostly because I targeted agents who'd had other manuscripts of mine and who'd indicated they wanted to see more of my work. I was feeling really great about this new MS. I had a trip to Italy with my husband planned for July 2018, so I put my MS on the back burner and stopped querying for the rest of the summer. More requests (and rejections!) rolled in, but once October hit, I decided to send out another big batch of queries. I waited a while and then sent out what I thought would be my final batch of queries in January 2019.

Friends of mine had told me that I shouldn't stop querying until I hit the 100 query mark. That seemed like SO many to me. Too many. In the past, I never came close to that number before I threw in the towel and decided to focus on the next manuscript, then the next. But this time, THIS TIME, I knew I had to hit 100 before I could fully say that I'd given it my all. I believed in my story, and I was determined to not give up until I found the right agent for it.

In January, I formulated my list of agents I wanted to submit to. I discovered Marlo was a new agent, and when I realized I'd "met" her at the RT Booklovers Convention in Atlanta a couple years before, I knew I needed to query her. We had something in common, and I really felt good about sending her a query. She requested the full manuscript fairly quickly, which, of course, I was excited about. Then on a random day in February, I received the email I'd been waiting for. It was an offer of representation, but it wasn't from Marlo, it was from another agent. We set up a time to talk and then I quickly set out to notify all of the agents who either had the full or partial or who I'd recently queried (and since I'd just sent a big batch, it was quite a few agents). Some agents requested the full immediately and asked for time to read, and others politely stepped aside, even agents who'd had my full manuscript since the fall.

Marlo was one of the agents who said she was reviewing it quickly and would get back to me by my deadline. And she did! I was sick at the time with a horrible head cold, and I'll never forget the email I received one chilly Saturday morning from Marlo. It said she'd finished my manuscript and was hoping we could talk on the phone. I think I probably jumped out of bed (yes, it was one of those sicknesses where all I wanted to do was stay in bed!) and screamed a few times before responding to the email. We set up the call for a couple hours later. Turns out, she was sick with a cold also so I didn't feel so bad about my hoarse voice! Lol.

From the moment we started talking on the phone, I could tell Marlo really GOT my book. I could feel her passion for my project, and it almost brought me to tears. After years of rejection, I'd finally found an agent who loved my book as much as I did. She understood the characters and their motivations, and her ideas on how to improve it were spot on. I really felt like my book would be in good hands with her as my agent. I happily accepted her offer once my deadline had passed. The hardest part was having to tell the other agent that I'd decided to go with someone else. For the first time ever, it was my turn to reject, and it didn't feel so great.

Working with Marlo has been awesome, and I'm so excited to see where this journey takes us!

So if you take away anything from this post, let it be this: Don't give up. Don't you EVER give up. If you have a dream, and you believe in yourself 100%, then it will happen. Keep writing, keep reading, keep learning, and keep growing. There's an agent/publisher out there for you.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

YA Scavenger Hunt (Purple Team) and Giveaway!

Welcome to YA Scavenger Hunt!

This is my FIFTH TIME hosting YASH, and I'm super excited to be a part of it again! This bi-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors...and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize—one lucky winner will receive one book from each author on my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online until Sunday, October 6th.

But first, I want to take a moment to introduce myself! I'm Kristin Smith, your hostess for this leg of the hunt. I'm the author of the best-selling and award-winning YA novel CATALYST and its sequels, FORGOTTEN and FEARLESS. Be sure to enter my Giveaway at the very end of the post!


I love fall.

My favorite colors are sky blue and pink.

My favorite scenes to write are ones with lots of kissing. :)

I'm a big fan of Karaoke and Just Dance.

I may or may not have a stash of chocolate in my nightstand.

I'm a mom to FIVE boys! (Yes, you read that correctly.) :)

If I had to choose between the mountains and the beach, I'd choose the beach. Every. Single. Time.

Now back to the Hunt!

Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are FOUR contests
going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I'm part of the PURPLE TEAM, but there's also a red, blue, and gold team for a chance to win a whole different set of books!


Directions: Below, you'll notice I've listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the PURPLE TEAM, and then add them up (don't worry, you can use a calculator!). 

Entry Form: Once you've added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.

Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian's permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by Sunday, October 6th at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.


Today, I'm excited to be hosting ERICA CAMERON for the YA Scavenger Hunt! Be sure to check out her books and her website.

After a lifelong obsession with books, Erica Cameron spent her college years getting credit for reading and learning how to make stories of her own. Erica graduated with a double major in psychology and creative writing from Florida State University. She's written several series for young adults, including The Ryogan Chronicles and the upcoming Pax Annuls, and she contributed to various online blogs and publications. She is also an advocate for asexuality and emotional abuse awareness. Currently, she lives in North Florida.

Connect with Erica at the following social media sites:

About the Book:

Cira Antares is deeply loyal to two things: Pax Novis—her mother's ship that transports supplies across war-torn star systems—and her personal mission to save war orphans. But hiding them as stowaways on the ship is illegal, and if any of them were found, not even her mother could protect Cira from the consequences.

She has successfully kept her secret...until supplies start to go missing. Food. Clothing. Tools. All signs point to her stowaways, but they wouldn't do anything to risk exposing themselves—or her. Especially not Riston, the oldest of the group and someone Cira has grown close to. Someone she might even be falling in love with...

And petty thefts are only the beginning—whole ships are disappearing now.

Not caught in a firefight. Not destroyed by another planet. Vanishing. Without a trace.

And Pax Novis is next.


You guys are in for a treat! Erica was kind enough to share the map of one level of the spaceship, Pax Novis, as well as a list of rules the onboard stowaways have to abide by.  So freaking cool! Enjoy! :)

Personal Document from Pax Novis’s Shipboard Archive
Saved from the internal access device of Guest User 2421
Terra-Sol date 3811.348

The Rules:
1.  The only time you should ever enter the main corridors of the ship is to use restroom facilities, and the only facilities you should use are the ones forward on decks 1, 2, and 12 or, at most once a week, the showers on deck 10. Exercise caution at all times and only use the facilities in hours when the bulk of the crew is elsewhere.
2.  Plans to leave the Novis must be announced at least two weeks out from the ship’s expected date of arrival at a port of call. This date should be within 120 days of boarding the Novis.
2a. Addendum: if you’re seeing this notice, you have asked permission to stay and been approved by Cira. The rule for leaving still applies, but the time frame doesn’t. Now, staying solely relies on sticking to the rules until you change your mind and want to leave.
3.  Food will be dropped in a specified location once a week. Anyone found to be taking food rationed for another will be found in violation of these rules. Don’t do it.
4.  When you came aboard, either Cira or Adrienn took your measurements. A uniform in your size should’ve been provided, and you can trade this in once a week when you shower. Warmer clothes for living in the maintenance sectors will be given out as needed. Do not enter the main corridors in anything other than the uniform. It’s as close to camouflage as we can get.
5.  Adrienn will provide simple checkups when possible. Medical care beyond that will be hard to arrange, and it must be used sparingly. To prevent problems, take the supplements and other prescriptions provided for us in the weekly supply drops.
5a. Addendum: I have emergency codes that can be used to access medical if necessary. This is a last resort to be used only when death is the only alternative. Do not risk all our places here for a cold.
6.  You will be given a sleep pad, a blanket, and a place to sleep that should be relatively safe to remain in for short periods of time. Whenever possible, try to sleep in shifts with one person keeping watch in case of unexpected changes to the maintenance schedule.
6a. Addendum: Sleep is necessary. Do your best. Don’t get caught.
7.  Any of your personal belongings too large to be carried with you constantly will be held in trust by Cira or Adrienn. They will be returned to you upon leaving the Novis. Do not ever leave any of your personal effects lying around the ship. You get one warning if this happens. The second instance will be a dismissible offense.
8.  Entertainment is limited, but Cira has arranged for terminals completely disconnected from all Novis systems with a small library of stories, vids, and games on internal memory. Trying to force a connection between these devices and the ship’s computers will result in detainment and expulsion from the ship at the first possible port.
9.  You will not be granted computer access in any capacity. General alerts posted to all available screens will be the only news you will be able to read on the Novis.
9a. Addendum: Cira has found a workaround that is only available to long-term passengers. Your access will still be restricted, and you will only be able to use the terminals personally given to you by Cira and Adrienn. However, you will have access to the ship’s library of books, vids, courses, and trainings. If you take a course and pass the certification test, Cira has promised to attach that to your ID officially before you leave the Novis for good.
10.            When at port, you must be even more careful. Crew schedules can become unpredictable. Work may happen while the Novis is stationary and connected to a backup power supply in areas of the ship rarely used otherwise. Stay hidden and stay alert.
10a. Addendum: Long-term passengers may leave while at port once every 180 days. Approval from Cira and Adrienn must be gained at least two weeks ahead of the expected arrival. The one exception to this rule is Paxis Station. No one, ever, can disembark there.
I will report all violations immediately. Failure to comply with these rules will result in your expulsion from the ship at the first available port. If Cira or Adrienn determines you’ve become a danger to yourself, another stowaway, the crew, or the ship, other measures will be taken including, but not limited to, sedation and seclusion in one of the emergency cryostasis pods.
All decisions will be made by Adrienn or Cira, and no appeals will be heard.

Whoa! Wasn't that insanely cool?! Hope you enjoyed that behind-the-scenes look at Erica's latest novel!

And before you leave, don't forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a bundle of awesome books by all of the authors on the PURPLE TEAM! To enter, you need to know that my favorite number is 12. Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the PURPLE TEAM and you'll have the secret code to enter for the grand prize!


But before you go, be sure to enter my individual Giveaway for a chance to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card,SIGNED copy of one of the books in the Deception Game series (your choice!) and some awesome swag! (Books and swag are for US residents only. International winners will receive gift card only.)


a Rafflecopter giveaway


To continue the hunt, you need to visit the next author—JC WelkerClick on her name to be redirected to her website.

But first, check out the first book in the Deception Game series, which is currently FREE on all major retailers.

Apple iBooks

Thanks so much for stopping by! Good luck on the hunt! :)