Monday, May 25, 2015


When "Thank You" Just Doesn't Cut It

It has been three weeks today, since my debut novel GAME OF LOVE was officially released. So much has happened since then that it feels like it's been months not weeks.

Let's recap what has happened so far:

  • The book was granted the 5-Star Review by Readers' Favorite which is why the book now carries their emblem 
  • 31 reviews on Amazon with an average score of 4.8/5.0
  • 47 ratings/reviews on Goodreads with an average score of 4.83/5.00
  • More than twenty bloggers reviewed the book
  • More than thirty other bloggers either announced the release of the book, or shared an excerpt, or interviewed me
  • The New York Time bestselling greats Susan Mallery and Jay Crownover even jumped into the mix and announced my book on release day to their tens of thousands of followers
  • Hundreds upon hundreds of Facebook posts, comments, shares AND Twitter posts, comments, and retweets have been splashed across all social media
  • I've had people rave about it from Sweden to Ireland to India to Mexico, across the United States and back to the UK

When nearly six years ago my wife told me to chase the dream, the idea that I could actually complete a novel was the dream. But once it was done and my wife told me she loved it and that I should try to see if I can get it published, a whole new realm of terror entered my life. That started a 4+ year journey of editing, revising, querying, getting rejected, more editing, more rejections, more studying, then an agent bites, then publishers are interested, then the book is published and now anyone across the globe can read my book...

More than a week ago I had my first book signing event at the Burbank Barnes & Noble. The manager was stunned by the turnout, calling it the largest author event they've ever had. They sold out of the books and even bought some of my personal copies to resell.

Over the last few weeks I've been saying thank you to hundreds of people. I've written it, spoken it, tweeted it, you name it. But those two words don't seem to cut it. It feels like that's not enough. But I don't know what other phrase can do justice to how I feel.

In the end I know that everyone is busy. We all have hundreds of thousands of other book options at our disposal. We can watch TV, go to the movies, spend time with family and friends. Yet, all these people decided spending time with my novel was the option of choice.

So here I am grateful. Thankful, of course, but also profoundly humbled at the generosity of those who've decided to take a chance on my story.

So here it comes... the phrase that isn't strong enough to adequately show what I feel. Are you ready? Good.

Thank you! I can't do this without you. I do this for you. Thank you for your support and generosity.

Fight the good fight!
Mine has just begun.

Monday, May 11, 2015

REVIEW: The Rearranged Life by Annika Sharma

Sometimes you have to Rearrange Your Planned Life

I'm very excited to be part Annika Sharma's Review Tour.

Why you ask? Because this book had my heart in knots. How will she choose? Who will she choose? What about--sorry... I did it again. First things first! The beautiful cover and some details about the book...


Genre: Interracial, contemporary-romance

Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press

Date of Release­­: May 15, 2015

Cover Artist: Eugene Teplitsky

Find Online: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads


Nithya, a vivacious, intelligent and driven college senior has always known what she has wanted: a successful career in medicine and the love of her family. She’s even come to terms with the idea of an arranged marriage, a tradition her conservative Indian family has held up for thousands of years.

When a night of partying puts her on a collision course with danger, Nithya’s entire life changes.

Enter James St. Clair, the smart, challenging and heartbreakingly handsome American. As Nithya and James fall in love, she questions the future she and her parents have always planned.

Now, Nithya has a choice to make: become a doctor and a good Indian bride, or step away from her family and centuries of culture to forge her own path. The decision she comes to takes her on a journey that transforms how she sees her future, her relationships with loved ones, and how she learns to put herself back together when even her best-laid plans fall apart.

Rafflecopter Giveaway:

The Review

I love this book! Let's get that out of the way. I don't want there to be confusion over this. This is a phenomenal book. I've named my blog Rookie Scrivener because I have a particular affinity for those who are new, presumable more raw. Author Annika Sharma is no rookie. This may be her debut, but she must have been writing since she was old enough to hold a pencil. 

Beyond the master of craft, she has told a story, a cultural reality that most of us are completely unaware of...

As I read The Rearranged Life by Annika Sharma, I found myself lost and entrenched in the beauty and uniqueness of the Indian culture and their traditions. This novel has opened me up to fundamentally get the beauty inherent in such a old and nobel culture while helping me appreciate the challenges of trying to retain these traditions in America. What Sharma does expertly, is that she fairly shows both sides of the coin. She makes you feel and appreciate the conflict — how can you turn your back on traditions that are generations old? And on the flip side, how can you deny true love?

The Rearranged Life is the story of a sharp and witty young American-Indian trying her best to honor her family, her culture, and heritage but life has different plans for her when she falls for the American classmate who embodies everything she wants and needs — she finds that when they are together, they are both better, happier... they are complete. But at what cost? Marrying an American is to deny her heritage, her parents, and the generations before.

Sharma's writing is witty and sharp. The dialogue and banter written with an expert’s touch and the love story that develops between Nithya and James is infectious and immediately relatable. But when she renders the world, the ceremonies, and the richness of the culture, she becomes a poet, placing the reader in the rich tapestry of the Indian world.

This is a beautiful book, written with heart. I am better for having read this book. An amazing debut novel. I highly recommend it. You need to add this to your library of books. You will be the one missing out.


About The Author:

Annika Sharma was born in India and moved to the United States (Pennsylvania!) when she was a baby. Annika was a daydreamer from day one, always coming up with stories and games of pretend that seemed real. She was a serious journal-writer from fifth grade to college and wrote dramatic scenes for stories often, inspired by soap operas she watched in summers off from school.

Eventually, when the time for college came around, Annika’s parents encouraged her to pursue journalism. Convinced she couldn’t make a living from writing, Annika disagreed. After five years, two degrees, two minors, working with children, being a dancer teacher, and creating a two-and-a-half page resume in college that had interests so all-over-the-place that even she couldn’t make sense of it, Annika finally decided her parents were right. Writing was where her heart was, all along.

In the month before graduate school, the idea Annika had in mind for years finally poured out in the form of the novel, The Rearranged Life. Annika began editing in earnest after she finished her Master’s degree in Early Childhood Special Education, landing Stacey Donaghy of Donaghy Literary Group as an agent. Three months later, she had a book deal with Curiosity Quills.

In her spare time, Annika loves spending time with her family and friends, often indulging in the three S’s: Starbucks, shopping and superhero movies. As a chocolate lover and general all-around vegetarian foodie, Annika also adores cooking.

Find Annika Sharma Online:

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Book Release -- ACROSS THE DISTANCE by Marie Meyer

An Amazing Debut!

Back in late March, I shared the cover for this debut novel. Based on the blurb I knew this would be a special one. I didn't realize just how special. I read it in ONE SITTING. I'm getting ahead of myself. First things first!

The Blurb...

There's a drawer I never open. It holds a picture I never look at. It reminds me of a day I hate to remember, but I'll never forget.

I'd give anything to be like the other girls on campus. Going to parties, flirting with boys, planning for a future. But that's not me. And hasn't been since the day my parents died. The only thing that got me through was Griffin. Even though I didn't have my family, I always had him. Only, now I'm not so sure I do.

It's not just the eleven hundred miles separating us now that I'm at college. Or his band finally taking off, and all the gigs and girls suddenly demanding his time. It's as if everything is different-the way we talk, the way we text . . . the way he looks at me and the way those looks make me feel. 

Griffin has been the only good thing in my life since that horrific day. But I can feel our friendship slipping away-and I'm terrified of what will be left in its place . . .

The Excerpt...

Griffin took the last box from my hand and shoved it into the backseat of my car. “I’ll get my bike on the trailer, and then we’ll be ready to hit the road.” He wiped his upper arm across his sweaty forehead.

I looked into his dark eyes and smiled. “Thanks,” I sighed.

“For what?” With a toss of his head, he pushed a few errant curls out of his eyes.

“For putting up with me.” He could have easily gotten a plane ticket home, but he knew how much I hated airplanes. The thought of him getting on a plane made me physically ill.

He swung his arm around my neck, squeezing me with his strong arm. “Put up with you? I’d like to see you try and get rid of me.”
With my head trapped in his viselike grip and my face pressed to his chest, I couldn’t escape his intoxicating scent. Even though it was too hot for his beloved leather riding jacket, the faint smell still clung to him. That, coupled with the heady musk clinging to his sweat-dampened t-shirt, made my head swim with thoughts that were well beyond the realm of friendship.

I needed to refocus my thoughts, and I couldn’t do that pressed up against him. I shivered and pulled away. Taking a step back, I cleared my throat. “I’m going to tell Jennifer we’re leaving.” I thumbed toward the house.

He scrutinized my face for a minute, then smirked. “Enjoy that. You’ve earned it.”

I turned on my heel and let out a deep breath, trying desperately to rein in my inappropriate fantasies.

Months ago, our easygoing friendship had morphed into an awkward dance of fleeting glances, lingering touches, and an unspeakable amount of tension. I thought he’d felt it, too. The night of my high school graduation party, I went out on a limb and kissed him. When our lips met, every nerve ending in my body fired at once. Embers of lust burned deep inside me. I’d never felt anything like that before. The thought of being intimate with someone made me want to run to the nearest convent. But not with Griffin. When our bodies connected, I felt whole and alive in a way I’d never felt before.

Then he’d done what I’d least expected…he’d pushed me away. I’d searched his face for an explanation. He, more than anyone, knew what it had taken for me to put myself out there, and he’d pushed me away. Touting some bullshit about our timing being all wrong, that a long distance relationship wouldn’t work, he insisted that I was nothing more than his friend. His rejection hurt worse than any of the cuts I’d inflicted upon myself in past years. But, he was my best friend; I needed him far too much to have our relationship end badly and lose him forever. Regardless of his excuses, in retrospect, I was glad I wouldn’t fall victim to his usual love-’em-and-leave-’em pattern. Griffin was never with one girl for more than a couple of months; then he was on to the next. That would have killed me. So I picked up what was left of my pride, buried my feelings, and vowed not to blur the lines of our friendship again.  

The Review...

Some Scars Never Heal…But They Can Be Soothed

I read this book in one sitting.

Is it the smooth writing that did it for me? Maybe. Maybe it's the way the characters interact and talk — their natural chemistry? Possibly. Is it because it’s fundamentally a story of second chances? That’s definitely there. What about the fact that it’s about two best friends, who are so good together, to each other, and for each other that you want and hope they’ll realize that they are better together than apart? Yes, that’s there too. Is it because Marie Meyer expertly ties all these elements together with a sub-plot of a tragic loss that is relatable on a visceral level? Absolutely.

Jillian, our protagonist, deserves a shot at happiness. Her scars are not only skin deep, but also soul deep. This is not another book that works in 9-11 just to get emotional points. This is a book whose emotions are so relatable that anyone whose lost loved ones to a tragedy, or understands that sometimes the smallest decisions have life-long implications, will want this young woman to find a path to happiness. And he’s right there — always has been -- her best friend, Griffin.

This is a beautifully written book, with a deep story line, set in a world that’s real…sometimes too real. Brilliant work, by a talented writer. I look forward to more books by Marie Meyer. The future of NA is bright! I highly recommend it.


Buy the Book...

The Giveaway...

The Author...

Marie Meyer was a Language Arts teacher for fourteen years. She spends her days in the classroom and her nights writing heartfelt new adult romances that will leave readers clamoring for more. She is a member of RWA and the St. Louis Writers Guild. Marie's short fiction won honorable mentions from the St. Louis Writers Guild in 2010 and 2011. She is a proud mommy and enjoys helping her oldest daughter train for the Special Olympics, making up silly stories with her youngest daughter, and bingeing on weeks of DVR'd television shows with her husband

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