Contest Roundup: January 2016

Hey, writerly friends!

Roundups aren’t anything new, but after missing a handful of great contests last month, I thought it’d be helpful to post some quick links so that no one who’s interested in participating gets left out.

For a comprehensive list of contests you can expect throughout the year, I’d recommend checking out Carissa Taylor’s blog. It’s a few years old, but it’s phenomenal, and you can figure that a lot of the same contests will be happening.



Jan. 8th: #Writepit (For Faith Based MSs only)

January (TBA) Secret Agent Contest

Also keep an eye out for Samantha Fountain’s Agent Match (TBA) and #AdPit hosted by Heidi Norrod (TBA, If I find a functioning website I will add it later).

And just because these two happen so soon in February 2016:

Feb. 1st: Sun vs Snow

Feb 3rd: Pit2Pub


Happy New Year, and good luck!



Book Review: Consent by Nancy Ohlin

First off, I have to say that I decided to purchase this book just because of how intrigued I was by its cover… Oh, yeah, and THE TITLE. Right away, I was like, “How on earth is she going to execute a book about such a touchy subject?”



Overall, it was pretty well done. My biggest complaint (would be a spoiler so I’ll go in depth later) is that I wasn’t completely satisfied/ thrilled about the ending. In hindsight, this might have been intentional. After all, it’s an unsettling topic and it’s not likely that those who encounter these kinds of situations ever feel “okay” when it’s all said and done.

I like the main character, Bea. She’s lovable, easy to relate to, and Nancy nails the teen voice, IMO. But I LOVED her best friend Plum. Hands down one of the best characters I’ve read in a long time, and someone I would adore if she existed in real life.

The story reads quickly, as in, once you start you really can’t put it down, and Nancy did a fantastic job of keeping the pace quick. I mean, even the ending was hard and fast; best way she could have ended a book like this, if you ask me. The story definitely stuck with me long after I’d put it down, but it also makes me REALLY glad that I’m homeschooling my kids, lol.

Ok, scroll down for the SPOILERS!!!!!














As a parental warning, I feel I should mention that the heat level of this book borders on the hotter side. Whereas most YA sex scenes that I’ve read before fade to black as soon as we know what’s going to happen, we get a bit more detailed foreplay and fade to black literally right before penetration. (Yes, I just used that word. It felt appropriate, lol.) If you’ve read Kristin Cashore’s Graceling, I would say that it’s slightly more descriptive than Katsa’s and Po’s encounter (even though Kristin hints at what the sex feels like for Katsa).

My biggest complaint with this book: Rossi gets away with sleeping with minors and goes along his merry way without almost ANY CONSEQUENCES. (The sole consequence being that he loses Bea’s trust after she finds out that he slept with a DRUNK 15-year-old, and breaks up with him.)

Now, I’m not going to get into a debate about whether or not what he and Bea did was wrong. And I’m not even going to say that he deserved the 10 years in prison that he WOULD have gotten if convicted. But I will say that I think he shouldn’t be allowed to work with minors, if he’s unable to keep his hands off his students. As a mother, I would just go HULK SMASH on a 27-year-old man, if he thought it was cool to pursue my 17-year-old.

In the context of the story, you can see how this kind of relationship could happen: they both love music, Bea is mature for her age and very bright, and Rossi genuinely wants to help her develop her talent. But what does it say about him that he’s mentally compatible with someone SO MUCH younger than him? Why is it, he slept with someone without even knowing how old she was (in regards to the drunk 15-year-old)? And why ON EARTH would he KNOWINGLY sleep with a student without having any kind of discussion about previous partners or the like?

I mean, he didn’t even know he was her first until AFTER the fact. It sets a poor example for young readers to think that it’s smart to just jump into bed with someone without having  some kind of discussion about sexual histories. It’s important to know how many bed-mates your partner has had. It’s important to know if they’ve been tested for STDs and if they’ve always used protection in the past. These are things that, sure, are uncomfortable to talk about, but NEED to be talked about if you’re going to engage in sexual intercourse with someone.

(You can probably tell that I’m not a big fan of Dane Rossi, lol.)  And my parents are ten years apart, so I know that it’s possible for that kind of age gap to work out. But they were 25 and 35 when they met, not 17 and 27. It makes a difference.

Now, I know she wrote this to be realistic. Bea and Dane weren’t going to sit down and have a serious discussion when they were so desperate to be together. But, if it were me, I think I would have added a discussion section in the back of the book to talk about these kinds of things. If teens are going to be sexually active (and these days, most are) they need to at least see or learn about examples of having safe/ smart sex. And yes, I’m aware that they use a condom, but safe sex is more than just protected sex. It’s knowing the person you’re about to sleep with, knowing their history, their NAMES AND AGES (*Glares at Rossi*),  and being emotionally mature enough to handle the aftermath of the encounter.

For example: What if Rossi, after sleeping with Bea, decided to move onto another “conquest.” What if Bea, having fallen in love with him, went into depression because he no longer wanted her and ended up hurting herself, or worse? I’m not overreacting. These things can and do happen. And again, I’m not going to tell people how to live their lives, but if you’re going to have casual sex, be sure you can HANDLE casual sex. If you want a commitment from someone, tell them so.

Basically, TALK TO SOMEONE BEFORE YOU SLEEP WITH THEM. That’s all I’m saying. So much of the heartbreak in this story would have been avoided if Bea and Rossi had just talked before sleeping together. (And actually, if he’d told her before about the 15-year-old, Bea wouldn’t have slept with him at all. Just saying.)

Ok, I’ll get off my soapbox now. Read the book. Make good choices.

Bookish Fun: How to Replace a Broken/Missing Dust Jacket

Today I thought it’d be fun to share a bookish craft with you! I don’t know if I’m the only one who has a problem with my dust jackets (with so many little hands in the house, they’re always slipping off, getting torn, going missing), but in the event that I’m not, I’m going to teach you how to wrap your naked book. (This is also handy if you found a great book at discount store or second hand that was just missing it’s dust jacket.)

What you need:

Your naked hardcover book

wrapping paper or scrapbook paper (any color or style you like, so long as it’s bigger than your book)




Step One:

Place your book, open with the pages standing upright, on your choice of paper.


Step Two:

Cut around the book cover leaving about a one inch margin.

Step Three:

Fold the paper over lengthwise and tape one side. Also, now is a good time to clip into the paper, towards the book on either side of the spine on both the top and bottom sides of the book (pictured below).


A QUICK NOTE: Be sure to check that you can close the book and THEN tape the second side. If you don’t, the paper will rip when you try to close it.


This is what it should look like before you tape the second side. I always run my fingers over the spine to help the paper crease into the proper shape.

Step Four:

Tape the second side, then fold the edges to make a clean corner, before folding down the top and bottom sides and taping them in place.


At this point, your project should look like this:


Step Five:

Set the book upright and trim the extra paper from the top and bottom of the book above the spine.


Step Six:

Sit back and admire your handy work!


Isn’t it fun? I know it isn’t as gorgeous as the original dust jacket, but it’s a pretty good replacement. And of course, there’s something fun about the mystery here: people on the subway/bus/what-have-you asking themselves, “What is that person reading? A birthday present?”

Hope you enjoy! If anyone tries this I’d love to see pics in the comments. How’d they turn out?