Wednesday, October 8, 2014

On writing the book of my heart...

My next release, EVEN THE MOON HAS SCARS has been a long time coming. It's something that people have told me I should write for the last couple of years--but it wasn't something I could tackle then. I wasn't ready. The main character in the book, Lena, was born with a heart defect and because of the near-death experience, her parents have kept her very close. As many of you know, our youngest daughter, Britta was born with TAPVR, a rare heart defect and we very, very nearly lost her.
Last year, when the indie world starting going crazy (it's still continuing as evidenced by the drama on FB lately, amiright?) I pulled back a lot. I read a ton, and I stopped writing for a few months (which was the longest I hadn't written in years.) There was just too much noise in the book world, too much competition, too much backstabbing... I'd be lying if I didn't have those fleeting thoughts of: "This isn't worth it..." I did a ton of reflecting, I surrounded myself with people who were real and legitimately cared about me, and where I turned up was a good place. The place where I remembered why I started. The place where I became determined to write the book of my heart, even if it wasn't what was most popular.
There's nothing that is more straight from me and my heart than my family. I wrote this post about Britta on her blog for the one year anniversary of her surgery and this part jumped out at me as I started slowly forming Lena's character:
"...But because of your struggles, because of your tenacity, your display of strength and fight and bravery--even as tiny as you were, you taught us to have faith that we never knew we could. You showed us all that even the most fragile, broken hearts could be repaired..."
So, yes, though my Britta is not quite 3, she inspired the YA character of my upcoming book. And she inspires me. She reminds me what is important every single day. And it isn't Amazon rank, or how many likes you have, or any of that...
Life is short. Stop the infighting. Stop the drama. Be brave. Be bold. Surrounded yourself with positivity and people that love you. Stop chasing trends and go write the book of your heart. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

new and shiny! ;)

Liz and I are so overwhelmed with the gracious support of our newest co-written release, ALMOST LOVER yesterday! Truly, thank you all for the shares, and notes of congratulations! We are so excited to have Enzo and Jordan's story out in the world and so, so lucky to have so many great friends and readers in our corner as well! THANK YOU! 

 If you haven't grabbed ALMOST LOVER yet, here's the handy buy links! 

In other super fun news!

I'm finally able to share the cover for 
my upcoming solo YA novel that releases at the end of October!!

Guys, this cover is one of my absolute favs. It's been a while since I've released a YA, and I cannot wait to share this novel with you! 

 Tremendous thanks to the bloggers who helped reveal the cover, and huge thanks to Wordsmith Publicity for organizing it all!

Title: Even the Moon Has Scars
Author: Steph Campbell
Cover Designed by The Cover Lure
Scheduled to release: October 28, 2014

Check out the full jacket cover, blurb AND an excerpt:
and let me know what you think! 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

YA book recs!

With the rising popularity of YA, (yay!) Nyrae Dawn and I got to thinking about books we've read over the last several years that have really stuck with us. Books we loved and hope you'll love too! We are so passionate about YA, and wanted to put together a list of some of our all-time favorite YA reads.

We're hoping there’s something here for everyone, and that it’s helpful when you’re looking for your next book! Happy reading!

(broken down by category--and in no particular order)


The Body Finder: Kimberly Derting

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer: Michelle Hodkin

Anna Dressed in Blood: Kendare Blake

Name of the Star: Maureen Johnson


Hemlock: Kathleen Peacock

Sweet Evil: Wendy Higgins

This is Not a Test:  Courtney Summers

Falling Under: Gwen Hayes


Two Boys Kissing: David Levithan

Don't Let Me Go: JH Trumble


Harmonic Feedback: Tara Kelly

Graffiti Moon: Cath Crowley

Speechless: Hannah Harrington

Sloppy Firsts: Megan McCafferty

Cracked Up To Be: Courtney Summers

Some Girls Are: Courtney Summers

Boy POV:

Freefall: Mindi Scott

Split: Swati Avasthi

I Know it's Over: C.K. Kelly Martin

Lovesick: Jake Coburn

Winger: Andrew Smith

Beautifully Tragic:

The Secret Year: Jennifer Hubbard

Twenty Boy Summer: Sarah Ockler

Take Me There: Carolee Dean

Soon to be a movie/already a movie:

The Duff: Kody Keplinger

Geography Club: Brent Hartinger

historic premise:

Between Shades of Gray: Ruta Sepetys

Out of the Easy: Ruta Sepetys


Pointe: Brandy Colbert

Wintergirls: Laurie Halse Anderson

Fault Line: C. Desir

Issue Books:

Stay: Deb Caletti

Friday, August 22, 2014

Even the Moon Has Scars

My upcoming YA, EVEN THE MOON HAS SCARS has a STUNNING cover I can't wait to share with you... Unfortunately, I have to. :( the reveal is coming SOON!

BUT, the synopsis is up as well as the pre-order HERE!

Fun(ish?) fact, the main character, Lena was born with a heart defect. She's named after one of my daughter, Britta's heart surgeons. :) (for more info on congenital heart defects, you can check out Britta's blog if you're interested!) 

Anyhow! Here's the synopsis! Can't wait to share this book with you!

Two strangers. Two broken hearts. One night to set each other free. 

Almost dying from an undiagnosed heart condition means every second of your life is a precious gift to be guarded.
Lena Pettitt was born a miracle.
And her parents never let her forget it.
Even if that daily reminder kept her from experiencing the one thing they were trying to protect most--her life.

Gabriel Martinez’s heart has been ripped out.
His pride has been stomped on.
Oh, and he now has an arrest record that’s caused an even bigger rift between him and his DA mother. All for a love that wasn’t really true.

Now he’s exiled to his grandmother’s, working on his late grandpa’s old Corvair, when a shivering girl knocks on the garage door. Lena, left alone for the first time ever, has locked herself out of her house. Gabe knows he could help this girl get back inside her house--but that may mean missing the next train to Boston to pick up the part he’s spent eight weeks tracking down. She can wait for him at his grandmother’s
A few hours, an aluminum valve cover, and some strong coffee later, neither Gabe nor Lena can feign disappointment when they race to the station and arrive just as the last train home from Boston is pulling out.

As jaded as he is, Gabe can’t deny the fact that he’s excited to spend the night exploring a city he knows nearly every corner of, with a girl who sees magic in the simplest things.

Lena has been waiting for her tiny world to crack open her entire life. Now that it’s finally happened, she finds the only thing she can focus on is the unexpected tour guide who opens her eyes to possibilities she never imagined.

All they have is this one night, together, under the bright moon in a city full of hidden beauty. 
 It’s one night that will change how they see the world and the paths their hearts will take forever.

Friday, August 15, 2014

What I've been up to...

Hey, folks! If you're curious as to what I've got coming out next, here's a teaser! 

I'm super excited to announce that the next book I have coming out will be a solo YA (stand alone) I have coming THIS FALL and wanted to share a few things about it. I can't tell you how fantastic it feels to be writing YA again, it's what I started out writing and publishing, and it feels great returning.

 Release date is still TBD (likely mid October), but the cover will be coming soon, 
along with the pre-order!

First things first, here's the title and tagline!

And if you're into playlists, this book has a pretty fun one.

Where You Lay- Bobby Long
Badfish- Sublime
We Are Young- FUN.
Story of My Life- Social Distortion
Invincible- No Use for a Name
Ruby Soho- Rancid
Come on Eileen- Save Ferris
Zoot Suit Riot – Cherry Poppin’ Daddies
Help You Mend- Bobby Long
F*uck The World- The Queers
Good Day- Ron Pope
Interstate Love Song- Stone Temple Pilots

Friday, July 18, 2014

Golden Hour makeover!

Liz and I gave our New Orleans set, contemporary romance GOLDEN HOUR a little makeover!

“Beautiful, sexy, and romantic. Golden Hour made me want to be best friends with Elise, fall madly in love with Caleb and brought the Louisiana setting to life before my eyes.”—NYRAE DAWN, International Bestseller of the Games Series 

“A captivating story that is raw, powerful, gritty, and topped off with a fiery love that stems from, and heals, different forms of loss.”– MOLLY MCADAMS, New York Times bestselling author 

In the medical field, the precious moments following a traumatic event in which you have the best chance of saving a life are known as the golden hour. 
But being there during the golden hour doesn't mean you'll be able to save the one you love...
New Orleans native and ER nurse, Elise Dupuis knows that fact all too well. There was nothing she could do to save her fiancĂ©, New Orleans police officer Mike Bazanac, when he was brought into her hospital with two fatal bullet wounds. 
Now everyone walks around on eggshells when she comes into the room—except her brother Charlie. As Mike's partner, he bears a guilt that's spiraled him into dark pain. Charlie is lashing out, Elise is turning in, and life seems to be falling apart around them. 
Caleb Warren knows what it feels like to always be on the losing end of things. A few criminal turns in his youth landed him two crap choices: mandatory service in the armed forces or jail. He chooses to enlist, and just when he finds a commander who has a little faith in him, their truck hits an IED. Caleb's training as a medic isn't enough to save the one person who's ever given a damn about him. 
Now back in New Orleans as an EMT, Caleb is bound and determined to drown himself in booze and regrets. But he crosses paths with nurse Elise Dupuis and finds a woman whose passion and courage gets under his skin in a way that wakes him up and makes him want to live again. 
Unfortunately, Charlie doesn't think the new EMT is good enough for his sister, and he’ll step outside the lines of the law to prove it to Elise. 
Caleb has to figure out what's worth fighting for…and how far he's willing to go for the woman he loves.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The (brutally honest) third year...

It's that time again! For those that have followed my publishing journey, you know that I've done one of these 'year in review' posts on the anniversary of the first book that I indie pubbed, (Grounding Quinn, June 12, 2011) each year.

(For those that want to catch up on what I learned each of those years, here's the previous posts: The first year,   the second year.) 

So, the third year will probably go down as the first year that I questioned my decision to indie pub.

When I originally self published, I had good friends cry. No, seriously. They gave me wide, earnest eyes, and felt very sorry for me that I "was ruining my career before it even started." I thought they were dramatic, and I pushed on, found my little slice of success and kept writing, not looking back. This past year though, has been the a year of reflection. A year of "what-if's" and second guessing myself. I can tell you that in general, and especially creatively, that's not a fantastic place to be.  (More on this in a bit.)

One thing that's happened this year is my outlook on reviews has changed. While I understand that (especially in this very saturated market) reviews are necessary and for the most part, bloggers are out there doing this fantastic service, there is another side to it. There is this constant noise. Opinions. On. Everything. The kind of noise that is so deafening that you just want to turn it all off and walk away. On both sides, positive and negative. I've gotten to the point where if my husband and I are going out to eat, I may look up the restaurant info, but I avoid all reviews completely because I've seen how completely biased they can be. I don't want to know. I want to form my own opinion. I've learned this year that some reviews are bought. Some are put out there by others in the book community as a form of sabotage. Some are clearly just a showcase for the reviewers own back patting of their own wit and humor rather than an actual review. Sometimes it all feels like an endless, loud, popularity contest. It's just TOO.MUCH.NOISE. You know that fantastic graduation speech that Jon Lovett did a couple of years ago in which he said, "I believe we've reached peak bullshit"? Well, if we aren't there, I think we're pretty damn close. (So we're clear, and before I get a bunch of hate mail to add to the stack from people that are pissed off about the ending of My Fate for Yours, I'm not saying this about all reviewers--just my feelings on the state of insta-feedback on everything in general.)

Back to the topic of regret.

We all know that the market is glutted, and there are more people writing and publishing than ever in the history of life. And in some ways, that's sucky because, dude, standing out in this crowd is HARD. But in others, it's really rad, because BOOKS! And people are reading BOOKS! More books are never bad, right? (Okay, that's wrong, *some* books are really bad. I would link some of the choice titles my pal Rebecca Shea texts me, but I try to keep it semi-clean here, and no one wants to see XXX were-koalas here.)

So in this market, there are indies selling widely and hitting lists and being scooped up by traditional publishers. That's all fantastic. But (and this leads me to the part about regretting my choice to self publish for the first time) there's also this other group of indies that have maybe outsold a solid portion of traditionally published authors, but because we haven't hit the NYT list, we encounter publishing people that love our work, but won't take a chance on us.

And maybe it's the particular books I've written. Or my writing in general. Or maybe, it's just this weird Catch 22 that myself (and other indies I've talked to) have fallen into. Where you've sold hundreds of thousands of copies of your books, but you haven't hit the Times list, therefore, you're considered a bigger risk than say, a debut author with a clean slate. So regret starts tugging on you. Did I make the wrong choice?

I've spent a lot of time talking circles around this topic. Trying to make sense of it, or find my way out of this continuous loop I've found myself in. The short answer, I guess is that while discouraged, if I had it to do over again, I  don't think done things differently. I believed in Grounding Quinn and Delicate (the first two books I self published) and I still do. I believe in all of my books and the love the characters that I've created. My pal, Nyrae Dawn wrote this blog post on feeling discouraged that's worth a read. Here's my fav bit:

And I was shaking my head 'yes' as I read because I DON'T want to be that girl. I've started repeating this mantra to myself:

The last couple of months have been focused on getting back to writing only for myself. (Nova Ren Suma wrote this post about writing for yourself again that's beautiful, by the way.) I've started working on two YA's that I've put off for too long. I'm focusing on not only writing, but reading the types of books that I love and that mean something to me, make me think, and remember what I love so much about books. I'm left feeling inspired, instead of dragged down by the noise out there.

So, this has been my third year.

I've put out some books I love so, so much. I've connected with readers, authors and bloggers that have come to mean so much. And while there is so much frustration and insincerity out there right now that it's hard to look at the world, and more specifically, at our little publishing bubble without a hefty dose of cynicism, I'm trying.

These people help :)

Cheers to another year, folks.