Posts Tagged ‘suspense’

I’ve had one brand new book, one short story, and two reissues out within the past several months with two more reissues and a brand new book (Fangdemonium, the 5th and final novel in the Vamped series) coming soon. With all of that and my already more than full-time job as an agent, I haven’t gotten around to posting the excerpt from my young adult suspense novel Faultlines, which is a book very near and dear to my heart. I hope you’ll all read, enjoy, share, comment or do whatever the except inspires you to do!

faultlines-front-cover-final

Excerpt intro: Lisa has committed suicide. Her best friend Vanessa, struggling to come to terms with her friend’s death and piece together what led up to it, now faces another mystery. Someone is taking revenge against those they perceive drove Lisa to her death. Vanessa might even approve…if the pranks weren’t growing more and more serious and if everyone didn’t assume it was her taking revenge and act accordingly. As the danger level of the pranks and retaliations mount, it becomes clear that no one is safe. In this scene we first encounter the work of the vigilante Poetic Justice.

Excerpt:

When the bell rang, I took forever gathering up my things so that Rachel would be gone when I looked up. I wouldn’t give her the chance to “accidentally” hip bump me or any of the other stupid, petty things she was likely to do on any given day. Today I didn’t see any way I would stand for it. My emotions were too close to the surface.

I didn’t have to worry about her once I got through the door. Rachel was more an opportunist than an ambusher. That required forethought, and I wasn’t sure that was really in her wheelhouse. Unfortunately, she’d have another chance at me. Lockers were assigned alphabetically like our seats in homeroom, and hers was directly across the hall from mine. Usually it didn’t bother me. I wasn’t her favorite whipping girl. But today, I was vulnerable and just like a shark, she could smell blood on the water.

Luckily, Rachel was busy chatting with Shelby and Ashley when I reached my locker. They were preoccupied enough that I felt okay to turn my back on them. It was a huge mistake.

Everything happened in an instant. A huge pop, high-pitched screams, and something splattering against me like sudden raindrops out of a clear sky. Freaked, I whipped around, wondering what Rachel had done this time . . . and stopped cold, frozen in shock.

Across from me, Rachel’s locker had exploded, and the terrible trio stood covered in blood. It dripped from them in dark rivulets like from horror-film extras, but they didn’t appear hurt. Just shocked. My brain struggled to process what I was seeing. It was like some kind of dye pack had gone off, but what would something like that be doing there in the first place? And anyway, it didn’t look like dye. It looked like blood.

Rachel spat a thin stream of the stuff out of her mouth and started shaking uncontrollably. She went to wipe the residue from her mouth with her sleeve and dropped the arm like a live snake when she noticed it too was covered in blood.

“Get it off, get it off, get it off!” she chanted in rising panic.

Shelby yanked her shirt over her blood-soaked head, revealing nothing but a thin tank top underneath. She used her inside out clothing to wipe her own face before going for Rachel, who reared back and shrieked, “You’ll just rub it in!”

Ashley had been the least hit, but seemed frozen like me, her almond eyes wide, her mouth clamped shut to avoid any of the stuff getting in.

Marianne raced over to me, but stopped short of touching. “Are you okay?”

Wouldn’t she have been at the locker right next to mine? Hadn’t she been hit by the blood?

I shook myself out of my paralysis. “Fine. You?”

She looked down at herself as if to check. “I stopped off at the restroom. Good thing, I guess.”

She glanced around at the carnage, at the other kids watching but staying well away, at Mrs. Kerringer and Mr. Donally pushing their way through the crowd of students to take charge.

“Look,” Marianne said.

I followed the path of her pointing finger, straight to Rachel’s locker. Inside, painted on the wall in red paint or more fake blood, because it had to be fake, were the words IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT, all in caps.

Rachel saw the teachers coming and tried to throw herself into Mrs. Kerringer’s arms, but the teacher backpedaled, and Rachel got the message. Her arms dropped despondently. She stood, looking forlorn, great big teardrops starting to fall from her eyes, creating track marks in the red goo.

I looked around at the gathered kids. Could this be a prank? Or could the sign mean that someone else felt like I did, wanting to strike some kind of blow for Lisa. What was all Rachel’s fault? Was it the bullying or something more? I tried to see whether anyone looked smug or satisfied over the exploding locker. I didn’t know whether I wanted to thank the prankster or . . . or what? He or she’d had the courage, the strength, to do what I hadn’t. Using blood might be over the top, but it had made an impression.

Fear crept in. What if it was real blood? What if it was contaminated or diseased? What if this was more than a prank? I always had some kind of scrape from soccer dives or paper cuts or even hangnails. A thousand little ways to die of infection.

Panic started to rise and my heart to pound. I felt a freak-out coming on.

Marianne must have seen it too. “Mr. Donally, can I get Vanessa to the nurse? I think she’s in shock.”

He turned from the bloody girls to look at me in surprise. From the front, he could see no reason to concern himself with me.

“Why don’t you take all the girls to the nurse?” he said, realization dawning. “Anyone else get hit?”

A couple of nearby kids raised their hands tentatively. I saw fear in their eyes as well.

“All of you to the nurse,” he said. “And don’t touch anything along the way. The rest of you, I need your names. Officer Garza may want to talk to you. Then I want everyone to get to class. The janitor will have to get through with his crash cart. If you need to get past this spot, go around—outside the school and back in through another door. This area is closed.”

I was torn. Part of me wanted to stay and talk to Garza, even though I didn’t have anything to offer. But Marianne took her job seriously, and herded us down the hallway toward the nurse’s office. I didn’t fight her, but I could have broken my neck craning it to see back the way we’d come. I wasn’t the only one. A couple of times Marianne reached out to get one of the other girls moving and stopped herself before actual contact. The second time, Rachel reacted anyway, as if Marianne had not only touched her, but tasered her. She jolted her back to herself, as though someone had flipped her ‘on’ switch.

Rachel wheeled on me with fire in her eyes. “You,” she shrieked. “You did this.”

I glared back at her. “In case you didn’t notice, I got hit too. If I’d set this up, I’d have made sure to be outside the blast zone.”

“No, you’d be smart enough to get splattered to throw off suspicion.”

“Maybe that’s the way your twisty little mind works, but not mine.”

“Liar,” she accused.

Shelby glared at me in solidarity with her friend.

“According to the sign in your locker, it’s all your fault,” I responded. “So, what did you do? Maybe bully Lisa to death?”

Rachel hissed and came at me, nails out like they were talons that could rip me to shreds. I reared back, throwing my hands up to defend myself, anticipating the pain.

Ashley stepped between us.

“That’s enough,” she said, shocking us both. Her voice shook, but her glare said she meant business. “Lisa’s dead. You’re both covered in blood and you want to spill more? Are you crazy?”

Rachel craned her neck to see me over Ashley. From the rage on her face, I think she seriously considered knocking Ashley out of the way and coming for me anyway, crazy or not. With those baby blue eyes flashing, she looked like a possessed Barbie come to life. I think it was only the blood that stopped her.

“This isn’t over,” she spat at me.

“It is for now,” Ashley said. She gave Rachel a significant look that I hoped didn’t mean we’ll get her later.

“Well, here we are,” Marianne cut in, trying to break the tension.

She pushed open the door to the nurse’s office and led the way. Nurse Henning met us just inside. Her eyes widened as she saw us.

“The VP said blood, but I had no idea— Behind the screens, all of you,” she said. “There are sponges, sanitizing soap and nail brushes back there. Do your best. Hit everything.”

Her concern wasn’t exactly doing wonders for my panic, but she’d gotten a lot set up in a short time. The screens she waved us toward were like the ones they used for scoliosis screening back in elementary school. There were tubs there of sudsy, antiseptic-smelling liquid. Not comforting. A minute after we’d stepped behind the screens, the nurse tapped on the metal framework. “I’ve got a bin here of emergency clothes.” She pushed it behind the screens with her sensible white shoes. “You should all pick something to replace what got bloody. I’ve put plastic bags in the bin as well for your dirty clothes.”

“I’m not wearing someone else’s hand-me-downs,” Rachel protested.

“Well then, you can stay in what you’re wearing until your parents bring you something else. I’m calling all of your parents now. If you want to talk to them, please let me know.”

“Don’t worry,” Rachel said, shooting me a look. “They’ll hear all about it.”

I was sure they would. Rachel was not the kind to suffer in silence.

I couldn’t see the gunk on my back, but I could feel it when I moved and my clothes didn’t, stuck to me like glue. It made me want to tear them all off. I did the best I could with the clean up, contorting myself to reach what I could and then sanitizing my hands to within a layer or two of skin. I kept my shirt on, leaving the bin for those who’d received the bulk of the splatter, so I was the first one to the nurse’s desk. Instead of using her phone, I took my cell into the bathroom. I felt like a little girl calling for her mommy, but I couldn’t think of anything else to do. I was suddenly feeling fragile. If one more thing went wrong today, I might just break. I didn’t want to do it in front of witnesses.

“Mom,” I said, when she answered. “I was wrong. I’m not ready. Please come get me.”

Then I waited on the clinic couch. I thanked Marianne as she left, but aside from that I sat in my own little world trying not to think or feel or cry. By the time Mom came to gather me up, I was sure the other girls thought I’d lost my mind, but I couldn’t seem to care. I ignored their looks and the accusations they threw my way—all except for Ashley, who stayed eerily silent after her earlier intervention. The only thing I reacted to was when Mom and I had to pass close to my locker on the way out of school—close enough to see the janitor’s sandwich boards connected to each other with orange plastic ribbon, cordoning off the area like a crime scene. And in the center, all that blood, looking eerily real, maybe awaiting evidence collection before clean up.

It made me think about Lisa’s death. Supposedly there’d been no blood. When she broke the news, Mom said Lisa had hung herself. In her garage. Over a tarp. Which I didn’t get at first, until I thought of all the cop shows where the bowels loosened in death. Then I could almost see it. Lisa wouldn’t want to leave a mess. Not a physical one, anyway.

It was that “almost” that screwed with me. I still couldn’t imagine Lisa killing herself. Not Lisa.

______________

Buy links:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Books-a-million

Indiebound

Greetings! Hope it’s drier where you all are than it is here. Thunderstorms, pouring rain. A great day to stay in with a good book! Luckily, Barnes & Noble has a list of some of the best new science fiction and fantasy releases of May for your reading pleasure, including Faith Hunter’s latest, COLD REIGN! And if that’s not enough, N.K. Jemisin’s award-winning Broken Earth series has earned another win — this time the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best High Fantasy for THE OBELISK GATE! If you haven’t already started this series, now is a great time to catch up on THE FIFTH SEASON and THE OBELISK GATE before the August release of the stunning conclusion, THE STONE SKY.

Since I’ve promised great reads for a rainy day in my blog header, here are some awesome first pubs and re-releases in sf/f, mystery and suspense that are available right now, no waiting!

 cold reign COLD REIGN by Faith Hunter (Penguin Books, mass market)

(Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Indiebound)

The adventures of Jane Yellowrock continue with a thrilling new installment in the New York Times bestselling series that captures “the essence of urban fantasy” (SF Site).

Jane Yellowrock is a shape-shifting skinwalker…and the woman rogue vampires fear most.

Jane walks softly and carries a big stake to keep the peace in New Orleans, all part of her job as official Enforcer to Leo Pellissier, Master of the City. But Leo’s reign is being threatened by a visit from a delegation of ancient European vampires seeking to expand their dominions.

And there’s another danger to the city. When she hears reports of revenant vampires, loose in NOLA and out for blood, Jane goes to put them down—and discovers there’s something unusual about these revenants. They never should have risen.

Jane must test her strength against a deadly, unnatural magic beyond human understanding, and a ruthless cadre of near-immortals whose thirst for power knows no bounds…

kiss the bricks KISS THE BRICKS by Tammy Kaehler (Poisoned Pen Press, hardcover)

(Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Indiebound)

At the end of the first practice session for the iconic Indianapolis 500 race, Kate Reilly is stunned to discover she was the fastest driver on the track. She’s even more surprised to learn she wasn’t the first woman to top the speed charts in the race’s 106-year history. That feat was accomplished in 1987 by PJ Rodriguez-steady, dedicated, immensely promising-who shocked the racing world and the wider one by committing suicide ten days later.

When the press, bloggers, and social media go crazy over the connection between PJ and Kate, Kate begins to lose her identity-suddenly everyone’s comparing Kate and PJ, calling Kate PJ, and wondering if Kate will kill herself, too. Under siege from various trolls live and digital, Kate feel PJ’s story deeply. So she’s impelled to listen to PJ’s family-which claims PJ did not jump, but was murdered. And she agrees to help them find PJ’s killer and restore her reputation…30 years after the fact.

PJ’s death was a great tragedy; Kate feels it in her bones and believes she is the best person, perhaps the only person, to investigate PJ’s story. What evidence is there? She can interview people at the track who were there in 1987. She can consult the press coverage. And she can marshal up help from “Special Team Kate.” They work in an atmosphere of prejudice and chauvinism, the same that surrounded PJ.

But Kate is at the Indy to run the biggest race of her career. To prepare she fills her days with driving on the track for practice, fulfilling sponsor obligations, promoting the IndyCar Series and as ever, playing peacemaker between the warring sides of her maternal and paternal families.

Before long one suspect in PJ’s death turns up dead, all but confirming PJ was killed. So as Kate prepares to run the biggest race of her life she must narrow down the clues to not one but two murders, all while fighting for her own voice and identity through the storm of media attention. Will the past stay buried? Or will history repeat itself and leave Kate dead?

Kiss the Bricks is the 5th Kate Reilly mystery and takes its title from the Indy winner’s tradition of kissing the track’s Yard of Bricks in tribute to its legendary history.

Apex-144dpi APEX by Ramez Naam (Angry Robot, mass market reissue)

(Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Indiebound)

The Explosive Conclusion to Nexus and Crux Winner of the Philip K. Dick Award

Global unrest spreads through the US, China, and beyond. Secrets and lies set off shockwaves of anger, rippling from mind to mind. Riot police battle neurally-linked protestors. Armies are mobilized. Political orders fall. Nexus-driven revolution is in here.

Against this backdrop, a new breed of post-human children are growing into their powers. And a once-dead scientist, driven mad by her torture, is closing in on her plans to seize planet’s electronic systems, and re-forge everything in her image.

A new Apex species is here. The world will never be the same.

heart breaker HEART BREAKER by Shannon Curtis (Harlequin Australia, hardcover)

(Booktopia, Amazon AU, Dymocks)

She’ll do whatever it takes to track this killer …

Harmony Talbot’s world is destroyed when she arrives home and discovers her cousin’s dead body, left with a single white rose as the killer’s calling card. Lightning shouldn’t strike twice, but this is the second unsolved murder in Harmony’s family. Harmony is determined that this time there will be justice, even if she has to track down the culprit herself.

Homicide detective Bern Knight is good at catching criminals. Though meaningful, his work leaves little time for relationships, and the last thing he needs is a beautiful, bumbling amateur sleuth getting herself into trouble. Whoever committed this crime is no ordinary murderer; he’s a ghost, leaving behind no evidence until more bodies with the same sadistic markers start turning up.

As a digital forensic investigator, Harmony has a special set of skills that she’s fully prepared to use, no matter how much the stern detective is against her interference. Tracking the killer is no easy feat, but Harmony lures him out of hiding. Except now she’s the one in the killer’s crosshairs…

I must have started today’s blog a dozen times, because it’s difficult to think of much else right now beyond concern over the direction our country is headed. (For the record, I’m choosing activism over acceptance. For those like-minded, I’m happy to supply this link of “pro-women, pro-immigrant, pro-Earth, anti-bigotry organizations” you might consider supporting.)

But there is something else front and center of my mind today, and that’s the release of my new novel FAULTLINES. This is a book very close to my heart, perhaps even more so right now given the new wave of hopelessness and abuse many are suffering in the wake of the election. FAULTLINES is a young adult suspense novel – fiction but dealing with issues that are unfortunately all too real.  This weekend I talked with Books, Coffee and Craft News about the need to create. Today I’m over on the Slippery Words blog discussing my need to write this book in particular and talking about some of the themes.  I hope you’ll read along and check back here frequently (or follow me on Twitter or Facebook) for other blog stops, some with giveaways!

I’m also pleased to post up here the cover, quotes, copy and buy links in case you’d like to grab your own copy of FAULTLINES, which releases tomorrow from Bella Rosa Books!

faultlines-front-cover-final “Vivid, suspenseful, and charming, Diver creates a world where anything can happen in this must-read page-turner.” —Carrie Jones, New York Times bestselling author of the Need series

“Faultlines blew me away! A tense, suspenseful read that will break your heart and keep you guessing right up until the very end.” —Amy Christine Parker, author of GATED and ASTRAY

Six months ago Vanessa Raines lost her best friend.

Lisa had changed, pushing away everyone close to her, even Vanessa. She had quit soccer. Started wearing dark and dismal clothes. She refused every offer to talk and suffered whatever she was going through in silence. Now she’s really gone. Suicide they claim, but Vanessa knows that isn’t right. It can’t be.

Vanessa blames herself for letting Lisa chase her off. She wants answers, so that she can put to rest the rumors surrounding Lisa’s death and so that she can move on, heal. But Lisa left no note and the journal she was always scribbling in—which might tell all—is mysteriously missing.

As Vanessa struggles to come to terms with the loss of her friend and to reconstruct the last months of Lisa’s life, someone calling themselves “Poetic Justice” begins taking revenge against those he or she thinks drove Lisa to suicide. Everyone at school believes Vanessa is this mysterious “Poetic Justice”. It’s easy to blame the former best friend, and Vanessa makes an obvious target.

Struggling with her own guilt, Vanessa is determined to ignore the threats and allegations aimed her way. But as Poetic Justice’s vengeance takes a darker turn, retaliation against Vanessa begins to escalate, from cyber bullying to violence, putting both her and the little sister she adores in the line of fire. To protect them both, she has to find out who’s behind the attacks before things turn deadly. And hope she can survive the truth.

Buy links:

Amazon

Kindle

Nook

Books-a-Million

Indiebound

 

I’m so excited that Take Me Away to a Great Read has done the first cover reveal for my new YA suspense Faultlines! This is a novel that is seriously close to my heart, and I hope that you’ll all check it out.  Please feel free to Tweet or otherwise share the link. I’d really love to get a buzz going for this book. Yes, I’d love to get a buzz going for all of my books, but this new direction is really important to me, so I’m willing to beg for your attention!

What’s it about? Well, I’m glad you asked!  Here’s the cover copy:

“Faultlines blew me away! A tense, suspenseful read that will break your heart and keep you guessing right up until the very end.” —Amy Christine Parker, author of GATED and ASTRAY

Six months ago Vanessa Raines lost her best friend.

Lisa had changed, pushing away everyone close to her, even Vanessa. She had quit soccer. Started wearing dark and dismal clothes. She refused every offer to talk and suffered whatever she was going through in silence. Now she’s really gone. Suicide they claim, but Vanessa knows that isn’t right. It can’t be.

Vanessa blames herself for letting Lisa chase her off. She wants answers, so that she can put to rest the rumors surrounding Lisa’s death and so that she can move on, heal. But Lisa left no note and the journal she was always scribbling in—which might tell all—is mysteriously missing.

As Vanessa struggles to come to terms with the loss of her friend and to reconstruct the last months of Lisa’s life, someone calling themselves “Poetic Justice” begins taking revenge against those he or she thinks drove Lisa to suicide. Everyone at school believes Vanessa is this mysterious “Poetic Justice”. It’s easy to blame the former best friend, and Vanessa makes an obvious target.

Struggling with her own guilt, Vanessa is determined to ignore the threats and allegations aimed her way. But as Poetic Justice’s vengeance takes a darker turn, retaliation against Vanessa begins to escalate, from cyber bullying to violence, putting both her and the little sister she adores in the line of fire. To protect them both, she has to find out who’s behind the attacks before things turn deadly. And hope she can survive the truth.

Details:

Publisher: Bella Rosa Books

Formats: Trade Paperback, ISBN 978-1-62268-100-6 and eBook, ISBN 978-1-62268-101-3

Publication: November 15, 2016

Other preorder links will follow, but so far it’s up for the Kindle here!

I was privileged to be interviewed at Pinellas Comic and Maker Con by Scott Ertz and Marissa Schiereck at Plughitzlive.com, and I’m pleased to present it here!  The new book I mention in the interview, releasing November 15th, is FAULTLINES. It’s very near and dear to my heart, and I suspect you’ll be hearing a lot about it in the coming weeks, at least from me!

http://plughitzlive.com/player/episode.php?EpisodeId=1447

Amy Christine Parker is doing a really fun thing for the release of her new young adult novel SMASH & GRAB, which, as you might expect from the name, is a heist novel. She’s asking people who they’d have on their heist crew, and people are tweeting and otherwise posting, using the hashtags #Smash&Grab and #MyHeistCrew. As some of you may know, tweeting is a challenge for me. I’m voluble. I want to reason and give supporting arguments and all that jazz. Thus, I’ve decided on an entire blog post.

So, here’s my heist crew (if they’d have me)!

Ramez Naam: he can plot like a sumbitch, and keep multiple complex threads weaving in and out of each other in a way that would make my head spin. Plus, he’s able to see and present all sides of an issue. Invaluable when it comes to planning a heist, I should think! Also, R.S. Belcher, because I’ve just read his new Golgotha novel QUEEN OF SWORDS (which will knock everyone’s socks off!) and he writes an amazing Anne Bonny. Anyone who’s had Anne Bonny in his head for so long can no doubt pull of a heist almost single-handedly! In fact, it would be incredible to have all of my authors in on the plotting/planning stages. What a think tank that would be!

Big Brian: Full name left out to protect the, uh, innocent. Yes, it’s true, I might have a friend who might once in his misspent youth have been a computer hacker and who would absolutely be part of any crew I’d assemble. Although, he’d have to stay in the background because at six foot six he might be a little conspicuous otherwise!

Amy herself would, of course, need to be part of the crew. I can only assume that having extensively researched SMASH & GRAB she’s learned a thing or two.

As for feet on the ground? Egads, I’m forty-mumble years old. I’m certainly not in any shape for ducking, dodging or outrunning anyone. Let’s see…ah ha! My authors Christina Henry and Chloe Neill (and probably others) run marathons, which blows me away. They’d be fleet on their feet. And there’s Keith R.A. DeCandido, who is a second degree black belt in karate, so he might be able to handle a heist. Oh, and I’d have to have my friend Sal Torres on the team, even if I had to ask him the specifics of his martial art, which it turns out is advanced level wushu…think Jet Li!

Peter Wheeler (aka my husband): Several reasons here. First, I think I’d be divorced if I left him off the list! Second, he’s amazing. He loves puzzles and has a brilliant mind for them. He’s all but an Eagle Scout (finished all the requirements, just never the paperwork) and so he knows an awful lot of MacGyvering. (It’s my blog and I’ll make up words as I please.) In a pinch he’s the first person I’d expect to do something with nothing. A paperclip, some chewing gum and a few wadded up napkins and viola, miracles!

There you have it. Who’s on your heist crew? Comment below, do your own blog, Facebook, Tweet or whathaveyou. Just share in the fun!

And grab SMASH & GRAB when it hits shelves tomorrow.

smash and grab

SMASH & GRAB by Amy Christine Parker (B&N, Amazon, Books-a-million, Random House Children’s Books)

Ocean’s Eleven meets the star-crossed lovers of West Side Story. Grab some popcorn and get ready for an adrenaline-filled heist!

LEXI is a rich girl who loves a good rush. Whether it’s motorcycle racing or BASE jumping off a building in downtown Los Angeles, the only times she feels alive are when she and her friends are executing one of their dares. After her father’s arrest, Lexi doesn’t think twice about going undercover at his bank to steal the evidence that might clear his name. She enlists her hacker brother and her daredevil friends to plan a clever heist.

CHRISTIAN is a boy from the wrong side of the tracks. The local gang has blackmailed him and his friends into robbing banks, and he is desperate for a way out. When the boss promises that one really big job will be the last he ever has to do, Christian jumps at the chance for freedom. In fact, he’s just met a girl at the bank who might even prove useful…

Two heists. One score. The only thing standing in their way is each other.

Told in alternating points of view, this caper is full of romance and fast-paced fun. Hand to fans of Perfect Chemistry, The Conspiracy of Us, and Heist Society.

Quotes:

“This is an action-packed book that will leave you guessing until the very end. Highly recommended.” —Christina Farley, author of the best-selling GILDED series

“This book has a little bit of everything: mystery, love, diverse (and deep) characters, and a lot of heart.” —Raquel Henry, editor, Black Fox Literary Magazine

“What a delightfully fun summer read. Smash and Grab has tons of heisty goodness.” —Boundtoloveya.com

“A fun, adrenaline-filled story full of suspense, blackmail and characters who can’t help but fall for each other along the way!” —Fictionfare.com

“Absolutely one of the most enjoyable reads of the summer! Pure and simple: it’s a heap of fun! Run, don’t walk, to snag yourself a copy!” —Caitlin Bauer, RoyalSocialMedia.com

“Smash and Grab is a unique story about heists…I would recommend this to fans of books like Heist Society by Ally Carter.” —The Candid Cover

“There were many points where I was biting my nails wondering what was going to happen and if they were going to get caught…I really enjoyed this book.” —Once Upon A Twilight

“Entertaining, nicely paced and spiced with romance.” —Ratedreads.com

This is technically the third installment of How I Met My Client, since these posts were inspired by one of our Knight Agency newsletters where I talked about the story of meeting Lynn Flewelling for the first time and had her share the story from her perspective as well.  Not long ago, Christie Golden kicked off the theme here on my blog.  Today I’m very excited to talk about How I Met My Client Amy Christine Parker and to have her talk about how she met her agent (spoiler alert: me)!

Gated_hires_pbackAstray Cvr1smash and grab.jpg

How I Met My Client Amy Christine Parker

I met Amy when I came out to talk with her writers group and subsequently when I attended a meeting of her critique group out here in Florida (where you may or may not know I work from a home office after spending 15 years in Manhattan). Her critique group shared work, and I was impressed with Amy’s writing, particularly her ability to make an impact with her sentences. She had a natural sense of when to use one word sentences or a one sentence paragraph, a natural way with flow and immediacy that really impressed me. But her first idea wasn’t one that I thought would fly.

As Amy mentions in her blog post below, we kept in touch. One day, as I remember it, I asked what she was working on currently. When she told me, I got goosebumps. The story she laid out was about a girl who’d grown up in a cult. The End Times were coming, according to their prophet, and Lyla can’t bring herself to do some of the things he says must be done, like killing others who would threaten their way of life. And as Lyla starts to discover pieces that don’t fit with what the prophet tells them is true, she has reason to fear for her own survival. If Lyla is wrong about the prophet, she might doom herself and everyone she loves, but if she’s right…

You see, chills. I asked her to send it to me when she finished, already dying to read it.

My e-mail archive doesn’t go back far enough for me to check and be sure, but I believe I began reading the complete on a Wednesday night and that by mid-day Thursday I e-mailed Amy asking whether she wanted to meet Friday for coffee to discuss. See, I was halfway through and already knew I had something special here. I strongly suspected that I would take this on, but I had to finish first, just in case things fell apart at the end. I was so enamored, though, that I knew that even if we hit that worst-case scenario, we could discuss revisions and brainstorm fixes and I’d ask for a revise and resubmit. Well, I’m happy to say that things did not fall apart and I absolutely fell in love with the novel. (Although I did, of course, have some thoughts on how to make it even stronger.)

We met for coffee that Friday and discussed the book, at the time called THE SILO, and by the time the ice was melting in our drinks (latte for me, black tea lemonade for Amy), I had a new client and Amy had an agent.

Next came the revision and the submissions and the waiting, which is always the worst part of the job. However, in this case my enthusiasm for the book was so contagious we received some really quick reads and almost instant interest. One auction later, we’d sold the book and a sequel to Random House Children’s Books, where they came to be called GATED and ASTRAY. Plus, Amy’s got a third suspenseful YA novel, SMASH & GRAB coming July 19th.

I’m so pleased at the way it’s all worked out!

And now, here’s our story from Amy’s perspective:

How I Met My Agent

By Amy Christine Parker

Have you ever met someone and just known that you were meant to meet them? I am a pretty pragmatic person, but the moment I was introduced to Lucienne that’s exactly how I felt. In my gut I knew she would play some part in my writer’s journey. I had no premonition that she would one day be my agent—that seemed like way too much to hope for at the time given where I was in terms of skill—but I did feel like our paths crossing was not accidental.

I was fairly new to writing and was attending a local writers group. All I knew about publishing I had literally Googled. Green doesn’t even begin to describe me! But, I had an overwhelming desire to write and to one day see my work on book shelves. Getting the chance to meet a real live agent—in Florida no less—was a dream come true!

Lucienne had been invited to my writers group by one of the other members. I was so nervous I could barely think straight, but Lucienne was warm and engaging. It was easy to feel comfortable around her. She read some of our work, made comments then shared some of her own writing. I was blown away by what she brought to read and by the advice she gave. That night I left feeling inspired to work harder than ever to hone my craft.

Afterwards, I began following Lucienne on social media and regularly read this blog, commenting when I enjoyed something she said or wrote. Because we live relatively close to each other, she visited my writers group several more times. Gradually, we became friends. What impressed me most was how passionate she is about agenting, her clients, and books. She loves what she does and it shows. The more I got to know her, the more I became convinced that I would be very, very fortunate to have her one day offer me representation.

When it came time to query my first novel, she was at the top of my list. That first novel wasn’t ready for publication and was rejected by every agent I queried including Lucienne, but she took the time to let me know that she thought I had potential. She even offered to look at my next novel when it was ready. Seven months later it was and I queried her first, exclusively. I knew I’d benefit from waiting to query anyone else until she weighed in. Luckily for me, she made an offer! I’ve never said yes to someone so fast in my entire life (not even my husband, but don’t tell him that).

We’ve worked together for about four years now and she’s closed deals for the book she offered on and three more since. I couldn’t be happier. I am keenly aware of how blessed I am to have met her the way I did. Most writers never have the opportunity to get to know their prospective agents so thoroughly before they agree to representation. I am thankful to work with her and to be able to call her my friend.