Monthly Archive: October 2015

October, briefly

October has been a busy, fun, productive, and beautiful month. The air is crisp, the leaves look like they’re a second away from catching fire, the Halloween candy has been purchased (and eaten already—sorry, trick-or-treaters)… and there are basically two months until FIRSTS comes out.

Funnily enough, I’m not nearly as stressed out about that as I thought I would be. I feel like after months of struggling to achieve some sort of mental balance, I’m finally there. (Well, most days I’m mostly there, anyway. On the “other” days, you can find me zoned out in front of Netflix in ratty pajamas.) After being inspired by this article, I’m not as glued to my social media and have been focusing on creating instead.

October has also been a month of firsts for FIRSTS. First trade reviews, first giveaways, first book trailer. I want to thank everyone who has shown me such tremendous support and excitement for FIRSTS. I’m overwhelmed by your generosity and want to hug every single one of you. The writing community is beyond amazing, and I’m so grateful!

This month, I have been…

“Mom, this is more fun for you than it is for me…”

Working on: I’m still revising the same WIP that was giving me grief last month, and fast-drafting something else that has that same magical ease to it that FIRSTS did. It’s the first project I have drafted since then wherein the voice has been something I can slip into and understand almost immediately, right down to the character’s core. (Hopefully I didn’t just jinx myself!) Now that I’m making sure I carve out time for new writing every day, my head feels so much clearer than it did in previous months. I think this is helping me to get into a groove and stoke my creativity, which is exactly what I needed to feel like myself again.

Reading: October has spoiled me for Sweet Sixteens ARCs. I have been so lucky to be able to read five incredible debuts over the past month, each of which I’m so excited about. I’ll be posting reviews of these books closer to their release dates, but here’s a bit about each to tantalize you!

First up was a trio of books by my Sixteen to Read sisters, starting with SUMMER OF SUPERNOVAS by Darcy Woods. In this one-of-a-kind debut, Wilamena Carlisle puts her faith in the stars. But when Wil fears that her Fifth House—the house of relationships and love—is doomed, she’s on a mission to find her perfect astrological match before time runs out. Problem is, she falls for two brothers—one whom the charts deem right, and the other who couldn’t be more wrong. And Wil made a promise to honor her mother’s legacy, so she’s not taking any chances with cosmically doomed love.

Next up was CROSSING THE LINE by Meghan Rogers. In this action-packed thriller, Jocelyn Steely was kidnapped when she was just a little girl and made to work as a spy in North Korea. When her agency sends her to infiltrate the group her spy parents once worked for in the United States, Jocelyn sees an opportunity for freedom—and to expose KATO, her North Korean agency, for its horrible practices and robbing kids like her of their childhoods. But Jocelyn doesn’t exactly get a warm welcome in the United States—especially not from the agent known as Scorpion, a boy she has faced off with in the field more than once. With barely anyone trusting her, Jocelyn has to finish what she started—and uncover new and unsettling information in the process.

Then came SUFFER LOVE by Ashley Herring Blake, a book I had long been suffering for (can’t promise I won’t use that pun again… sorry!). It’s the stunning story of hurt, betrayal, secrets, and two broken families after an affair and a door littered with ugly slips of paper, and the raw emotion from the fallout literally emanates from the pages. Star-crossed lovers Hadley and Sam are angry and sad and feel like their worlds have been altered beyond repair, and they find some solace in their attraction to each other and the connection that follows. But Sam knows what Hadley doesn’t and keeping this huge truth from her may ruin everything.

THE WAY I USED TO BE by Amber Smith was a debut I was coveting since I first heard about it. And I’m still at a loss for words when I try to describe it. After her brother’s best friend—someone she thought she trusted, someone she once thought she loved—rapes her, Eden buries the truth, along with the person she used to be. Told in four parts, from Eden’s freshman to senior years of high school, allows the reader to see that nothing goes away.

I finished the month with SYMPTOMS OF BEING HUMAN by Jeff Garvin. Protagonist Riley Cavanaugh, is gender fluid and identifies as both a boy and a girl, depending on the day. Some mornings, Riley wakes up and feels more girl; others, Riley’s compass is pointing toward boy. Although Riley’s parents don’t know the truth, Riley starts a blog anonymously, under the name “Alix,” to share what it’s like to be a gender fluid teenager. As Alix, Riley is open and honest and real, and begins to realize the number of gender fluid and LGBT people looking for someone who understands—but Riley is still waiting for the right time to come out in real life. To add to this, Riley has just transferred schools and struck up a friendship—and maybe more— with enigmatic Bec, who has secrets of her own.

Watch this space for more about each of these brave, original, brilliant books!

Watching: My husband and I fell into the rabbit hole that is Scandal and we are basically obsessed. Twisty plot, political intrigue, and high stakes aside, I would watch just to covet the beautiful Kerry Washington’s enviable collection of Prada bags and gorgeous coats. Seriously, can I please borrow Olivia Pope’s wardrobe?

While I’m not looking forward to the impending snow (if I ignore it, will it not happen?) and cold weather, I am excited for what the next couple of months will bring. Soon, I’ll be sharing something really fun related to FIRSTS that I’ve been working on for awhile and bursting to let you all in on… so stay tuned!

Now presenting… the FIRSTS book trailer!

Yesterday, I let you all know that there will be a FIRSTS book trailer. Now, I’m happy to share the finished product! Without further ado, here is the FIRSTS book trailer! I hope you enjoy this glimpse into what goes on in Mercedes’ bedroom– and what runs through her head before she decides to let another virgin into it.



I also promised that there would be something fun to coincide with the trailer, and what could be more fun than a giveaway? Up for grabs is a signed ARC of FIRSTS, a pair of “Converse” socks, FIRSTS lip gloss, and a “We’ve Got Great Chemistry” keychain that Mercedes would definitely use for her Jeep keys. Enter below– the giveaway lasts until Friday, October 23 and is open to all.

Good luck, and thanks for watching!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A FIRSTS sneak peek…

Writers work with words. They’re our paintbrushes, our voices, our tools. We form mental pictures with them, create images, make up entire worlds and populate them all in our heads. And while we can see all those details as vividly as if they were right in front of us, it takes a lot of work to share our visions. One thing I especially love about words is how each reader can interpret them differently. The way I picture a certain character may be a lot different than how someone else sees him or her. This is one thing I’m most excited for– how people will visualize FIRSTS when it comes out.

But in the meantime? I wanted to channel my vision and share it through a different medium.

Through a book trailer.

I’m happy to announce that I have been working with a talented and creative team to bring FIRSTS to life in book trailer form. In the very near future, I’ll be sharing the end result with everyone. In the meantime, here is a photo from the shoot. I’m not sure if it’s true that a picture says a thousand words… I’ll let you decide for yourself!

Stay tuned… I’m planning something fun to coincide with the release of this trailer, and you won’t want to miss it! (Hint, hint: it may be a giveaway…)

xo Laurie

Booklist reviews FIRSTS!

I’m so honored that Booklist reviewed FIRSTS! This review will appear in the November 1st issue and will run online October 27th, but I’m giving my lovely readers an advance look by posting it here too.

I’m beyond thrilled that Booklist had this to say about my book:

“Mercedes manages to be both tough and sympathetic, and this look at human connection, female sexuality, and stigma is welcome and well managed.”

You can read the full review below!

Psst… if you’re a US reader and want to win a copy of FIRSTS, my amazing publisher is currently running a Goodreads giveaway! Twenty copies are up for grabs. Check it out here!


Publisher’s Weekly reviews FIRSTS!

Happy Monday, everyone! (And for all of you Canadians out there… Happy Thanksgiving!)

I’m proud to share the Publisher’s Weekly trade review that has come in for FIRSTS! I read Publisher’s Weekly on a regular basis, so I’m thrilled that they reviewed FIRSTS. My favorite excerpt from the review, which made me grin from ear to ear because it’s exactly what I wanted to accomplish with FIRSTS, is this one:

“Debut author Flynn raises worthwhile questions about teenage sexuality and perceived promiscuity.”

You can read the full review here:

A first for FIRSTS

I’m proud to announce that my first (no pun intended this time, I swear!) trade review for FIRSTS is in from Kirkus Reviews! Kirkus is one of the most trusted voices in book discovery and review and I’m honored that they reviewed FIRSTS. Seeing my book cover on the Kirkus site was a new milestone as a debut author!

My favorite excerpt from the review: “The novel exposes some of the double standards inherent in our purity-obsessed culture…” Since this is exactly one of the things I set out to do when I was writing FIRSTS, I was especially thrilled to see this picked out!

You can read the full review here:

Three months out

Happy Monday, everyone! (Yes, I realize that the concept of a happy Monday may be somewhat of an oxymoron… but in this case, I really mean it!)

Today isn’t just any Monday, although it did start with the same copious amounts of coffee. Today is October 5, which means FIRSTS comes out in exactly three months! To celebrate, I’m doing a giveaway over on my Twitter account. Follow me @laurellizabeth and retweet this tweet by end of day Thursday, October 8 for a chance to win all this stuff:

The swag pack includes a signed ARC of FIRSTS, “Converse” socks, a beaker necklace that would make Mercedes proud, and some bookmarks and postcards!

Good luck everyone! May the odds be ever in your favor!

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