Cover Reveal! Hollywood Homicide

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As you guys might know I’m a big supporter of We Need Diverse Books and especially fond of diverse book covers! But all this enthusiasm shouldn’t be restricted to books for kids and teens, so I’m pretty excited to be part of a cover reveal for Kellye Garrett‘s Hollywood Homicide, a murder mystery set in one of my favorite cities, Los Angeles.

Just look at the pretty:


You don’t see many illustrated covers anymore and I for one hope they are making a comeback. I love the way the light reflects on her hair. It’s moody and evocative, while still being fresh and sexy.

Here’s some more info about the book and author:

Title: Hollywood Homicide

Book 1 in the Detective By Day Series

Publisher: Midnight Ink

Release Date: August 8, 2017

Book Blurb:

Dayna Anderson doesn’t set out to solve a murder. All the semi-famous, mega-broke black actress wants is to help her parents keep their house. After witnessing a deadly hit-and-run, she figures pursuing the fifteen-grand reward isn’t the craziest thing a Hollywood actress has done for some cash.

But what starts as simply trying to remember a speeding car soon blossoms into a full-on investigation. As Dayna digs deeper into the victim’s life, she wants more than just reward money. She’s determined to find the poor woman’s killer too. When she connects the accident to a notorious Hollywood crime spree, Dayna chases down leads at paparazzi hot spots, celeb homes and movie premieres. She loves every second—until someone tries to kill her.

And there are no second takes in real life.

kellye-garrettAbout Kellye Garrett

Kellye Garrett spent 8 years working in Hollywood, including a stint writing for the CBS drama Cold Case. People were always surprised to learn what she did for a living—probably because she seemed way too happy to be brainstorming ways to murder people. A former magazine editor, Kellye holds a B.S. in magazine writing from Florida A&M and an MFA in screenwriting from USC’s famed film school. Having moved back to her native New Jersey, she spends her mornings commuting to Manhattan for her job at a leading media company—while still happily brainstorming ways to commit murder. Her first novel, Hollywood Homicide, will be released by Midnight Ink in August 2017. It’s the first book in the Detective by Day series.

Connect with Kellye

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Blog

You can pre-order the e-book and print edition on Amazon.

My Hit Rate Is Surprisingly High

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I’ve  just been cleaning out my blog a bit, deleting a few things with dead links or out of date information and such. When I got to the first months of this blog I found this post from September 2011, in which I confessed having up to seven works in progress (WIPS) going at once. Looking back at this post and the WIPs listed I realized I have a pretty good hit rate when it comes to those projects. It’s not 100% by any stretch, but it’s still pretty good. This is what I wrote:

So what are the projects in my current “rule of seven”? I have a middle grade ghost story; one (3/4 complete). I have a lower middle grade realism ; two (3/4 complete). I have a YA sci fi; three (just started). I have a sports novel ; four (almost done and sold). I have a non fiction for young readers ; five (proposal 3/4 complete). I have a complete MG that I’m marketing; six. I have another completed YA verse novel that I’m marketing: seven.

And here’s how all those projects turned out.

  1. Middle grade ghost story – permanently abandoned due to an untenable premise.
  2. Lower middle grade realism – This is Pandas on the Eastside, just published this month.
  3. YA Sci-fi – This is Zero Repeat Forever, which my agent sold in a “significant” deal. It comes out next year.
  4. Sport Novel – this is Wicket Season, my first novel, published in 2012
  5. Non-fiction for young readers – I abandoned this project. It’s a great idea but I was never able to quite formulate it. Maybe one day I’ll take it up again
  6. Completed middle grade – Permanently bottom drawered. It might be salvageable but I doubt it.
  7. Completed YA – this is Audacious, which was published, part of a duology in 2013.

So that’s four out of seven? Not bad by my measure. And somewhere between now and then I managed to write and sell two other books, The Frail Days and Pinch Me. Now that I’m an established author, I still have a number of projects on the go at once, and I hope that my hit rate gets even better. In other words, I don’t have time to waste on books that will never publish, so I have to be more discerning. So I don’t jinx it, here are my current rule of seven WIPs:

  1. Zero Repeat Forever – yes, this book is close to being locked but only just, so I’m leaving it on the list.
  2. The sequel to Zero Repeat Forever. Doesn’t have a firm title yet and is in outline stage. I hope to write the first draft during Nanowrimo .
  3. Another YA sci-fi, about 75% complete. It’s demented, you guys. Utterly demented.
  4.  A adult contemporary romance. First draft complete. My agent read it and loved it, but wants changes that I agree with. When will I get the time? Good question.
  5. A non-fiction picture book – I have news coming about this soon. No doubt more drafts and work will be needed.
  6. An adult sexy sci-fi dystopian romance. I wrote two parts of this proposed trilogy of novellas and stalled out 10% of the way into the third. I’d dearly love to finish it.
  7. Another contemporary YA, about 30% done. One day I’ll finish it and it will BREAK YOUR HEART.

So check with me in five years, guys, and we’ll see if my hit rate reaches 100%.

Spooktacular Giveaway

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spooktacular-2016Happy October everyone! Just a quick post to invite you all to enter my annual Spooktacular giveaway: You’ll find it here.


The prizes include Amazon $$ and copies of my two latest books. It’s part of any amazing Blog hop involving over 100 authors and bloggers, each doing their own giveaway. Click on the giveaway to find the list of all the blogs.


YA Scavenger Hunt Fall 2016


Welcome to YA Scavenger Hunt! This bi-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors…and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize–one lucky winner will receive one book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 72 hours!

I’m celebrating the Scavenger Hunt with my very own giveaway!

Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are eight orange-teamcontests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the ORANGE TEAM–but there is also a red team, a blue team, a gold team, a green team, a teal team, a blue team, a purple team, and a pink team for a chance to win a whole different set of books!

If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.

Check out all the books that are included!


Directions: Below, you’ll notice that I’ve hidden my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the ORANGE team, and then add them up (don’t worry, you can use a calculator!).

Entry Form: Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.

Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by DATE, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.


klothToday, I am hosting Kimberly Loth on my website for the YA Scavenger Hunt!

Kimberly Loth can’t decide where she wants to settle down. She’s lived in Michigan, Illinois, Missouri, Utah, California, Oregon, and South Carolina.
She finally decided to make the leap and leave the U.S. behind for a few years. After living in Cairo, Egypt for 2 years, she’s decided to go to the Far East and currently calls Shenzhen, China home. She loves romantic movies, chocolate, roses, and crazy adventures.

Find out more information by checking out her website or find more about the her book here!

Seventeen-year-old Aspen is a skydiving, rock climbing, adrenaline junky. All her life, she’s been fascinated by the dragons who roam near her home in Yellowstone Park. Yes, Dragons. Though no human has ever gotten close enough to touch one.

Except Aspen.

While most people avoid the national parks because of the resident dragons, Aspen spends most of her free time in search of the feared and misunderstood creatures. For her, studying the dragons is a way to escape a painful past and avoid getting too close to anyone.

She’d rather track dragons in the wild and through the lens of her camera than talk to real people. But then Aspen meets a hot new guy at school, Sid King. He’s the one person she’s ever met who shares her obsession with all things dragon. But even as she feels strangely drawn to the mysterious boy, she senses he’s hiding his own set of dark and powerful secrets.

When hikers start turning up dead in the park, everyone suspects the formidable predators. Unless Aspen can prove their innocence, every one of her beloved dragons is in danger of eradication.

After Aspen and Sid uncover a sinister plot behind the brutal attacks, Aspen can no longer deny that Sid somehow knows more about the deaths than he should and the secrets they both keep threaten to rip their lives apart forever.

Wow. This story sounds great. I’m particularly interested in the main character’s age, which is 17. Seventeen is such a great age. I miss being seventeen.

Click here for a free sneak peek at the first three chapters of Obsidian

And don’t forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of books by me, Kimberly Loth, and more! To enter, you need to know that my favorite number is 17. Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the blue team and you’ll have all the secret code to enter for the grand prize!


To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author! Alexander Sirowy!

Look at all the other great authors and books on the Orange Team! Don’t miss out! And don’t forget to tweet the fun!  


My Big News: Rejection, Conviction and Lots of Zeroes


By now some of you have heard the news that my YA novel Zero Repeat Forever earned me a six-figure two-book deal with Simon & Schuster. I don’t really know what to say about this except…


As you might expect I’m pretty happy about my deal. I’m supremely grateful to my new agent, Barbara Poelle of the Irene Goodman Agency, and I’m super excited to be working with Simon & Schuster editor Zareen Jaffrey. I have a lot of work ahead of me. Right now we’re just starting on edits to book one in this series. After that I’ll have to write book two. Then there will be edits to that and so on. Not to mention all the promotional stuff I’ll be doing.

But I want everyone who reads this to know a little bit about the work behind me too. I started writing this book in 2011. It got pushed aside for many reasons, not the least of which is that I’ve written and sold five books in the meantime, one each year for 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and one on the way this year – Pandas on the Eastside.

So Zero Repeat Forever is something that has been percolating for a long time. Early this year I figured out that I finally had it in the condition I wanted it – this was after two “page one rewrites” (that is, completely starting the book again, from page one – twice) and countless revisions (based on multiple readers’ notes). Having it in a good state to sell put me in a position where I needed to make some hard decisions. Perhaps the hardest was changing agents. I’ve worked with a lot of agents over the years as a screenwriter and novelist (and as the mother to a child actress) and I’ve learned how important it is to have the right agent to match your goals.

I knew what I was looking for. I spent weeks perfecting my query. I sent it out to a long list of agents. I had A LOT of rejections. A LOT. I wanted every agent who read my query to drop everything they were doing and demand to read my manuscript but that’s not how it turned out. Agents are busy. They have individual tastes and stuff they are and aren’t looking for. Most of the agents I queried were not looking for what I was selling. That’s the way it goes.

If you’re an aspiring writer reading this and you take away one thing, let it be this:

YOU WILL BE REJECTED. A LOT. Just as a visual aid, consider that the bulk of querying – probably about 80-90% — has been done by email. Also consider that about 50% of queries I sent by post never got any reply at all. So bear that in mind the below represent the rejections I received on about 5-10% of my queries over the years. This, in other words, is 5-10% of my rejection letters:


The moral: NEVER, EVER GIVE UP. I believed there was an audience for my book and I stuck with that belief. I knew if anything was going to be my breakthrough book it would be Zero Repeat Forever. And it was. Because among those many rejections were a few agents who saw what I saw and my beta readers saw. Adventure, romance, intrigue, suspense, originality.

A book that would sell.

I knew Barbara Poelle was the right agent for me the first time we spoke on the phone. After the usual discussion of her thoughts on the book etc I took a deep breath and confessed my dream scenario for Zero Repeat Forever.

“I want a multi-book deal, sold at auction for six figures to a big five publisher”

I expected her to snort, but I was wrong. I don’t think Barbara is a snorter so much. She very calmly said: “I think that’s reasonable.” I knew from her track record that she could do for me what she did for NYT Bestseller Lauren DeStefano amongst others. I signed with her the next day. Ten days later I had a publishing deal.

A two book deal

Sold at auction

For six figures

With Simon & Schuster.

I would never say “everyone can do what I did”. That’s the kind of misleading doublespeak Kindle marketing gurus spit out to get you to buy their Kindle books about marketing Kindle books. I’m not sure if there are some people who could never write a publishable book. But I do know that some books just aren’t publishable. Some of my books will never be published. They’re not good.

And to get published and/or sell books you need two things:

  1. a good publishable book
  2. perseverance.

You have to find people who will tell you the truth about your book. You have to listen to people who criticize your book. You have to make your book better. And you have to not give up. Because at the end of the day there are really only two reasons why you might not be successful as an author:

  1. Your book is not good.
  2. You gave up.

So that’s my advice summed up. If you want to be a successful author write good books and don’t give up.

Simple, right?

The Perils of Flying While Female

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Adult couple traveling in an airplane

For someone like me, social media is a scary and unpredictable place. As much as I love being a reasonably well-known author, I don’t really want to be a well-known person. That is, I don’t want to share most of the non-fiction of my life. In fact the idea is slightly terrifying. I make characters up so I don’t have to let people know me. I guess this is why most of my Facebook posts are just silly things I thought of after two glasses of wine.

Sometimes my fingers twitch to comment on something that everyone is commenting on, to share something that everyone is sharing, to express outrage when everyone is expressing outrage. But I’ve never been one to follow the pack. So much social media seems to be about people angling for approval, acceptance or membership in some ephemeral justice club, the entrance criteria of which change day by day. It starts to feel like a race that no one can ever win, that never ends. It feels pathological to me.

But today, someone posted a story I can’t stop thinking about. No it’s not #CeciltheLion and no it’s not more horrific details about #SandraBland. It’s this story, about a female passenger being asked to move on an airplane because an ultra-orthodox Jewish man didn’t want to sit next to a woman. It seems a small thing, we’ve all changed seats on planes for various reasons – to accommodate a family or someone with a disability for example – but in those cases anyone would be asked if they minded moving, not just women. The more I tried to get on with my day the more I found this story haunted me. Not because it happened – I read stories of discrimination and abuse against women everyday – but because of the way other passengers reacted. Because of the way the world reacted.

Was it with outrage and solidarity like in this story?  Was it with calls for boycotts and lawsuits like in this story? It was neither. The passengers, from all reports, mostly reacted with frustration that the flight was being delayed. Social media, apart from one of my feminist friends who can always be relied upon, has been mostly silent. And this is not an isolated incident. This has been happening with increasing frequency for some time. Nor is it limited to plane travel. But no one seems to care.

Maybe it’s because people think that this is not important; after all the female passengers in question still get to fly. The female riders of the publically funded bus still get to ride – at the back of the bus, like Rosa Parks did, until she got snippy about it.

That was sarcasm by the way, in case you’re uncertain.

The reason it affected me so much today is because it reminded me of a story I read long ago (before social media) about Rick Swope, who saved a chimpanzee from drowning at the Detroit Zoo in 1990. When asked why he attempted something so dangerous (chimpanzees can be lethally strong) this was Swope’s reply: ‘Well, I looked into his eyes. And it was like looking into the eyes of a man. And the message was, “Won’t anybody help me?”’

That’s how I would have felt on that flight. I would have been thinking: “I’m a human being. Won’t someone stand up for me?”

Somehow, in 2015, we’ve arrived in a world where the rights of trans women to use the restroom of their choice, of lesbian women to have wedding cakes, or of Muslim women to drink a whole can of Diet Coke seem to have more universal support than the rights of any woman to just, you know, exist in a public place.  I’m FOR restroom equality. I’m even, in theory for cake and coke equality (though both of these things are bad for you); I’m just wondering where are the voices of outrage about the everyday, universal, deeply ingrained and millennia old micro and macro aggressions against women – straight women, gay women, trans, queer and bi women, Muslim women, Jewish women, Black women, white women, Asian women, women with disabilities, single women, married women, young women and old women – women who are victimized simply for being women.  It happens everywhere, every day, in a million different ways, for a million different “justifications”.

Won’t anybody help us?

What happened to the feminist movement?  It seems these days to be mostly about the rights of young women to dress like hookers at school and bare their nipples in public pools. What happened to wage equality? To maternity leave? To reproductive rights? What happened to the simple idea that a woman is entitled the same rights and privileges as a man? To the same dignity? In public, in private, everywhere. Step ONE is to treat us like PEOPLE.

It is horribly insulting to be asked to move to accommodate the preferences of a passenger who doesn’t want to sit next to “a person like you”. Imagine the outrage if a white supremacist passenger asked to not be seated next to a black person (in fact there is a, likely apocryphal, story about this floating around social media). What if someone didn’t want to sit next to a Muslim, or an Orthodox Jew? Social media flew into a rage over men being asked not to sit next to unaccompanied minors despite the fact that numerous cases of children being molested in just such circumstances exist. And yet, after extensive searching I have yet to come up with a single incident involving a woman damning the soul of an Orthodox Jew or any other man with her Jezebel ways on a plane.

The value of the misogynist preferences of certain religions outweighs the value of the dignity of women. That sickens me. The irony of it is that literally the ONLY valid justification for wanting to choose the gender of your seat mate would be for women to prefer to sit next to another woman to avoid the harassment most of us have endured on commercial flights at least once. I’m 48 years old, fat and antisocial. The last time I flew, a man of about 25, on learning I was an author, eagerly  shared a page of a book he was reading with me – it was a sex scene.

I didn’t ask to move. I just laughed and went back to my own book.

Gabrielle’s Travelling Road Show: Part 2

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audaciouslg1.jpgIn case I forgot to mention it, I’m currently a nominee for a White Pine Award for my verse novel, AUDACIOUS. So I’m hitting the road again, this time to Toronto, Ontario.

I’ll be giving a workshop in the Festival of Trees on May 12th and I’ll be visiting two Toronto Public Library Branches on May 13th: Maria Schukha Branch Library at around 9:15 and the McGregor Park Branch Library at 4:30.

If anyone has any other ideas about what I can do in Toronto I’m all ears. I arrive late on the 10th and leave midday on the 14th.

Gabrielle Prendergast – The Travelling Road Show

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Readers, I’m hitting the road tomorrow and it just occurred to me to let you know. As some of you may have heard, I was recently nominated for a BC Book Prize – The Sheila A. Egoff Prize for Children’s Literature. The nominated book is CAPRICIOUS and in all sincerity I am humbled and honored. As one of the nominees I’m doing a little tour of BC, starting tomorrow.

As such I have a couple of events coming up in Regional BC. If you happen to live in those regions I would love to see you. here are the details:

Fort St. John EviteKitimat EviteSmithers Evite

I Am Everything and Everyone That Matters Right Now

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This blog post is a perfectly understandable reaction to the fact that no one has been paying much attention to me lately. I don’t mean my family and friends and people that I should actually expect to pay attention to me, I mean the world. I mean everyone. Everyone stop what you’re doing and look at me.

Since I’m a writer, this first paragraph will be the obligatory paragraph bemoaning, in a number of variously odious ways, the death of literature. I will begin by castigating anyone who enjoys reading books for teenagers, including and especially teenagers themselves. I will name-drop a selection of books I’m pretty sure I read but about which I remember nothing, and loudly declare that they have more literary worth than several other books of which I personally own three copies each. At least one of the books I disparage will be written by a woman now worth more than the gross national product of Lithuania. I will repeatedly point out that these are very Badly Written Books, as though there is some machine somewhere that measures badly-writteness in exact numbers.

Having found that my despair over the death of literature cannot be summed up in one paragraph, I will continue, this time in a brief paragraph comprised of a witty take-down of eReaders and eBooks. I will pepper it with stories of people I have observed on public transit and how the world was a much better place when I could see that the handsome, bespectacled, be-goateed boy across from me on the Yonge Street Night Bus was reading Life Before Man. Despite the fact that I never take public transit (in fact I rarely leave my house) I will recall wistfully looking at a man in a pea coat and speculating with some horror that for I could tell from his featureless black eReader, he might be reading Atlas Shrugged. The world was just a more open and friendly place when men were men and books were books, I will say.

And now, having said that last I will have to depart from the topic of books briefly to loudly declare my support for anyone whose gender or sexual orientation differs from my own cis-gendered femaleness, with the conspicuous exception of those who were born and remain male, of course, because they don’t need any support. This whole topic will fizzle out rather quickly because it will become horribly apparently that I don’t know what the fuck I’m talking about. Hoping no one noticed, I will move back into the realm of publishing, where at least I can claim some level of, if not exactly expertise, then at least experience.

And speaking of publishing, I will hoe into “self-publishing” as though it is the source of both the ebola virus and that song from Frozen that no one will ever forget. I will begin by brazenly criticizing a very successful book I haven’t read and the associated movie I haven’t seen. I will go on to say that this book I haven’t read is “Very Badly Written”, because presumably I have taken the time to run it through the “write-o-meter” mentioned above, and I will end by pointing out that the hero of this badly written book is in fact a rapist (as though to say that a well-written book about a rapist would be okay, or even a badly written book NOT about a rapist). I will quote several lines from this book out of context that support this accusation. I will not take the agency of the female author, protagonist or readers into account. I will make it clear that I believe most women are too weak or stupid to know when they have or have not been raped.

No, I will say. This is what it is and that’s final.

Now, having done my due diligence on the book du jour, I will broaden my ire to include all of self-publishing (despite the fact that the book in question was not self-published). I will say a number of things about indie authors. They are talentless hacks, for example, or they are ruining publishing. They don’t charge enough for their books, I will complain, as though it’s the author’s choice to have their big six publisher take 95% of the cover price. Indie publishing is not real, publishing, I will conclude. Real publishing has men and reviews in the New York Times and university professors for god’s sake. Does indie publishing have any of those things? DOES IT?

Having exhausted the topic of publishing will not weary me, because for a blogger in search of attention no topic is too unlikely. For this reason I will briefly speculate on the color of a dress and what it says about us, apart from the fact that for a couple of blissful days nothing happened in the world involving rape, racism or Islamophobia (often all three) and we were reduced to discussing something so brain-meltingly dumb that it was as though the entire world was being punked by some alien race.

And speaking of racism and Islamophobia, this is the paragraph in which I will not pass up an opportunity to express to the world how charmingly liberal I am, despite being white, straight, nominally Christian, English speaking and middle class. I will achieve this by quoting a lot of people who are none of these things in a way that make it seem like I really understand where they’re coming from. I mean I really get it, you know? I will make sure that it seems like my appreciation of these under-represented voices is just as important as the voices themselves, if not more so. Because I’m so charmingly white and liberal.

At this point I will nervously realize that all the books I mentioned as being worthy in my second paragraph were written by white men, so I will go back and add Beloved by Tony Morrison and White Teeth by Zadie Smith. I will feel rather smug about the fact that I have in fact read both of those, as though reading a book a by a black woman is some kind of revolutionary act for a white middle class Canadian housewife. Sing it sista, I will think to myself as I write, though of course I won’t write those words, because that would be appropriation.

My tone might take on a certain rantiness at this point, because I will begin to realize that in fact I truly don’t know what the fuck I’m talking about on most subjects, not just the ones addressed in this blog post. I will rant about many things ranging from the NSA to GMOs, the NDP and PDAs. In fact this paragraph will resemble nothing more than a bowl of organic gluten free vegan alphabet soup as I vainly search for that one final chunk of witty bloggerly wisdom that will fix me firmly in the zeitgeist du jour of the day. Live long and prosper, I will bleat desperately. The dress is blue! No, white! No, black! No, gold!

I am the dress. I will conclude, inscrutably. All of us are the dress.

Rant over.