Artemis Grey’s Path to Publication Post

All right everyone, this is the post I’ve waited for. The post that has me crying the happiest ugly cry ever imaginable as I type these words.

My critique partner, Artemis Grey, is here to tell her Path to Publication story!!!!

*wipes tears with sleeve*

I’m crying because I’ve believed in her for so long, and really am so very very happy this book has finally been published!

Artemis and I “met” forever ago (years!!) when she commented on a blog post I did for Pimp My Novel, and we’ve stayed in contact ever since. Public comments on blogs moved to private chats via Facebook and emails, and then one day we exchanged pages, and the rest is history.

She was vital to making me not look like a complete idiot with the horse and injury scenes in all three of my books, totally “gets” my characters and doesn’t hesitate to call me out when they or any part of my story lines aren’t flowing well, and taught me the epic phrase, “Awesomesauce”.

*wipes more tears on sodden sleeve*

And now, without further ado, here is Artemis Grey…


IMG_7981 (1)First off, I want to thank Christi for hosting me on her Path to Publication today. Also, anyone who’s read and enjoyed Catskin, take a moment to also thank Christi, because I’m not being dramatic when I say that Catskin would not have been published without Christi. I literally would never have submitted to Clean Reads if not for Christi’s foot on my tuchus, shoving me onward toward publication.

My journey began in childhood, with the oral stories told to me by my grandmother on my Mom’s side of the family, and my Great Great Aunt, and Great Aunts on my Dad’s side of the family. Mom’s side brought tales of mountain hollows, witchy women, ghosts and superstition, both that of Appalachian folk and of the Cherokee. Dad’s side brought stories of Irish rabble-rousing, Scottish mayhem and Italian superstition. It was all fodder for my developing mind, and I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write my own versions of the stories I’d been told. Eventually, I began writing completely new stories.

The first novel I wrote, sank into the swamp. So I wrote a second novel. And that one sank into the swamp. So I wrote a third novel. That one burned down, fell over and then sank into the swamp. But the fourth novel turned out to actually be worth reading. Unfortunately, it was also a dystopian, and while everyone seemed to love it, no agents wanted to rep it. What I didn’t know at the time, was that the first book of the Hunger Games was due out in just a few months, and so behind the scenes, everyone in the industry already knew that a glut on dystopian YA was about to hit the country. Dystopians which had already been repped, sold to publishing houses, and were in the works to be released in the same wave as the Hunger Games. So I moved on to a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, there was also a fantasy, and several others.

But in the middle, amidst years of writing, working on other stories and partial novels, came one that Christi insisted right from the beginning would be The One.

That book was Catskin. I’d never written a contemporary YA before, and never had a male main character. Yet, Catskin popped out of me without me intending to write it in any particular way, or in any particular voice. Catskin went through some major revisions, complete rewrites in some places, and though I started submitting it to agents–and getting rejections with feedback–I continued working on it as per the feedback I was getting from prospective agents. I know this is not how you’re supposed to do things. It’s the opposite, of what you’re supposed to do. but at the time, I was so tantalizingly *close* to getting an offer of representation, that I just wanted to make Catskin as good as I could. Finally, the day came when Christi told me to stop futzing around with it and leave it alone. If it wasn’t “good enough” for an agent or publisher, she said, then it wasn’t meant to be wherever or with whomever I was sending it to. So I listened to Christi, and kept sending Catskin out, and kept getting “almost” rejections.

Then Christi told me to just eat my concern and submit to Clean Reads. So, I listened to her again. And she was right. I woke up on the second day of my September 2015 vacation, in a slot canyon in Utah, and unexpectedly heard a bing from my phone as it somehow got enough service to inform me that I’d received an email. An email that contained a contract and offer for publication. I reread that email about a dozen times in the first three minutes, absolutely, fanatically convinced that I was somehow missing something, a catch, or a sentence saying “but unfortunately”. There was none. It was real. I had been offered a contract.

Of course, I completely freaked out and emailed Christi in a panic along the lines of “HOLY FREAKING SH*# WHAT THE H*$% DO I DO???” Christi’s response went something like “CONGRATULATIONS! I’m not surprised. I knew you had this in the bag 🙂 Now, read your contract.”

There isn’t much more to tell. We went through edits, which–again, thanks to Christi–were pretty dang light, and I had the immense benefit of being able to help design my cover, and even use the artist of my own choosing. The astoundingly talented Erin Kelso was able to bring Ansel and Catskin to life, and I could not be happier with the end result! Now, to get book two finished and repeat the process all over again…



Back cover copy:

Sometimes the only way to find yourself is to go missing…

Shy, eighteen-year-old albino, Ansel, thought that letting the runaway girl with the injured ankle sleep in his parents’ shed was a good idea. That was before she passed out in his shower, woke up in a panic and accidentally attacked him. Any average guy would have called the cops but average isn’t Ansel’s style.

When she refuses to tell him her real name, Ansel nicknames the girl Catskin, after one of his favorite fairytale characters, and begins the dubious task of earning her trust. It’s not an easy thing to do, but a few awkward conversations later, one thing is clear: Catskin doesn’t want to be the way she is, she just doesn’t think she can change. Ansel knows from his own experiences that seeing the world around you differently doesn’t mean that you’re wrong, something he intends to teach Catskin.

While the details of her past remain elusive, Catskin creates a new place for herself with Ansel and his family, and develops her own brand of normalcy. Then a terrible accident leaves her hovering near death, and Ansel is forced to contact her estranged parents. But there are secrets hidden in the life Catskin left behind. Dark secrets that chased her all the way to Healy, Alaska and Ansel’s actions unknowingly provoke a shocking confrontation between the wealthy world Catskin was born into, and the starkly average one she now shares with Ansel.

Refusing to give up the imperfect girl who fits perfectly inside his heart, Ansel prepares to go to war with Catskin’s father. But in the end, Catskin might be the only one who can save herself.


Buy Links:


Amazon Australia:

Amazon UK:

Barnes & Noble:



About the Author:

Artemis Grey was raised on fairytales and the folklore of Appalachia. She’s been devouring books and regurgitating her daydreams into written words since childhood. She can most often be found writing by a crackling fire or rambling barefooted through the woods and mountains, napping (yes, napping) on horseback, searching the depths of random wardrobes and wriggling into hollow tree trunks. In her downtime, she herds cats, which is just as entertaining as it sounds. She hopes to make her readers look at the world they’ve always seen, and see the world they’ve always envisioned.

Social Media Links:



Facebook Author Page:


Amazon Author Page:






I’m thrilled to announce that my long-time critique partner, Artemis Grey, has just signed her first book contract!!

She wrote about how everything happened on a blog post here…

Here’s my favorite picture of her 🙂


Along the Way Home Blog Tour!

I’m touring the blog-o-sphere talking about the release of Along the Way Home!

Here’s a list of today’s blogs, and I’ll add to the list as the days go by. The following people were kind enough to share their blog and their readers with me, so I’d love for you to not only check out my post, but also to browse around their blogs too because they all offer a wealth of knowledge about writing and publishing.

UPDATED: Blogs I’m hosting on June 19-20th

Moriah Densley: Here I talk about the importance of a “You Don’t Suck” file. Though, thanks to one comment I’m considering changing the name of the file :D.

Theresa Hupp: She writes about the Oregon Trail too, and I had a great time on her blog chatting about the inspiration behind my book, and hardest thing about being a writer. We don’t agree on the Oxford comma, but I still had a great time.

Margo Kelly: She’s one of my critique partners (yay!) and here I’m talking about how failure wasn’t an option when it came to Along the Way Home.

Doreen McGettigan: I talk about why I write at night, long after my twins and our puppy are asleep.

Tori Mcrae: We are members of the same critique group, the Ridge Writers. On this post I chat about writing friendships

UPDATED: Blogs I’m hosting on June 13th

Ink in the Book: On Talynn Lynn’s blog I’m talking about how long it took me to get Along the Way Home over the publishing finish line, and also about the joys and defeats I encountered. (CONTEST!)

Kelly Martin: Rejection is part of every writer’s journey. Learn about how one rejection in particular finally led to me signing with Astraea Press in my post, “How A Stinging Rejection Led to a Book Contract”.

Blogs I’m hosting on June 12th

Fois in the City: On Florence Fois’ blog I’m talking about how we started our blogs at roughly the same time, and were often each other’s only visitor/commenter. And above all, how important her friendship is to me. And, she’s giving a hint at her own publishing news in the works. (CONTEST!)

PK Hrezo: On Pk’s blog she shares some very lovely thoughts about how important friendships are for writers. Here’s a particularly poignant line…

No one else understands this path, and attempting to explain wouldn’t demonstrate the magnitude. Sometimes we’re up. Other times we’re down. And only our fellow writers truly understand this roller coaster of emotion–the peak of hopes, and the valleys of despair.

Artemis Grey:  She’s one of my critique partners! We met in 2009 when I guest hosted over at Pimp My Novel, and our friendship developed over the years into a critique partnership. She was a wealth of information about horses, Virginia, and how to bury a dead body (got your attention there, didn’t I?!). Plus, there’s a picture on this post that you have to see to believe!

Linda Joyce: I’m sharing fun details about my favorite candy, favorite holiday, favorite car, and what I consider to be my ultimate dream date. I think my answers will surprise you!

Wendy Knight: I share the “inspiring moment” when I got the idea for Along the Way Home. It was on a cross-country drive in a compact car in the middle of winter. Here’s a fun line…

We’re driving my 1992 Hyundai Excel (compact car) and the backseat and hatchback are loaded to the windows with all my worldly possessions. As an extra bonus, my husband is 6 feet 4 inches tall. Plus it’s February, and since the middle of winter in the Midwest is brutally cold we’re sporting layers of long underwear, flannel shirts, and puffy coats.

Heather Gray: I’m sharing how my inability to describe things properly leads me to buy things off Craigslist so I can hold/see/feel them… so I can then in turn write about them. I also am sharing two short excerpts!

Blogs I’m hosting on June 9th to June 11th

Rose Gordon: In this post you’ll learn how talking too much in 9th Grade English led to an interesting discovery.

Rachel Van Dyken: How a Road Trip in a Crowded Hyundai Inspired My First Novel. (CONTEST!)

Angie Eads is featuring an excerpt where Jake (the rugged trail guide) and Kate (the prim society woman) first meet and immediately clash over what’s important enough to bring along. Hint, Kate wants china and dresses, Jake wants tools and spare wagon parts.

There’s more blog stops coming in the next few days, and I’ll post them as they go live. I hope you enjoy learning more about me through these posts!

“Best First” Contest Winners!!

The “Best First” Contest winners have been chosen!

First, let’s give a standing ovation to the judge, author Reid Lance Rosenthal. For one, he had to pick only a few winners out of a whopping THIRTY-FOUR entries.  And second, he managed to do so while fighting to save his ranch from the massive Arapaho fire.

Well done, Reid. Well done.

Here’s the criteria he used to determine his choices…

Did the sentence invoke curiosity?

Did the sentence create a palpable visual image?

Did the sentence conjure suspense?

Did the sentence make me want to read more?

Was the sentence properly written and constructed?

First, let’s give a round of applause to the three Honorable mentions. (No particular order)

Artemis Grey       Evernow         YA Dystopian

Life is so much easier without underwear.

 Talynn Lynn       Found: Dead or Alive                   YA Paranormal Suspense

My grave knocked on the door last night, but I refused to answer.

 Sarah Fiete          Brink of Life                      YA Science Fiction

Leroy Splinter was eight years old the first time he was arrested.


And now, here’s the Second Runner-Up. This winner gets book one of Reid’s Threads West, An American Saga, series…Threads West.  

Talynn Lynn        Hope’s Redemption           Historical Fiction

Alura stood with Molly, Natalie, and Mary in the dwindling line of the captives.


And now, the First Runner-Up, recipient of a package of writing goodies AND books one and two of Reid’s Threads West, An American Saga, series…Threads West and Maps of Fate.

Rick Lippincott           The Sicilian Connection          Mystery/Detective

The small 12 footer was tossed about the waves like a yellow rubber duck in a tub full of sumo wrestlers.


And now, the Grand Prize Winner. This person will receive a critique of the first page of their novel from Reid, AND books one and two of Reid’s Threads West, An American Saga, series…Threads West and Maps of Fate.

 Talynn Lynn              Only One Time      YA Paranormal Suspense

A man’s hand reached out from the smoky plated glass mirror and caressed River on the cheek.


Winners, please contact me via email with your mailing address so I can get your prizes out to you right away.

Thanks to everyone for participating, and be sure to check back soon for details about my next fun contest, and to meet the author judge!

Blog Award

My blog has been given a Versatile Blogger Award…twice.

The first blogger awarded me this well over a month ago, and because I have no organization skills and procrastinated for far too long sadly I have lost their blog address and contact info. So, if it was you, PLEASE let me know and I’ll post your name and a link to your blog ASAP.

The second blogger who gave me this award is Jay Elle Tee, or JLT, or otherwise known as Jay. Confused? Click HERE for the full lowdown on the name 🙂 and who Jay is, and the fantastic blog he writes called Write Now.

The basics of the award are as follows…I have to tell you seven things about myself. Here goes!

1. I can’t stand salt and pepper shakers that are shaped like ANYTHING other than salt and pepper shakers. Seriously, I’m not looking to hoist a cutesy ceramic cat or chicken into the air, turn it upside down and wait for salt/pepper to fall out. Yes, it’s a pet peeve, but it’s all mine 🙂

2. I’ve donated my hair to Locks of Love three times, and one of the times I was featured on the local news for my donations. Recently, my daughter donated for the first time and she proudly displays the certificate on our fridge.

3. I am attending Willamette Writers Conference in Portland, Oregon this August. I could only afford to attend for one day, but I still plan on making the most of it.

4. I’m holding the 2nd annual “Worst First” contest next month, and yet again I found a published author silly enough to be involved in the nonsense I come up with to judge the contest. I’ll let you know more details soon, but for now just know that I’m looking at a STACK of prizes the author’s publisher mailed out to me to giveaway.

5. I am a long time watcher of the television show, Castle. So much so that I have the show’s poster on the back of the bedroom door. Yeah, cuz I’m all high school like that 🙂

6. I broke the blade on our lawn mower by running it over the metal lid that covers the water access turn on for the house. To this day, I’ve never told my husband the entire story, because as I tell him, “You don’t want to know why I did something so stupid.”

7. Because of this day, not only do I not get mad when my son sticks his tongue out at me, I highly encourage him to do so.

Here’s some more specifics about the Versatile Blogger award. If you are nominated you need to do the following…

  •  Thank the person who gave you this award.
  •  Include a link to their blog.
  •  Next, select blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly.
  •  Nominate those bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award
  •  Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.

So, I nominate the following blogs for this award…

1. Diane Lynn Tibert

2. Florence Fois

3. Artemis Grey

4. Tori Mcrae

5. PDP (I won’t put up a link here, but he knows who he is :))

Blog Award, Cool List, and What Others REALLY Think of Your Blog

I’ve received an award from Kate, who runs a seriously cool blog called Words and Deeds–A Writing Life.

She gave me a Versatile Blogger award! How cool is that?

But, there’s a catch to getting this award.

*shoves acceptance speech up shirt sleeve and looks embarrassed for being all greedy with the award before I earned it*

I have to tell you seven random things about me first…

And, here’s more rules

  1. Thank the person who nominated you 
  2.  Share 7 random things about you 
  3.  Share the love with your favorite bloggers 
  4.  Put up the Versatile Blogger Award picture on your blog

So, without further ado, here are seven random things about me!

1. Fifteen years ago my mom and I survived a car accident. A “head-on collision while going seventy-five miles an hour on the freeway” kind of car accident. It was 12:30 at night and the other driver fell asleep, crossed the freeway median, and plowed right into us. My mom is an amazingly tough lady…she had to have bone taken from her hip and put into her neck to fuse two of her neck bones together. Left a brutal scar, but the point is, she made it through.  The takeaway of this story…wear your seatbelt!

2. My high school sport…swimming. I started swimming competitively when I was 9, went to Junior Olympics when I was 13, and lettered my freshman, sophomore, and junior year. (I had to quit my senior year, but that’s another story)

3. I am a mother to twins who were born four weeks premature. They were the “poster children” for the local chapter of our hometown’s March of Dimes organization when they were three months old.

4. My favorite flower is a daisy.

5. My computer chair has a seriously annoying squeak that I cannot fix. Or, maybe I’ve just learned to love the noise because I don’t try to fix it anymore.

6. My husband and I waited to, well…you know, until we were married. Yep, true story!

7. I’m a chronic abuser of exclamation points, ellipsis, and smiley faces. They’re all over my blog…and my emails. I can’t help myself 🙂 :).

And, now for seven bloggers I want to pass this award on to…

1. Florence Fois

2. Artemis Grey

3. Margo Kelly

4. PK Hrezo

5. Winona Cross

6. All the Wordbitches (Please, tell me you know their blog. Visit!)

7. Teralyn Pilgrim

And, if you’re reading this blog I’m betting you’re a writer, and if you’re a writer, you need to know this…

25 Things Writers Should Stop Doing…Right F*&king Now.

Click on it, learn it, live it.

And finally, since brutal honesty seems to be the theme of today’s post…have you ever wondered what readers think of your blog? No, what they REALLY think of your blog?

Click HERE to find out.