Friday, December 19, 2014

Deja Vu Blogfest!

Hi all! So today I'm participating in DL Hammons' Deja vu Blogfest, The Day of The Do Over.

I love that title, because who doesn't have at least one blog post that they'd like to keep blasting into the universe repeatedly?

Today I'm actually going to offer up two, and here's why:

As writers, we experience so many ups and downs. The agony of the query trenches, the frustration of agents not "connecting" with your work, the long hours of revisions, the manic joy of finally hearing that someone believes in your story enough to represent it, the silent hell of being on submission, the sting of editor rejections, the sheer and utter elation of finding out your novel is going to be a real, tangible book.

The list goes on, but since I've yet to experience the rest of it, I thought I'd give people the option of

A) Commiserating over the frustration of querying and trying to find an agent with this post:

Fact Or Fiction: Querying is the Best Way to Get an Agent's Attention

or B) Proving how things can turn around when you absolutely positively least expect by re-sharing the story of how my debut, LAST YEAR'S MISTAKE, found its home at Simon Pulse: 

You Never Know. No, Really, You Don't: My Pub Story

Monday, December 15, 2014

#LYMSelfie Giveaway WINNERS!

Not long ago, I announced that I had LAST YEAR'S MISTAKE postcards available. I was so excited, I decided to make a little contest out of it.

I thought it would be fun, but I had no idea how much it would make my day each time someone went through the trouble to tweet/Instagram/post a photo starring one of my cards. So first, I want to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who participated. Thank you for getting on board with the contest, thank you for being excited about my book, thank you for being freaking awesome. Thank you, thank you.

Because there was no way I could choose, I assigned each photo a number, and let do the choosing for me. And the TWO lucky winners who will each receive an ARC of LAST YEAR'S MISTAKE are.....


Congrats, ladies! You'll be hearing from me today :)

There was one more entry that I also wanted to recognize, because she went out of her way to post such a lovely reason as to why she wanted to read my book, and it made my heart smile. So, CHRYSTEN LANDERS, you're getting a pre-order of LYM, courtesy of me. Hope you enjoy it!

And because the rest of the photos I received were just so great, I can't not show them off. (If you don't see your here, it's probably my technological ineptitude plus my extremely finicky computer, and I apologize.) 

Thanks again, everyone, and stay tuned - there will be more contests and giveaways in the very near future!

Monday, November 24, 2014

A Desperate Attempt at Productivity Disguised As A Live Blog

Good Morning, Y'all.

The last time I attempted a live blog to show how little time I have to write and be productive, I somehow wound up being... pretty productive. So this morning, when I woke up feeling exhausted and overwhelmed with no idea where to start, I thought I'd try this again in hopes that history will repeat itself.

Here are my goals for today, in no particular order:

- Write at least 1000 words, in spite of the fact that this ms hates me and the characters act like they're too cool to talk to me.
- Pay bills
- Have some photos of my son printed up for my sister-in-law
- Go to the post office
- Finish making my mother's Christmas gift
- Order Christmas gifts for various peeps
- Cook dinner
- Unload the dishwasher

And here's how things are starting out:

5 a.m. - Husband's alarm woke me up, which it usually doesn't. My first attempt at cracking my eyelids apart tells me they're puffy and in no mood to be open. I try in vain to fall back to sleep as my husband gets ready for work.

5:30 a.m. - Husband is in the kitchen, VERY NOISILY loading the dishwasher. I jump out of bed to tell him I'll do it later, when the baby is AWAKE, thank you. He runs it anyway.

6:15 a.m. - Remember that thing about the baby being awake? Yeah. He starts stirring as soon as my husband opens the garage door to leave for work.

7:00 a.m. - Still haven't fallen back to sleep, and the baby is now full-on babbling in his crib. I get up to wash my face and brush my teeth.

7:30 a.m. - Baby is lying in his crib, just chilling. I'm washed up. My hair is combed, but still looks like a wild rat's nest. Since I can't hide under a blanket and avoid Monday altogether, I decide to live blog.

That leads us to now. I'm about to go get my son from his crib. Be back in a bit.....

8:50 a.m. - Baby is changed and fed. Which sounds so easy. But, like his mother, the boy does NOT like to be kept waiting for food. He does this the entire time I'm prepping it:

But at the first sign of pancakes in front of him, suddenly:

And somehow, he still thinks he can fool me with those crocodile tears.

As for me, I'm currently getting ready to eat my breakfast while he watches a video in his playroom (the disaster area you see behind the high chair), and order some photos online via Walgreens. Excuse me, pancakes await....

9:40 a.m. -  I'm fed, dishwasher is unloaded, prints are ordered. I've donned my SAHM uniform of yoga pants and a sweatshirt. I even went as far as to put on some concealer, because that 5 a.m. wake up call is written all over my face, in the form of horrendous bags under my eyes.

I am gross today, guys. My hair, my face, my clothes. I am the total package of grossness. And that's *after* putting in a modicum of effort, which makes it especially depressing. But, my errands aren't going to run themselves, so I'll just brace myself as I prepare to go out in public....

12:12 p.m. - Baby and I went to Walgreens and the post office. Discovered it is freakishly warm outside compared to yesterday's downpouring coldness. Which is awesome, except it made getting a 23-pound kid in and out of his car seat and stroller 4 separate times while overdressed extra fun. Plus he decided to kick his shoe off as we were leaving both places.

Had some time to kill before lunch when we got home, so I took the baby for a walk around the neighborhood. Currently we're in my office, and he's pulling at me and whining as I write this. Just turned around to find he'd dumped a bunch of stuff in the middle of the floor. Don't even know where he got it from. Guess it's time for lunch....

1:30 p.m. - Both baby and I have had our lunches. We Face Timed with my mother, who's working from home today. He's in a clean diaper and DOWN FOR HIS NAP AT LAST! The dirty dishes piled up in my sink are giving me anxiety, but I'm not going to touch them. I never know how long these precious napping moments will last, and with 10K left to write, I can't afford to waste any.

2:50 p.m. - 490 words written. The lawn service for my neighbor across the street just started making a huge racket in their front yard with a machine that sounds like 50 chainsaws buzzing simultaneously. I'm sweating bullets that they're going to wake up my son.

And also eating ice cream, because if he wakes up, at least I've had ice cream.

4:15 p.m. - BABY IS UP AND MY WORD COUNT GOAL HAS BEEN MET! 1051 words total. I know it's not a lot, but for a pokey drafter like me, it's a victory!

8:25 p.m. - I read a bunch of books to the baby, then fed him dinner. I LOVE that he now picks his favorite books from his collection and brings them to me to read to him. It makes my authorly AND my motherly hearts happy.

Next I made dinner for my husband and me while Andrew watched Shrek in his playroom. I ate my food where he couldn't see me, otherwise he would've gone into full-on mooch mode. My husband was not nearly as wise.

I also washed all the dishes and wiped down all the counters while my husband played with our son, because it stresses me out to go to bed knowing there are dirty things in need of cleaning in the sink. Then we brushed the baby's teeth and put him to bed. Now I need to get in the shower, maybe write some more, then read a little to wind down for bed.

Oh, and I ate more ice cream. Because tomorrow, I'll need to start all over again.

Hope YOU had a productive day too, Peeps! Feel free to tell me about it!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Getting To Know You Blog Hop And Giveaway!

Hi All!

Today I'm participating in Cuddlebuggery's Getting to Know You bloghop, where a bunch of fabulous writers can learn a little more about one another, and give away some awesome prizes while they're at it!

So here are some random facts about me, both authorly and otherwise:

- My name is Gina Ciocca, and no one knows how to pronounce my last name. For the record, it's See-OH-ka :)

- I'm seriously grossed out by feet and potato buds.

- I'm the worst Italian ever. I speak maybe 3 words of the language, hate coffee, rarely drink wine, have never been to Italy, and can not make homemade pasta sauce without the assistance of my mother or grandmother.

- I write YA contemporary romance, and have a soft spot for paranormal of the I-see-dead-people variety. Which is why I write that too. (PARANORMAL IS NOT A 4-LETTER WORD! POWER TO THE DEAD PEOPLE! *steps off soapbox*)

- The first book I ever fell in love with was Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson, and the first literary couple I ever fell in love with was Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe from the Anne of Green Gables series.



- I totally credit Smallville and the romance between Lana and Clark as the inspiration for keeping my romance-obsessed brain fueled with teen angst.
clana clark kent lana lang gif calling kiss photo: Clana Smile (Exodus) ClanaGIF.gif

Speaking of which...

My YA debut, LAST YEAR'S MISTAKE, releases June 9th, 2015 from Simon Pulse, and is available for pre-order on Amazon now! It has a pretty atypical pub story, which you can read here.

Is there anything that electric chemistry can’t overcome? The past may be gone, but love has a way of holding on in this romantic debut novel told in alternating Before and After chapters.

The summer before freshman year, Kelsey and David became inseparable best friends—until the night a misunderstanding turned Kelsey into the school joke and everything around her crumbled, including her friendship with David. So when Kelsey’s parents decide to move away, she can’t wait to start over and leave the past behind. But David’s not quite ready to be left.

Now it’s senior year and Kelsey has a new group of friends, genuine popularity, and a hot boyfriend. Her life is perfect. That is, until David’s family moves to town. Old feelings bubble to the surface and threaten to destroy Kelsey’s second chance at happiness. The more time she spends with David, the more she realizes she never let him go. And maybe she never wants to…

For my giveaway, I chose books that are near and dear to my heart.

The first combines my love of paranormal and romance - UNEARTHLY by Cynthia Hand (paperback). It's one of my absolute favorites, and therefore my go-to anytime I'm asked to give away a book that's special to me. 

AND - to represent the straight up contemp in me, I will also giveaway one copy of BEHIND THE SCENES by my fabulous CP, Dahlia Adler, AND a pre-order of my own book, LAST YEAR'S MISTAKE! (And if you don't win, there's still time to enter my very first ARC giveaway here!)

One random commenter will win all three. Looking forward to getting to know YOU!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Deets On The Great Postcard Selfie Giveaway!

Hi all!

So the last time I went through my manuscript, it looked a little something like this:

Kind of like a real book, right?

Well, that's because I've reached a point in this never-ending* process where it finally almost is! Eeee! And you know what the next step is when your book has been edited and copyedited and laid out and read and reread?

*slight exaggeration

ARCs and swag and promos, OH MY!

Now, I don't physically have ARCs just yet, but I did order my first piece of promotional material in the form of these beauties:

See where it says, "Your Name Here?" There's a reason for that.

And I've come up with a way to not only have these babies pop up in your mailbox, but also to give you the chance to turn it into your ticket for an ARC!

Here's what you'll need to do:

1) If you want a postcard, email me your address at gina(dot)ciocca(at)yahoo(dot)com

2) If you've received a postcard and want to redeem it for a shot at an ARCSnap a selfie of you and your postcard. Like so:

NO, it does not have to be of your face. I know some of us are camera shy, so fingers holding it are totally acceptable. Be creative. Just not Kim Kardashian kreative, 'kay? 
**Especially since I may repost them on this blog, please be sure to use a photo you're comfortable sharing**

3) Show me your selfie in one of three ways (or all three):
- Tweet it to @gmc511 on Twitter, using the hashtag #LYMSelfie

- Instagram it and tag me, gmciocca, and use the tag #LYMSelfie

- Post it to my Facebook author page,

- Bonus points if you include a sentence or two about why you're excited to read LAST YEAR'S MISTAKE

The contest will run until I've received my ARCs. One or two (depending on how many I get) random postcard recipients who shared their #LYMSelfie will win a galley for their advance reading pleasure.

** The contest is open internationally, but international slots are limited. I have 6 international postcard stamps left, so these will be given on a first come, first served basis. Once they're gone, the contest will be US only**

And the contest begins... NOW!!! Can't wait to see your #LYMSelfies!!!

And in case you forgot what it's all about, here is the Amazon synopsis again (Where, in case you don't win an ARC, the book

is totally available for pre-order):

Is there anything that electric chemistry can’t overcome? The past may be gone, but love has a way of holding on in this romantic debut novel told in alternating Before and After chapters.

The summer before freshman year, Kelsey and David became inseparable best friends—until the night a misunderstanding turned Kelsey into the school joke and everything around her crumbled, including her friendship with David. So when Kelsey’s parents decide to move away, she can’t wait to start over and leave the past behind. But David’s not quite ready to be left.

Now it’s senior year and Kelsey has a new group of friends, genuine popularity, and a hot boyfriend. Her life is perfect. That is, until David’s family moves to town. Old feelings bubble to the surface and threaten to destroy Kelsey’s second chance at happiness. The more time she spends with David, the more she realizes she never let him go. And maybe she never wants to…

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Hi all!

I'm writing this post in total shock that it's been 3 full months since my last one. I've been pretty busy with revising books, writing books, and keeping a 14-month-old from falling down the stairs all day. (Yes, it is possible to make an entire day of that.)

But some pretty awesome things have happened since I last checked in. Including, as most of you already know, the sale of my debut, LAST YEAR'S MISTAKE, to Simon Pulse.

Sorry, but mention of my book deal will
never *not* require a happy dance gif

While I was busy revising the manuscript, the designers at S & S were busy coming up with a kickass cover. It was revealed to the internets on September 9th over at the YABooksCentral blog.

But then some of the folks over at Simon and Schuster decided it needed a little makeover to match the fun, summery, romantic tone of the book.

And the way they revamped it is SO. FREAKING. GORGEOUS.

See for yourself:





AAAAHHHHH!!! *flails* *runs in circles* *dies* *rises from the dead and flails again*

You might recall that it was raining in the original cover, and yes, that's because it's raining in the scene that inspired it. But just LOOK at that rain-less version! So crisp! So bright! And so FREAKING SEXY!

And speaking of sexy... look at that CAR! And those models! Who, by the way, are such dead ringers for David and Kelsey that it kind of freaks me out. In a good way, of course.

So, in case you couldn't tell, I love it. And I think it captures the tone of the book in a way the original didn't. But -

What do YOU think, peeps?

(And by the way, if your answer is OMG, I WANT TO RUN OUT AND BUY IT RIGHT NOW, which is a totally acceptable and correct response, you're in luck - it's now available for pre-order in both Kindle and hardcover!)

Pre-order LYM on Amazon
Add LYM to your Goodreads shelf
Like my FB Author Page for Updates and Info
Follow me on Instagram or Twitter for upcoming contests and giveaways!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Let's Talk About Authors As Rock Stars

..... over at the YA Misfits blog.

I'm talking about why authors are gods in the eyes of readers and writers, but maybe not everyone else.

Also, there are GIFs.

Click here to check it out!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Happy Book Birthday to BEHIND THE SCENES by Dahlia Adler!

You guys! It's finally happening! The book I've blogged, tweeted and GIF'd my excitement about for months is at last out in the world! HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY, BEHIND THE SCENES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

High school senior Ally Duncan's best friend may be the Vanessa Park - star of TV's hottest new teen drama - but Ally's not interested in following in her BFF's Hollywood footsteps. In fact, the only thing Ally's ever really wanted is to go to Columbia and study abroad in Paris. But when her father's mounting medical bills threaten to stop her dream in its tracks, Ally nabs a position as Van's on-set assistant to get the cash she needs. 

Spending the extra time with Van turns out to be fun, and getting to know her sexy co-star Liam is an added bonus. But when the actors' publicist arranges for Van and Liam to "date" for the tabloids just after he and Ally share their first kiss, Ally will have to decide exactly what role she's capable of playing in their world of make believe. If she can't play by Hollywood's rules, she may lose her best friend, her dream future, and her first shot at love.

....And a huge congratulations to its fabulous author, Dahlia Adler! (And if you haven't already, click the link to purchase, because you're missing out if you don't!)

In honor of BtS's release day, I'm offering a little glimpse "behind the scenes" into my own writerly life.

Most of you know my own novel, LAST YEAR'S MISTAKE, comes out next summer. I'd love to show you a picture of my office and tell you it's "where the magic happened," but alas, the first draft of LYM was complete long before I moved to my house in Georgia. So.....

That's a picture of a fountain pen, very apropos for a writing cave!
My desk, which is supposed to have a corkboard above it, but doesn't
because I can't find one I like.

The obligatory bookshelf, complete with the stereo my husband gave me
in the 1990's, when he was my boyfriend and we were our own YA novel.
..... here is where the magic did NOT happen.

Unless you count revisions, which we probably should, since this office *is* where I took the "finished" ms from 64,000 words to 72,000. Curious to know what that looks like?

Well, it's a little something like this:

Normally I'm not nearly as organized about revising. I scribble down some notes on a sheet of paper, and cross them off as I address them. But as it turns out, realizing you need to rearrange chapters in the first half of the novel in order to address your editor's wish list  is a little more daunting than just revising from beta notes.

So this time, I was all about color-coded note cards (blue for Present chapters, white for Past). I paper-clipped them to their respective sections of the novel and laid them out on the floor so I could keep the timeline straight, and see the main points of each chapter at a glance. It was a HUGE help.

Especially since I can only work on my writing when this little guy naps:

Nap?! How can I nap when soon I'll be
holding the BOOK instead of the postcard?
So there you have it - a little peek behind the scenes at how and where I revised LAST YEAR'S MISTAKE. It's also where I finished (but not started) BUSTED, where I'm currently turning my novella, JESSE'S GIRL into a full-length novel, and where I'll be revising SHADOW PARK.

And now I'd like to offer I'd like to offer a way less boring look behind the scenes - the actual book. One random commentor will win a copy of BEHIND THE SCENES courtesy of moi! 

For everyone else here's where you can go to get it: