Thursday, August 18, 2016


This contest is sponsored by Writers Digest. Check it out! Here is the link to the original post:

Welcome to the 22nd (free!) “Dear Lucky Agent” Contest on the GLA blog. This is a FREE recurring online contest with agent judges and super-cool prizes. Here’s the deal: With every contest, the details are essentially the same, but the niche itself changes—meaning each contest is focused around a specific category or two. So if you’re writing contemporary or literary young adult (read below for exactly what this means), then this 22nd contest is for you! The contest is live through end of day, Wednesday, August 24, 2016. The contest is judged by agent Andrea Morrison of Writers House.



After a previous “Dear Lucky Agent” contest, the agent judge, Tamar Rydzinski (The Laura Dail Literary Agency), signed one of the three contest winners. After Tamar signed the writer, she went on to sell two of that writer’s books! How cool! That’s why these contests are not to missed if you have an eligible submission.

E-mail entries to Please paste everything. No attachments.

andrea-morrisonANDREA MORRISON of Writers House started in the California office in 2009 as an intern to Steve Malk, and she has been in love with publishing and the company ever since. In NYC, she first learned under Brianne Johnson, and then went on to assist Rebecca Sherman and Geri Thoma. She’s had the opportunity to work closely with a variety of best-selling and award-winning authors and illustrators, in genres ranging from picture books to middle grade and YA, to adult literary fiction and nonfiction. She is now actively building her own list of clients. Andrea studied literature & writing at University of California, San Diego and earned her MFA in fiction from Columbia University.


The first 150-250 words (i.e., your first double-spaced page) of your unpublished, completed book-length work of young adult (no high sci-fi or high fantasy, please). You must include a contact e-mail address with your entry and use your real name. Also, submit the title of the work and a logline (one-sentence description of the work) with each entry.

Please note: To be eligible to submit, you must mention this contest twice through any any social-media. Please provide a social-media link or Twitter handle or screenshot or blog post URL, etc., with your official e-mailed entry so the judge and I can verify eligibility. Some previous entrants could not be considered because they skipped this step! Simply spread the word twice through any means and give us a way to verify you did; a TinyURL for this link/contest for you to easily use is

An easy way to notify me of your sharing is to include my Twitter handle @chucksambuchino at the end of your mention(s) if using Twitter. If we’re friends on FB, tag me in the mention. And if you are going to solely use Twitter as your 2 times, please wait one day between mentions to spread out the notices, rather than simply tweeting twice back to back. Thanks. (Please note that simply tweeting me does not count. You have to include the contest URL with your mention; that’s the point. And if you use Twitter, put my handle @chucksambuchino at the middle or the end, not at the very beginning of the tweet, or else the tweet will be invisible to others.)

Here is a sample TWEET you can use (feel free to tweak): New FREE contest for writers of Young Adult Judged by agent Andrea Morrison of Writers House, via @chucksambuchino

Check Out These Great Upcoming Writers’ Conferences:

Completed contemporary or literary young adult novels.

This is NOT a contest for YA books that are definitively science fiction or fantasy. This contest is for contemporary (modern realistic) stories and literary YA stories that may or may not have a touch of something else. In other words, if there is magical realism, that’s OK. Some light fantastical elements are fine. But anything that would classify as mainstream sci-fi or high fantasy should not be submitted. Historical YA is acceptable.

In Andrea’s own words: “I have a soft spot for literary YA. I like both true-to-life books and novels that include magical elements (I love low fantasy and magical realism, but I’m not the right match for high fantasy novels). I’m interested in stories about love, friendship, family dynamics, and mixtures of all of the above. Mysteries are great here, too. I do really like edgy YA, stories involving artwork, books that take place in a variety of locations, and novels that explore rarely discussed topics. A few YA titles I love: WE WERE LIARS by E. Lockhart, BONE GAP by Laura Ruby, BEFORE I FALL by Lauren Oliver, I’LL GIVE YOU THE SUN by Jandy Nelson.”

  1. This contest will be live through the end of August 24, 2016, PST. Winners notified by e-mail within three weeks of end of contest. Winners announced at the top of this blog post thereafter.
  2. To enter, submit the first 150-250 words of your book (i.e., your first double-spaced page). Shorter or longer entries will not be considered. Keep it within word count range please.
  3. You can submit as many times as you wish. You can submit even if you submitted to other contests in the past, but please note that past winners cannot win again. All that said, you are urged to only submit your best work.
  4. The contest is open to everyone of all ages, save those employees, officers and directors of GLA’s publisher, F+W: A Content and E-Commerce Company, Inc.
  5. By e-mailing your entry, you are submitting an entry for consideration in this contest and thereby agreeing to the terms written here as well as any terms possibly added by me in the “Comments” section of this blog post. If you have questions or concerns, write me personally at chuck.sambuchino (at) The Gmail account above is for submissions, not questions.
Top 3 winners all get: 1) A critique of the first 10 double-spaced pages of your work, by your agent judge. 2) A free one-year subscription to ($50 value)! 3) Their choice of any of Chuck’s two new books coming out in September 2017 (the Guide to Literary Agents 2017 or the Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market 2017).

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Wednesday, July 27, 2016


sizzling summer giveaway
Sizzling Summer $250 Cash Giveaway July 27th to August 16th

An Awesome Group of Authors & Bloggers have joined with me to bring you 1 fabulous prize!! We’re giving away $250 in Paypal Cash! Or alternately you can choose a $250 Gift Code!

Sponsor List I Am A Reader Jennifer Faye ~ Romance Author Caroline Clemmons Simple Wyrdings Lori's Reading Corner Aubrey Wynne: Vintage Romance for Today Deanna Lynn Sletten, Author Glistering Bs Blog Diana's Book Reviews Krysten Lindsay Hager author Leora Krygier Author A Journey Without Map CoolCatMysteries B. Kristin McMichael Laurisa White Reyes, Author {A Leisure Moment} A Casual Conversation About Our Love For Literature Erin Unger- Writer of Killer Romance Darcus @ Rainy Days and Pajamas Every Free Chance Books Julie Reece Pauline Creeden, Author The Late Bloomer's Book Blog Julia E. Antoine Author Mary Ting/M. Clarke Suzi Love

 Giveaway Details $250 in Paypal Cash (alternately the winner can choose a $250 Gift Code) Ends 8/16/16 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use money sent via Paypal. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the authors, bloggers and publishers on the sponsor list. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Friday, July 22, 2016


The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
by Marie Kondo
Ten Speed Press

Despite constant efforts to declutter your home, do papers still accumulate like snowdrifts and clothes pile up like a tangled mess of noodles?

Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes tidying to a whole new level, promising that if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you’ll never have to do it again. Most methods advocate a room-by-room or little-by-little approach, which doom you to pick away at your piles of stuff forever. The KonMari Method, with its revolutionary category-by-category system, leads to lasting results. In fact, none of Kondo’s clients have lapsed (and she still has a three-month waiting list).

With detailed guidance for determining which items in your house “spark joy” (and which don’t), this international bestseller featuring Tokyo’s newest lifestyle phenomenon will help you clear your clutter and enjoy the unique magic of a tidy home—and the calm, motivated mindset it can inspire.


I admit it. My house is a disaster. Not that it was ever perfect, but once I started grad school 4 1/2 years ago and started working last year, I've really let things go to pot. It doesn't help that my husband "collects" things (he's an engineer, and all wives of engineers know what I mean--Piles, ladies! Piles!), plus we have eleven people living in our home. My home can be described in one word: CLUTTER.

So when a friend told me a bout Marie Kondo's method of cleaning house once and for all, I had to read it. And I loved it! Marie's system is simple, straight forward, and fail proof. I love her optimism, her spirituality, her confidence. By the time I finished the book, I couldn't wait to get started. Since I am so very busy, I have decided to dedicate every Friday to tidying a specific type of item. (Marie insists you tidy by item, not by room or area of the house). I started yesterday with clothing. I didn't touch my husband's stuff (though I was sorely tempted), but stuck to my own closet and that of my youngest son. We took three garbage bags full of clothes he's grown out of or that I haven't worn in years to Goodwill. My closet looks very empty, and I love it!

Next week I will tackle what is perhaps the most difficult item for me: BOOKS. I just may post an update to let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016



To celebrate her recent trip to England, to get ideas for her next book, Christy Deveaux is holding an British inspired contest! Simply share a picture of yourself with a British theme i.e. In England, in an English pub, eating English fare such as a fish and chips, reading a British novel, etc. - Be Creative!

One Winner will receive a
British Themed Gift Basket worth $50!

The winner will be selected at random through Random.Org.

About the Author: Christy Deveaux


Christy Deveaux is the author of The Chronicles of Elizabeth Blake series. Her highly anticipated first book in the series, Wicka, was just released this spring (2014). Inspired by traveling across Europe solo at a very young age, and many travel adventures since, the character and story line behind Elizabeth Blake was born. Christy majored in political science and earned a cross-disciplinary degree from the U niversity of Western Ontario. She lives in Toronto, Ontario with her husband, three children and a fish named Cow.

About the Book: Wicka: The Chronicles of Elizabeth Blake


Elizabeth Blake, a seventeen year old girl from Ann Arb or Michigan, thinks she's enrolling in an international school in the south of France to finish her final year of high school. Instead, she falls in love; finds out that she is a witch from an ancient family –– who weren’t thought to exist anymore; and discovers that her life is in danger, as the Elders believe that she is the heir to a legend they fear above all else.

Wicka has been compared to other fantasy paranormal tales such as Twilight by Stephanie Meyer and Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling. Young adults and grown-ups alike are sure to love this adventure filled magical romance. Get your copy today at

*Note: purchase of the book is not a requirement to enter this free contest.

Contest Rules

Prize: One winner will receive a British Themed Gift Basket ($50 value)

Giveaway ends: August 3, 11:59 pm, 2016

Open to: Internationally

How to enter: Entrants should submit their British themed photos by completing the form below.
**Nude, semi-nude, non-British themed or pornographic images will be disqualified**

Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. Only pictures submitted between July 20 and August 3, 2016 will be eligible to win. A winner will be randomly drawn through the and will be contacted by email within 48 hours afte r the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winni ng will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This gi veaway is sponsored by the author, Christy Deveaux and is hosted and managed by Stacie from BeachBoundBooks. If you have any additional questions feel free to send an e mail to

Wednesday, July 13, 2016


In my lifetime, I've probably read well over 1,000 books. Maybe twice that. I've lost count. The vast majority of them, I've forgotten. The stories were good and I enjoyed them, but they failed to leave a permanent impression on me.

However, there are a handful of books that hit me so hard, burrowed so deeply into my psyche that I can never forget them--or how I felt when I read them. These are the books I still dream about even though, in some cases, decades have passed since I read them. You know what kind of books I mean.

So here is my list of the books which, in a literal sense, became a part of me. I love these books and consider them the dearest of friends. They are not listed in any particular order.

Lilies of the Field by William E. Barrett

I have read this book multiple times and have shared copies with friends. The story of carefree Schmidt (Smith) and the German nuns who somehow wrangle him into building a chapel is one of the most uplifting and memorable stories ever. I read it whenever I want to be reminded of the importance of appreciating the little things in life. It just makes me feel happy.

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

I love Steinbeck's book for the exact opposite reason I love Barrett's. It is so heart-wrenching and depressing, how could I ever forget being a 12-year-old girl weeping inconsolably for hours after reading Of Mice and Men for the first time?

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

I guess I'm drawn to books that make me fall in love with their characters only to have those new friends ripped away. Charly in Keyes' book is one of my favorite characters of all-time. Written as journal entries, we first meet him when he is developmentally disabled, and it shows in the quality of his writing. He is like a small child, naive and kind. Then he gets involved in an experiment which begins to improve his intellect. He experiences life through an adult's eyes, falls in love. But all the beauty of life he comes to enjoy takes a heartbreaking turn. Just thinking about it makes me want to read it again.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Verity is a female British spy captured by the Nazi's. During her interrogation, she recalls her friendship with pilot Maddie. This story is one of the most compelling I have ever read. Unforgettable. And I loved the sequel, Rose Under Fire, just as much. You'll need a box of tissue handy when you get to the end.

Trinity by Leon Uris

Chronicling an Irish family over several generations, I first listened to this book on cassette as a young child. My parents played it in the car during our long early morning drives to Los Angeles for school and work. It made an impression on me then, so when I was eighteen, I bought the book and read it again. There are some scenes in this book that still haunt me. Warning: Leon Uris's books are always very, very tragic.

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

The ultimate haunted house story! I read this in high school and I still get chills just thinking about it. Scrap the 1999 film with Liam Nieson, which was terrible! But the 1963 film with Julie Christie was pretty accurate to the book, I thought. But the book is classic. If you love a good horror tale, this has got to be your next read.

Random Harvest by James Hilton

I'll bet you've never heard of this one. James Hilton was one of the most prolific novel and screen writers of the 1930s & 40s. He is probably best known for Good-bye, Mr. Chips and Lost Horizon, though Random Harvest was a best-seller in 1941, and the film version was nominated for an Oscar the following year. While not the easiest book to read, it is the story of a man who loses several years of his life due to amnesia (from a war wound) is haunted by random memories of the woman he once loved. It is a remarkable story with a stunning end that will leave you breathless.

Surfacing by Margaret Atwood

I read this as an undergrad. Atwood's book is a bizarre labyrinth of past and present, of lies and truths. I was mesmerized by the protagonist who is unconsciously unreliable. In other words, she doesn't give you, the reader, the whole truth--but she doesn't know it herself. Brilliant.

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

When I got to the final pages of Ender's Game, I was so shocked I couldn't believe an author could pull off such a feat! I love surprise endings, with crazy twists that floor you but that make complete sense. (That's how I felt when I watched the films The Sixth Sense and The Others.) I fell so head over heels for this book that I've read every book in the entire Ender's Game universe, and there are a lot. This is the ultimate sci-fi lover's dream.

Roots by Alex Haley

I first read this during the summer of my sophomore year of high school. Could not put it down, and it is a tome. Following eight generations of African Americans, from the capture of Kunte Kinte by African slave traders down through his posterity in the 20th century, this book is an important epic of American history and culture. Plus it's an amazing story.

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Do I need to say anything about Mitchell's classic? Just the best book ever written. Period. 'Nough said.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

If Gone with the Wind is the best book ever written...well, the best American book ever written, then Wuthering Heights is the best British book ever written. I think Heathcliffe and Scarlett O'Hara are the most memorable, most flawed, anti-heroes in literature...and both are completely addicting.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Conor receives a visitor every night--a monster who is both terrifying and comforting, who takes him on a journey through his own pain. If you have never read this book, go out and buy a copy right now. You can read it in an hour. When I finished the last page, I bawled my eyes out and held it close to my heart. My kids thought I was nuts. I love this book! And the illustrations are astounding. Destined to become a classic.

Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo

Rob discovers a caged tiger on the property of the hotel where he lives. What is a tiger doing there? This short yet powerful tale of is chock full of some of the most effective metaphors I have ever read. A Newbery honor book, it is easily one of my favorite children's stories. Simply told, yet cuts right to the heart.

The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

I know everyone saw the movie, and it was good. But the book...!!! An old man dies while saving a little girl and ends up not in the heaven he expected. Instead, he discovers the meaning of his life through five people and his connection to them. Not only is this a compelling story, it is life-changing. Makes you look at life from a whole new perspective.

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Clay Jensen receives a package of cassette tapes recorded by a girl from his school who recently committed suicide. The cassettes are addressed to the thirteen people who knowingly or unknowingly led her to that decision. Simply heartbreaking. When I read this, I felt that every teenager ought to be required to read this book. It's the kind of story that has the power to change the world for the better.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I'm sure I don't need to say much about Collins' book. Most people get why this is so amazing. But for those of you who may still think it's just a book about kids killing kids, dig deeper. Collins' trilogy is a critique of society and government, where the lives of actual human beings are nothing more than pawns in a chess game of power. There is too much to mention here, but The Hunger Games is complex, powerful, and much more than your average teen sci-fi adventure. And yes, you have to read the entire trilogy.

The Book Thief  by Marcus Zusak

Zusak's narrator is death. Not only is this clever, but it is horrifyingly effective. Death has the ability to see into everyone's life, revealing it little by little to the reader. But he also understands what will happen in the future. For Leisl, a young orphan girl living in 1939 Germany, her tale is entwined with stories and books and the life of Jewish man hiding in her basement. Countless books have been written about the holocaust and World War II, but this is by far one of the best.

The Devil and the White City by Erik Larson

Parallel stories: one of America's first serial killer, the other of the creation of the 1893 World's Fair. Larson is a master at transforming factual, historical research into nail-biting suspense. This non-fiction tale of murder and architecture reads like a Thomas Harris horror novel. Some of the scenes left me looking over my shoulder for months after I read it. Creepy and terrifying, the fact that it is true makes it all the more addictive.

Unwind by Neal Schusterman

A dystopian novel about a post-second civil war society where rebellious teens can be unwound. What does it mean to be unwound? It means the body is disassembled piece by piece (limbs, organs, bones, brain) and donated to others who are in need of them. All while the patient is awake. This is that society's answer to abortion. Unwanted children must be born, but the parents have the right to change their mind later on. And some families do it as a religious tithe. This book will make your skin crawl and will make you take a serious look at the value of human all its stages.

Maus by Art Spiegelman

Vladek Spiegelman, a Jewish survivor of Hitler’s Europe, tells his son about the horrors of the holocaust. Art Spiegelman brilliantly translates the story into black and white cartoon sketches where the Jews are mice and the Nazis cats. Maus received the Pulitzer Prize, and deservedly so. I studied Spiegelman's work in graduate school, and this book in particular left a vivid mark on my heart and soul. One of the few books I think everyone everywhere ought to read.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Enter to Win $100!!! THE WOMEN OF MERRYTON by Rachel Laine

Rachel Laine 
 Rachel Laine (The Women of Merryton #3) by Jennifer Peel 
Rachel Whitney’s life changed forever when Drew, the son of her twin sister, Sydney, was placed in her arms—and there he stayed. At twenty-two, she had no idea what she was doing, but in that moment, she knew that raising Drew was what she was meant to do with her life. ​ Fiercely independent, Rachel makes her own way managing her family's insurance agency. Decidedly against introducing any men into her life, or Drew’s, she protects her heart against all romantic entanglements. But what she didn’t count on was a letter from her sister that leads a famous secret to her door eight years after her sister’s death. A secret with the same eyes as her son’s. ​ Desperate not to get the courts involved, Rachel allows Drew’s previously unknown father, Andrew Turner, into their lives, and to her surprise, little by little into her heart. But for Rachel, taking that step could open her family to a firestorm of media attention that not even Merryton can protect them from. Is love worth the risk? Or will Andrew's fame and ambition ruin their chances? 

 With reluctance, I answered. “Hello.” “Hey, Rachel Laine.” “Andrew, why are you calling?” “If I didn’t know better, I would think you didn’t want to hear from me.” “Imagine that,” I responded. His laugh came through, loud and clear. “I wanted you to know I made it safely to Chicago.” “Don’t take this the wrong way—” He laughed even louder before I could finish. “—but why would I care?” I got in. “Ouch. That hurts, Rachel Laine. You know, when I use that line on you, at least I follow it up with a compliment.” “Yes, and I can’t tell you how nice it is to hear a man tell me all weekend he’s not interested in me.” “It wasn’t all weekend.” “Why are you calling?” “I wanted to check in with you, because of the weather.” “That’s nice of you, but we only got a few inches, and we’re used to the snow up here.” “Yeah … of course you are. So, what did you guys do today?” “We went to church and then overdosed on super hero movies.” “Sounds great.” “It was.” “Aren’t you going to ask how my day was?” “Are you being serious?” “It’s only polite.” “Okay … How was your day?” “It was horrible. My first flight got cancelled and then I had to wait for hours in the airport for the next available flight, and to top it off, I had to fly coach.” “Oh, how terrible.” “You’ve seen how long my legs are. They don’t belong in coach. And now I find out I could have been watching action movies with you guys all day.” Was this guy for real? I couldn’t tell if he was joking or not. “And what makes you think you would have been invited?” “Why do you think I would have waited for an invitation?” 
 add to goodreads    
Praise for the Book 

"You nailed it!!! These books keep getting better and better each time! I looovvved it!"

"How is it possible that you just keep getting better? I swear this one is my favorite."

"I literally got lost in Merryton again. It is one of my favorite places to visit."    

Jennifer Peel headshotAuthor Jennifer Peel is the mother of three amazing kiddos. Wife to her one and only for the past twenty-one years. Lover of late night talks, beach vacations, the mountains, pink bubble gum ice cream, tours of model homes, and southern living. She can frequently be found with her laptop on, fingers typing away, indulging in chocolate milk, and writing out the stories that are constantly swirling through her head.

Blast Giveaway!!!

$100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 7/28/16 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Sunday, July 10, 2016


Linda Sue Park
Houghton Mifflin Harcourts
Ages 10 - 14

The New York Times bestseller A Long Walk to Water begins as two stories, told in alternating sections, about two eleven-year-olds in Sudan, a girl in 2008 and a boy in 1985. The girl, Nya, is fetching water from a pond that is two hours’ walk from her home: she makes two trips to the pond every day. The boy, Salva, becomes one of the "lost boys" of Sudan, refugees who cover the African continent on foot as they search for their families and for a safe place to stay. Enduring every hardship from loneliness to attack by armed rebels to contact with killer lions and crocodiles, Salva is a survivor, and his story goes on to intersect with Nya’s in an astonishing and moving way.


Powerful! This very slim tale is deceptively short, but within its covers are two interwoven stories that brought tears to my eyes. The true journey of Salva, a 1985 Sudanese refugee, is masterfully woven into the tale of Nya, a villager in modern-day Sudan who must spend her days walking the long distance to a muddy lake to draw water for her family to drink. This daily trek prevents her from going to school or doing anything most children her age in other parts of the world would do. But the end, how Salva and Nya's stories come together is so inspiring. It is amazing how one person can quite literally change the world for the better.

The author, Newbery award winning Linda Sue Park, gave a Ted-Talk about this book. I encourage you to watch it, and then share both the video and the book with any and every young reader you can. It's a great way to open the world to our children and to teach them that even they can make a difference.


Profanity:  None
Violence:  Moderate
Sexuality:  None