My favorite review to date…

stayawayI know it’s been ages since I’ve checked in, but the author side of my life had to fall by the wayside when my day job took over. For the first time in over a year, I popped onto Amazon and Goodreads to see if people were still reading Flawed and how they were feeling about the book.

You guys are still reading. And holy hell, you’re responding!

I’m so incredibly grateful that Flawed has found a place in so many readers’ lives. Nothing makes me happier than seeing the raw emotions the book evokes, even if the reader wound up hating the story. The fact that someone chose to spend their time on a book I love still blows my mind, even two years later. I’ll never be able to thank you all enough.

Today, I stumbled across a review that reminded me why I wrote the book in the first place, and highlights the underlying issue I was trying to address. It’s not my place to tell readers how to interpret what they’ve read, and I love that part of the magic of writing/reading is that no two people will get the same thing from a story. That said, it’s always a treat when someone sees the same thing I did. Thank you, Autumn, for your lovely review!

So this is a really hard book for me to rate, because so much of what I took away from it was colored by what I saw others saying about it. Maybe that doesn’t make sense. Let me try again.

This was a good book. It was powerfully written and either Kate Avelynn has experience with abusive relationships, or she’s done an absolutely incredible and insightful research project. Spot on in terms of accuracy, holy cheez whiz Batman. I actually had to take a break about two-thirds of the way through to get some emotional distance, and it’s been a few weeks now since I finished it – it’s taken me a while to calm down enough to write a review.

So the book is great. What’s the problem, then?

The problem is I read the reviews.

You guys, the reviews scared the sweet banana wrappers out of me. I had to have a glass of bourbon; I almost cried.

Specifically, I read a lot of talk about how this “wasn’t a story of hope” and a LOT of debating over the “love triangle” between James and Sam, and how James is messed up but it’s such a hard decision to make!


Dude. It isn’t a love triangle. No no no no NO. James does not love anyone, much less his sister. It is not a love triangle. It is not romantic. THIS IS NOT LOVE.

*deep breath*

What James does to Sarah? That is textbook abuse. I mean literally, I have read textbooks. It is like, heartbreakingly accurate, point-for-point, paint-by-numbers abuse. He talks a lot about how much he loves Sarah, but every time she has an opinion or a need or a feeling he doesn’t like, he withdraws that love.

Oh, you don’t like me getting high? You want to go home? Fine, I will leave you alone with dangerous strangers to punish you and it will be your fault. That is not love.

You can’t have your own happiness. You cannot be independent, or have a job, or have any agency in your life. You want to go to school? No. That is not allowed. That is. Not. Love.

You may not have friends. You may not have feelings I don’t know about and approve of. You may not have boundaries. THAT IS NOT LOVE.

When you love someone, you don’t punish them for having needs. You don’t abandon them in the woods and then fly into a rage because they thwarted your “punishment” by letting someone protect them. He intended for Sarah to spend the remainder of that party alone and frightened and miserable, and a huge factor in his anger stemmed from the fact that it backfired.

In the end, though, Flawed does have a hopeful ending. The specifics of the ending (trying hard to avoid hardcore spoilers) sucked. It would have been nice if that hadn’t gone down the way it did. But…from a literary standpoint, I kind of think it was necessary. Sarah was still incredibly passive. Maybe she would have left James (I have my doubts, but theoretically speaking here). Would she have learned to fight for herself instead of letting someone else save her? Would she have learned that you can’t save anyone else, and no one can save you? Would she have forgiven herself?

Eventually, maybe. But reading her growth after a year of grieving is a hell of a lot more satisfying than the more common ending, which usually involves years of therapy, codependent relationships, and tragedy.

I really wish this book had an author’s note at the end, making the abuse message more explicit and providing resources for further education and/or help for those who need it. Reading it, I thought the point of James’s controlling behavior was incredibly clear, but reading about what others took from it…I think it needs to be dropped like an anvil. We glorify and romanticize abuse enough that it can be hard to spot; pointing out the difference and repeating that “abuse is not love” is still a long way from being irrelevant.

Per Autumn’s request, here is my author’s note.

Abuse is not love. It’s not. And it breaks my heart when I see someone seeking out “love” without questioning the strings attached. Add to that the desperation of someone who has suffered abuse at that hand of another, and the need to be loved is incredibly powerful. So powerful, it blinds you to the truth. This goes for Sarah as well as James.

“The greater the power, the more dangerous the abuse.” -Edmund Burke

Abuse doesn’t have to be physical. If the person you love is isolating you, making sure you’re dependent on them, withdrawing their love when you do something they don’t like, or telling you that no one will love you the way they do, this is not love. If you’re not ready to walk away, or if you don’t think you’re strong enough to walk away on your own, talk to someone who can help.

“People think being alone makes you lonely, but I don’t think that’s true. Being surrounded by the wrong people is the loneliest thing in the world.” -Kim Culbertson

Be safe. Be loved. And always, be true to yourself.

#YASH teams revealed!

scavenger hunt

The Spring 2013 YA Scavenger Hunt authors have been revealed and I’ve made the cut! Go BLUE TEAM! You can find me and the first chapter of Alex’s book hidden somewhere on one of my teammate’s sites. The hunt begins April 4th and ends at noon PST on April 7th. Check out the author line up and get ready to start hunting!






















































Watch out for more updates to come.

FLAWED Blog Tour deets!

Flawed blog tour button
Follow along and comment for a chance to win one of the daily prizes, and enter the accompanying Rafflecopter contest as often as you can to be entered in the Win the Ultimate FLAWED Fan Pack contest!


Official FLAWED Tour Stops
1/22 – A Good Addiction
Topic: Interview with Sam Donavon
Prize: FLAWED dog tag and tattoos
Winner: Vivien

1/23 – Mandie Baxter’s blog
Topic: Writing about tough and/or taboo subjects
Prize: $15 B&N or Amazon gift card (International)
Winner: Suzi

1/24 – Two Chicks on Books
Topic: Interview between the author and her heroine Sarah O’Brien.
Prize: Winner’s choice—large book charm on a silver necklace, or small book charm on a bracelet.
Winner: Amy

1/25 – My Pathway to Books
Topic: Balancing romance in dark YA.
Prize: FLAWED swag pack (dog tag, tattoos, guitar pick, magnet)
Winner: Jena

1/28 – Jus Accardo’s blog
Topic: Visual stimulation inspiration (aka PICTURES OF SAM and JAMES!)
Prize: $15 iTunes gift card (International)
Winner: Artemis

1/29 – Shortie Says
Topic: Jena interviews Kate about her inspiration for the book and digs for personal details
Prize: FLAWED swag pack (tattoos, guitar pick, magnet) and a $5 iTunes gift card.
Winner: Vivian

1/30 – Words, Pages and Books
Topic: Jessirae interviews Sam and Sarah
Prize: Small book charm on a bracelet, and a FLAWED dog tag.
Winner: Maryann

1/31 – Talk Supe
Topic: Cimmaron interviews Kate about her writing process and life after FLAWED.
Prize: $15 B&N or Amazon gift card (International)
Winner: Jena

2/1 – Kelley York’s blog
Topic: Entangled TEEN’s two dark YA authors talk about the darker side of YA.
Prize: eBook copies of FLAWED and HUSHED (International)
Winner: M. Andrew Patterson

2/4 – Making the Grade
Topic: Interview with James O’Brien
Prize: $15 iTunes gift card (International)
Winner: Grace Lo

2/5 – The Reader’s Den
Topic: Jasprit interviews Sarah O’Brien
Prize: Winner’s choice—large book charm on a silver necklace, or small book charm on a bracelet.
Winner: Brandi

2/6 – Jamie Manning’s blog
Topic: Interview with Kate
Prize: $15 B&N or Amazon gift card (International)
Winner: Jena

2/7 – Just a Booklover
Topic: Jessica puts Sam and James in the same room for an interview. Daring girl, that Jessica.
Prize: FLAWED dog tag and a $5 iTunes gift card
Winner: Kahzy

2/8 – The Book Sophisticate
Topic: Kate’s experience with writing the book and her path to publication.
Prize: $15 B&N or Amazon gift card (International)
Winner: Pavan

Remember! Each day, one lucky commenter (as chosen by will win the prize listed for that stop. Daily prize winners will be announced on the last day of the tour. In the meantime, don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win the Ultimate FLAWED Fan Pack! In addition to the usual ways to enter (I like to make things easy), you’ll be able to count your comments on the blog tour stops as entries, too!
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And the winner is…

Last month, me and my fantabulous crit partner Jus Accardo held an epic contest in which the winner would receive ebook copies of all of our books, mega swag packs, and will get to create a character to be used in the super secret project Jus and I are writing together. We’re a few days late, but has finally chosen our winner.

Congratulations to Sandra of JeanzBookReadNReview!

We will be contacting you with instructions on how to claim your prize. Thank you to everyone who participated and be on the lookout for another major contest from me coming this next week when FLAWED goes on tour!
Flawed blog tour button

An announcement…and an epic joint contest!

2012 has been crazy good to me. FLAWED, a book that’s very close to my heart, has been released into the world—and people seem to really like it! While I’m gobsmacked by the reactions I’ve gotten, I’m most grateful for the readers I’ve met. That you guys believe the stuff I bleed onto the page matters means a lot to me. And because I’m me, all these fluffy feelings can only mean one thing: I’m giving stuff away!

But first, an announcement that’s pretty freaking awesome.

Awhile back, I called Jus Accardo with the lyrics to a song I’d just heard and the seed of what I hoped would become a story we’d write together. We took that little seed and developed it until we had something that combined my darkness and her creativity into a story that’s deceptively light (we are talking about me, here), thought-provoking, and extremely original. Exactly what you’d expect when an author who writes quirky paranormal romance teams up with someone who writes dark and twisty contemporary.

I never stopped thinking about the story. Neither did Jus. So last week we made a decision: We’re going to write the book, and it will be epic.

The catch? We want you guys to be part of it.

Jus and I are holding a contest/casting call with more than a dozen ways to enter. In addition to receiving ebook copies of all our books (Flawed, Touch, Untouched, and Toxic) and a full complement of swag from the two of us, the winner will get to create a character for the book. Name, appearance, character tics…everything. You can even be the character if you want. Our only caveat is that you not ask us to write a pink polka-dotted elephant (or the equivalent) into the story. Think contemporary YA and the kind of characters that come with the genre.

We can’t tell you guys anything about the story just yet, but we can share the song that started it all.

Intrigued? Enter the contest below for your chance to create a character in the book!

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Entangled Under the Mistletoe

What happens when more than 50 authors gather under a sprig of mistletoe?
You win free books, of course!

Don’t forget to check out what the other
authors participating in the hop are giving away!


  • An ebook copy of FLAWED, my new release

  • A print copy of any of Entangled’s print titles

I’ll be using The Book Depository to purchase your print book, so make sure you live in a country they ship to before entering. Chances are good that you’re eligible!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

T-minus 3 days and counting…until FLAWED!

The wait is finally over.

Whether you’re planning to hit the sales, avoid the swarms of crazed shoppers altogether, or need an intense book to distract you from your turkey and pumpkin pie coma, I have a Black Friday treat for you. FLAWED releases in ebook this Friday, November 23rd, on Amazon and Barnes & Noble!

The Cover:

The Blurb:

Sarah O’Brien is alive because of the pact she and her brother made twelve years ago—James will protect her from their violent father if she promises to never leave him. For years, she’s watched James destroy his life to save hers. If all he asks for in return is her affection, she’ll give it freely.

Until, with a tiny kiss and a broken mind, he asks for more than she can give.

Sam Donavon has been James’s best friend—and the boy Sarah’s had a crush on—for as long as she can remember. As their forbidden relationship deepens, Sarah knows she’s in trouble. Quiet, serious Sam has decided he’s going to save her. Neither of them realize James is far more unstable than her father ever was, or that he’s not about to let Sarah forget her half of the pact…

When—and where—can you grab a copy?

  • The ebook version of FLAWED will be available on Amazon and B&N exclusively for the first week or two, with the distributor listing it in all the usual places (both here and abroad) after the initial launch.
  • We anticipate the print book hitting bookstore shelves in December or January. As soon as I have the exact date, I’ll update my book page and tweet about it.
  • Afraid you’ll miss the update? Stop by your local B&N and order your copy at the counter—they’ll email you as soon as your copy is in stock. You can also hit up one of the online retailers and pre-order your copy there. I recommend The Book Depository, who currently has the book on sale for only $7.49!

What people are saying about FLAWED:

“Darkly moving, expertly written, FLAWED grabs you by the heart from the first page and doesn’t let go.”
– New York Times bestselling author Lori Wilde

“Gorgeously written, achingly bittersweet, FLAWED addresses the deeply complex nature of abuse and its heartbreaking effects on a family.”
– Christa Desir, author of FAULT LINE (Fall 2013, Simon Pulse)

Everyone has been so awesome about the wait and our decision to move the book from summer to the fall season. Now that release day is almost here, I’m excited to share the book with readers. I can’t thank you guys enough for all the support and enthusiasm you’ve shown me and FLAWED these last few months, and for voting in the contest that won me this fantastic cover. While I know the book won’t be for everyone, I’m glad to have found such a fabulous community of readers, bloggers, and friends. Hope to see you all on the blog tour later this year!