Saturday, June 4, 2016

Ashby Holler Excerpt & $10.00 Amazon Giftcard Giveaway

It's presale day for Ashby Holler!

And to celebrate, I'm giving away a $10.00 Amazon gift card to one lucky winner! But first, check out an excerpt from my debut NA criminal suspense Ashby Holler:

After a quick scan of the room, Sasha leaned against the wall. People slung greetings as they strolled by, and girls danced atop the bar, but her eyes followed Candy. The girl floated around the packed space, her flirty grin charming every person in its wake.

"You’re staring," Vinny whispered over Sasha’s shoulder, stepping beside her.

Sasha took one look at his smug face and returned her gaze to the crowd. Vinny blocked her view, grabbing her hand.

"Dance with me," he said, flashing a devious grin.

Guitars screamed through the speakers, and drumbeats rattled Sasha’s chest. "This isn’t dancing music."

"So what. C’mon."

Vinny tugged her arm, and she dug in her heel.

"Don’t leave me hanging." His voice verged the threshold of begging and she gave in, allowing him to guide her away from the wall. His hands fell to her waist, pulling her close. Amid rowdy voices, cackling women, and harsh guitar riffs, they swayed. When she glanced up and into his frosty blue eyes, the noises stopped. Only his hands on her body and those eyes remained.

"Your mom’s watching us."

Bit by bit, Vinny moved Sasha in a circle. She caught a glimpse of her mother grinning and whispering with Chewy, which incited the urge to storm out the front door. Her body grew rigid and Vinny gripped tighter, keeping her in a gentle rock. He leaned close, his breath tickling her neck.

"You should kiss me," he whispered in her ear.

Sasha flinched and Vinny slid his hands to her back, holding firm.

"Don’t pull away. It’ll look shady."

Every party for the last six years, Vinny tried this shit. It was her fault for making out with him that one time when they were thirteen. The standard procedure of elbowing him in the gut and strutting away wouldn’t work this time. This time, the sergeant at arms position was open, and the president was watching. Plus, Vinny had that goofy smirk, the one that lit his eyes in blue flames.

A peck from her best friend was a small price to pay to get her ass in that seat beside her mother. Sasha glided her hands up Vinny’s chest, skating her lips atop his. He kissed her like they were the only two people in the room. Her instincts screamed to pull away, but she didn’t. She couldn’t part from the only lips that spoke kindly to her, couldn’t push away the one set of hands that never hurt her. When his tongue slipped into her mouth, she grinded into him. For being so free with his hands, she bit his bottom lip as she drew back.

"You’re an asshole," she said before strolling outside.

Just in case this little tidbit seems like something you'd be interested in, I'll drop this Amazon buy link here: Ashby Holler eBook

Now, onto the giveaway! To enter for a chance to win a $10.00 Amazon gift card just click the Rafflecopter link below. There's no purchase necessary, and this giveaway is open internationally!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Ashby Holler Cover Reveal

Today, Limitless Publishing and I are revealing the cover for ASHBY HOLLER, book one of the Ashby Holler series, which releases June 14, 2016!

ASHBY HOLLER by Jamie Zakian
Ashby Holler series Book #1
Release Date: June 14, 2016
Genre: Criminal Suspense
Publisher: Limitless Publishing
Cover Designer: Deranged Doctor Design

Sergeant at Arms for a deadly club of drug traffickers doesn’t sound like the ideal job for a nineteen-year-old girl…

But Sasha Ashby has never been typical, and she’s waited her entire life to sew a club patch on her leather jacket. Raised on violence and crime as part of Ashby Holler Trucking, while hiding her own dirty little secret, Sasha knows she can handle anything.

Now there’s a spot open at the table, and Sasha will do anything to secure it—including betray herself…

Her best friend and fellow prospect, Vinny, devises a stupidly brilliant plan—they fake a relationship. It’s a match the club president, who happens to be Sasha’s mother, has longed to see. It’s a good idea, in theory. Vinny knows she’s into girls, and what’s a little sex between friends? The ruse works well, elevating her in line for the coveted position, until Vinny’s older brother Dez gets out of jail and breezes into her seat.

There’s something about Dez that Sasha can’t shake…

She should hate him. It’s only natural after he snatched away her opportunity of a lifetime. But the instant Dez locks his fierce gaze on her, Sasha’s world turns upside down. In the midst of a war with a rival biker gang, Sasha must figure out what she needs most. Is it the gentle touch of her best friend Vinny, the savage hold of his dangerous brother, or the soft skin of the many women who crawl into the cab of her semi?

The timing couldn’t be worse, but the lies, deceit, and death that dwell in Ashby Holler wait for no woman.


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

#FicFest 2016 Details

#FicFest, the brand new writing contest hosted by the incredible Tiffany Hofmann, opens for submissions on April 24, 2016 @ 12:00am EST! First, you might be asking yourself:

What exactly is #FicFest?

#FicFest is an online writer’s contest which helps put manuscripts in front of literary agents. This contest, unlike most, is open to manuscripts in ALL genres (including those usually excluded such as Paranormal Romance or Erotica) in the categories of Picture Book, Middle Grade, Young Adult, New Adult, and Adult.

#FicFest mentors are structured into fifteen (15) teams. Each category that I listed has three teams. Each team is comprised of a team leader, and two (2) team members. Once the submissions open, each team will choose three (3) finalist manuscripts and one (1) alternate manuscript to advance to the agent round. This means that an equal number of manuscripts for each category will move to the agent round, guaranteeing that one category does NOT overpower another when it comes time for the agents.

45 manuscripts total move to the agent round, with 15 manuscripts being held as alternates in case one of the main finalists drops out of the contest for any reason. This is one of the things we stress in promoting #FicFest because most contests are overrun with Young Adult. In many contests, they may advance 40 manuscripts to the agent round, but the problem lies in the fact that 30 of that 40 are all Young Adult. That won’t happen with #FicFest.

Nine manuscripts from each category will make their appearance in the agent round. No more, no less. NINE each. Let me stress this one more time. In the agent round, you will have 9 Picture Books, 9 Middle Grade, 9 Young Adult, 9 New Adult, and 9 Adult. Everyone gets a fair chance.

There are 25 agents confirmed to participate in #FicFest this year, and we can’t wait!

Who are the agents?

To read the full Meet the Agents post, click here: Meet the Agents

Here's a brief preview:

Laura Zats – Red Sofa Literary Agency

Stacey Graham – Red Sofa Literary Agency

Susan Hawk – The Bent Agency

Nicole Tourelot – DeFiore & Company

Rachel Marks – Rebecca Friedman Literary Agency

Lana Popovic – Chalberg & Sussman
How to submit!
The official #FicFest Submission Guidelines can be found here: #FicFest Submission Guidelines Please, review the rules, regulations, and guidelines carefully to be sure your submission makes it through to the mentors!

#FicFest dates to remember:

April 24, 2016 @ 12:00 am EST - April 25, 2016 @ 11:59 pm EST

Submission window

April 26, 2016 - May 3, 2016

Teams chose their finalists/alternate

May 4, 2016 @ 10:00 am EST

Finalists/Alternate Reveal
(Team Leads Blog)

May 5, 2016 - June 30, 2016


July 8, 2016 @ 12:00am EST - July 14, 2016 @ 11:59 pm EST

Agent Round

I am excited to be a new adult mentor this year on team USA! You can find out more about my team here: Meet Team USA

And to read about the other amazing mentors, check out the master list at the bottom of this post: Meet Team Ireland & The Team Master List

If anyone has any questions about #FicFest 2016 please feel free to post them in the comments section and I'll get back with an answer ASAP.

Thanks for stopping by the blog, and good luck in the contest!


Thursday, March 24, 2016

#FicFest SubTips

A few of us #FicFest mentors tossed out some query/writing tips, and I wanted to post them all here for easy viewing.

#FicFest #subtip
Query letter =
1st paragraph: MC/setting intro
2nd paragraph: describe conflict
3rd paragraph: show what's at stake - J.Z (@demoness333)

#FicFest #subtip Your query letter should be professional, but don't be afraid to add a little voice and flare. - J.Z (@demoness333)

Be sure that your query has a great hook. Need tips on how to write one?
#FicFest #Subtip - D.H Poirier (@PoirierPages)

#FicFest #subtip Know the recommended word count for your genre. Too high/too low suggests plot pacing issues. - J.Z (@demoness333)

Never, ever query a project that isn't 100% completed, edited, and ready for an agent to read. #FicFest #Subtip -D.H Poirier (@PoirierPages)

A little #subtip for #FicFest and #PitchMadness: them adverbs: kill 'em! A few can help, more may hinder. -Laura Brown (@AuthorLBrown)

#FicFest #subtip Be prepared to read your script again, and again. There are many rounds of edits before a final proof hits your hands. - J.Z (@demoness333)

Only mention one project in your query. Focus on one manuscript alone, and make that shine. #FicFest #Subtip -D.H Poirier (@PoirierPages)

Need to practice your elevator pitch? Try Twitter pitches. They'll help you drill down to the bare-bones of your story. #FicFest #Subtip -D.H Poirier (@PoirierPages)

When looking for an agent, go the extra mile to read agent interviews. #FicFest #Subtip -D.H Poirier (@PoirierPages)

#FicFest #subtip A query letter should be 250 words or less. Highlight the story's plot and unique elements, leave out personal opinions. - J.Z (@demoness333)

If you're writing historical, many agents will ask WHY your MS is based in that time period.  #FicFest #Subtip -D.H Poirier (@PoirierPages)

#FicFest #subtip Read widely in your category/genre. It'll help you avoid cliches, and gain insight on your market. - J.Z (@demoness333)

Do not attach anything to your query unless it is requested in the agent submission guidelines. #FicFest #Subtip -D.H Poirier (@PoirierPages)

Follow submission guidelines exactly. It reflects poorly on you if you don't follow them. #FicFest #subtip -D.H Poirier (@PoirierPages)

Don't pre-query to see if an agent is open to queries. If their website/Twitter don't mention they're closed, just query. #FicFest #Subtip -D.H Poirier (@PoirierPages)

#FicFest #subtip Critique partners and beta readers are invaluable. Seek out others who write in your genre and swap pages. - J.Z (@demoness333)

#FicFest #subtip Always, ALWAYS, follow submission guidelines, not doing so is self sabotage. - J.Z (@demoness333)

#FicFest #subtip Allow character and setting descriptions to unfold through action instead of dumping the info all at once. - J.Z (@demoness333)

Need a good starting point for your query?
Be sure you have:
Word count, genre, audience
#FicFest #Subtips -D.H Poirier (@PoirierPages)

#FicFest #subtip Be sure the spelling of the agent/editor's name in your query is right, & include a short line on why you're querying them. - J.Z (@demoness333)

#FicFest #subtip If you can remove an adverb without changing the meaning of the sentence, kill that darling. - J.Z (@demoness333)

Have a few people who have never read your MS read your query. If the plot doesn't make sense to them, revise. #Subtip #FicFest -D.H Poirier (@PoirierPages)

#FicFest #subtip A character's age doesn't dictate a story's category, the tone of the narrative does. The voice has to match the category. - J.Z (@demoness333)

#FicFest #subtip Create a new document for every draft. You never know when you'll go on a fever driven edit rampage and ruin everything :)  - J.Z (@demoness333)

#FicFest #subtip Don't be vague in your query letter, show what makes your story unique & suspenseful so it can stand out in the slush pile. - J.Z (@demoness333)

#FicFest #subtip If your MC glares, shrugs, smirks a lot, you're telling. Instead, show the underlying emotions of those actions. - J.Z (@demoness333)

#FicFest #subtip Backup your work after every editing/writing session. If you don't have a flash drive, email the doc to yourself. - J.Z (@demoness333)

#FicFest #subtip Before sending a submission packet to an agent/editor/contest, send a test email to yourself to check the formatting. - J.Z (@demoness333)

#FicFest #subtip Clarity is key, in both your query pitch and your script. Say what you mean, in the most beautiful and suspenseful way. - J.Z (@demoness333)

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Little Query Letter That Could

A lot of my #amwriting friends are prepping for an exciting few months of Twitter contests. With Sun versus Snow , Pit2Pub , PitMatch , and a contest I’m excited to be a mentor in FicFest coming up, I thought it could be helpful to post the query letter that landed me a three book deal with Limitless Publishing.

This is the query letter for my NA criminal suspense Ashby Holler. Before I decided to go the small press route, I sent this letter to twenty-three agents and got seven requests!

In 1984, the hollers of Kentucky are no place for a lesbian. That’s why Sasha Ashby hides her true self from her mother, who presides over a club of drug trafficking Mack truckers. Sasha wants a spot at the club’s table, Ashby Trucking is her legacy and she’ll do whatever it takes to secure her rightful place in the holler. To fulfill her mother’s expectations, she fakes a relationship with her best friend Vinny. The scheme is on track until Vinny’s older brother gets out of jail, breezes into her position, and her bed.

Before Sasha can decipher how not one but two men could worm their way into her heart, a war breaks out with a rival biker gang. As the battle to control the roads heats up, so does the passion between Sasha, her best friend, his brother, and the stream of women who climb into the cab of her semi.

When the gunfire fades and lives are lost, Sasha has to choose what matters most in her world. The club life she always thought she wanted or the freedom to be herself, which she hadn’t known was missing until it was gone.

Complete at 79,000 words, ASHBY HOLLER is a new adult criminal suspense saturated in romance. With its edgy and risqué content, this novel will appeal to readers of Dennis Lehane’s The Drop and viewers of the television series Sons of Anarchy.

I am a fulltime writer who enjoys both the creative side as well as the editing process. My debut novel (a YA sci-fi thriller) is slated for release in March 2017 from Month9Books.

I wouldn’t say it’s the best query letter I’ve ever written, but it was effective. It introduced the setting, main character, and the overall predicament. As the letter progressed, the suspense and stakes escalated, ending with the potential of the main character’s ultimate sacrifice. I left my novel stats, comp titles, and bio in the example above because I know a lot of writers have a lot of questions on how to organize this section of a query letter.

I hope this has been helpful, and good luck out there in the query trenches.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

GRUDGING Cover Reveal with Giveaway!

Today Michelle Hauck and Rockstar Book Tours are revealing the cover for GRUDGING, Birth of Saints Book One series which releases November 17, 2015! Check out the gorgeous cover and enter to win a copy of the eBook!

********************Wait for it!********************

********************Wait for it!!!********************

And the reveal!


Author: Michelle Hauck

Pub. Date: November 17, 2015

Publisher: Harper Voyager Impulse

Format: eBook

A world of chivalry and witchcraft…and the invaders who would destroy everything.

The North has invaded, bringing a cruel religion and no mercy. The ciudades-estados who have stood in their way have been razed to nothing, and now the horde is before the gates of Colina Hermosa…demanding blood.

On a mission of desperation, a small group escapes the besieged city in search of the one thing that might stem the tide of Northerners: the witches of the southern swamps.

 The Women of the Song.

But when tragedy strikes their negotiations, all that is left is a single untried knight and a witch who has never given voice to her power.  And time is running out.

 A lyrical tale of honor and magic, Grudging is the opening salvo in the Book of Saints trilogy.

About the Author:



Michelle Hauck lives in the bustling metropolis of northern Indiana with her hubby and two teenagers. Two papillons help balance out the teenage drama. Besides working with special needs children by day, she writes all sorts of fantasy, giving her imagination free range. A book worm, she passes up the darker vices in favor of chocolate and looks for any excuse to reward herself. Bio finished? Time for a sweet snack.

She is a co-host of the yearly contests Query Kombat and Nightmare on Query Street, and Sun versus Snow.

Her epic fantasy, Kindar's Cure, is published by Divertir Publishing. Her short story, Frost and Fog, is published by The Elephant's Bookshelf Press in their anthology, Summer's Double Edge. She's repped by Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Literary.
Now, for a giveaway!
3 winners will receive an eBook of GRUDGING. International. Enter via Rafflecopter below.