Sunday, May 21, 2017

Girl Against the Universe: Seven Days Seven Giveaways Blog Tour

Hi everyone! Girl Against the Universe releases in paperback on June 6, 2017 and I’m so excited about that I decided to do an entire blog tour of giveaways to celebrate! In the story, main character Maguire creates a list of seven challenges to help her overcome her fears. This week, I posted seven fun challenges for you around the blogosphere, which are also seven chances to win a shiny GATU paperback :D

Some of the contests require you to have a Twitter or Instagram account, but others just require you to leave a blog comment. These contests are all international, but due to shipping costs, US winners will receive signed copies sent by me and INT winners will receive their books from Wordery or The Book Depository, with signed bookplates mailed separately.

All contests will end on May 31, 2017. All winners will be contacted via Instagram, Twitter, or email as well as posted on my blog in early June. If you’re going to enter a Twitter or Instagram challenge, be sure your account is set to public during the contest period so I will be able to see your entries and contact you if you win. 

My editor and I updated the sales copy for the book to help it better reflect the mental health and therapy components, as opposed to making it sound romance-centric. Here's the new description:

From the author of The Art of Lainey and Liars, Inc. comes a fresh, contemporary story about a girl coping with PTSD and the boy who wants to help her move on from the past. Perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen or Jenny Han.

Sixteen-year-old Maguire knows the universe is against her. No matter how many charms she buys off the internet or good luck rituals she performs each morning, horrible things happen when she's around. Like that time the roller coaster jumped off its tracks. Or the time her brother, father, and uncle were all killed in a car crash--and Maguire walked away with barely a scratch. 

Despite what her therapist tells her, Maguire thinks it's best to hide out in her room, far away from anyone she might accidentally hurt. But then she meets Jordy, an aspiring tennis star who wants to help her break her unlucky streak. Maguire knows that the best thing she can do for him is to stay away, but it turns out staying away may be harder than she thought.

If GATU were a gif, it would be this one :)

Ready to start winning? I tried to create challenges that not only promoted GATU's paperback release, but were also fun to complete and benefited the literary community. After all, who doesn't need recommendations for thoughtfully written mental health novels? Who couldn't use an inspirational quote or a fun haiku to brighten their day? You can enter one contest or all seven. I'm not expecting more than ten entries for most of these, so if you want a free signed copy of the novel, this is an excellent chance to score one. Note: if you already have a copy, these make great gifts :D

Challenge #1:
Bookstagram a mental health novel you felt was well done.
Requires Instagram. Read blog post for full details.

Challenge #2:
Tweet or Instagram one of your favorite inspirational quotes
Requires Twitter or Instagram (but not both.) Read blog post for full details.

Challenge #3:
Write a haiku about luck, tennis, dolphins, or burritos :)
Requires a blog comment or Twitter (but not both.) Read blog post for full details.

Challenge #4: 
Share a book that made you feel happy or empowered after reading.
Requires Instagram or Twitter (but not both.) Read blog post for full details.

Challenge #5: 
Make like Maguire and share one of your own fears, plus two strategies for working on it. Requires blog comment. Read blog post for full details.

Challenge #6:
Share the luck! Or your lucky charms anyway :)
Requires Instagram or Twitter (but not both.) Read blog post for full details.

Here's one of my good luck charms with my next release :)

Which brings us to:

Challenge #7:
Share the first six challenges.
Today's challenge is an easy-breezy Rafflecopter, with points for tweeting and retweeting.

Below it is a bonus Rafflecopter because I promised a bonus giveaway with this tour. Remember, all challenges go until the end of the month, so there's still plenty of time to enter as many times as you want :) 

Questions? Put 'em in the comments.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

DOUBLE BONUS GIVEAWAY: Don't miss a chance to win a copy of The Art of Lainey too :)

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Art of Lainey Three-Year Bookaversary

That's right, The Art of Lainey, my little paperback novel that could, the first book I wrote where I have the copyright, is turning three-years-old soon. Sounds like a good excuse to do a giveaway! :D

Soccer star Lainey Mitchell is gearing up to spend an epic summer with her amazing boyfriend, Jason, when he suddenly breaks up with her—no reasons, no warning, and in public no less! Lainey is more than crushed, but with help from her friend Bianca, she resolves to do whatever it takes to win Jason back.

And that’s when the girls stumble across a copy of The Art of War. With just one glance, they're sure they can use the book to lure Jason back into Lainey’s arms. So Lainey channels her inner warlord, recruiting spies to gather intel and persuading her coworker Micah to pose as her new boyfriend to make Jason jealous. After a few "dates", it looks like her plan is going to work! But now her relationship with Micah is starting to feel like more than just a game.

What's a girl to do when what she wants is totally different from what she needs? How do you figure out the person you're meant to be with, if you're still figuring out the person you're meant to be?

Here are my top ten reasons you might want to check out The Art of Lainey:

10. It might help you understand The Art of War (or make you want to read it, if you haven't read it yet.) Note: once you read The Art of War, you will start applying it to everything.

 9. The character of Trinity. That is my favorite name out of ALL the names, so you can bet she's made of win. Also, Trinity's cat shoes, which I own :)

 8. Sporty girls! Warning: this book might make you want to kick around a soccer ball or go for a run.

 7. Ms. Creant's House of Torture (and Pancakes.) I think that name speaks for itself.

 6. Book-boy Micah is a punk-rock baker with a tattoos and a mohawk. So basically, imagine if Peeta were actually hot. Heheheh I am so #TeamGale! :D #SorryNotSorry

 5. The strong female friendship between Lainey and Bianca.

 4. Lainey's wonderfully wacky parents who are present throughout and do parental things like talk about birth control and give their daughter a curfew.

 3. Laugh out loud moments. When you mix a preppy jock with a rocker boy and fold in a cast full of coffee shop misfits, hilarity is bound to ensue. 

 2. Girl power. This is not the story of Lainey picking a boyfriend. This is the story of Lainey picking a Lainey. There might be two boys, but this is not a love triangle book.

 1. Character development. Yes, Lainey is flawed and yes, trying to scheme warlord-style to win back your boyfriend is probably a bad plan. But sometimes you have to do the wrong thing before you can even figure out what the right thing is.

 0. Bonus! Once you're finished reading LAINEY, you'll want to read the 100-page, Micah-flavored prequel novella called INFINITE REPEAT and the totally free and so adorable you might spontaneously explode into glitter short story/epilogue NEW MUSIC. [Note: that should be a direct link to New Music so you can read it without a Wattpad account, but remember, it's like an extended epilogue, so reading it will spoil parts of the novel.]

Need more convincing? 
Here's what some other smart people think of the novel:

“Refreshingly honest, sweet and romantic. The love story is everything readers want—perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins, but with an edge.” --Romantic Times Book Reviews

"Stokes does a good job with the sports subplots as well as the familial relationships. Lainey is a driven athlete who focuses on her passion, which is a refreshing change of pace." --School Library Journal

“A mesmerizing journey of discovery, navigating that slippery line between what one wants and what one really needs. Romance, wit, and highly relatable characters join forces to create one addictive story.” --Rachel Harris, New York Times bestselling author

You can even read the first couple of chapters here if you want a preview.

The Amazing Jaye Robin Brown drew this doodle in my ARC.
It's Lainey and Micah at the Arachne's Revenge concert :D

If you like fake-dating, enemies-to-lovers stories, squishy adorableness, soccer, pancakes, coffee shops, best friends, punk-rock boys, and/or ancient military strategy, you will (probably, I mean almost definitely, I mean there is a solid chance) L-O-V-E The Art of Lainey.

Enter below for a chance to win. US winner scores signed paperback. INT winner scores order from Wordery or TBD with signed bookplate mailed separately.

Remember, like Sun Tzu used to say, the only way to win is to recruit all of your friends and frenemies into battle alongside you and go on as many outrageous dates as possible along the way ;)

Good luck, and keep an eye out around the interwebz next week because I'm giving away seven--yes, seven!--lucky copies of Girl Against the Universe :)

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Spring 2017 YA Scavenger Hunt!

Hi hi! Once again it's time for the YA Scavenger Hunt!!! YASH gives you a chance to check out scads of fun bonus material and enter to win awesome twenty-book prize packs, not to mention all the secondary contests with more good stuff up for grabs. If you're new to YASH or confused about how to play, check this site for instructions on how to hunt. If you're in the middle of the mayhem and completely stuck, here's some help for that.

This hunt I am proud to represent the PURPLE TEAM!! I'm hosting Claire Luana. From the pictures on her website, I can tell that Claire has done more than 5  (yes, FIVE) things I still need to check off my bucket list, like glacier hiking and scuba diving #ENVY ;D

Claire’s here to talk about her book, Moonburner! The book is set in an Asian-inspired fantasy world and is filled with snarky talking animals, devious villains, and girl power. Here’s the blurb:

 When 17-year old Kai is exposed as a female sorceress–a moonburner, she knows the punishment is death. Despite the odds against her, Kai escapes her fate and undertakes a harrowing journey to a land where moonburners are revered and trained as warriors.

But the moonburner citadel is not the place of refuge and learning that Kai imagined. The ongoing war against the male sorcerers, or sunburners, has led the citadel leadership down a dark path that could spell the end of all magic. Armed with a secret from her past and a handsome but dangerous ally in the sunburner prince, Kai may be the only one able to prevent the destruction of her people.


Claire: Today, I’ll be sharing a deleted scene from Moonburner!

But first, a little backstory. Moonburners are female sorcerers who draw their power from the light of the moon. Moonburners are forbidden to marry, have children, or have any relations with men. The punishment for violating this ban is death. Kai, the main character, is walking around the citadel, the moonburner school, with her silver fox animal companion, Quitsu. Ok, here we go!

The sunlight filtered through the trees, leaving this corner of the garden half-cast in shadow. Kai and Quitsu rounded a stone wall and found themselves in another courtyard, even more deserted than the first. An ornamental bridge spanned a narrow pond in the center of the space, koi fish floating lazily in its depths. As Kai took a deep breath, reveling in the serenity of the solitude, she froze. They weren’t alone.  Against the far stone wall, a couple lay under a red maple tree, clearly engrossed in each other. 
Kai shrank against the wall, kicking herself for her intrusion. Her cheeks flamed red as she tried to cast her eyes anywhere but the most intimate scene. She froze as something caught her eye. A light blue uniform top lay discarded on the green grass next to the entwined couple. 
“A samanera,” Kai whispered to Quitsu. “I thought we weren’t supposed to… you know.”
“I guess they don’t all play by the rules” he retorted quietly. 
“Let’s go before they see us.” Kai began creeping backwards, out of the courtyard, when her heel caught on a rock and she tumbled backwards, landing in an undignified pile in a rustling bush. Kai shot to her feet, her ears burning. The couple was on their feet, the girl with her light blue top clutched to her bare chest, and the boy, no, man, standing protectively in front of her. 
“Maaya?” Kai exclaimed. Even across the courtyard, she recognized her friend’s pigtail braids, now mused with dust and crowned with a stray maple-leaf. And the man…he looked familiar too. Kai’s eyes narrowed. It was Atsu, the biwa player from the Fox and Fiddle.
“Kai,” Maaya exclaimed, a look of relief plain on her flushed face. She darted across the bridge, pulling her shirt over her head. Maaya gripped Kai’s arms, a fervent gleam in her eye.
 “Kai, please. You cannot tell anyone. I know I’m not supposed to, but…” she looked back at Atsu, who stood and watching the scene impassively.
“How long has this been going on?” Kai hissed. “Don’t you understand how dangerous this is? How could you bring him here? If one of the masters found out…”
“I know,” Maaya said miserably, biting her lip. “I saw him after that night at the Fox and Fiddle. We’ve…been sneaking off together ever since. I know it’s insane, but…Kai.” Maaya’s voice wavered. “I’ve never felt like this as long as I’ve lived. I love him. I can’t live without him. I don’t want to live without him.” A rivulet of tears ran down Maaya’s cheek.
Kai sighed, drawing Maaya into a hug, glaring at Atsu over Maaya’s shoulder. “It’ll be okay,” she murmured, not at all sure that it would be. If Maaya and Atsu were found out, the punishment was death. What were they going to do?

Moonburner is available in Print, eBook, or Audio! To find out more, click HERE.

And don’t forget to stop by Claire’s website to snag a copy of Burning Fate, the prequel to Moonburner for FREE!


Great scene, Claire! And oooh, a talking silver fox animal companion. I want one :) 

Here's more info about Claire herself:

Claire Luana lives in Seattle with her husband and two dogs. By day, she works as a commercial litigation attorney, and by night, she writes young adult fantasy novels.

Some little-known facts about Claire:

She knows how to Scottish Highland Dance.
Cadbury Mini Eggs are her Kryptonite
She sucks at any sport that requires hand-eye coordination.
She loves country music.
She wishes she could freeze time and catch up on her reading list!

Find Claire online:


One lucky purple team winner will score a 20-book prize pack, including a copy of MOONBURNER from Claire and an ARC of THIS IS HOW IT HAPPENED from me. But you guys know I love these secondary giveaways, so a second lucky winner will win their choice of any of my YA books shown in the sidebar + a second YASH book of your choice (max value US $18.00, to ship from Book Depo or Wordery) or a ten-page critique of your writing (submission due by 12/31/17.) Read more about each of my titles on my Books page.

The winner's choice of Paula Stokes novel will be signed and personalized if you have a US address, or shipped from Book Depo/Wordery with a signed personalized bookplate mailed separately if you're an international reader.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Are you hungry for more exclusive content, epic secondary contests, and general YASH mayhem?!? My agent-sister Ilsa J Bick is next for Team Purple. Happy hunting, and may the odds be ever in your favor!

As always, A HUGE THANK YOU to the organizers of the hunt for including me, and to all of the participants for taking the time to stop by our blogs and enter our contests.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Do It Yourself MFA: Month One recap

Happy almost April! The YA Scavenger Hunt starts on April 4th and you know I'll be participating, so now seemed like a good time to do my first DIY MFA update post. These posts are part of the Community element of my DIY MFA program.

What is Do it Yourself MFA? For more info you can check out the intro post I wrote at the beginning of the month. The quick and dirty is that I would love to do an MFA program but I can't afford it, so I found this book that is basically the blueprint to create my own graduate program in writing and I tweaked the author's formula to fit me and my goals. Here's the official description from Goodreads:

Get the Knowledge Without the College! You are a writer. You dream of sharing your words with the world, and you're willing to put in the hard work to achieve success. You may have even considered earning your MFA, but for whatever reason--tuition costs, the time commitment, or other responsibilities--you've never been able to do it. Or maybe you've been looking for a self-guided approach so you don't have to go back to school. This book is for you.

"DIY MFA" is the do-it-yourself alternative to a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing. By combining the three main components of a traditional MFA--writing, reading, and community--it teaches you how to craft compelling stories, engage your readers, and publish your work. 

Inside you'll learn how to: Set customized goals for writing and learning. Generate ideas on demand.Outline your book from beginning to end. Breathe life into your characters. Master point of view, voice, dialogue, and more. Read with a "writer's eye" to emulate the techniques of others. Network like a pro, get the most out of writing workshops, and submit your work successfully. Writing belongs to everyone--not only those who earn a degree. With "DIY MFA," you can take charge of your writing, produce high-quality work, get published, and build a writing career.

from DIY MFA by Gabriela Pereira

Pro tip: The hardest book for you to write is probably the one you should be working on.

Let's see how I did with meeting my goals [Spoiler: I crushed them :D]

My writing goals are to write and revise an average of 120-160 pages a month.

Not only did I squeak out (barely) the 120 pages on my first DIY MFA project, I also wrote and obsessively honed the equivalent of 60 pages for a proposal to turn into one of my publishers. This is without a doubt the tightest proposal I've ever pitched, and I'm really excited and hopeful about the book's possibilities.

My reading goals are to average one book a week throughout the whole program.

My titles will be selected from four different groups:
  1. Free choice 
  2. Comparison 
  3. Classic/Literary
  4. Research
During the month of March I read:

Free choice: Noggin by John Corey Whaley, A Tyranny of Petticoats edited by Jessica Spotswood
Comparison: Speechless by Hannah Harrington
Classic: Animal Farm and 1984 by George Orwell
Research/Non-fiction: I am slowly working my way through The Essential Chomsky, by Noam Chomsky, but that is dense reading and I'll be working on that book for a while, or until the library makes me turn it in ;)

This category encompasses everything from interacting with authors, teachers, librarians, readers on social media to attending events and doing presentations, etc. This will be the hardest category for me.

During the month of March I did the following:
  • maintained relationships with bloggers, readers, etc. online
  • set up a Skype visit giveaway for teachers and librarians
  • attended an author dinner with local authors
  • attended an author event at Powell's
  • worked on getting book donations for a local teen addiction center
  • completed three short editing projects with Manuscript Critique Services
  • emailed/messaged to discuss story, industry, motivation with multiple author buddies
  • blogged about my DIY MFA experience

My plan for this month's educational component was to review the first four lessons from the Masterclass James Patterson writing course.

I completed this goal :)

Pro tip: Don't let momentary failure derail your progress. No one meets ALL of their deadlines.

I was really lucky this month because I had no deadlines and no major promotional responsibilities so I could give DIY MFA a lot of focus. I know there will be some months, especially when I'm revising, where I don't meet my goals, but that's okay. The best thing about this program so far is the way it's encouraging me to read regularly, and read critically as well. Reading great books has the added bonus of inspiring me to focus on my own writing, so even though I spent more time in March reading, I also saw an increase in my writing productivity!

If DIY MFA is something you're interested in, check out Gabriela's website, and check back here at the beginning of each month as I review my progress from the previous month and share tips and tricks I've discovered along the way. I hope you drop by for the YA Scavenger Hunt next week too :D I'll be running a secondary contest where you can win any of my published books, as well as either of my Summer 2017 ARCs!

Have you checked out my next release yet? Taz and Moo give it two tails up :)
Click on the cover in the sidebar for more info and to read the beginning.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Free Skype visits for librarians and educators!

In an effort to broaden my literary community and interact with awesome YA readers, I’m giving away free thirty-minute Skype visits for classrooms and book clubs all throughout April, May, and June. Slots are limited, so if you’re interested in booking a session, please contact me directly at pstokesbooks [at] gmail [dot] com by May 1, 2017. 

Skype sessions will include a short introduction of me and my recent novels, a ten-minute presentation on either Girl Against the Universe or Vicarious, and fifteen minutes for students to ask questions about the novel being discussed, or about writing and publishing in general. An optional discussion guide is provided.

"Filled with equal amounts of empathy, humor, and heart, Girl Against the Universe is an empowering story about finding the courage to piece your life back together, even when it feels irreparably broken." --Tamara Ireland Stone, NYT bestselling author of Every Last Word
Girl Against theUniverse is a mental health story that presents therapy in a positive light and ends on a hopeful but still realistic note. VOYA called it “a satisfying and breezy book with likeable characters working through trauma to move to better, healthier places in their lives.” This story would be ideal for middle school or high school students looking for a funny and uplifting read about overcoming survivor’s guilt with the help of family, friends, and a supportive therapist.

Vicarious was called “completely captivating for any audience” by VOYA in a Perfect Ten review and would be great for high school students who would enjoy reading about a diverse cast of characters thrown into a high-action, twisty mystery, where everyone is in danger and no one can be trusted.

“A total mind-bending thrill ride, with a heroine who’s as smart as she is strong.” --Lindsay Cummings, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Zenith and The Murder Complex
"Reading Vicarious is like tiptoeing across a field of landmines. Blindfolded. Stokes delivers enough adrenaline to make readers beg for mercy."
--Victoria Scott, author of Titans and Fire & Flood

Please contact me via email if you'd like to book a Skype session or if you have specific questions about the books or this offer.