Thursday, May 17, 2012 0 comments

Self-Publishing University

by Brittany Geragotelis

Hey all!

I've been hard at work revising What the Spell? to make my Memorial Day deadline and that means I've been in my writing cave and not visiting the blog this past week. I know I'm being a bad little blogger, but it's for a good cause (hopefully a kick-ass book) and I've got some news that will hopefully make it up to you.

If you've ever wondered about self-publishing or have already decided to take the plunge or have just had it with all the rejection that comes along with mainstream publishing, have I got the thing for you! I'm going to be speaking on a panel at UPublishU taking place at BEA (Book Expo of America) this year, and I'll be talking all about my publishing journey, including all those who said I wouldn't make it, how I got my big break and all the exciting stuff I have coming up! If you live in or around NYC, you should definitely consider coming! Here are the details!

When: Sunday, June 3, 2012 
Where: The Javits Center in New York City
(located on 11th Ave, btwn 34-39th Sts) 

Penned & Published – Self-Published Authors & Stories of Success!
10:00 - 10:50

Room 1E14

PJ Campbell, Director of Events for a major global trade publisher
Darcie Chan, Self-Published Author of The Mill River Recluse
Brittany Geragotelis, Self-Published Author of Life's a Witch
C.S. Marks, Self-Published Author of the Elfhunter trilogy
Theresa Regan, Self-Published Author, Author of Return of the Rose
Combine your talent and business sense and take your writing dreams to the next level by penning and publishing your own work of literary art! Join celebrated authors and publishing professionals for this inspirational and engaging session where they describe what it takes to become a best-selling author. Long-time Publishing Veteran and author, PJ Campbell, will share her experiences of publishing and talk with authors who have made the leap to publish. Meet this dynamic group of writing professionals and learn exactly what tips and techniques are needed and applied to create a successful book campaign. This exciting session includes an expert panel of successful authors who will share their thrilling self-publishing stories! These courageous writers will share their experiences and insights on their own best practices and how they turned their trials into triumphs! From pen to published author, this session will prove that You can Publish You! 

PJ Campbell

PJ Campbell is the Director of Events for a major, global trade publisher and an authority in the creation of successful book campaigns through author appearances. She has more than 17 years’ experience in formulating, marketing and publicizing author appearances through webinars, blog tours, online chats, Skype, bookstores, conventions, conferences, seminars, workshops, galas, and launch parties. Including her background as a former bookstore General Manager and Director of Events, she has an all-inclusive perspective of the business of writing. As an author, PJ has written articles and essays on a variety of adult topics including the business of events, women’s issues, motivation, sports, health and art.  Her writing has been published in national and international newspapers, magazines and websites. Her 2009 published book, 101 AUTHOR TIPS:  Creating A Successful Book Campaign was an award finalist in Best Books USA Book News and Foreword Magazine’s Book of the Year. PJ’s newest book will be published as an e-book, entitled, Authors’ Online Bestseller Resource: Sales, Publicity, Promotion, E-Publishing. PJ is a member of the following professional writing associations: National Association of Women Writers, International Women Writers Guild, Association of Writers and Writing Programs, Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, Western Writers of America, Pacific Northwest Writers Association. Contact PJ Campbell at,

Darcie Chan
Darcie Chan is the author of The Mill River Recluse, a self-published debut novel that has become a word-of-mouth e-book sensation. With over 570,000 copies sold, The Mill River Recluse appeared on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists for more than 24 weeks and became a heartwarming favorite of readers across the country. Darcie was born in Wisconsin and grew up in the small towns of Brandon, Wisconsin, La Junta and Cheraw, Colorado, and Paoli, Indiana. Thanks to loving and supportive parents who are both educators, she learned to read and write at an early age. She has two younger sisters, with whom she is very close. Currently, Darcie lives just north of New York City with her husband and son. She writes during every moment she isn’t working as a lawyer or spending time with her family. She gets very little sleep, especially now that she is hard at work on a second novel set in Mill River, Vermont.
Brittany Geragotelis
An Olympic-bound gymnast during her teen years, Brittany Geragotelis always thought she'd see her name in print one day. That dream came true first as a magazine editor, where she had the chance to interview celebrities like Dakota Fanning, Miley Cyrus and Jamie Foxx, and then more recently in news outlets like Publisher's Weekly, Huffington Post and The Wall Street Journal. Though she's now a full-time writer, she also pens the blog Brittany the Book Slayer as well as produces and stars in author videos for her YouTube channel. After publishing her first book, Life's a Witch, on the community writing site Wattpad and receiving nearly 18 million reads of the paranormal action romance, she landed a 3-book, 6-figure deal with Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. The prequel to Life's A Witch, titled What the Spell? Will be published as an e-book in three parts beginning in October 2012 and in paperback January 15, 2013. The re-release of Life's a Witch will happen in May 2013 and the sequel, The Witch is Back will be out January 2014. A self-professed pop-culture junkie, Brittany currently lives in NYC with her boyfriend and two cats, Murray and Cohen.
C.S. Marks
C.S.Marks has often been described as a ‘Renaissance woman’. The child of an English professor, Chris has always loved classic literature as well as epic fantasy, and decided to try her hand at writing and illustrating an epic series. The result: The very successful Elfhunter trilogy, which has sold over 40,000 copies both in print and e-book form. This epic trilogy has garnered awards (Reviewer’s Choice Best Fantasy, Best Series) and nearly 200 reviews. She is now hard at work on an exciting new Alterran series, the Undiscovered Realms. A former field biologist and avid horsewoman, Chris holds a PhD in Biology, and has competed both nationally and internationally in the sport of endurance riding. She is a full professor of equine science at a small liberal arts college in the midwest. She is in demand as a lecturer and presenter at conventions, academic fairs, and publishing workshops. In 2011, Chris signed a three book deal with Sea Lion Books, including comic book and graphic novel adaptations of the Elfhunter trilogy as well as hard covers and paperbacks. While she has enjoyed an ample measure of success as an independent author, she is now looking forward to a long and productive relationship with Sea Lion Books, bringing her wonderful Tales of Alterra to an ever-widening group of appreciative readers of all ages.
Theresa Ragan
Theresa Ragan has been writing for nineteen years and has garnered six Golden Heart nominations in Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart Competition for her work. She lives with her husband, Joe, and the youngest of her four children in Sacramento, California. Theresa writes medieval time travels, romantic comedy, romantic suspense, and thrillers under the name T.R. Ragan. In her first year as an indie author, Theresa sold 250,000 ebooks. Books by Theresa include: Return of the Rose, A Knight in Central Park, Taming Mad Max, Finding Kate Huntley. Also look for Abducted and Dead Weight, romantic thrillers under the name T.R. Ragan. Many of her titles are top sellers in the category! 

If you're attending UPubU, be sure to stop by and say hi!

Sunday, May 13, 2012 1 comments

Mother's Day Momma

by Brittany Geragotelis

Me and Mom
Today is Mother's Day, so what better time to list all the things I love about my mom? Here are my top 10.

1. She's funny. Maybe she's not stand-up funny, but she always makes me laugh. One of her fave things to say? "You're funny--funny looking!"
2. She's always encouraged me to follow my dreams. And she's done this through example. She's a ballet teacher and has always said that work isn't work when you're doing what you love. Even though publishing books is a bit of a lofty dream, she's never told me I couldn't achieve it.
Mom in a chicken suit she made for Halloween
3. She's dorky. My mom's not what you would call a serious person. She's dorky, but in the same way that I am. She says weird things, she'll bust out in the splits anytime, anywhere, and she dances in the car like a lunatic. She's adorkable.
4. She's strong. Looking at her, you wouldn't think she's lived the life she's lived. She's raised three strong-willed, confident young women. There was a time when she worked several jobs at a time just to pay the bills. She was held up at gun-point. She was stalked by a serial killer. She survived horrible situations and came out the other side better for it.
Me at Disneyland
5. She's a big kid. There is NO ONE I'd rather go to Disneyland with than my mom. She wakes up early so we can be there when they snip the ribbon to let people in to the park. She makes us run from one ride to the next and she believes that everything is as magical as the first time she went there...even when we've been there a million times before. She jokes that when Matt and I go on our honeymoon there, she's going to come along, because she's so much fun to go with.
Here's a cake my mom made and decorated
6. She believes in her kids. My mom hates to read...but she's now read three of my books. She was there 100% when my sister was trying to get pregnant, then all throughout her pregnancy and now as a Memaw to my nephew. She's all for my baby sister playing video games for her chosen career. Whatever we want to do, she's supportive, and when we fall along the way, she picks us up.
Here's a dress she designed for one of her students
7. She's uber-talented. Not only is she a phenomenal dancer, but she can also sew just about anything. She makes all her costumes for her ballet performances and she made my sister's bridesmaid's dresses. Seriously, she could have a second career designing and making clothes, she's that good. And she can decorate a mean cake, too.
8. She's a scaredy cat. She will NOT watch scary movies. When we were growing up, she wouldn't even let me watch "Are You Afraid of the Dark" on Nickelodeon while she was in the same room, because she thought it was too scary. This is especially funny, considering that all of her kids are obsessed with scary movies.
Here's a hat she created for one of the cruises she went on
9. She knows what she wants. And it's perfection. To say she's a perfectionist is an understatement. Her house MUST be perfectly clean at all times. If a thread is sticking out of a costume, it must be snipped. And don't worry if you don't do something perfectly...she'll fix it. You've gotta respect someone who has a vision and isn't afraid to go after it.
10. She's a great mom. I am who I am today because of my mom and I wouldn't have it any other way. She's the best and I'm lucky to have her in my life.

Happy Mother's day, Mom! Love you!

Friday, May 4, 2012 0 comments

You're Fired!

by Brittany Geragotelis

My plane had just landed in Mexico on a Friday in January when I turned on my phone to find that I had several messages left for me. My heart sunk when I listened to my co-workers tell me that everyone at my job had been fired. After 10 years of working for the magazine (across three different companies) I was losing my job. And I wasn't even there when they did it.

Even though I knew I had some exciting stuff coming up with my book writing career (I ended up getting a 3-book deal with Simon & Schuster the very next week. Talk about great timing!), the whole thing came as a major shock to my system. I spent my weekend going through various emotions: fear, anger, frustration, annoyance, grief, etc.

Being fired is jarring. Even if it was a job you had lost interest in or hated, having the choice to leave taken away from you can be really difficult to deal with. And if you're let go in a way that isn't reflective of all the long years and hard work you've put in for that particular company, it can be a serious slap in the face. But beyond the fact that your ego can be hurt by being let go, the fear of the unknown is so much worse.

One of my friends was just fired yesterday from a job she'd held for several years. She was promoted in the last year and had contributed largely to the company...she's still unclear about the reasoning behind the decision, but is dealing with the emotional side of losing her job. What I've been trying to press upon her is that this could be the beginning of a much brighter future.

In fact, many uber successful people were fired from jobs....only to go on to take the world by storm. So, just to remind her and anyone else who might be going through a similar situation, here's a quick list of some of those people who've had doors closed only to have others open for them.


That was then: Three years after graduating from school, Giuliana landed a job at E!. While being tested for a reporting position, she had the opportunity to interview "That 70's Show" star Wilmer Valderrama at the premiere of the movie "Summer Catch." In the film, he plays a guy who hooks up with his friends' mom, so Giuliana took a play from the movie by asking him if he'd ever done something similar in his own life. The two bantered playfully after that and Giuliana was happy with the quirky interview. Within minutes after the interview aired, she was fired.
This is now: Two months after being canned for the risque interview, E! swallowed their pride and rehired Giuliana as a correspondent, because of all the positive feedback the segment had received. Today, Giuliana is the co-host of "E! News" along with Ryan Seacrest, one of the hosts of "Fashion Police" with Kelly Osbourne, Joan Rivers and George Kotsiopoulos and stars in her own reality show with her husband Bill Rancic, called "Giuliana & Bill."


That was then: Once upon a Times Square, the Material Girl used to work at a Dunkin' Donuts in NYC. Anyone who's worked with Madonna knows that she's an incredibly hard worker....but has a bit of a diva-ish demeanor. That's why it's not surprising that Madge was fired after squirting customers with donut jelly.
This is now: After becoming a singer, songwriter, performer, actress and entrepreneur, Madonna now has plenty of people to get her coffee. She's sold over 300 million records worldwide and is so famous she only needs one name.


That was then: One of our favorite funny girl's first big breaks on television, came when she was given her own sitcom, "Ellen." The show paralleled Ellen's comedian lifestyle and became a quick hit. In 1997 though, at the height of its popularity, Ellen came out as gay both on the show and in her personal life. In fact, the episode where she admitted this to her therapist, was one of the highest-rated episodes ever. Unfortunately, ratings fell quickly after that (many think because of people's ignorance and close-mindedness over her being gay), and the show was cancelled.
This is now: In 2003, Ellen made her big TV comeback with her celebrated daytime talk show, "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" which has received critical praise. Since then, she's hosted the "Academy Awards" and "The Primetime Emmy's", and has been awarded 13 Emmy's herself. She was also the voice of Dory in "Finding Nemo" and was a judge on "American Idol" for a season.


That was then: In the middle of his burgeoning music career, Jerry was fired by legendary artist John Denver for representation. This was particularly difficult for Jerry, since he'd practically created John Denver's career as we knew it and he'd become a great friend to him.
This is now: Being fired by John Denver didn't keep Jerry down for too long. In fact, he worked with so much talent in his life: Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Moody Blues, etc. Not to mention that he got into film producing, churning out hits like "The Karate Kid" and "Oceans Eleven."


That was then: A few months before Oprah graduated from college, she was offered a full-time job as a reporter. In her new job, Oprah was very expressive in her emotions, crying while listening to a sad story and giving her opinions on the job. At the young age of 22, she was fired.
This is now: Shortly after that, Oprah was set up with a job as a co-host of a morning talk show called "People Are Talking." This was the beginning of the career she carved out for herself with the eventual creation of the long-running and successful "The Oprah Winfrey Show." Since being fired from her first reporting job, she's become a talk show host, actress, producer, publisher and philanthropist.


Thursday, May 3, 2012 1 comments

The family that slays together....

by Brittany Geragotelis

...stays together?

I just had to show this photo that I found online yesterday. This might be the BEST. PHOTO. EVER! I only hope when I have kids we can bond like this...

Now, for the fun. Come up with your best caption for this photo and the winner will be featured on a later blog!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012 0 comments

Author Photo Finalists

by Brittany Geragotelis

Just wanted to give a big thank you to all of my fans and readers who helped to narrow down the choices for my author photo. Close to 100 people voted and you definitely let me know which ones you liked....and which ones you'd rather me leave behind. Now, we've just got to wait and see which one Simon & Schuster picks for the cover! And for that, you're going to have to wait until the book comes out!

Here's what won your fave in there?




Tuesday, May 1, 2012 0 comments

Review Time: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

by Brittany Geragotelis

The Story:
Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn't believe in fashion...she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit--more sparkly, more fun, more wild--the better. But even though Lola's style is outrageous, she's a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood. When Cricket--a gifted inventor--steps out from his twin sister's shadow and back into Lola's life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.
Why It's a Must-Read: 
 Admittedly, I never read Anna and the French Kiss, the book that started it all, so I wasn't aware that this was a companion novel to Stephanie Perkins' first. But I promise, you don't have to have read her first book in order to follow this one. I think the thing that's so great about this book, is that Stephanie is such a gifted storyteller. She may not have created an entirely new universe, but her ability to tell a story that people can identify with is why you keep turning the pages. And the characters....
What a Character:  
Where do I start? The leading lady, Lola, is just as colorful as her name. She's such a unique character...obsessed with constantly reinventing herself, she looks at dressing as a way to express her mood for the day. You'd think she was an actress or rock star, considering how many wigs she has in her home collection. To say that she marches to the beat of her own drummer is an understatement. However, she's still totally relatable in that she's a girl who's still sometimes self-conscious and just wants to impress the boy she loves. 
        I also loved Lola's parents. They both added so much to the family dynamic and showed that all it takes to raise a kid successfully is love. And being that the story takes place in San Francisco, the fact that Lola was being raised by a gay couple didn't overshadow the rest of the story. I loved that it was normal to her and was treated that way (as it should). 
        And Cricket and Calliope Bell....Cricket, I love, love, loved. I had my own Cricket Bell growing up, although I don't think I realized it until I had already grown up and moved away. And Calliope? I would LOVE to read a book about her. Even though she's not one of the lead characters, she's so incredibly interesting. Can I request another companion novel?!?!?!

A Little Something Extra:
I had the privilege of meeting Stephanie recently at a book reading/signing during YA week here in NYC, where she and several other authors reinacted scenes from their books. And I was OBSESSED. With her super-hero red hair. With her acting skills while on the stage. With her presence. After the reading, I had my book signed by her and she was so sweet and nice. It's clear that she's just as unique as the characters she creates.

Follow her on Twitter @NaturallySteph and then go out and buy her book!