It’s here! It’s today! Let’s celebrate with a MAKEOVER!

It’s here! Release day has finally arrived, and I’m so excited to say that my fourth YA novel, My Unscripted Life, is now on shelves. If you’ve been following along, you know that I’ve been celebrating the release all month with an ode to my favorite genre, the romantic comedy. And there’s nothing I love more in a rom com than a good old fashioned makeover montage. Clueless? The Princess Diaries? Pretty Woman? A million times yes, please thank you. So to celebrate the release of My Unscripted Life, my ode to rom coms, I asked style blogger Jessica Quirk of What I Wore to come by and dress my main character, Dee. And man did she nail it.


This is pretty much Dee to a T. Classic and comfy (because a south Georgia summer is hot … and that’s before you throw in the movie star!). That awesome bag would absolutely hold her sketch pad, with a collection of pens and pencils rattling around in the bottom. And those lavender Converse? Yeah, add a little Sharpie art to the soles, and I can see Dee strutting down the cracked sidewalks of downtown Wilder while bopping along on her matching headphones.

Thanks, Jess, for the amazing makeover for Dee! And if you’re looking for your own fashion inspiration, I highly recommend checking out What I Wore’s archives. Jessica has been blogging since 2008 and has partnered with some incredible brands over her time. You’ll definitely find your next outfit in the gallery!

And if Dee seems like someone you might want to hang out with, go pick up your copy of My Unscripted Life TODAY!

MY UNSCRIPTE LIFE- MORRILLSometimes love stories go off script.

Another sultry Georgia summer is about to get a lot hotter. Dee Wilkie is still licking her wounds after getting rejected by the precollege fine arts program of her dreams. But if she’d gone away, she wouldn’t have been around to say yes to an unbelievable opportunity: working on the set of a movie filming in her small Southern town that just happens to be starring Milo Ritter, the famous pop star Dee (along with the rest of the world) has had a crush since eighth grade.

It’s not like Dee will be sharing any screen time with Milo—she’s just a lowly PA. And Milo is so disappointingly rude that Dee is eager to stay far away from him. Except after a few chance meetings, she begins to wonder if just maybe there’s a reason for his offensive attitude, and if there’s more to Milo than his good looks and above-it-all Hollywood pedigree. Can a relationship with a guy like Milo ever work out for a girl like Dee? Never say never. . .

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And while you’re here, don’t forget to scroll through and enter to win books from Emery Lord, Melissa Walker, Jessica Brody, Katie Cotugno and Amy Spalding! Giveaways all end Friday!

kerry-5Jessica Quirk is the creator of What I Wore, a style blog, and the author of What I Wore: Four Seasons, One Closet, Endless Recipes for Personal Style. She lives in Bloomington, IN with her family, where she specializes in sewing, knitting, millinery, and maintaining her website. You can find her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

#30DaysofRomComs Presents: Emery Lord!

Just one day left until My Unscripted Life hits shelves! To celebrate, today I’ve got Emery Lord, one of my very favorite women on the blog. I’ve loved Emery’s books since her debut, Open Road Summer, came out in 2014, and her latest, When We Collided, has some of the best writing about people struggling with mental illness (both their own and others) that I’ve ever read. Emery also loves Gilmore Girls as much as I do, and we recently stood on a street corner in Cambridge having a very in-depth conversation on our theories for the Gilmore Girls reboot. We really should have a podcast. #JusticeforLaneKim

Be sure to check out the end of the interview for a giveaway!

kerry-4There are some people who are just good at Twitter. Tim Federle. Shannon Hale. Justina Ireland. And you. Your tweets are smart and sharp and pretty much always make me laugh out loud. Basically HOW DO YOU DO IT?! How did you get into Twitter and find your voice there?

 Well, thank you! (And I couldn’t agree more about Justina, Tim, and Shannon!!) I found Twitter exhausting at first because I was- without really meaning to- trying to be wholly inoffensive. That lasted about a minute because I am not willing to be apolitical for anything- there is too much at stake, and I have to take opportunities to be vocal and amplify other voices. These days, I really like if I can bring levity to someone’s day or if I can criticize something with a twist of humor. And, while I’m at it, I try to be publicly honest about difficult things and pump people up to embrace their innate power. That is my particular ministry, I think, but I also deeply care about using whatever platform I have to learn about and elevate other people- their voices and their work. That’s a big draw of Twitter for me. So, I offer pop culture quips and mental health confessionals and how magical I think you are and I hope I introduce you to the people I am learning from and listening to every day. 

I know I’ve definitely felt the struggle between being me and being the person who lives online. The noise, good and bad, can definitely stick in my brain in a way that pulls me out of real life sometimes. How do you separate @emerylord from Emery Lord?

Yeah, I definitely feel that too sometimes. But I actually don’t post a lot about my daily life on social media, so that helps! Almost all my relationships- and a lot of my interests- are completely off-line. (It wasn’t intentional, at first! Lots of things just don’t make for pithy or interesting tweets? And a lot of my friends just aren’t into social media anyway.) Also, I do step away a lot, when I need to point all my focus at my health or work or family! Sometimes for intentional spans of time, sometimes a day when I just need to get right with myself or whatever.

Your novels have dealt with a lot of themes, from friendship to family to mental health, but they always feature a romantic storyline. What is it about romance that draws you there as a writer?

This question has really made me think, Lauren!! Romance is “the excitement associated with love”- and so sometimes I think I write friendship romances- writing about the wonder and power of loving the people in your life. I think who you’re drawn to or bonded to is so often a reflection of where you are, emotionally, and what you are seeking. But romance with physical attraction is, in particular, is a rich soil for pining, banter, awkwardness, and heat. And I like all those things. 

You’ve been very candid about how your own mental health struggles have informed your writing, and I think that really came through in When We Collided. Vivi’s narrative felt very real and immersive. What was it like writing that perspective?

Writing Vivi’s POV was completely second-nature- the easiest I’ve ever found a voice. But she’s also the result of years of experience, conversations, study, and edits from a bunch of betas/experts. So, it was catharsis and research, hand in hand. Both were good for me. 

Can you tell us anything about what you’re working on now?

I’m finishing up my fourth book, THE NAMES THEY GAVE US, which is out next May. It’s about finding your work family, and camp, and daughterhood.  

Thanks, Emery! Now, to win a copy of Emery’s When We Collided, comment below with your favorite author to follow on Twitter! Contest ends October 16, US only.

when-we-collidedSeventeen year-old Jonah Daniels has lived in Verona Cove, California, his whole life, and only one thing has ever changed: his father used to be alive, and now he is not. With a mother lost in a deep bout of depression, Jonah and his five siblings struggle to keep up their home and the restaurant their dad left behind. But at the start of summer, a second change rolls in: Vivi Alexander, the new girl in town.

Vivi is in love with life. Charming and unfiltered, she refuses to be held down by the medicine she’s told should make her feel better. After meeting Jonah, she slides into the Daniels’ household seamlessly, winning over each sibling with her imagination and gameness. But it’s not long before Vivi’s zest for life begins to falter. Soon her adventurousness becomes all-out danger-seeking.

Through each high and low, Vivi and Jonah’s love is put to the test . . . but what happens when love simply isn’t enough?

My Unscripted Life
Out October 11!
AmazonBarnes & NobleIndiebound


#30DaysofRomComs Presents: Jessica Brody!

We’re getting closer and closer to My Unscripted Life‘s release (less than a week!), which means we’re getting closer and closer to the end of #30DaysofRomComs! But we’ve still got some great giveaways, including the one at the end of today’s interview with one of my very favorite authors, Jessica Brody!

kerry-3You’ve written across genres and categories in your career, from sci fi to rom coms, middle grade to young adult to adult, and even a nonfiction writing book! What is it about comedy that you keep coming back to?

I think it’s my personality. It just fits comedies best. I tend to keep things light in my life, always trying to find the joke in everything and always trying to make people laugh. I think making people laugh gives me more satisfaction than anything else (including even making people swoon!) So after writing three books in a very serious sci-fi trilogy, writing A WEEK OF MONDAYS (a comedy) kind of felt like coming home. Not that I didn’t love writing sci-fi, but it’s like going on a long vacation somewhere foreign. It’s amazing, the food is great, you love the sights and meeting the people, but after a while, it’s so great to be home. J

Speaking of your nonfiction book, Save the Cat Writes a Novel is something you’ve working on for a long time. I even plotted using Save the Cat thanks to your evangelism of the script writing book! Why did you want to write this book?

I think it started with teaching the workshops. Once I started teaching SAVE THE CAT! WRITES A NOVEL as a workshop, I realized how much this method can help people…specifically novelists. I also realized, in speaking to novelists in my workshops, that adapting it to novels wasn’t as straight forward and obvious as I’d thought. So I basically spent 5 years teaching the method and gathering knowledge and tweaking my approach to it, before I started writing the book. Now I really feel like I have a handle on how to adapt this amazing plotting methodology to novels and I can’t wait to share it with everyone!

I was watching your YouTube channel and realizing that you’re basically becoming an across-the-board media maven. What made you want to take your writing tips to YouTube, and what can we expect coming up on your channel?

Oh, thanks! I’m glad someone’s watching! I don’t know, I think I just have so much to say about writing! I’ve been doing it professionally now for more than 10 years, I guess, after that long, you start picking up a few things. J I started releasing a series of online, self-paced workshops about writing (you can learn more about them here) and I was getting such a great response to them, I decided to also post some YouTube videos about writing too. So far, they’ve been really fun! I think I just love working with other writers and talking about craft and process.

You write contemporary with a magical twist. What draws you to those magical elements?

Oh, I just LOVE those wish fulfillment stories. There’s something about them that really speaks to me. Girl makes a wish, wish comes true, girl realizes wish isn’t all that’s cracked up to be. It’s so fun to explore different stories within this theme. Because who hasn’t wished for something magical? To do over a day? To make a different choice in your past? To fast forward through the dreaded middle school? Obviously in real life, we never get to experience those “what ifs” but in fiction we can. So I’m kind of obsessed with doing that!

Your next YA was just announced. What can you tell us about it?

Yes! Huzzah! It’s another wish fulfillment story. And another comedy! It’s called IN SOME OTHER LIFE and it’s about an 18-year-old girl who, four years ago, made a very fateful life-altering decision that she now completely regrets. She always wonders how her life would be different if she’d made the other choice. Then she falls, hits her head, and wakes up in a parallel version of her life where, four years ago, she made the other choice. I was inspired by movies like Sliding Doors, Mr. Destiny and The Family Man, all of which I grew up loving. So this was really fun for me to write.

Thanks so much for hosting me Lauren! And congrats on your new release! I can’t WAIT to read it! XO

Thanks for stopping by, Jess! And now, if you want a chance to win a copy of Jessica’s newest release, A WEEK OF MONDAYS, comment below with what romantic wish you’d like to have granted! Contest ends October 16, US only.

week-of-mondaysWhen I made the wish, I just wanted a do-over. Another chance to make things right. I never, in a million years, thought it might actually come true…

Sixteen-year-old Ellison Sparks is having a serious case of the Mondays. She gets a ticket for running a red light, she manages to take the world’s worst school picture, she bombs softball try-outs and her class election speech (note to self: never trust a cheerleader when she swears there are no nuts in her bake-sale banana bread), and to top it all off, Tristan, her gorgeous rocker boyfriend suddenly dumps her. For no good reason!

As far as Mondays go, it doesn’t get much worse than this. And Ellie is positive that if she could just do it all over again, she would get it right. So when she wakes up the next morning to find she’s reliving the exact same day, she knows what she has to do: stop her boyfriend from breaking up with her. But it seems no matter how many do-overs she gets or how hard Ellie tries to repair her relationship, Tristan always seems bent set on ending it. Will Ellie ever figure out how to fix this broken day? Or will she be stuck in this nightmare of a Monday forever?

From the author 52 Reasons to Hate My Father and The Unremembered trilogy comes a hilarious and heartwarming story about second (and third and fourth and fifth) chances. Because sometimes it takes a whole week of Mondays to figure out what you really want.

My Unscripted Life
Out October 11!
AmazonBarnes & NobleIndiebound



This Rom Com Is The Best, Fight Me: Melissa Walker

Today in the rom com showdown, we’ve got YA author Melissa Walker here! Melissa is the author of some of my favorite books, including Unbreak My Heart and Lovestruck Summer (which I love for being one of the only books I’ve ever read that gets roller derby right!). So let’s hear what Melissa’s favorite rom com is.

kerry-2I’m going to go ahead and say that I identify as a late Gen-Xer and like my love stories with a bit of drama in them, so my pick may not be a rom-com in the strict traditional sense, but I maintain that with Janeane Garofalo’s one-liners and Ben Stiller’s mere presence, it qualifies. Reality Bites was released in the winter of my 16th year, when I had a job at… my local movie theater. I saw the film roughly 47 times. Well, maybe not the entire thing, but I did plan my clean-up shift perfectly so that I could walk into the darkened cinema just as the strains of U2’s “All I Want Is You” filled the speakers and Winona’s Lelaina slowly smoked in bed as Ethan’s Troy smoked in the hospital and couldn’t bring himself to speak when he called her on the landline (She wasn’t sure it was him! That was a Thing!). Watch this and just TRY not to feel something. Then watch any scene with Ben Stiller in it and try not to laugh. See? Rom-Com.

Great pick, Melissa! Reality Bites-era Winona was my fashion and hair idol for ages (I could never get that artfully mussed shaggy pixie down like she could, which is one of my life’s great tragedies). And to celebrate #30DaysofRomComs and my favorite Melissa Walker books, I’m giving away an e-book of Lovestruck Summer, which trust me, you definitely want.

Comment below with which rom com star you’d trade places with and be entered to win! Contest ends October 16, US Only. 

lovestruck-summer-coverThis is the story of Quinn, an indie rock girl who came out to Austin, Texas for a music internship. She also plans to spend long, lazy days in the sun at outdoor concerts–and to meet a hot musician or two. Instead, she’s stuck rooming with her sorority brainwashed cousin, who now willingly goes by the name ‘Party Penny.’ Their personalities clash, big time. But Sebastian, a gorgeous DJ, definitely makes up for it. Sebastian has it all: looks, charm, and great taste in music. So why can’t Quinn keep her mind off Penny’s friend — cute, All-American Russ with the Texas twang? One thing’s certain: Quinn’s in for a summer she’ll never forget!


My Unscripted Life
Out October 11!
AmazonBarnes & NobleIndiebound

#30DaysofRomComs Interview: Amy Spalding

Hey guys! Sorry about the hiatus. #30DaysofRomComs took a little break while I was in Boston for Boston Teen Author Festival this weekend! I promise to do a recap soon. The festival was fantastic, and I highly recommend it to any readers or author friends who are looking for great festivals!

But now we’re back, and kicking it back off with a bang. I have one of my favorite YA rom com writers, Amy Spalding, stopping by for an interview and a giveaway! Amy is the author of a mountain of hilarious novels, including The Reece Malcolm List and Kissing Ted Callahan (And Other Guys). Aside from writing amazing books, she’s also known for being hilarious on Twitter and displaying her awesomely eclectic fashion (sometimes known as Toddler Grandma style) on Instagram. So let’s get started!

kerry-1Anyone who follows you on Twitter knows you’re a fan of badass lady bands. You also write some seriously feminist characters and sex-positive books. Is that connected? Is it intentional? 

I’m a feminist, so anything I create or consumed is through a feminist lens, absolutely. However, it’s not really a conscious choice; it’s just who I am and how I think of the world. I feel very fortunate that even as our culture is still appallingly sexist, my life is filled with awesome women and men who believe in and advocate for nothing but equality while proudly calling themselves feminists. I know this isn’t how the whole world operates, but here’s the thing about writing romcoms: they already are within this beautiful amazing heightened reality where amazing meet-cutes happen and misunderstandings get resolved after an uplifting montage set to your favorite song. So if I get to play in a heightened world…I want to play in one that believes in women and girls, takes their needs seriously, and gives them romantic interests who do too. (Also, it’s all way swoonier when your crush respects you AND wants to make out with you!)

Your next book, The Summer of Jordi Perez (And the Best Burger in LA) sounds amazing, and is also a little different from the books you’ve written thus far. Can you tell us about the moment when Jordi became a character you knew you had to write about?

Honestly, the only real difference about this book is that my main character, Abby, doesn’t fall for a beautiful boy (like the main characters in my other books), but with a beautiful bad-ass girl, Jordi Perez. Otherwise I think Abby and Jordi and the rest of their world fit in well to The Amy Spalding Universe (TM). There’s art, music, Los Angeles sunshine, awkward flirting, a lot of detailed description of food. I really really wanted to write about a girl who fell for a girl because I’ve written a lot about super cute boys, and I wanted to have a fluffy swoony book out there for girls who like girls too.

Abby is also super into fatshion – she is plus size, loves clothes, cares deeply about style, and yet her journey has nothing to do with her weight. (Spoiler alert: she eats a lot of burgers in this book and is the same size on the last page as she is on the first one.) It mattered a lot to me that a girl who didn’t fit conventional beauty sizes — and yet reflected not just me but so many actual teens out there — could be in the center of a love story where she was desired by someone, just as she was.

The moment I knew I had to write Abby and Jordi’s story was actually when I saw someone on Twitter post that they’d love to see the sassy best friend character be the main character of their own story. It hit me that in Abby’s mind, that’s who she was. Suddenly the story I’d been trying to write for awhile finally flowed.

I also was inspired by a small moment in the opening of Fun Home the Musical (subconsciously, actually — when I saw it again the other week I realized it and was so thrilled that art that inspired me also inspired my work). In the midst of a fairly heavy show, there’s this tiny flash of hopeful sweet romance. I can’t say more…spoilers! Wait for 2018!

Speaking of Jordi Perez, this makes the third book with an awesomely parenthetical title. Are your titles all of your own invention? Where do they come from?

My first parenthetical title, Kissing Ted Callahan (and Other Guys) was a three-part effort between me and two other friends. One thought of “Kissing Ted Callahan” which I loved but seemed a little…too sweet for the actual story, somehow? So another friend thought of “(and Other Boys)” but since Riley says “guys” in the book and not “boys”, I switched it! My publisher loved it and so it stuck. When it was time to think of a title for The New Guy (and Other Senior Year Distractions), my publisher definitely was interested in continuing this. So then when I wrote my next book, I definitely had that title structure in mind, and managed to come up with The Summer of Jordi Perez (and the Best Burger in L.A.) all on my own!

When can we expect a Toddler Grandma (TM) line to premier at fashion week?


If you could see one of your books turned into a Hollywood rom com (movie or tv!), which would you pick?

If you’d asked me just a month or so ago, I would have said Kissing Ted Callahan. I’ve thought about this before and love the idea of it, especially the (spoiler alert!) concert scene at the end. That said, I’ve read in a few places lately that in TV and film, so rarely lesbians get to have a truly happily-ever-after. So knowing that, I would love love love to see a movie of The Summer of Jordi Perez. Also if they made it, they would have to come up with soooo many cute fat outfits that I (hopefully) could then steal from the set.

Thanks, Amy! And if you want to win a copy of Amy’s latest book, The New Guy (And Other Senior Year Distractions), comment below with which YA rom com you’d like to see as a movie! Contest ends October 14, US Only.

newguyA ridiculously cute, formerly-famous new guy dropping into your life? It’s practically every girl’s dream.

But not Jules McCallister-Morgan’s.

I realize that on paper I look like your standard type-A, neurotic, overachiever. And maybe I am. But I didn’t get to be the editor of my school’s long-revered newspaper by just showing up*. I have one main goal for my senior year-early acceptance into my first choice Ivy League college-and I will not be deterred by best friends, moms who think I could stand to “live a little,” or boys.

At least, that was the plan before I knew about Alex Powell**.

And before Alex Powell betrayed me***.

I know what you’re thinking: Calm down, Jules. But you don’t understand. This stuff matters. This is my life. And I’m not going down without a fight.


* Okay, I sort of did. But it’s a sore subject.

** I mean, I guess everyone knows about Alex Powell? Two years ago, you couldn’t go anywhere without hearing about viral video boy band sensation Chaos 4 All. Two years ago, Alex Powell was famous.

***Some people think I’m overreacting. But this. Means. War.

Filled with romance, rivalry, and passive-aggressive dog walking, Amy Spalding delivers a hilariously relatable high school story that’s sure to have you falling for The New Guy.

My Unscripted Life
Out October 11!
AmazonBarnes & NobleIndiebound


#30DaysofRomComs Interview: Kerry Winfrey

kerryToday for #30DaysofRomComs, we have an interview with the awesome Kerry Winfrey, whose novel Love and Other Alien Experiences was recently bought by Feiwel & Friends. Kerry, who did the Year of Rom Coms blog (highly recommend it if you’re looking for something to watch, or just need to pass the time while you’re waiting in line!), came by to talk about her new book, her love of blogging, and how she made the transition from YA reviewer to YA writer!



You started out as a book reviewer for Hello Giggles. Had you always wanted to write your own YA novel? Or did reading all those fantastic books inspire you to give it a try?

I always knew I wanted to write a book, but I didn’t really take writing seriously until I started writing for HelloGiggles. At the time, I read at least one YA book a week for years. This meant I was learning a LOT about what I liked and didn’t like, and what I thought worked and didn’t work. If you want to write a book of your own, I think that reading literally hundreds of books in your chosen genre is incredibly helpful!

Congrats on your new book deal! Love and Other Alien Experiences has had a unique road to bookshelves. Can you talk a little bit about that?

LAOAE was initially published through Paper Lantern Lit’s The Studio as a digital-only book in November of 2015. After it was published, an editor at Feiwel & Friends read it and expressed interest in publishing it in print. I loved my experience working with Paper Lantern Lit (I can’t imagine a better first book experience!), but I’m so excited that the book will now have a chance to reach a larger audience. The best part of it is that now I no longer have to deal with people saying things like, “Oh, an ebook? I thought you wrote a REAL book.” (Eye roll…ebooks are still real books, people!!).

You spent 2015 doing a project called A Year of Romantic Comedies. What inspired it?

While I was working on LAOAE, I missed the immediate feedback I got from blogging, because writing a book can be sort of a lonely experience. Also I’m a goal-obsessed weirdo who loves a project, so I decided to turn my love of romcoms into a blog that would give me a chance to engage with people and learn a lot about the genre while I was writing my own sort-of-romcom. I’ve loved romantic comedies ever since I was a love-obsessed teenager who watched Pretty in Pink on repeat and swooned over Pride and Prejudice. I’ve always had thoughts about what I liked and what makes a good romcom, but it was great to really dive into it over the course of 52 movies. I’m a firm believer that love stories are not just important, but essential. The desire for love is one of the few things that most human beings share, and I hate that a genre celebrating that is so often denigrated. Hopefully the project inspired some people to check out new romcoms or to give the genre a chance.

What was your favorite and least favorite rom coms that you watched?

My favorite, hands down, is You’ve Got Mail. It has a pretty farfetched concept but real emotions. Just like all of Nora Ephron’s movies, it has a lot of sadness mixed in with the happiness. My least favorite was probably The Ugly Truth. The worst romcoms, in general, are the ones where the leads don’t have chemistry or they’re just unlikeable. Unlikeable characters have their place, but it isn’t easy to root for Gerard Butler as a gross, misogynistic tool.

Did A Year of Romantic Comedies have any impact on your writing?

I hope it did! The best love stories feel effortless, but they’re not easy to write (at least for me). I learned a lot about plot, pacing, and tension from watching so many romcoms…those concepts don’t exactly sound sexy, but they’re important in any romcom! Bad romcoms taught me more than good ones. Like, you can’t just show a terrible main character being nice to a small child and assume the audience will then see that he’s a sensitive soul. Okay, so I’m still talking about The Ugly Truth, but ugh did I ever hate that movie.

I’ve seen on Instagram that you’ve gotten to do some good e-book reading while up with your new kiddo. Can you rec anything you’ve read lately and loved?

I’ve been exclusively reading romance novels, and it’s been so fun (and a great escape when I’m especially sleep-deprived and cranky). I recently read and LOVED The Perfect Find by Tia Williams. It’s about a 40 year old woman in the fashion industry who falls for a 22 year old. I also loved Courtney Milan’s The Duchess War. A million people recommended her books to me and they were all right. Right now I’m in the middle of You Had Me at Hello by Mhairi McFarlane, and it’s perfect for anyone who loves Bridget Jones’s Diary or Rainbow Rowell’s Attachments.

Thanks Kerry! Be sure to check out Kerry’s new book, Love and Other Alien Experiences, which releases in April 2017. And while we’re here, take a gander at her AMAZING new cover!


Kerry Winfrey grew up in Bellville, Ohio, where she spent most of her time reading inappropriate books at the library. Not much has changed. Kerry writes for HelloGiggles and blogs at She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband, their son, and their dog, Merlin. You can find her on Twitter @KerryAnn.

My Unscripted Life
Out October 11!
AmazonBarnes & NobleIndiebound


Better Know A Cover: Meant to Be


I remember getting this email like it was yesterday. I was sitting in my apartment in Boston. We were a year away from the release of Meant to Be, my debut novel. And then there it was … all the cover options the brilliant and talented Heather Daugherty had created. The first one they showed me was the one that ended up being the brilliant and beautiful cover of Meant to Be (which I still get compliments on to this day), but there were other contenders. And they were fantastic. But don’t just take my word for it, take a look!





(I won’t lie, the one above was, and still is, my favorite. But this was 2012, and more graphic covers just weren’t on-trend)



Like I said, they knew already that this one was their favorite, and Barnes & Noble had approved it already too. This was the first version of what became the cover that I saw…


You can see that the colors are a little bit different, but on the whole, it was very close. That’s not to say we didn’t try a few things with it first. We were a little worried that maybe the dude looked too old or too formal to be Jason, so Heather had some fun with photoshop.


But yeah, that didn’t quite do it. So we went back, and in the end, this was the final cover. We went lighter on all the colors, and I have to say, OH MY GOD is it good. Guess this one was, well, meant to be (hey-oh!)


True story: when I first shared this cover online, I got a comment from a woman. Not sure how she stumbled across it, but she wanted to tell me that that was her son in the photo! It came from a stock photo shoot that was meant to be (and are you ready for this?) EDWARD AND BELLA! They actually found their way to another book cover



Top Movie Meet-Cutes


What’s a rom com without a meet cute? It’s a boring movie, that’s what it is. But what is a meet cute, exactly? Well, I’ll let one of my favorite characters in The Holiday (one of my must-watch rom coms during December … who knew I could have amorous feelings for Jack Black?) tell you all about it.

Notting Hill

Ok, this is a bit of a cheat, because this is technically the second time they met … but it’s the one that counts! And it’s such a well-executed piece of physical comedy (plus the little Pretty Woman call-back!). And while we’re at it, can we please bring back berets? The 90s are fully back, right? If we’re doing chokers, I definitely think we can work on berets.

The American President

I love the American President. I watched it over and over in college, and my roommate and I used to always stand up and cheer at the final speech (“My name is Andrew Shepherd, and I AM the President”). I also love a meet cute that starts with one character unknowingly insulting the other.  It always says a lot about both characters (what did they say? how did they react?) and usually primes them for some electrifying chemistry.

Love, Actually

Along the lines of The American President meet-cute, this one is about a character who just can’t manage to not say something embarrassing. And I think we can all agree that Hugh Grant’s little look-back here is absolute rom com perfection.


This whole movie is basically one entire meet cute (or a series of near-miss meet-cutes), so of course I had to include it. It’s Kate Beckinsale at her most ethereal, with everyone’s favorite rom com stud, John Cusack.


Thanks for checking in on #30DaysofRomComs! Don’t forget to enter the giveaways we’ve got running! And get a bonus entry onto all three giveaways by commenting below with your favorite rom com meet-cutes!

$15 Amazon gift certificate
Gilmore Girls “In Omnia Paratus” tee
Katie Cotugno book of your choice!

This Rom Com Is The Best, Fight Me: Katie Cotugno

For today’s installment of #30DaysofRomComs, we’ve got one of my favorite YA contemporary authors, Katie Cotugno, here to to tell us about her favorite rom com. Katie is the author of How to Love and the NYT Bestselling 99 Days, so she knows from romance. And if you follow her on Twitter, you definitely know she knows funny, too. I’m so excited to get to see her next weekend when I’m in Boston for Boston Teen Author Festival, and hopefully get some inside scoop on her forthcoming novel, Fireworks.


You’ve Got Mail is the I Ching. You’ve Got Mail is the sum of all wisdom. You’ve Got Mail is the answer to any question. What shall I put on the canapes at my next cocktail party? “That caviar is a garnish!” What are you up to this weekend? “I’m going to the nut shop where it’s fun.” Where are we going to live once we realize there’s no way the proprietor of a children’s bookstore could afford a beautiful, shabby-chic apartment on the Upper West Side? “Hello, New Jersey!” The answer to your question is, You’ve Got Mail is my very favorite romcom. I love everything about it, from Meg Ryan’s potato sack dresses to the plinky, earnest soundtrack to the blink-and-you-miss-it cameo by Chris Messina. It makes me feel happy and safe and nostalgic for the sweet, sweet sound of dial-up internet. It makes me feel, like Joe Fox tells Kathleen Kelly as he leans dashingly over the counter in her beautiful, fictional bookstore, enchanted.

You can never EVER go wrong with a Nora Ephron movie, I say. And it makes me DOUBLY excited that we’re going to livetweet You’ve Got Mail coming up (rain-checked from Sunday night because life happened, as it does!).

Today’s #30DaysofRomComs giveaway is a copy of a Katie Cotugno book of your choice! You can pick from a paperback of How to Love, a hardcover of 99 Days, or a pre-order of her latest novel, Fireworks, out April 18, 2017. To enter, leave a comment below with your favorite rom com. Winner will be chosen at random on Sept 30, US only.

fireworks_jktFrom Katie Cotugno, bestselling author of 99 Days, comes Fireworks—about a girl who is competing with her best friend to become the new pop star of the moment—and all the drama and romance that comes with it—set in Orlando during the late-’90s boy-and-girl-band craze.

It was always meant to be Olivia. She was the talented one, the one who had been training to be a star her whole life. Her best friend, Dana, was the level-headed one, always on the sidelines, cheering her best friend along.

But everything changes when Dana tags along with Olivia to Orlando for the weekend, where superproducer Guy Monroe is holding auditions for a new singing group, and Dana is discovered too. Dana, who’s never sung more than Olivia’s backup. Dana, who wasn’t even looking for fame. Next thing she knows, she and Olivia are training to be pop stars, and Dana is falling for Alex, the earnest, endlessly talented boy who’s destined to be the next big thing.

It should be a dream come true, but as the days of grueling practice and constant competition take their toll, things between Olivia and Dana start to shift . . . and there’s only room at the top for one girl. For Olivia, it’s her chance at her dream. For Dana, it’s a chance to escape a future that seems to be closing in on her. And for these lifelong best friends, it’s the adventure of a lifetime—if they can make it through.

Set in evocative 1990s Orlando, New York Times bestselling author Katie Cotugno’s Fireworks brings to life the complexity of friendship, the excitement of first love, and the feeling of being on the verge of greatness.

My Unscripted Life
Out October 11!
AmazonBarnes & NobleIndiebound


The 6 Most Romantic Moments on Gilmore Girls


Welcome to Day 2 of #30DaysofRomComs!

My entire fall is basically just one giant countdown to November 25, when Lorelai and Rory return to my life (and then I get to binge Lauren Graham’s new book). In fact, when I realized that I’d be in Ohio with my husband’s family over Thanksgiving, thus making it probably impossible to binge the show, I literally shouted NOOOOOO!!!!!!!

My relationship with Gilmore Girls is deep and goes back to the very beginning. I watched the pilot episode when it originally aired on television, and then proceeded to watch every single episode for the next 7 seasons. I sobbed at the finale, feeling pretty cheated that we [spoiler alert!] weren’t going to see a resolution with Luke and Lorelai (I need a wedding, people!).

And so for #30DaysofRomComs, I had to check in with my favorite ladies and count down my favorite romantic moments from the series. Are you ready?

If you haven’t watched the complete series, warning! Danger! Here be spoilers!

Dave Asks Lane to Prom

No, there will not be a Dean scene on this list. Dean is a yawn come to life, and while he was a perfectly nice first boyfriend for Rory, he does nothing for me. So my pick for romance in the early years was definitely Dave Rygalski. And peak Dave was this moment when he showed up to ask Mrs. Kim if he could take Lane to prom in Season 3 Episode 20: Say Goodnight Gracie. It has everything we love about Gilmore Girls: fast talking, cultural references, and subtle humor.

Jess and Rory FINALLY get together

When Jess finally showed up on Gilmore Girls, it was all praise hands from me. I loved his bad boy intellectual thing, and I liked that he challenged Rory. Sure, the older I get the more his behavior irks me (he had some serious growing up to do), but I still can’t ignore the chemistry he had with Rory. And that all finally boiled over in Season 3, Episode 7: They Shoot Gilmores, Don’t They? It is my sincere hope that the revival finds Rory and Jess having met up on the campaign trail, both older and wiser, and being creative bon vivants in New York. Or maybe they could reunite ON the revival, and hook up in an industrial loft while Adele’s Hello plays? Not that I’ve thought about this a lot or anything …

Luke + Lorelei Kiss FINALLY

I’m pretty sure if you listened hard on May 18, 2004, you’d have heard a collective SQUEE across America as Luke and Lorelai finally finally FINALLY kissed. Us die hards had seen the chemistry between the two of them from that very first episode, but damn did the writers take the scenic route to get there. We had to wait through four seasons of Max Medina (snooze) and Jason Stiles (who I loved, but it was never gonna work). And when we finally got here? Turned out it was well worth the wait.

Richard and Emily’s Wedding

You guys, I’m gonna need a moment to collect myself before we go here. Because Edward Hermann’s death still seems like a cruel trick. I’ve already started stocking up on Kleenex for the revival. especially after this shot was released. I love Richard and Emily’s relationship, from the season 1 declaration that she demands to go first (oh god, the tears are already starting) to the story of their first date in season 3 on a visit to Yale. But this moment really captures what I love about their relationship, how despite the fact that these are two very staid people, they do have a playfulness about it.

You Jump, I Jump, Jack

Alright, here it is, folks. The declaration. Despite my love of Jess and desire for them to get together NOW, I think … I’m Team Logan. Yeah, he made some mistakes, and [spoiler!] he should have known better than to propose and issue an ultimatum like that (DO YOU KNOW RORY AT ALL?!?!). Everything I love about their relationship is wrapped up in this moment, which is several episodes before they even get together. But their chemistry is on FIRE here, and we see exactly why she needed Logan (ugh, we will ignore the ill-advised Dean repeat/detour). Can I also say that I freaking LOVE The Life and Dead Brigade, and I’m so psyched to hear that they get to do some stunts in the revival!

Stars Hollow Says Goodbye

Despite the dudes, I think Gilmore Girls is all about family: the family you’re born into and the family you make yourself. And nothing sums up that theme better than the end of the series finale. Sure, I’m still pissed that we didn’t get a Luke + Lorelai resolution (which I hope will change in November!), and it’s not Amy Sherman Palladino’s last four words, but I truly believe this was the perfect way to end the series. If you didn’t cry watching this, I don’t even wanna know ya.

Are you psyched for November? While you’re waiting, throw on a rewatch, follow gilmoregirlsonly on Instagram for updates on the revival, and peruse the shop at Kindred Handicrafts for an awesome Gilmore Girls-inspired tee (I’ve got this one on its way to me as we speak).

Mark your calendars for Sunday! I’ll be watching one of my all-time favorite rom coms, You’ve Got Mail, and livetweeting using the #30DaysofRomComs hashtag. Join me! It’s available free on Amazon Prime or for rent on iTunes or GooglePlay for $2.99. Cue it up on your platform of choice at 7pm.

Wanna win your own In OmniA paratus tee from kindred handicrafts? Tweet about this contest, then come back and comment with a link, and you’ll be entered to win this tee in the size of your choice!


[US Only, Contest Ends Sept 30]

My Unscripted Life
Out October 11!
AmazonBarnes & NobleIndiebound