Praise for Liars and Losers Like Us

“This is an engaging read for anyone who enjoys stories of high school drama and popularity, coupled with the sometimes painful, anxious ride of adolescence. The author writes this story with bits and pieces of her own experience as a survivor of abuse, encouraging teens to stand up for the truth. VERDICT A relatable supplemental purchase.” –School Library Journal

“While the final scenes of the novel are reminiscent of a John Hughes’ movie, complete with the perfect kiss after prom, this novel embraces heavier things as well and is certain to appeal to readers who want to see justice served and love trump hate. Pair with Thirteen Reasons Why (2007), by Jay Asher, and Prom (2005), by Laurie Halse Anderson, for readers’ advisory recommendations.” —Booklist

“I loved this book. It was the perfect mix of funny and serious…A smart and satisfying read.” -Amanda MacGregor, Teen Librarian Toolbox

“A twisty, addictive story brimming with hilarious characters, prom drama, and, yes, heart.”—Marci Lyn Curtis, author of The One Thing

“Poignant and hilarious in turns, Liars and Losers Like Us is a deeply real portrait of the high school landscape. Allen-Vath shows us that you can’t believe everything you see when it comes to other people.”—Liz Czukas, author of Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless
“Liars and Losers Like Us is a story of secrecy, pain, and, self-awareness artfully wrapped in snort-laugh-out-loud humor and heart-melting romance, as the best and truest adolescent tales are. Bree Hughes is a YA heroine to remember.”—Dahlia Adler, author of Behind The Scenes, Under The Lights, and Just Visiting

“Liars and Losers Like Us tackles all the hard things, like Bree’s struggle with panic attacks, while delivering prom shenanigans and a swoon-worthy romance. You should read this book for the Bree-Sean banter alone.” –Rachael Allen, author of The Revenge Playbook and 17 First Kisses

“Witty, heartbreaking, and extremely thoughtful, Liars and Losers Like Us will take you on a roller coaster ride to prom that will leave you breathless and wanting more.”–Natasha Sinel, award-winning author of The Fix

“Liars and Losers Like Us is an honest and poignant look at first love, bullying, and the tempestuous tides of high school popularity. Bree’s struggles with anxiety and her true-to-life love-hate relationship with being in the limelight had me rooting for her from page one, and Ami Allen-Vath’s careful handling of the subject matter results in a story where winning doesn’t mean getting a crown; it means developing compassion and understanding for the people around you.”–Francesca Zappia, author of Made You Up

“Drama, wit, and romance make Liars and Losers Like Us a thoroughly compelling read, with a strong undercurrent of compassion for those with hidden pain.”–Rachel Wilson, author of Don’t Touch

“Quirky and sometimes awkward, Bree Hughes is a realistic character that will have you laughing out loud even while you’re contemplating the way you treat people. With fast pacing and a unique cast of characters, Liars and Losers Like Us will inspire you to make the most of every moment you have.”–Sarah Schmitt, author of It’s a Wonderful Death

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When Your Book Gets a New Title!

LALLU TITLE PIC

Hey everyone! The book formerly know as Prom Bitch has a shiny, brand new title!

LIARS AND LOSERS LIKE US

Things change a lot in publishing (note: new pub date of MARCH 2016!) but I am very excited about everything and am so grateful to be in this position.

An extra special thanks to everyone who supported me during new title gate 2015: My fabulous editor Kristin Kulsavage, my agent Victoria Lowes, Sarah, Rachel, Natalie, Natasha, Fall Fifteeners, Fearless Fifteeners, and of course my family. : )

Revelations

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Ma sits on the edge of my bed like she’s always done. Never mind I’m almost seventeen and her preach-reading doesn’t do more than put me to sleep. “Sometimes,” she says, “it feels like your mind ain’t here. Like you’d rather be somewhere else.”

Shielding my face with the sleeve of my nightshirt from her soul-searching brown eyes, I whisper a lie. “I’m here, Ma. Like always.”

“I have just the verses to read tonight.” Ma taps the book with the end of her eyeglasses, then slips them on. Crinkling the pages, she opens the Good Book to read a passage about blood, burning, and the sun. Like always, my mind runs elsewhere.

A shiver rides my arm while my brain flashes to my own memory of feeling a burning fire all shaky and blissful in bed. It was so right and so lovely, I don’t even feel wicked to let my mind wander to that night knowing full well it’s something Ma would never approve. With the fire and brimstone words of Revelation blurring in one ear and out the other, I think of Isla.

The week I slept over her trailer this past winter was like riding an infinite escalator of hoping and needing. The momentum raised eighty flights every hour. Ma was gone for the week. She and two other single lady members left with Prophet chasing for new Community recruits.

Isla was sixteen and her golden skin and cherry stained lips clenched at my heart and gave me stomach tingles something crazy. Even during prayer hours and church when I was sposed to be looking to God.

We shared her rickety twin bed and I didn’t mind. On the last night before Ma came back, the wind licked the windows as her jagged breaths in and out, vibrated in my ear. I’d been waiting all week for the last night because I figured if I was gonna kiss her, it’d have to be on a night I couldn’t tell myself “maybe tomorrow night.”

We shivered together under the blankets and over the thumping of my heart, I whispered, “Snuggle closer.”

The next second her breath warmed my neck and the next her tongue was gliding across my lips and into my mouth. Isla laughed at my jokes, she held my hand when no one was looking, and at that moment, she was reading my mind.

Baking soda mint toothpaste was still faint on our tongues and teeth. I didn’t care because we tasted the same.

Making out with Isla was a dance. Hands in my hair, lips on mine, and up and down and left and right.

A creak in the hall, just outside her room jerked us from each other’s mouths and I figured it was over. Isla padded away from her bed and I slowed my breaths until she came back.

“It was just Petey,” she whispered. “Stupid cat.” She cocooned us back under her quilt and clicked on a tiny flashlight pulled from the drawer in her night table. The light stung my eyes until I closed them and Isla sighed into my ear. “You’re so pretty.” She kissed me again. This time from my ear to my lips, harder but slower. The orange peel and honey shampoo she let me use suddenly took on the scent of want and need.

She smelled it too. “I want to do something,” Isla whispered.

“Okay.” I opened my eyes to her sliding down my torso, gripping the flashlight as she pushed up my nightgown with her other hand.

Her kisses got lower and lower and I wanted to tell her to come back up because my cheeks were burning with heart-speeding nerves and fear. But I couldn’t because the want was stronger than any nagging worry that my shower before supper was maybe too long ago.

That night was when I realized that everything down there wasn’t dirty and awful and private and just for me.

When her hot breath vibrated onto me down there. When her kiss was sliding in and around, all the best feelings in the world melted into my pores. I didn’t care about Genesis, Luke, John, or Revelation because there was no such thing as sin under our blanket.

It was spring and summer and cinnamon candy, wild rainbow flowers, happy carnivals, and TV and secular dance music and everything else we couldn’t have at The Community. It was all the good, tingling through me, threatening to pull me apart into the highest kind of heaven. The rush of light I’ve only been able to reach by my hand if I let it go any further.

Gripping her shoulders, I pulled Isla back up like I was scared my body alarm would go off and we’d be over and done. I wasn’t ready for it to be over.

I framed her face in my hands, the glow of the flashlight now somewhere at my feet, lighting her just barely.

“What’s that like?” I asked, holding my breath preparing for the worst.

“It was like this…” Then she smooshed her mouth onto mine just as I was about to ask what she meant. The baking soda mint was miles away swapped for the taste of sweat and hot summer in the middle of winter.

My hands slid to her shoulders and I almost pulled away. Our lips touching again was weird and awkward, but she kissed like nothing else mattered. So I let myself fall back into her.

Isla was the first girl I saw the day Ma pulled our station wagon onto The Community. Ma was ready for a new life, free from the heathens, the liars, and anyone else who couldn’t compare to the way my daddy was before passing. Ma was Ready for something new and the closer she could get to God, the closer she’d get to Heaven. The second I saw Isla was the second I knew every doubt I had about who I was, was for nothing. Love is patient and kind and pure. Isla personified all of that. And if Isla was love, then I was good.

With the taste of mostly me almost gone, I moved my lips off Isla. My breath needed to slow down and I didn’t know how to do it without taking up all the air under our blanket. I gasped a little and tried to make words happen. “This. Is. Good. I like this. Do you?”

She grabbed my hand and held it tight. “I like all of it, but I’m scared that–”

I took her bottom lip in my teeth and cupped her breast to stop her from saying the rest.

Our hands went wild until her fingers dipped and swirled into the place she’d been kissing earlier. And to her, I did the same. Our kisses were breathy and heaving into each other’s ears. We used hands and fingers until we turned into life blaring love hot breathing exploding fireworks into each other’s palms.

Wiggling away from her hand, I let my body ride the end of the wave. When I whispered “Mmmm…” into her mouth she breathed, “I love you too.”

Isla and I laid like spoons and I never slept so good as that night. The buzzing in my body ran from my knees to my shoulders and I felt higher than an angel watching me from the clouds.

We didn’t talk the next day. Or the next. Isla never invited me over again and I never asked why not.

But the way she’d flush and bite back the slightest smile when we’d make eye contact whilst ignoring each other in the schoolhouse told me she felt just as good about it as I did.

When spring came, Isla and her Pa left on account of the stories Prophet started telling on Sabbath. Prophesies. Stuff about nuclear war coming, famous movie stars joining the calling, and other things he swore God warned him on. A whole lotta immediate future telling never coming to fruition. Prophet said God was testing him and getting him to humble himself in front of the congregation. The Community. And we all needed to humble ourselves and follow him straightway, no backsliding or looking to the left or right lest we end up burning for eternity and missing out on all the rewards Prophet was leading us to. Some members saw through it and walked once the air got warmer and leaves started growing back on the trees.

Ma closes her Good Book with a snap. “We’ll be saying goodbye to all our earthly possessions soon enough.” Her smile is soft and certain. “But hello to Him and a choir of angels. What do you think about that?”

“Heaven sounds nice,” I say. What I don’t say is that Heaven can be anywhere you make it, because I’ve already been there. “G’night Ma.” My eyes close, and I sigh into my pillow.

Isla said goodbye with empty eyes, a stiff hug, and mailed me a letter with seven lipstick kisses and a tiny “I.L.U” in a crease. It’s been three months. It’s folded in a purple envelope into a tiny rectangle and kept beneath my sports bra, even while I sleep.

I have the address memorized and I’ll be there before the end times come. And if I don’t make it to her first, I’m either flying with angels or burning in hell with all those kisses on my heart.

bird kiss

#WriteLadyHeadRight Blog Hop Schedule because OH YES, there’s more! Grab yourself and/or a Valentine and get your read on…

Christa Desir
Sunday, February 8

Katie Cotugno
Monday, February 9

Bryson McCrone
Tuesday, February 10

Ashley Herring Blake
Wednesday, February 11

Me! Right here.
Thursday, February 12

Adrianne Russell
Friday, February 13

Carrie Mesrobian
Saturday, February 14

When & Where Can I Get This LIARS AND LOSERS LIKE US Book?

Millions of people keep asking when my book is coming out! Okay, not really that many people but my mom has a bad memory, so I am writing this quick post.

Prom gif 1

LIARS AND LOSERS LIKE US is not out yet. However, it can be PRE-ORDERED! You can do this right now online via Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and you can also check your local indie bookstore site. LIARS AND LOSERS LIKE US can also be found on BookLikes and GoodReads…so you can add it to your TBR lists. Even though you can’t hold it yet, DO mark your calendar for MARCH 15, 2016 because that is when it releases! You will then get to read and dance around with my book. MARCH 2016 y’all!

MG dancing at prom

March is a great month. You’ll be able to buy it for your friends, lovers, frenemies, and family for St. Patrick’s Day, Spring, Promposal gifts (because this should be a thing!) and then all the other 2016 holidays.

suprise B

Also, you can find the boutonniere, perfect dress and/or lipstick to coordinate with the LIARS AND LOSERS LIKE US cover for 2016’s prom season. Convenient, eh?

dif dresses   

lipstick

And hey: special thanks to everyone who’s expressed interest and enthusiasm for my book this far. It’s so exciting and very humbling. (Eeeeeee!) I still can’t believe it. (Here’s my book deal story, in case you missed it).

I’ll be sure to update this post whenever I get more details! (Actual day! The cover! Buy Links!) Okay. That’s all.

awk thank you in formal wear

XOami

When One Of Your Most Wildest Dreams Is Coming True

Oh, hi guys! I have a super fun incredibly exciting post for you today.

Yo doooo? (on writing advice from non writers)

Yes, I do. And it’s awesome. I will try to make it quick. No, no I won’t.

When I was 12, my BFF Donna and I would trade books back and forth like they were the most delicious drug of your life. We were two book-loving kindred spirits and it was lovely.

Anne of Gr Gables BFF

Anne of Green Gables, The BabySitter’s Club, Sweet Valley everything, Catcher In The Rye, Wuthering Heights. Basically, we were two badass kids living in an awful religious commune cult at the time and any decent book we could get our hands on was like…high inducing. I am not ashamed, WE WERE FREAKING CRAZY ABOUT THE BOOKS. (And also NKOTB bc duh!)

nkotb cartoon dancing

So. I read Judy Blume’s Tiger Eyes. I loved it. I was inspired. I went from creating mini magazine parodies and drawing cartoons to giving my first actual novel a go. I wanted to write a book with all the feels too. Maybe I wasn’t your average twelve year old: My book was about a girl who watches her depressed friend shoot herself. Donna was my first reader. She was probably freaked out.

KW shocked:scared

Lucky for her, it got tricky to write first person, present tense point-of-view and I gave up. I went back to making little magazines and improv-ing sketches on tape.

That was a long time ago. Since then, I’ve written hundreds of poems and songs, an unfinished screenplay, a short story. (You know, all the things that’ll never see the light of day). In 2008, I started a memoir-based novel. But I was also working a job that got kind of…

office don't want to do anything I'm dying

Then long story short I quit that job & decided to get all up in my book writing. I pulled out my one writing book, notebook, files, checked out and bought more writing books, cruised the internet, and learned a lot. I also ditched the memoir-based novel because my writing partner in crime (one of my high school BFFs) Laura said, “Let’s start something new and fun and just write!” So I opened up a new file, and was inspired by high-school, first love, good times, bad times, and of course some 90210 drama.

old 90210

Wait. Not old school 90210, new 90210 with Matt Lanter.

90210 in hallway

I titled the new document PROM BITCH and just started writing. I kept writing and sharing chapters with Laura and also sent them to my non-writerly but gracious, awesome & supportive BFF Jen. These two were so awesome during this time because that first draft was a hundred drafts ago, you guys and was shit so, so rough but Jen & Laura were always like YAY! GO! THIS IS LIKE A REAL STORY! I LOVE IT!

90210 thumbs up

And I queried and got an agent! Victoria Lowes believed in my book too. And then the revisions. I revised once more, then with Victoria, I revised two more times. And then I entered what most writers call “SUB HELL.” This is the time where it’s like querying, but instead of getting an agent to love your book enough to want to sell it, your agent pitches it to editors. Yes, it was hell, I suppose. But for me, it was also really, really exciting. Victoria really guided me with those revisions and I think we got a great book out there so the rejections were actually pretty easy to take. Also, it’s easy for me to say this now. I won’t even lie. Sometimes the process did feel like reliving my twenties. You know:

self-loathing

keep getting knocked down

No leg shaving

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and the Wait! What? Whyyyyyy?

you liked me then you just left gif

& treats to ease the pain:

crying donut gif

Ok Fine. Super Long Story. Wrapping it up. It wasn’t too long before Victoria emailed me with: CALL ME AS SOON AS YOU GET A CHANCE! : ) Right away I knew it was an offer. (because what kind of evil agent would email you something like that if it wasn’t right?!) So I started sweating. I was in Barnes & Noble. I bought my daughter a giant cookie and a toy, put her in her carseat and called Victoria from the parking lot.

stomach hurts, pits are sweating KW

I was right. Victoria said we had an offer! I was very:

huh what KW face (phone text)

So Victoria explained it. Someone wanted my book! An editor wanted it and then my book made it through the acquisitions process–YAY! So, after some OMG hurry up you guys! fun paperworky contract agent/publisher stuff and me having the worst time holding onto this secret…

I'm ready to paaaarty gif

I’m super thrilled and excited to announce that I HAVE A BOOK DEAL!

elaine ecstatic

Kristin Kulsavage of SkyHorse Publishing/Sky Pony Press has bought PROM BITCH for release in Fall of 2015! Here’s the deal announcement in Publisher’s Marketplace:

PM PB PIC

In case you can’t read it, it says: “Debut author Ami Allen-Vath’s PROM BITCH, about a high school senior navigating prom season amidst panic attacks, a new boyfriend, & a suicide letter from the class outcast, to Kristin Kulsavage at Sky Pony Press, in a nice deal, for publication Fall 2015, by Victoria Lowes of The Bent Agency.”

You guys! YOU GUYS. My book will be something we can buy and hold and kiss and oh crap…READ, I guess! In Fall of 2015!?!? *kind of faints*

What Is Happening?! gif

So huge thanks to everyone who has been with me so far. I am not going to name all the names yet bc how boring would the book’s acknowledgements be if you’d already read them here. But HUGE thank you to the guy who was like “Whoa you’re writing a book? We better go get you a real laptop.” and “You’re gonna ignore me on our anniversary vacation in Puerto Rico to finish writing a book called Prom Bitch? Sure!”

dancing for cop

Yes, that’d be Justin, my amazing husband! (Who totally used to be a cop and totally thinks all my moves rock). Thanks Justin and thank YOU, supportive Family & Friends and Future Readers of my book!

xoxoAMI

What To Expect When You’re Expecting To Get An Agent

(Spoiler: Don’t Expect The Same Results As Anyone Else.)

Hey Guys! If you know me in real life or in the writing community, you probably heard my big news. I HAVE AN AGENT! At the beginning of this month, I signed with Victoria Lowes of The Bent Agency.

In case you didn’t know, a literary agent is only the beginning, because now it’s time to get the book ready for submission to editors/publishing houses, HOWEVER it’s kind of a big milestone in the writing community. Heres what it means to me: It means that someone else loves and believes in my book and thinks she can sell it. And she can deal with the connections, contracts, negotiating, rights, etc–all the stuff I don’t have the expertise and time for–which leaves me with time to focus on writing.

I’m incredibly grateful for all the writerly support I’ve received along the way. Because, once I finished my novel, I really didn’t have a clue to the next steps, or all the fancy rules, secret handshakes and different paths to be taken. I started reading a lot and realized there were so many agencies and agents to be researched and also a lot of other opportunities to enter your book’s pitch or first pages into contests for exposure. SO MUCH KNOWLEDGE OUT THERE. And so many writers that offer support and giving back in the same journey. If you write and you’re not on twitter, you’re missing out. There’s a great community of writers and publishing industry professionals there that are full of support, links, advice, and opportunity. Who knew twitter wasn’t just for finding out Mad Men spoilers or what Kanye ate for lunch?

So, back to me and my agent story! Michelle Hauck’s blog, “Michelle For Laughs” has a great agent interview section, “Query Questions,” which is where I first saw the interview with literary agent Victoria Lowes. The lovely Michelle asked me to write up a post on my very own Getting an Agent experience. So please, go check it out: Getting The Call: Ami Allen-Vath. 

The title of this post is What To Expect When You’re Expecting To Get An Agent. I like a good plot twist, so, since everyone’s journey is different, here’s what NOT to expect:

Don’t expect the same results as someone or everyone else. One person’s manuscript may get an offer before they even query it. Another writer may shelve five books before an agent offers representation on book six.

Don’t expect an agent to give you feedback just because they requested your manuscript. Agents are busy. Or they may not have read enough to offer anything valuable. Feedback is something to aspire for, it’s not owed to you. But yes, we can all agree that a form rejection on a full suuuuucks hurts the ego a bit.

Don’t expect that the feedback you do get is going to be some magic cure-all that’ll make you change that one thing to get you even more requests and an agent on the next round of queries. I kept waiting for feedback that would fuel me into a magical revision of my ms or query. Yes, I got feedback that helped but never was there this one big rejection with ALL THE NOTES and ALL THE ANSWERS. If an agent has feedback that’ll be magical and “offer inspiring,” it’s probably going to be an R&R or an ACTUAL offer.

Don’t expect that every query you send out will get a response. I had 26 queries that didn’t get a response.

Don’t expect that this book is THE book. But don’t expect that it’s not. As soon as I started believing in my next manuscript and preparing a mental list of contests and agents for book two, I got offers for book one.

ONE DO:

DO EXPECT great things from YOU. Make goals, rake in the knowledge, push hard, and move forward and up with every NO.

ONE MORE DON”T:

Don’t give up.