Monday, September 22, 2014

Margo Kelly’s Debut WHO R U REALLY? was Ripped from a Real Life Event

After her daughter narrowly survived a man she met in an online role-playing game, Kelly wrote a breathless young adult thriller with the hopes of helping others spot and unmask internet predators.
 When a Nampa, Idaho, police detective said to Margo Kelly’s daughter, 
“It is your job to tell others—your real everyday friends that you go to school with—tell them what happened to you, so nothing like this can happen to them.” … she agreed.

“My daughter is my hero,” Kelly said, “for being willing to share her personal choices, conversations, and feelings in order to help others, regardless of the negative judgment she might receive as a result.” Additionally, Kelly realized if she wrote a novel about her daughter’s experience, they could help more people avoid the trappings of internet predators. Who R U Really? is primarily a work of fiction, but the essence of the plot is what happened when Kelly’s daughter was nearly abducted. The fictional elements are based on what has happened to young women across the country on a too frequent basis.

“Inspired by her own daughter's terrifying story, Kelly has painted a realistic picture of how a smart girl can get caught up in something dangerous online,” said the School Library Journal. “Guaranteed to give readers goosebumps—particularly as events heat up toward the end. … A good choice for families to read together.” (

According to the Fall Preview issue of Kirkus Reviews, “Thea’s mistakes, while frustrating to encounter, are frighteningly plausible, and the relationships among characters are well–fleshed out, especially between mother and daughter. Kelly’s first novel is a suspenseful page-turner with multiple suspects, a little bit of romance, and a strong but not overbearing message.” (

Who R U Really? will be published in hardcover and e-book versions by Merit Press (F+W Media) on September 18, 2014.

More about Who R U Really?
When Thea discovers a new role-playing game online, she breaks her parents’ rules to play. And in the world of the game, Thea falls for an older boy named Kit whose smarts and savvy can’t defeat his near-suicidal despair. Soon, he’s texting her, asking her to meet him, and talking in vague ways about how they can be together forever. As much as she suspects that this is wrong, Thea is powerless to resist Kit’s allure, and hurtles toward the very fate her parents feared most. Who R U Really? will excite you and scare you, as Thea’s life spins out of control.

Buy online:

More about Margo Kelly
Margo Kelly is a native of the Northwest and currently resides in Idaho. A veteran public speaker, she is now actively pursuing her love of writing. Who R U Really? is her first novel. Margo welcomes the opportunities to speak to youth groups, library groups, and book clubs.
Follow her online:
Twitter: @MargoWKelly

      Scheduled Appearances:
September 26, 2014 – 5pm – Book Signing at Hastings in Meridian, Idaho
September 27, 2014 – 4pm – Book Signing at Hastings on Overland in Boise, Idaho
October 3, 2014 – 7pm – Book Launch Party at Hyde Park Books in Boise, Idaho
October 11, 2014 – 4pm – Book Signing at Barn

Friday, September 12, 2014

Top FIVE Things I Learned AFTER My Debut Novel Came Out

YAY! You're what?


After the exuberance at signing my first contract ebbed a bit, I set my sights on what it would be like following the novel’s release. I didn’t worry too much about the logistics of it, but I had imagined that over time, I would become pretty well versed on how things would progress.

I wasn’t.

Partly because there’s a lot to learn and experience, but also partly because, for everyone else involved, it’s not their first time to the publishing watering hole and they don’t know how much (or in my case, how little) you know about the after party. While it’s only been two months since Wanted:  Dead or In Love (Merit Press) came out and even shorter since One Smart Cookie (Omnific Publishing) was released,  I’ve already learned A LOT since then.  Here we go:

5. YOUR PUBLISHER WILL PROMOTE YOU, BUT…you have to promote yourself.  A LOT. Your publishing house has tons of authors on their lists, with more books being released each season, so keep on tagging them in your tweets and status updates and it works to doubly promote them and you. It’s a good thing.

4. YOU HAVE TO FIND YOUR OWN WAYS TO GET THE WORD OUT – no one wants a blowhard that says “Buy my book, buy my book!” all the time, so think hard about alternate connections to your books and make it fun. Run promotions that get readers involved. Make connections with librarians, appear at functions near your home (so it’s not too expensive)….just get out there and be visible and friendly, not pushy.

3.  GIVEAWAYS CAN GET YOU NOTICED…but if you offer a gift card along with your book, many people will enter for the money, but not your book. Something to think about.

2. YOUR FRIENDS ARE EXCITED FOR YOU, BUT MIGHT NOT BUY YOUR BOOK. And that’s okay. Not everyone is a reader. Try not to get too disappointed and don’t hold grudges. (But hopefully they won’t mind if you don’t buy their kids’ Boy Scout popcorn either…) Just kidding!! Okay, maybe not. See how hard it is NOT to be disappointed? J But to my wonderful friends, family, and fellow scribes who have supported me by coming out to my book launch events, purchased my novels, or spread the word, you’re the best!! I can’t thank you enough!

1. SALES TAKE A WHILE TO ACCRUE. While there will (hopefully) be a nice spike when your book first comes out, it takes time for word of mouth to build. Keep buzzing about your book because you might think everyone has heard, but many haven’t. Everyone needs reminders and fresh news about your book and appearances. Slow and steady wins the race. 

So there you have it…and the learning curve doesn’t stop there. What was something that surprised YOU about the publishing business after your debut came out?



Kym Brunner dreams entire novels in her head, but needs about a year to write it all down.  She wishes there was an app for this. She's addicted to chai tea, going to the movies, and reality TV. When she's not reading or writing, Kym teaches 7th grade full time. She lives in the Chicago area with her family and two trusty writing companions, a pair of Shih Tzus named Sophie and Kahlua. She's repped by Eric Myers of The Spieler Agency.

Wanted: Dead or in Love, Merit Press, June, 2014
One Smart Cookie, Omnific Publishing, July, 2014



Writing suspenseful stories often leads me to investigating creepy places and  gruesome stories of real events.  Oftentimes what the adage s...