Cupcakes, Cocktails, and Critiques

CCC logoMeet the Authors of Cupcakes, Cocktails, and Critiques!

But first, be sure to check out Amanda Flower’s blog post here.

So, you’ve read Amanda’s blog post, you’re pretty sure you have a blurb somewhere, and you’re ready to put it out there for the world to see. Excellent!

Now it’s time to meet the amazing Seymour Agency authors who will read your blurb and offer hints and tips. Listed in alphabetical order based on their first name…

amanda fAmanda Flower, an Agatha-nominated mystery author, started her writing career in elementary school when she read a story she wrote to her sixth grade class and had the class in stitches with her description of being stuck on the top of a Ferris wheel. She knew at that moment she’d found her calling of making people laugh with her words. Her debut mystery, Maid of Murder, was an Agatha Award Nominee for Best First Novel. She writes the Appleseed Creek Mystery Series for B&H and the India Hayes Mystery Series for Five Star. She also writes mysteries as Isabella Alan for NAL. In addition to being an author, Amanda is an academic librarian for a small college near Cleveland. Visit her online at and

amy lAmy Lillard loves nothing more than a good book. Except for her family…and maybe homemade tacos…and shoes. But reading and writing are definitely high on the list. Fun and contemporary or influenced by the simplicity of the Amish way of life, Amy’s novels are true love stories with a guaranteed happy ending. Born and bred in Mississippi, Amy is a transplanted Southern Belle who now lives in Oklahoma with her deputy husband, their genius son, a spoiled cat, and one very hyper beagle. When she’s not creating quirky characters and happy endings, she enjoys going to little league baseball games and boy scout meetings. She also loves gardening, cross stitching, and generally anything that can get her out of housework. Amy is a member of RWA and an award winning author. You can reach her at

anna hOver the last 14 years, Anna Hamilton has been busy raising her three sons alongside her very patient and understanding husband. When her youngest started school, she realized her love for writing. And there her dream began. Shortly after her mother’s passing, she moved with her family to El Dorado Hills in Northern California and everything came together. Within six months she completed her first novel, a romantic suspense titled, Killing Perfection. The creative process of writing brings her comfort and peace. The technical process has matured the professional side of her. It has taught her that perseverance, commitment, diligence, and believing in a dream are key characteristics in any undertaking in order to succeed. She is excited about what the future holds. Currently, Anna Hamilton is working on three romantic suspense and two historical romance novels. Sitting close by, in a tiny frame, is a fortune from a cookie that reads “You will become an accomplished writer.”

caryl mCaryl McAdoo was born in Long Beach, California, but got to Texas as quickly as possible at the too-young-to-remember-anything-else age of six months and celebrated her first birthday as a Texan. Growing up in Northwest Dallas, she moved past the city limit sign to Irving where she graduated from Mac Arthur High School, met her husband (an Irving High School football hero) the summer before their junior year, married quick as they graduated, birthed four children, and enjoyed life close to lots of family and friends. Twelve grandchildren were born in Irving as well. It was her life long home until 2008 when she and Ron followed God’s leading to Red River County in far North East Texas. Back in 1962, as a seventh grader at Letot Elementary, she remembers a homework assignment: an essay on ‘What will you be doing in 2000?’ Looking into the future, Caryl saw herself as an inter-galactically famous author, streaking from planet to planet signing books. But it was her husband who started writing first. An avid reader, Ron read a disappointing novel and thought, ‘If that lady can get published, I know I can!’ He began a story in ‘89, Caryl joined in—they do pretty much everything together—and by ‘91 they’d hand written their first three hundred eighty page novel, a Biblical fiction.  God directed the McAdoos to the DFW Writers’ Workshop in ’93, and they discovered they’d made all the beginner mistakes a writer could possibly make—every one! But a few of the published authors saw something there, took Ron and Caryl under their wings, and mentored them. Six years later, their first co-authored non-fiction was published. For the next nine years, attending weekly read and critique sessions, they averaged publishing a title a year from four presses: two non-fiction, four novels, and three mid-grade chapter books. In April, 2012, Caryl met Mary Sue Seymour at the North East Texas Writers’ Organization Spring Conference in Mt. Pleasant, Texas, and wrote her first historical Christian romance set in the 1800s especially for Mary Sue. (Whose maiden name was  remarkably ‘McAdoo’!) She signed a contract for representation in August, and VOW UNBROKEN sold on 10-11-12 to Howard Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. Caryl, also known as Grami, has fourteen grandsugars now, and she and Ron (O’Pa) have been rearing four of the grandsons for the past ten years. She is dedicated to serving God particularly through praise and worship; He frequently gives her new songs. Caryl believes all good things are from Him and that her new books will minister His love, mercy, and grace to readers.

mcccarty-gouldDewdrop Detectives author Colleen McCarty-Gould loves nothing more than seeing a young person’s face light up while exploring new worlds through a book. “It’s the greatest feeling,” she says, “when young readers walk away with new skills and knowledge, a fresh sense of adventure, and a positive feeling about themselves.”

Colleen draws heavily upon her experiences as a former second-grade teacher, school communications specialist, editor, photographer, and marketing professional. She also shares a big secret with the Dewdrop Detectives ­– her own love of adventure and yearning for faraway places and times. Among her most pleasant childhood memories is browsing through an attic with a friend and discovering countless treasures!

Colleen holds bachelor’s degrees in journalism and in German and a master’s degree in community education. She currently lives in Ocala, Florida, with her husband, Dale, and the couple’s two pet-kids, Mandy and Reggie.

diane oDiane O’Key can’t ever remember not reading—or writing, for that matter. By the end of eighth grade, she’d written numerous poems and short stories and won an award for having read over 500 books between grades 1 through 8. Her lifelong love of storytelling, classical literature, and history—inspired by incredible and demanding teachers—propelled her into a 22-year secondary language arts teaching career, in which her students and colleagues immeasurably enriched her life…though one of her great points of pride—and greatest fears—is that they remember her as OCD about grammar, spelling, and syntax…. Married for almost 40 years, she and her better-half have one grown son and divide their time between we-love-winters-in Florida (though they’re there most of the year) and their beloved South Carolina Upstate lake home as often as they can get away. A member of SW Florida Romance Writers and RWA for seventeen years, she is a critique partner of two wonderful multi-published author. Diane writes medieval historical romance, contemporary romance, and romantic suspense. Writing as she does “in the mist,” without absolute direction or outlines, is both a challenge and a joy. She delights in those moments when the characters pop full-blown into her head, carrying on a conversation. As that pop is rarely the first chapter, however, the struggle begins to write from that point-first backward, then forward. Keeps her awake at night…and life interesting. Diane’s first novel in a historical series, CHERISH THE KNIGHT, releases from The Wild Rose Press in 2012.

jennifer bJennifer Beckstrand: I grew up with a steady diet of William Shakespeare and Jane Austen. After all that literary immersion, I naturally decided to get a degree in mathematics, which came in handy when one of my six children needed help with homework. After my fourth daughter was born, I started writing. My goal is to write uplifting, inspiring stories with happy endings and hopeful messages. If my books make readers want to give themselves a big hug or jump up and down for joy, I’ve done my job. I am a member of Romance Writers of America and American Christian Fiction Writers. There are three Amish romances in the Forever After in Apple Lake Series (Summerside Press). Kate’s Song, Rebecca’s Rose, and Miriam’s Quilt. My next Amish romance series, “The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill,” is scheduled for release early in 2014 (Kensington Books). You can find out more about me and my books at or on my Facebook page at Jennifer Beckstrand Fans.

jessica lJessica Lemmon has always been a dreamer. At some point, she decided head-in-the-clouds thinking was childish went out and got herself a job. …And then she got another one because that one was lousy. And when that one stopped being fulfilling, she went out and got another…and another. Soon it became apparent she’d only be truly happy doing what she loved. And since “eating potato chips” isn’t a viable career, she opted to become a writer. With fire in her heart, she dusted off a book she’d started years prior, finished it, and submitted it. It may have been the worst book ever, but it didn’t stop her from writing another one. Now she has several books finished, several more started, and even more marinating in her brain (which currently resides in the clouds, thankyouverymuch), and she couldn’t be happier. She firmly believes God gifts us with talents for a purpose, and with His help, you can create the life you want. Jessica is a writer, artist, dreamer, wife, and den mother to two dogs. You can find her blog at or follow her on Twitter @lemmony.

kate mKate Meader writes sexy contemporary romance that serves up delicious food, to-die-for heroes, and heroines with a dash of sass. Originally from Ireland, she cut her romance reader teeth on Catherine Cookson and Jilly Cooper novels, with some Mills and Boons thrown in for variety. Her stories are set in her adopted home town of Chicago, a city made for food, romance, and laughter – and where she met her own sexy hero. She has a bachelor’s in law (useless), a master’s in history (not as useless), and another master’s in library and information science (yay, using). When not writing about men who cook and the women who drool over them, she works in an academic library. Feel the Heat, Book 1 in her Hot in the Kitchen series will be released in May 2013. Visit her website at and follow her on Twitter @kittymeader.

kate sKate SeRine (pronounced “serene”) primarily writes urban fantasy/paranormal romance. Kate faithfully watched weekend monster movie marathons while growing up, each week hoping that maybe this time the creature du jour would get the girl. But every week she was disappointed. So when she began writing her own stories, Kate vowed that her characters would always have a happily ever after. And, thus, her love for paranormal romance was born. Her novel, RED, the first in her Transplanted Tales series, debuted with Kensington in August 2012. The next two books in the series, THE BETTER TO SEE YOU (February 2013) and ALONG CAME A SPIDER (August 2013), will be available soon at most major online retailers. Kate is a member of Romance Writers of America and of Indiana RWA and has been a finalist in the Fire and Ice Contest (2010), the Finally a Bride Contest (2010), and The Emily (2012; first place). She’s represented by Nicole Resciniti. Kate lives in a smallish, quintessentially Midwestern town with her husband and two sons, who share her love of storytelling. She never tires of creating new worlds to share and is even now working on her next project. For more information about Kate, visit her website: You can also find her at and

krystal wKrystal Wade can be found in the sluglines outside Washington D.C. every morning, Monday through Friday. With coffee in hand, iPod plugged in, and strangers–who sometimes snore, smell, or have incredibly bad gas–sitting next to her, she zones out and thinks of fantastical worlds for you and me to read. How else can she cope with a fifty mile commute? Good thing she has her husband and three kids to go home to. They keep her sane.
Connect with Krystal through her website: or on Twitter @krystalwade

laura sAfter spending twenty years in professional theater as a costume designer, Laura Simcox abandoned the nomadic lifestyle to sit in a comfy pleather office chair at a beat up second hand oak desk and write. The result? Romance novels! Her favorite thing ever since she was, oh, about twelve. She is thrilled to be counted among the romance authors of this world and enjoys reading all genres. She writes contemporary, light novels and enjoys creating quirky characters and funny dialogue. Sometimes it’s even juvenile dialogue, but hey, who couldn’t use a dose of silly humor every now and then? Still, the love story is the focus and Laura has a huge soft spot for a sappy, happy ending. She is the author of SUMMER PROMISES, a recent release from Crimson Romance. Laura lives in North Carolina with her husband (true love is real!) and her adorable, high energy three year old son who is currently obsessed with pirates. And that’s cool, because she loves ’em too. You are welcome to visit Laura at

lynnette hLynnette Hallberg grew up in Pennsylvania’s Alleghany Mountains, moved to New York, then to the Rockies in Wyoming. Presently she, her husband, and her Siamese cat divide their time between Naples, Florida’s beaches and Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. She has a Master’s in Educational Leadership and taught middle school language arts before leaving it to write full-time. Her books have finaled in Romance Writers of America’s national Golden Heart Contest, PASIC’s Book of Your Heart Contest, and Georgia Romance Writers’ Maggie Contest. Her books include Enchanted Evening from Kensington, and Moonlight, Motorcycles, and Bad Boys, Chantilly Lace and A Pretty Face, and Night Shadows from The Wild Rose Press. Her newest, Just A Little White Lie, is scheduled for a September 2011 release from Carina Press. A lover of books, Lynnette loves to read and write and loves nothing better than to lose herself in her characters’ world. Besides reading and writing, she loves to travel. She’s visited all fifty states with the exception of Alaska. She’s traveled extensively throughout Canada, Mexico, Europe, Africa, and Central America—always on the lookout for new characters or a new story. Visit Lynnette at

marianne hMarianne Harden loves a good laugh. So much so, she cannot stop humor from spilling into her books. She’s rarely at a loss for words, which is helpful for a writer, and it would be silly to say she didn’t fidget her way through school dreaming of faraway lands. Over the years, she has backpacked through the wilds of Australia, explored the exotics of Asia, soaked up the sun in the Caribbean, and delighted in the historic riches of Europe. Her goals in life are simple: do more good than harm and someday master the do-not-mess-with-me look. She divides her time between Switzerland and Washington State where she lives with her husband and two children. ~MALICIOUS MISCHIEF~ Available October 2013 Entangled Publishing

melody sMelody Steiner works at an academic library as a circulation technician. In 2006, she graduated from Mount Vernon Nazarene University with a Bachelors of Arts in English. After she met and married her husband in the beautiful state of Ohio, they relocated to Seattle, WA. In March, 2011, Melody graduated from the University of Washington with her Master in Library and Information Science. Her hobbies include reading the latest YA series, camping, and enjoying long walks with her best friend. They’re expecting a new addition to the Steiner household in November. In addition to Gendarme Passing, she writes fantasy and YA novels. You can find Melody at

pat bPat Trainum, who writes as Patricia Bradley, lives in a small town in Northeast Mississippi. She began writing when the characters in her head wouldn’t go away until she told their story, selling the first short story she wrote to Woman’s World. Three stories later, God arranged a detour—ten years of working with teens, promoting Abstinence-Until-Marriage. During that time, she and a friend co-wrote Rise to Your Dreams, a curriculum used in Mississippi schools to teach teens how to make good choices. For the past four years she’s honed her fiction skills at My Book Therapy and Susan May Warren’s Deep Thinker’s Retreats. Her award winning manuscript Shadows of the Past has been contracted by Revell in a three-book deal for their romantic suspense line. When she’s not writing, she loves to throw mud on a wheel and create unique pieces. Her pots and the jewelry she fashions from the clay are much in demand. You can find Pat at or or follow her on Twitter: @PTBradley1

tamara mTamara Mataya grew up on a horse farm. Playing in the hills gave her enough room for her imagination to roam wild. She is currently a librarian; she lurked there for so long recommending books to patrons and shushing people, that she suspects they only hired her so it would be less creepy. Now she’s armed with a name tag, and a thin veneer of credibility. She’s also a musician with synaesthesia – which isn’t an issue until someone plays a wrong note, which makes her want to squirm inside out. It makes for a good live show. Look for her on twitter @TamaraMataya. Follow her blog at

tonya kTonya has loved reading since she earned her first Book-It personal pan pizza certificate in grade school. Her love of reading continued and she eventually went on to earn a B.A. in Elementary Education and a M.S. in Reading Education K-12. It was during her Masters program when her love affair with middle school and young adult literature began. Tonya is a stay-at-home-mom of two boys, one of whom now earns his own Book-It pizza certificates. She writes contemporary and urban fantasy young adult fiction and is a member of SCBWI and She contributes to the YA Stands and All The Write Notes blogs. She interns for Marisa Cleveland and works as the Seymour Agency Promotions Manager. You can find her at on her personal blog:; Twitter:; Facebook:

Questions? Comments?

Check back for the list of Agency authors attending RWA!



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