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Tuesday, 10 May 2016

BLOG TOUR & #GIVEAWAY - Lies in the Darkness by Amanda J. Clay

Book & Author Details:

Lies in the Darkness by Amanda J. Clay
Publication date: May 9th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult


It’s senior year at Pacific State University and all-night parties, cheap hookups and regrets are the ruling pastimes.

Sophie DeLuca used to be a nice girl—but that was before Luke Lamanuzzi tore her heart to shreds. Now she’s a walking trail of vodka-soaked destruction, something her sexy, smooth-talking coworker Davis won’t let her forget. He might have a secret crush on her—but his playboy reputation would never let him admit it. His best friend Blake’s own love of all-nighters and debauchery comes crashing to a halt when a one-night stand backfires. Level-headed Cassie seems like she’s the one who has it all together, but she’s just better at hiding her skeletons.

Ungracefully pirouetting in and out of love triangles, drug addictions and unwanted pregnancies, four friends stumble their way through their last year of study and try to grasp the realities of the world on the other side.

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How to Find a Critique Buddy

Finding a critique partner is both a necessary and daunting task. A critique partner isn’t an editor, reviewer or a beta reader (necessarily, although they could be later!). It’s someone with whom you can share tidbits of your writing for honest feedback on structure, wording, characters, dialogue—you name it!—throughout your writing process. To be quite honest, I used to hate the idea. For one, I was painfully shy about sharing my unfished work with ANYONE. And two, I was wary about the kind of critique I could offer in return. Who was I to tell someone how to write?! As I became more engrossed in the writing profession, however, I realized that bouncing your ideas off other writers early on in the process can be a life saver. By the time you’ve gotten to your editor (or when pitching an agent), you’ve written the story. They aren’t there to work on your plot development fix your prose. If the story doesn’t work, it’s back to the desk!

So, you need a critique buddy. But how to find one? First, decide if you want in-person sessions or online communications. I am personally a busy bee and prefer to do all my exchanges online. Start by joining writing groups. In-person meetings through a local writing chapter, like RWA, are great. But if that’s not feasible, there are a myriad of online meetups, both general and genre-specific. Most trade groups (like RWA) will have ways to connect online as well. Goodreads Groups is also a great place to start. Remember, there are thousands of other writers out there in the same boat as you!

Next you should determine what you’re looking for in a partner. Do you want someone just to bounce ideas off of? To review chapters? To help with blurbs? Then—this is where it can be the most frustrating—you look for not just ANY critique buddy, but the RIGHT critique buddy. This part took me some time. I’ve worked with many critique partners where, although they were giving quality feedback, I didn’t feel I wanted to heed their advice because I didn’t feel they understood my vision. It’s important to connect with someone who shares your writing style and goals and who has an understanding of the genre in which you’re writing. Someone who writes crime thrillers for adult men may not be the best partner for you if your target audience is teenage girls. You also want to identify if you’re looking for someone on your same writing experience level or more experienced. While it’s always great to get feedback from someone who’s been at a little longer, it can be a rewarding experience to work with someone in the same boat. You can share the trials of tribulations of just starting out (or wherever you might be in the process).

The next step involves some trial and error—determining if the new partnership is going to work. Start by sharing small bits of work to see if you’re a good match. Maybe begin with just a book blurb or a few opening paragraphs. Don’t be afraid to give open, honest feedback to your partner and always ask for the same in return. This is not a compliments game—it’s a business! (of course, always be nice!) If you realize that you and your new partner aren’t on the same page, it’s perfectly ok to let them know that you don’t think it’s a good match. Trust me, it’s a lot of time and energy to critique other people’s work and you want to make sure that you’re using your resources as effectively as possible for both parties. I’ve exchanged work with others where the writing was brilliant, but it just wasn’t my style of writing.

If you write in different genres, you may want different critique buddies for each. You may even find certain partners are better, say, at plot holes, while another is great at dialogue. Really, there is no one way to go about it—you just have to find what works for you! And if you do find that perfect critique buddy, hold on to them for dear life! 

Click HERE to follow the tour - links updated daily

Tour-wide giveaway (INTL) - ends 19th May

2x print copies of Lies in the Darkness

$10 Amazon Gift Card

$20 Amazon Gift Card

Amanda J. Clay is a California native with a resume of clichéd Cali traits, like a love of breakfast burritos, yoga and red wine. She had a fantastic time studying English and Journalism at Chico State University and then a very serious time slaving away for a Master’s degree in Communications from California State University, Fullerton. She currently lives in the charming city of Berkeley, CA. When she’s not staring at a computer screen, she spends most of her spare time plotting world adventures. She currently has one published Young Adult novel, Rebel Song. Watch for her next release, an offbeat New Adult contemporary, out in 2016.

Tour Organised by: 

Xpresso Book Tours


  1. Sounds like a great book - thanks for sharing!

  2. Nice cover! Sounds like a great read!

  3. sounds like a great book! Thanks for the giveaway.