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Krysten Lindsay Hager: A Book to Help You Get Through the Early Teen Years with Hope & a Smile (Landry in Like)–FREE in KU!
Wednesday, June 7th, 2023

When I set out to write my third middle school novel, Landry in Like, I wanted readers to feel less alone in what they were going through while in middle school or while preparing for it. I remember being in middle school and thinking everyone else had it figured out except me. For one, no one else seemed as terrified about the idea of starting high school like I was. Plus, I was convinced no one else spent hours overthinking at night while staring at the ceiling and wondering about the passive-aggressive comments (and the outright mean ones) said at the lunch table.

I’ve often said I would return to high school in a second, but there is no way I’d want to experience even a second of middle school again. Well, maybe I’d drop in just long enough to swipe a Kissing Koolers lip gloss and grab that awesome Espirit sweater I had with the different colored pastel arms. Other than that, it was a time of confusion and insecurity as I never felt truly at ease in the classroom or on the playground. In fact, I put a lot of my own insecurity from that time in my Landry Albright character. Did anyone else feel that things changed overnight and going to the beach went from being fun to feeling weird about being in a swimsuit?

However, during those years, I did find comfort reading books about characters going through the same things as me. I can remember leaning back against my pillow after finishing a novel and thinking how wonderful it would be to write a book that made someone feel as understood as the book I just read. All I wanted was to write books that gave humor, escapism, and advice to a reader who felt the same middle school chaos that I once did.

I gave Landry her own friend and frenemy issues to deal with, situations with friends who are being bullied, and dealing with anxiety and how to get help. I had her stay true to herself and her values as we see her grow up and become more confident in herself. Plus, she got a library “date” with the basketball player she has a crush on and it’s adorable!

I hope you enjoy Landry in Like as part of the award-winning Landry’s True Colors Series. The books are free in Kindle Unlimited.

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About the Author

Krysten Lindsay Hager is a bestselling author of young adult, middle grade, and contemporary romance. Krysten writes because she loves bringing people swoony moments & hope-filled happily ever afters. Her books are known for making you feel all the feels.


Krysten Lindsay Hager: New YA Contemporary Book — Cecily in the City!
Wednesday, April 12th, 2023

Do you like young adult contemporary books with pop stars, celebrities, staying true to yourself, funny friends, swoony moments, soul mates, moving from a small town to the big city, and living your dreams? My YA contemporary book, Cecily in the City, has just released. It’s the third book in the Cecily Taylor Series, but it can be read as a standalone. It hit number one on Amazon’s hot new release charts,

What is the story about?

Cecily Taylor thinks her life can’t get any better when she moves to the city after getting a job on a soap opera. She’s excited to act and be in the same city as her pop star boyfriend, Andrew Holiday. Then she stars in another pop star’s music video, but there’s more drama behind the scenes than what’s in the script.

Pretty soon there are media posts about Cecily and the new singer and her relationship with Andrew is threatened. She just wants to act, be with Andrew, and help the causes close to her heart, but life sure is different in the glare of the spotlight.

Can Cecily hang onto her dream life while in the big city?

Find the book here: 
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About the Author 

Krysten Lindsay Hager writes about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, frenemies, crushes, fame, first loves, and values. Her work includes YA contemporary novels and middle school fiction. She received her BA in English and master’s degree in liberal studies from the University of Michigan-Flint.

Krysten’s work has been featured in USA Today, The Flint Journal, the Grand Haven Tribune, the Beavercreek Current, the Bellbrook Times, Springfield News-Sun, Grand Blanc View, Dayton Daily News and on Living Dayton.


Krysten Lindsay Hager: What I Wish I Had Known as a Teen (Excerpt)
Friday, March 10th, 2023

Looking back on your teen years isn’t always the most fun thing, but as a young adult author (who also has a tween series), I often find myself doing that. When I do events or book clubs, the readers always end up asking me about my own experiences back in those days, and sometimes I cringe thinking about those times. I actually have a chunk of time from early high school that I blocked out, but the later years and middle school years are still with me. Sometimes, life can feel like we never left high school or middle school as I still encounter mean girls and drama. But seeing as readers ask me for advice, I thought I’d share today a few things I wish I had known back then.

  • In my books, one of the big themes is embracing what makes you unique or special. We often focus on trying to fit in, but I find life opens up when we embrace what makes us different. It took me years to realize that things that made me different were the things that made me a writer such as looking at the world in a different way and sitting back and observing others.
  • Not all friendships are meant to last forever. No one likes hearing that or even thinking about it, but I think we often stay in friendships because of a shared history or because we’ve had a lot of time together. I still have friends from those years, but I’ve also had friendships that have run their course and that’s okay. People change—we’re supposed to—and what was once a close bond doesn’t always last. Values change, interests, and other things change and it’s okay. Don’t beat yourself up. Wish the other person well and root for them from afar.
  • It’s okay if not everyone likes you. You’re not supposed to be for everyone. Even your favorite singer/writer/actress has haters. In fact, when you feel down, go read reviews of your favorite celebrity and you’ll see no one is universally loved. Just cherish the people who do get you.


Here’s an excerpt from my pop star romance Cecily Taylor Series:

“Must be nice to have a hot pop star text you. Do you think he will contact you again?” Lila asked.

If he doesn’t, then I’ll die and probably never leave my room again. “I hope he does. I’d be seriously bummed if I—” Get dumped, get blocked online, see he’s dating someone else. “—don’t hear from him again,” I said.

“Does anyone else know he was the reason Zach got so mad at you when he walked in on Andrew trying to kiss you at the video premiere?”

“No, Zach didn’t tell anyone. I feel like it’d be weird if I told people that’s what happened. Like they wouldn’t believe me and think I was making it up to get attention,” I said.

“Yeah, I already heard a few people saying stuff.”

My stomach dropped. “Like what?”

“Huh? Oh…nothing major.” She gripped the steering wheel. “It’s impossible to find a spot on the street on a weekend.” I pressed her again, and she shrugged. “There’s a couple comments on his social media pages.”

Pulling out my phone, I went to the video’s link online and the first comment that came up was:

NoOneAndrewFan: Why did they pick HER out of all the girls in the world?

CaliGirlTwo: They couldn’t find any better than that chick?

Holidate008: She’s like if the word “plain,” was a person.

 MusicIsLife: I think the point is that she’s not supposed to be hot, you guys Holidate008: I think she’s supposed to be the opposite of that other girl in the video.

CaliGirlTwo: Obviously Andrew has a jealous girlfriend and told him to find blah girls to be in his video.

SleepAllDayz: I bet Andrew’s managers don’t want his fans to be jealous of any of the girls they cast in his videos. Mission accomplished.

Meghynn: Seriously, I’ve seen cuter girls walking down my street and I live out in the sticks.

KellyKellz: I bet the other actress said they couldn’t cast another hot girl.

Meghynn: Andrew obviously didn’t do the casting for this one.

Holidateforever: Wow! Seems like no one has anything nice to say, all you guys want to do is trash people. if you don’t like what Andrew’s doing in his video… then bye!

TeenaRoger: Guys, Andrew would hate all these negative vibes! If you don’t have anything good to say about his work then don’t follow his page, don’t listen to his music, and DON’T bother commenting.

 Holidateforever: I think she’s pretty. Jealousy isn’t cute, you guys.

“Oh crap. I didn’t even think to look at the comments before now. I guess it was so surreal to think I was actually in a music video that it didn’t even occur to me to go on and see what people were saying,” I said as my face burned with embarrassment. “Has everyone at school seen these?”

“Don’t worry about it. People suck and if it makes you feel any better, a lot of people at school aren’t even talking about it because they don’t want you to get all stuck up,” she said.

That was supposed to make me feel better?

“I was barely in the video. Why is everyone attacking me for a five second spot?” I asked trying to keep myself from crying.

“It sucks. I wish Andrew was here and he could just wrap you in a blanket and make you a cup of tea,” Lila said.

I laughed despite the fact I was trying not to throw up on myself. “Yup, like the perfect boyfriend.”

Find my books here in Kindle Unlimited:

About the Author

Krysten Lindsay Hager is a bestselling author of young adult, middle grade, and contemporary romance. Krysten writes because she loves bringing people swoony moments & hope-filled happily ever afters. Her books are known for making you laugh, cry, & swoon.

Along with relationships, her novels deal with self-doubt, finding where you belong, true friendship, & soulmates.


Krysten Lindsay Hager: How Buying Foundation at the Makeup Counter Rocked My Foundation
Monday, February 13th, 2023

I grew up during the time when supermodels were on the cover of practically every magazine. I can remember my friends and me scouring the pages to find out what makeup shades they used to try and recreate the looks as if the right lipstick shade would transform us into Christy Turlington.

But as fun as it was to try and recreate the makeup, there was another thing that wasn’t so fun and that was the treatment we often got at the cosmetic counters. I remember going with friends to purchase new makeup only to walk away with a shopping bag and a complex. How many times did we go for help with our teenage skin only to feel worse about ourselves after the encounter? I had oily skin growing up and used powder during the day as well as what they called oil-absorbing foundation and mattifying lotion before that. Yes, I did get shiny and my skin wasn’t perfect, but I would go to the counter for help only to be told I’d need a slew of products to help with my, “problem skin.”

I would use money I saved up to buy products I probably didn’t need, but it was the sense of feeling gross without the help of these pricey items that hit my self-esteem. I can remember the cosmetics workers wiping harsh astringent on my face that physically stung as much as their words as they complained about my shiny skin. Then they’d apply thick layers of oil-free foundation making sure none of my real skin texture would show through. I was told I had large pores and that I needed to use base all over to cover them as well.

I believed this until I got sick in college and went a week without makeup. I had to pick up a prescription, and I was too exhausted to put on makeup, so I ran in with just lipstick on—something I never did because I had been led to believe I needed a full face of base to be presentable. And while I was there, someone complimented me on my complexion. I thought they were making fun of me and wondered why a stranger would do that.

I mentioned it to a friend who said she also spent years wearing heavy foundation due to things she had been told by beauty counter workers as well. She said she wouldn’t go to the grocery store without concealer. I admitted the brand of foundation I used in high school was also used by actresses on camera…as if that kind of coverage was necessary for sitting in a classroom.

I started to ask more friends who all shared something they were insecure about that had come from a stranger selling them a product. One said she was told she had to wear mascara because of her, “tiny hamster eyes,” and cried when she was told by a doctor that she’d have to go without it while she healed from an eye infection. Another was told how bad her skin texture was that she still won’t even do a Zoom meeting without makeup on.

A friend asked if I remembered us going to pick up huge bottles of that stinging pink astringent to try and save our skin and being told we also needed primer, moisturizer that was more like butter, and a mattifying lotion…as if all of that wasn’t going to clog our overactive teenage pores. I did remember because I was told how primer was a necessity for me with my problem skin and I felt bad about myself every time I took that tube out. Oddly, when I worked with professional makeup artists doing fashion shows, no one criticized my skin at all. It never occurred to me that they weren’t selling me anything. They had no reason to chip away at my self-confidence to get me to buy a product.

The thing is, my skin was actually pretty good for a teenager. And if anything, stripping away the oils and then piling on chemicals probably wasn’t the way to go anyway. I wonder how many of us still have the judgmental words of a cosmetic salesperson in the back of our minds when we look in the mirror. I applaud the salesperson at the Lancome counter who once refused to sell my nineteen-year-old friend an anti-aging cream she was convinced she needed. And I’m grateful to the makeup artist at Barneys who built up of the confidence of an eighteen-year-old me by complementing me instead of trying to make me feel like I needed to buy more makeup to look presentable. My mom sent me photos she found of me in my teens, and I was surprised that my skin looked smooth. That certainly wasn’t how I felt it looked back then.

It wasn’t until I started questioning the treatment my friends were getting in front of me by salespeople. I knew they were fine without the items being pushed. While I couldn’t see that for myself, but I certainly could for others.

So, I decided to write a scene where my fourteen-year-old character, Landry Albright, goes to the cosmetics counter in Best Friends…Forever? I decided to hit on two things in the scene which showed her trying to emulate model’s ad look only to find out the taupe lip gloss that the model is wearing looks terrible on her. She questions why Talisa can look so beautiful in it, while she looks like the undead. Landry’s also convinced that the gloss is all Talisa is wearing because of what the magazine says. However, she soon finds out a lot more makeup went into making Talisa look “naturally perfect” in that ad.

I also have Landry encounter a sales person much like the ones that have impacted so many of us over the years by preying on our insecurities. Only this time, Landry gets clued in about it being a sales tactic to get people to buy more. She also encounters a kind person behind the counter who helps boost her self-confidence and find something she’d like to wear instead of making her feel she needs makeup to look “presentable.”

A friend told me how she hated getting matched for a foundation color because the people behind the counter would stand there and scrutinize her and she felt hideous and judged. I put that in the story as well to let my readers see that others have had encounters like that so maybe they’d feel less insecure. When I read these scenes in my writing critique group every woman in the room shared they had had an experience similar at a cosmetic counter. All the men in the group were shocked by the way we had been treated.

I can only hope that reading what Landry goes through will make the readers feel less alone should they go through that same situation. It took me years to get to that place and it makes me sad to think of how many preteens had our self-imaged shaped by a sales tactic. So here’s to embracing how we were created and leaving the judgments of others behind us.

Find Best Friends…Forever? here (Free in Kindle Unlimited):

About the Author

​Krysten Lindsay Hager writes about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, frenemies, crushes, fame, first loves, and values. Her work includes YA contemporary novels and middle school fiction. She received her BA in English and master’s degree in liberal studies from the University of Michigan-Flint.

Krysten’s work has been featured in USA Today, The Flint Journal, the Grand Haven Tribune, the Beavercreek Current, the Bellbrook Times, Springfield News-Sun, Grand Blanc View, Dayton Daily News and on Living Dayton.

Amazon  US:
Amazon UK:
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Krysten Lindsay Hager: Using Your Middle School Experiences to Write a Series
Friday, January 6th, 2023

Middle school. Are there two words in the English language that can bring out cringing more than those two? Well, maybe, “gym class”—especially gym class while in middle school. Seriously, how did I have the guts to wear shorts in middle school? There hasn’t been another time in my life when I felt more judged, more criticized, and more uneasy about myself than those middle school years.

It didn’t help that I was one of the tallest girls in my class and one of the girls who much preferred watching soap operas, reading, and daydreaming while writing little story ideas down in my notebooks. Being a creative kid has come a long way in the last few years, but let me tell you in my small town it was seen as weird. Playing sports was normal, writing and telling people you wanted to be an author when you grew up sounded weird, and I was constantly told it would be impossible. And I felt pushed to conform. To be more like the other kids. Even the music I liked was different. I was still listening to George Michael long after he had stopped putting new music out for a while. So, while the others were listening to what was new and cool, I was listening to my pop star boyfriend and writing down story ideas.

However, my preteen angst has a happy ending as those story ideas ended up into a series about a girl dating her favorite pop star and all the anxious moments that go along with it (The Cecily Taylor Series). But even more importantly is that the angsty, cringey, middle school moments that brought me to my knees also gave me story ideas. I took the characters I created in the sixth grade (Landry) and her cooler friends (Devon, Peyton, Ashanti, and India) and merged them with the real-life mean girl issues and growing pains I dealt with back then to create my first book, True Colors, which became the first book in the Landry’s True Colors Series.

All the embarrassing and difficult moments of middle school with doubting yourself, bullying, mean girls, understanding what frenemies are and how to deal with it, and crushes just all came together to create books that I hope will help readers know they are not alone in going through the same things. I also get a lot of messages from parents, aunts, and grandparents saying the topics bring up healthy discussions that get the readers to speak up about those difficult topics. I know I stayed quiet and retreated into books to help me deal with things.

Funny enough, my dad was a middle school assistant principal who I now realize was sharing his stories with me to help me through things without making it obvious. I should have known the way he brought up school dances and his own vivid memories of having shyness attacks at his own school dances.

I’m currently updating and relaunching the Landry’s True Colors Series and I can’t wait for the next group of readers to discover it. I have reading guides for each chapter and am looking forward to helping more readers feel less alone out there. To date, the Landry’s True Colors Series has won three Readers Favorite awards for best preteen books and the Dayton Book Expo Bestseller Award for children/teens. Landry in Like is also a Literary Classics Gold Medal recipient.

I hope you enjoy reading about Landry as she navigates through middle school. I’m including a photo of me back then with Sun In which gave my normally dark brown hair a lovely burnt umber look. Enjoy!

Find the Series here:

About the Author

Krysten Lindsay Hager writes about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, frenemies, crushes, fame, first loves, and values. Her work includes YA contemporary, middle grade fiction, and adult and young adult rom-coms. She received her BA in English and master’s degree in liberal studies from the University of Michigan-Flint.

Krysten’s work has been featured in USA Today, The Flint Journal, the Grand Haven Tribune, the Beavercreek Current, the Bellbrook Times, Springfield News-Sun, Grand Blanc View, Dayton Daily News and on Living Dayton.


G.S. (Gabrielle) Prendergast: Mash Up meets Inspiration
Tuesday, November 29th, 2022

Writers, where do you get your ideas? In my just-released workbook, The Novel Workbook for Messy Writers, the whole first section is dedicated to getting ideas.  While some experienced novelists probably have long lists of ideas waiting to be written, beginner writers might struggle with this step—the first step, really! That said, I encourage even experienced writers to complete “getting ideas” exercises. It’s a great for stretching and challenging your creative muscles. My workbook suggests numerous ways of generating ideas but one of my favorites is “This Meets That”.

“This Meets That” is similar to something we have in the book business called “comps”. “Comps” is short for comparables, and it refers to what other books that a book under discussion would be compared to. So an author, an agent, a publisher or a reviewer might describe a book thus: “It’s got the sweet romance of Stargirl but in a dystopian setting like Divergent” (I would read this!) Sometimes comps are simply expressed like “It’s X meets Y” or “part X and part Y”. When I was agent hunting, I described my young adult sci-fi, Zero Repeat Forever, as “Part Terminator and part Beauty and the Beast”. My publisher describes it as “The 5th Wave meets Beauty and the Beast”. But one of my favorite ways to describe it has always been “Twilight meets Terminator”!

What does this have to do with getting ideas? For indie romance authors, who often write and publish six or more books per year, the “getting ideas” part of writing is critical. Readers are hungry for new premises and new characters, but new ways of telling familiar stories are also always popular. So a great way to generate ideas is to mash two familiar stories together, creating something new. In doing this you not only have created an interesting premise for your book, but you also now have access to at least two existing books/stories’ worth of inspiration (and indeed detail) to draw from.

X meets Y premises can be lots of fun, and the further X is from Y the better, in my opinion. Only imagine the possibilities! I’d love to read “Cinderella meets Clan of the Cave Bear” for example. A prehistoric prince and his enchanted mystery princess? Are you kidding me? That would be awesome. Or how about “Scheherazade meets High Fidelity” about a plucky Muslim teen who keeps her disgruntled record store boss amused with stories so he doesn’t close down his failing business. (OMG someone please write this).

I could go on and on about this, but I’m at risk of coming up with premises I want to actually write. And I have a deadline. I need to focus!

What X meets Y retellings would you like to write?

About The Novel Workbook for Messy Writers

There are many thousands, if not millions of aspiring novelists out there who simply don’t know where to start. Thousands more writers have attempted or even completed a novel or two but are looking for a new way of approaching their next one. Then there are successful, published novelists who are sure they’ve forgotten how to write a novel and will never be able to do it again. And finally there are published novelists who are confident they can do it again if they could just find their laptop under the chaos on their desk.

The Novel Workbook for Messy Writers is for all of the above and more. It’s a writer’s workbook that provides just enough structure to get the creative juices flowing, while leaving writers the freedom to get their words down how, when and where they want to. Lists, quotes, doodles, collage, prose, verse, song lyrics, maps and diagrams will all fit into the Workbook pages, allowing writers to create a complete and detailed blueprint for their novel, including such information as character names, setting descriptions, genre, musical inspiration, props, world-building and much more.

Including prompts and tips on each page, The Novel Workbook for Messy Writers is for novelists of all ages, at any stage in their writing career.

Get your copy here!

About Gabrielle

G.S. (Gabrielle) Prendergast is the bestselling author of numerous books for children and teens. She studied writing at the University of New South Wales in Australia, at San Francisco State University and the University of British Columbia. After years of working in the music industry, in social welfare, and the film industry, Gabrielle began writing books when she became a mother, so she could work from home. Her books have received nominations for the White Pine Award, the Canadian Library Association Award, the Vancouver Book Prize and several other honors. She won the BC Book Prize for her YA sci-fi Zero Repeat Forever and the Westchester Award for her YA novel in verse Audacious. Born in the UK and both an Australian and New Zealand citizen, Gabrielle now lives in East Vancouver in a permanent state of  “under-construction”. You can find Gabrielle on Instagram or Tiktok  @gsprendergast

September North: Dating Wyatt’s Mom (FREE Read!)
Thursday, May 12th, 2022

Since Mother’s Day was on the 8th, I figured a neat story to share would be a contemporary young adult story I wrote. So many young mothers and young partners out there get all the bad press, but I knew lots of young moms working their butts off to finish school and raise a child. It was for those friends I grew up with that I created this happily ever after. 

If you are looking for a YA for mature readers and are ready for some laughs and maybe a tear or two, then check out Dating Wyatt’s Mom by September North. 

Grab your copy of Dating Wyatt’s Mom and other contemporary YA romance
F-R-E-E for a limited time in this newsletter builder!

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