Tag Archives: secret heart

Flash sale: Secret Heart is only $.99!

I’ve been sick with the plague for a month now, but I’m crawling out of my sick bed to alert you the fantastic news that today only, Secret Heart is $.99! (Or free with Kindle Unlimited), so if you were waiting for it to go on sale, now is the time to snag it. Tomorrow the price hikes up to $1.99, Friday it’ll be $2.99, and on Saturday the Kindle price returns to $3.99.

This is like the literary equivalent of the day after Valentine’s Day candy sale at CVS, only you won’t fall into a sugar coma.

And if you’ve read it, please consider giving it an honest review on Goodreads, Amazon, or BN.com! Thank you.

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End of the year recap

2016 wasn’t a total dumpster fire on a floating garbage barge. As the year comes to a close I’m ignoring the shitshow and focusing on the goodness that 2016 brought me like:

  1. Keeping and exceeding my New Year’s Writing Resolutions to a) write 1 short story a month and b) submit at least one short story a week. I new end the year with 12 new shorts. I submitted my stories to over 150 contests/ literary magazines/ journals over the last 52 weeks and as a result:
  2. Publishing two flash fiction pieces in August. “Graylight” appeared in The Dime Show Review and “Agenda” appeared in 200 cc’s. I also placed “Self-Check” in Cleaver, but that won’t appear until March 2017.
  3. Writing nonfiction. My essay “Going the Distance” about running the 2008 Boston Marathon appeared on the November issue of The Creative Truth Journal.
  4. Contributing to the Hand2Hold Organization’s official blog Preemie Babies 101.
  5.  Pitching and selling my first freelance piece in eight years to Mom.me. You can read my micro-preemie piece here. This also led me to recording my first podcast.img_3100
  6. Self-publishing my f/f ya romantic comedy Secret Heart in October. The tragic events of last June hit close to home and inspired me to bring something frothy and fun into the world sooner. Secret Heart has sold more copies than I imagined and the feedback I’m getting from teen readers cemented how happy I am with my choice to self-publish. I even visited my first local GSA meeting in December at Shorecrest High School.
  7. My poem “Postpartum” was a finalist in the PNWA poetry contest and four of my short stories were finalists in various contests.
  8. Finding my voice again and starting two new projects: a middle grade novel and a new YA novel.

I’m really proud of what I accomplished this year. I hope to continue to be as prolific in 2017 as I was in 2016. My goals are much the same as they were, although I’d like to finish both of these projects and get them out into the world.

I have two gifts for you. The first: I’m giving away a total of 10 Kindle copies of Secret Heart via Amazon. The first contest ends tomorrow night (January 1st) so enter quick. The second contest ends Wednesday, January 4th. Yes you can enter and win both.

The second gift is this new song by Regina Spektor.

*waves goodbye to 2016*

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Bad news, good news, and a giveaway.


Bad News: There’s a glitch on Amazon currently and the paperback edition of SECRET HEART is not available, only the ebook version is. Working with Amazon to fix it.

Good News:



If you live in Seattle (or know someone who does) you can find the book at Third Place Books, University Bookstore (Mill Creek), Secret Garden Books, and Phinney Books.

Not in Seattle? It is available through Indie Bound. You can also order it directly from Ingram or Create Space. Or shoot me a message at danielle (dot) r (dot) dreger (at) gmail (dot) com and I’ll send a copy to you.

More good news:

I’m giving away FIVE copies of the ebook  via Amazon right now.



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NaNoWriMo Advice

Here we are nearly 1/2 of the way through NaNoWriMo. I’ve given advice in the past and you can read about it here.img_3379

Mostly I just want to cheer you on and say, “Look how awesome you are! You’re writing a book-shaped thing! Keep it up!”

November is an awful month to try and write a book. This month was especially bad. The election was super distracting and for many like myself, it derailed their motivation. I’m currently at 7,411. Ideally we should all be hovering at 15k if we’re writing 1,667 a day. This brings me my first piece of advice:


Words don’t count if they aren’t on the page. The only way you’re going to catch up is to put your butt in the chair and go at it. There’s no magic solution. Just start typing or writing.

What works for me might not work for you. I know this draft will be COMPLETE AND UTTER SHIT and I try my damnedest not to self-edit. Characters change names. I change POV and tense. When I get stuck I write dialogue and make my characters talk it out. Or I write kissing scenes. I open windows and doors whenever I can. My current WIP now features a high school radio station, fake Buzzfeed quizes, some Clueless fan-fic, Settlers of Catan and now Scientology. It’s one giant WTF gif. This draft is a SHITSHOW and I love it.

The only other piece of advice I’ll give (Please note I’m a 5x winner of NaNoWriMo so I’m totally qualified to give such advice):


There are many drafts between your NaNoWriMo book and what you see in a bookstore. If you do you will become paralyzed with fear and self-doubt and you will never finish your book. Fun fact: My novel Secret Heart was a NaNoWriMo novel. It took almost four years of drafts to get it right. I completely rewrote it from scratch twice. It went through self-edits, beta readers, my agent, publishers (one had me revise and resubmit), more self-edits, and a copy editor before it was published.

STOP OVERTHINKING AND START WRITING. Don’t forget to have fun. Even if you never look at it again you can say you once wrote a novel. If anything it’ll give you bragging writes at boring dinner party.

But seriously, IF I CAN DO IT, YOU CAN DO IT.

You’re amazeballs. I’m proud of you.

*add me as a NaNoWriMo buddy: nanowrimo.org/participants/drdspice




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Cover Reveal: Secret Heart

Due to the chaotic life of self-publishing, I’ve had to push back my release of SECRET HEART until Tuesday, October 11th. It is actually perfect because it is also National Coming Out Day. After much work, the brilliant Alex Kahler has created a beautiful cover based on my description, “Something that looks like a Taylor Swift album cover.”

We also have new back jacket copy.

Avery Jennings is a punk-rock guitarist with a secret weakness for rom-coms and Taylor Swift. Her band, Detonate the Gazelle is ready to move to Austin after graduation, but Avery is having second thoughts. She’s fallen hard for Madison Shea, student council president with a douchebag boyfriend, after their orbits collide at Oak Bluff High’s inaugural Gay-Straight Alliance meeting. Even though it goes against her rules about crushing on straight girls, Avery relentlessly pursues Madison. Their chemistry is too magnetic to deny and soon they are making out in car washes and school bathrooms and holding hands under tables.  Avery wants to take their relationship public but Madison is afraid of her conservative family’s reaction and that it’ll ruin her chances as Prom Queen. Their secret relationship is put to the ultimate test when student council vetoes a proposal for a gay-friendly prom and the club decides to throw a free Unprom the same night as Prom with Detonate the Gazelle as the headliner. If Unprom proves to be more popular than Prom, Madison will hold it against her and Avery will lose her shot at taking her relationship with Madison public. What started off as a love song may have just turned into a breakup ballad.


More fun news: Proceeds from my book sales will go to the Gay Lesbian & Straight Education Network because all teens needs a safe space in school.

Links for preorders for SECRET HEART will be up soon!

And finally, the cover reveal:


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Breaking news: I’m self-publishing

After two years of being on submission and getting super close more times than I can count, I’ve decided to self-publish my YA romantic dramedy, SECRET HEART.

SECRET HEART is a teenage KISSING JESSICA STEIN with a DAWSON’S CREEK vibe set to a soundtrack of Sleater-Kinney, Tegan and Sara and Taylor Swift. In fact, the lyrics to Tegan and Sara’s new song “Boyfriend” are pretty much the synopsis to SECRET HEART.

This story is my heart and it’s been killing me for the last two years (3 3/4 years if you count the first draft during NaNoWriMo 2012) that it’s not in the hands of those who might need it most. I could keep waiting for the right editor to find it in their inbox, but it’s more important to me right now to forge my own path than to wait for a trail guide to lead me along the rocky terrain.

And then there’s Orlando. 

I grew up in what I lovingly refer to as the armpit of Florida, a small town on the Gulf Coast, about 100 miles from Orlando.

There’s a reason why everything I write is set in Florida. There’s all the comedy news bits about snakes driving tractors and alligators at Walmart and sink holes swallowing up trailers and then you have the Florida that I grew up in. This is the Florida where my lesbian bff wasn’t comfortable to be out and my gay friends dropped out of high school because it wasn’t safe place for them, where the oppressive humidity made you question your life, and where there are still places where the Civil War is still being fought. I lived on a weird peninsula that was always and never in the direct path of a hurricane. We were too far north to have the Yankee transplants and fabulousness that is Miami and too far south to be called the South. My town was too small to be a real city and too large to be a small town. No one drove over 30 mph. It was retirees as far as the eye could see.

During my teenage years 20 years ago, this was a cultural wasteland. We had the mall and movies and that was pretty much it. There was nothing for teenagers to do but drive around aimlessly, hang out at Steak and Shake or Dennys, and walk the beach at night. We were full of angst, desperate to hightail the hell out of there after graduation.

Avery, my main character in SECRET HEART, has the same history with Florida that I do. She loves and loathes it. And while she is open and living the life she wants to live, it doesn’t work like that for everyone. And so I wrote that novel. A novel about a girl falling in love with another girl, one who wasn’t comfortable in her own skin and ready to be labeled. I wrote a novel about best friends who support each other and give each other shit. I wrote a novel about a community of students who decide to stand up to their high school’s antiquated ways and prejudices and throw their own damn Prom.

I wrote the novel I wanted to read at 17. A novel that my best friend should have had to read.

My agent and I had already made the decision to self-publish SECRET HEART before the terror in Orlando, and those horrible events only made me want to contribute to the community I love even more. It felt like the right decision not to wait anymore. It was time that I shared the book I love with the characters I love like they are my own damn kids with everyone.

On September 13th, 2016 everyone will get to meet Avery, Scott and Madison.* In the meantime, rock out to Tegan and Sara.


*If you don’t like sex, swearing, and sarcasm, you probably won’t like SECRET HEART. And I’m cool with that.

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June 20, 2016 · 3:36 pm

Tune in Tuesday: I’ve Got a Secret

Other than Tegan and Sara’s “Closer,” if there was one song that defined SECRET HEART it would be “I’ve Got a Secret” by Kate Nash.

I’ve got a secret, I can’t tell you

You would judge
You would judge
You would judge
You would judge

Why can’t we be friends?
We can’t pretend you don’t love me
You don’t love me

Why can’t I kiss her lips?
Why can’t I be with him?
Homophobic pricks

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May 13, 2014 · 2:15 pm

Tune in Tuesday: I Was a Fool

Tegan and Sara’s “I Was a Fool” is another song that Avery covers in SECRET HEART.

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April 1, 2014 · 8:33 am

Tune in Tuesday: You Had Time

This is another song on Avery’s setlist in SECRET HEART. I’ve been a Ani Difranco fan for years and it didn’t feel right not to have Avery play her music. Fun fact: in college when I hosted my Angry Girl Syndrome radio show I had a 5 o’clock Ani block when I would play two Ani songs back-to-back.

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March 25, 2014 · 9:55 am

Tune in Tuesday: Icona Pop “I Love It”

This is one of my favorite songs to write to. It also happens to be part of Avery’s set list in SECRET HEART.

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March 18, 2014 · 12:10 pm