Trailer Reveal: Hold Me Like A Breath by Tiffany Schmidt [w/ Excerpt + Giveaway!]

HMLAB trailer reveal

Hello everyone! Today I’m happy to share with you the trailer for Tiffany Schmidt’s new book, HOLD ME LIKE A BREATH! Many thanks to Tiffany Schmidt and to the ladies of The Fantastic Flying Book Club for the opportunity to be part of this awesome trailer reveal. 🙂



Hold Me Like a Breath (Once Upon a Crime Family #1)

by Tiffany Schmidt

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Release Date: May 19th 2015


Penelope Landlow has grown up with the knowledge that almost anything can be bought or sold—including body parts. She’s the daughter of one of the three crime families that control the black market for organ transplants.

Penelope’s surrounded by all the suffocating privilege and protection her family can provide, but they can’t protect her from the autoimmune disorder that causes her to bruise so easily.

And in her family’s line of work no one can be safe forever.

All Penelope has ever wanted is freedom and independence. But when she’s caught in the crossfire as rival families scramble for prominence, she learns that her wishes come with casualties, that betrayal hurts worse than bruises, that love is a risk worth taking . . . and maybe she’s not as fragile as everyone thinks.

Book Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound | Bloomsbury




There was always a moment as I rolled down the long driveway toward the high fence surrounding the estate when my breath caught in my chest and I doubted my decision to leave. Anything could happen to me outside the perimeter of our property.

Carter interrupted my thoughts. “I told Mother we’re going to see a musical. You know what’s playing and can pick one, right?”

Of course I did. I spent hours on NYC websites, blogs, and forums. Someday I’d go into a long remission. Someday I’d live there and walk the streets of promise, freedom, and opportunity they sang about in Annie, a play I’d seen with Father on Broadway right before my life turned purple and red.

“Really?” It made sense that Mother would agree to a play. It would be safe, a seated activity. The chairs would mark out defined personal space, and I’d be perfectly cocooned between my brother and his best friend/guard, Garrett Ward. It made a whole lot less sense that Carter would voluntarily attend the theater.

He lowered his window and called a greeting to Ian, the guard on gate duty. Once his window was closed and the gate was shutting behind us, he snorted. “No, not really. That’s just what I said to buy you some extra time.”

“You should at least listen to the score then,” I countered. “You know she’s going to want to discuss it. Or, if she doesn’t, Father will. He’ll probably perform it if I ask.”

“Then don’t ask,” said Carter. “Fine. Pick a show and Garrett can download the soundtrack. We’ll listen to it once, then I get the radio for the rest of the drive—no complaints.”

It was more than I’d expected; he truly felt guilty about being so MIA. “There’s a revival of Once Upon a Mattress that’s getting great reviews.”

They snickered.

Once Upon a Mattress? That sounds like—”

I cut my brother off. “Don’t go there! It’s a fairy tale, gutterbrain.”

“Of course it is,” laughed Garrett.

I’m pretty sure the subtext of that laugh was you’re such a child. I swallowed a retort. Freedom was too rare a thing to waste arguing. And I’d never had Korean barbecue. I’d never even heard of it. There were so many things I’d never seen, tasted, experienced . . . Tension melted into giddy anticipation, bubbling in my stomach like giggles waiting to escape.

“So, how’d your super-secret errand go?” I asked. “Was it something exciting? Something illegal?”

Garrett met my gaze in the rearview mirror and shook his head.

But it was too late. Carter’s expression darkened. “Everything we do is illegal. It’s not a game where you get to pick and choose which crimes you’re okay with.”

“So it didn’t go well,” I muttered under my breath.

I knew it wasn’t a game, and I knew the Family Business was against the law. I’d known it for so long it was easy to forget. Or remember only in a vague way, like knowing the sky is blue without paying any attention to its blueness.

Only in those moments when things went wrong—when lazy clouds were replaced by threats and storms, when someone got hurt or killed—only then did I stare down the reality of the Business through a haze of grief and funeral black. My fingers tensed on the edge of the seat.

“Ignore him,” said Garrett. “He’s just pissy because the people we were supposed to meet with stood us up.”

“Someone dared to no-show for a meeting with the mighty Carter Landlow?” I teased, hoping to break the gloom settling in the car like an unwelcome passenger. “I assumed it was a Business errand, but if someone stood you up, it must be a girl.”

“No offense, Pen, but you don’t have a clue what’s going on in the Business.”

No offense, Carter, but you’re being a—”

“Who wants to hear some songs about mattresses?” interrupted Garrett. He reached for the stereo, but Carter swatted his hand away.

“I’m not an idiot,” I said. And wishing for things that had been denied for so long was idiotic. No less so than repeatedly bashing your head against a wall or touching a hot iron. I knew the answer was no, was always going to be no, so asking to be included in Family matters was like volunteering to be a punch line for one of the Ward brothers’ jokes.

But I knew the basics. It wouldn’t be possible to live on the estate, spend so much time in the clinic, and not know. The first person to explain it to me had been my grandfather; fitting, since he was the man who’d reacted to the formation of FOTA—the Federal Organ and Tissue Association—by founding our Family.

The same day I’d demanded a kidney for Kelly Forman, he’d sat me down and demonstrated using a plate of crackers and cheese. “When donation regulation was moved from the FDA to FOTA, they added more restrictions and testing.” He ate a few of the Ritz-brand “organs” on his plate, shuffled the empty cheese slices that represented humans who needed transplants. “This, combined with a population that’s living longer than ever

before”—he plunked down several more slices of cheese—“created a smaller, slower supply and greater demand.” He built me an inside-out cheese-cracker-cheese sandwich. “It was a moment of opportunity, and when you see those in life, you take them.”

This felt like a moment of opportunity. And not to prove that I wasn’t an idiot by listing all the facts I knew—about how the Families provided illegal transplants for the many, many people rejected from or buried at the bottom of the government lists. How more than two-thirds of those who made it through all the protocols to qualify for a spot on the official transplant list died before receiving an organ. Or to recite the unofficial Family motto: Landlows help people who can’t afford to wait, but can afford to pay.

“Fine, tell me what I don’t know,” I said. “Tell me what’s going on, why you and Father are fighting, and what’s keeping you so busy. Tell me everything.”

Garrett muttered something that sounded suspiciously like “Don’t do this,” but since my brother ignored him, I did too.

Carter’s eyes met mine in the rearview mirror. “None of this leaves the car, Pen. I’m trusting you.”

“I understand.” I sat a little straighter. “And I promise.”

A phone beeped with a text alert, almost immediately followed by a ringtone that made them jump. Carter picked up his cell, swore, showed the screen to Garrett, then swore again. All the buoyancy of freedom seemed to evaporate from the car.

“Now? They blow us off earlier and expect us to answer now?” said Garrett.

“Well, it’s not like these things can be scheduled,” replied Carter, jabbing the screen of his cell. “Hello?”

He muttered low and furious into the phone, then hung up, still cursing. “We have to do the pickup.”

Garrett’s frowned. “No one else can do it?”

He shook his head.

“Pick up what?” I asked.

Carter opened his mouth, but Garrett put a hand on his arm. “She’s seventeen. Let her be seventeen. There’s plenty of time to get her involved later.”

“When we were seventeen we were already sitting on council, visiting the clinics, meeting with patients. She can’t even tell a kidney scar from a skin graft—she needs to catch up.”

She can make her own decisions, she is sitting right here, and she is coming along to what ever this mysterious pickup is, so she’s already involved,” I snapped.

“You are not coming,” said Garrett.

“We don’t have a choice, unless you want me to leave her on the side of the highway. This is our exit.” Carter was clutching his cell phone, shaking it as if that could erase what ever the text instructed him to do.

Garrett groaned. “You’re staying in the car.”

I hid my smile by looking out the window. It had gotten dark while we were driving, the dusky purple of summer evenings. On the estate these nights buzzed with a soundtrack of cicadas and crickets, but there was no nature outside the car. Nothing but concrete and pavement and cinder-block industrial construction. We pulled into a parking lot. A poorly lit, empty parking lot.

“Where are we? What are we picking up?” I examined Garrett’s stiff posture and the bright gleam in my brother’s eyes. “Does Father know about this Business errand?”

“No, and you’re not going to tell him,” Carter answered.

“Oh, really? So what am I going to do?”

“Stay in the car. Lock the doors. Keep the windows up.” Carter turned around to look me in the eye. “This isn’t a joke, Pen. If I’d known this was going to come up, I would’ve left you at home.”

“Please, princess,” added Garrett in a soft voice, but his eyes didn’t leave the windshield, didn’t stop their scan of the parking lot.

“Fine, but when you’re done, you’re filling me in. Then I can decide if I want to be part of it or not.” It was all false bravado. Each one of Carter’s statements tied another knot in my stomach; Garrett’s plea pulled them tighter.

Carter dumped a half dozen mints from the plastic container in his cup holder into his mouth—like his breath mattered, like this was a date not a disaster. He waved the container at us, but we shook our heads. He crunched the candies and said, “Gare,

you’re hot, right?”

I blurted out, “You can turn on the A/C, I’m not cold,” before I caught on: Garrett pulled a gun from a holster below the back of his shirt.

They laughed, but it wasn’t funny to me. I’d been to too many funerals—they’d been to more. I wanted to ask how long he’d been “hot.” If he always had a gun on him. Had he when we went mini golfing at Easter? Or the time last summer when I slipped on the pool deck and he’d carried me to the clinic? No. He couldn’t have then. He’d been wearing a swimsuit too—there’s no way he could’ve hidden a gun.

So what had happened in the past year, and why was he carrying one now?

Garrett was Family, he was a Ward, but he wasn’t supposed to follow his brothers’ footsteps. Or his father’s. They were enforcers, but he didn’t belong in their grim-faced, split knuckles ranks. That was why he was in college with Carter—Garrett was going to be his right-hand man when my brother took over the Business.

Not a thug with a gun.

“Stay here, Pen,” Carter said again, then slipped out into the night. His keys still dangled from the ignition, the engine still hummed.

Garrett lingered an extra moment. “This shouldn’t take long. And everything’s okay. I don’t want you to worry.”

“I’m not.” I would’ve sounded believable if my voice wasn’t quivering. If I weren’t clutching fistfuls of my dress.

“You’re cute when you’re worried.” Garrett winked, and then he too was out in the darkness and humidity and I was alone.

I tried to lower my window—just a crack, enough to let in voices but not even mosquitoes—except Carter must’ve engaged some sort of child lock. I stared out the tinted glass, watched as their shadows grew gigantic on the wall as they approached the

ware house, then disappeared around its corner.

No matter how hard I concentrated, my eyes couldn’t adjust enough to make sense of the dark. Maybe it was the placement of the parking lot lights—how I had to peer through them to see the warehouse beyond.

After they’d left this afternoon, I’d rushed to the clinic to model different outfits for Caroline. She’d teased. We’d laughed. I’d blushed and daydreamed about the lovely combination of me, Garrett, and NYC.

But in my daydreams, Garrett hadn’t been wearing a gun.

And now we were parked somewhere made of shadows and secrets and fear that sat on my tongue like a bitter hard candy that wouldn’t dissolve.

The car still smelled like them. Their seats were still warm when I leaned forward and pressed my hands against the leather. But I couldn’t see them. What if the dark decided never to spit them back out again?

This wasn’t the Business as I knew it: secret transplant surgeries that took place at our six “Bed and Breakfasts” and “Spas” in Connecticut, Vermont, Maryland, Maine, Massachusetts, and South Carolina, where we saved people like Kelly Forman. She’d been ten when she needed a kidney transplant, but her chromosomal mutation—unrelated to her renal impairment—earned her a rejection from the Federal Organ and Tissue Agency’s lists. According to them, Down syndrome made her a “poor medical investment.” FOTA wrote her a death warrant. We saved her life.

She graduated from high school a few weeks ago. The past nine years since we’d met—she wouldn’t have had those without the Family Business.

That was enough. That was all I needed to know. Illegal or not, that was good.

I heard something. A crack so sharp it echoed and seemed to fill the spaces between my bones, making me shiver. I prayed it was a car backfiring.

Then it happened again.



Tiffany Schmidt lives in Pennsylvania with her saintly husband, impish twin boys, and a pair of mischievous puggles. She’s not at all superstitious… at least that’s what she tells herself every Friday the thirteenth.

SEND ME A SIGN is her first novel. BRIGHT BEFORE SUNRISE will follow in Winter, 2014. The ONCE UPON A CRIME FAMILY series begins with HOLD ME LIKE A BREATH in 2015. You can find out more about her and her books at:, or by following her on Twitter @TiffanySchmidt.

Connect with Tiffany via: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr | Instagram | Goodreads

Details: Win (1) finished copy of Hold Me Like A Breath by Tiffany Schmidt (US Only)
Starts on Monday, April 20th and ends on Sunday, April 26th

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Boldly Bookish

This spring, Bloomsbury’s sending four amazing authors—Trish Doller, A.C. Gaughen, Emery Lord, and Tiffany Schmidt—to bookstores together for our Boldly Bookish tour. To celebrate it, they are giving away some goodies! All you have to do is buy one of the following books: The Devil You Know, Lion Heart, The Start of Me and You and/or Hold Me Like A Breath and email your receipt to, in order to receive one of the following prizes:

Preorder of the books pictured above, and get a Boldly Bookish logo sticker.

Preorder of the books pictured above, and get a sticker + a Boldly Bookish bookmark!

Preorder of the books pictured above, and get a sticker + bookmark + a Boldly Bookish button!

Preorder all 4 of the books pictured above, and get a sticker + bookmark + button + a Boldly Bookish magnet!

And remember, the more books you preorder, the more Boldly Bookish swag you get!

For more information on the Boldly Bookish Order Campaign, head over to Behind the Bloom.


It’s Becky & Simon Day on The Lifelong Bookworm!

Hello bookish people! Today, April 7th, is momentous because author Becky Albertalli’s debut novel, Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, is now out in the wild! Hooray! Grab a copy, will you? It is worth reading! I promise. 🙂 But in case you need more convincing, you might want to check out my 5-star review here. For the love of Becky and Simon, I came up with an idea for a blog event to honor their day. Well, this is it! Happy Becky & Simon Day, everyone! *throws confetti* I hope you guys enjoy the contents of this post. 🙂


The awesome Becky Albertalli talks about writing, Simon, Oreos (YUM!), and more in this exclusive interview!


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Photo credit: Decisive Moment Events


At what age did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

I think I’ve always wanted to be a writer. That being said, my ambitions have been a little all over the place, and I figured author would go the way of my other dream careers (among them: veterinarian, actress, director, teacher, and pet store employee). But my interest in writing has always been there, even when I took a different path in grad school, where I trained as a clinical psychologist.


Every writer has a writing process. Could you please describe yours?

In many ways, I think I’m still learning my process! When I wrote SIMON, worked in almost total isolation – almost no one knew I was writing, and the first person to read it was the critique partner I met on Absolute Write (still my CP, and now also one of my closest friends!). Book two has actually been a completely different experience. I’m connected to a much broader swath of the writing and publishing community, so the book has received feedback at several stages from my editor, agent, and several friends and critique partners. It also feels very different writing this book, knowing that it’s actually going to be published! Admittedly, it’s been hard for me to separate that process from everything that’s happening with SIMON.


What is it about young adult fiction that prompted you to write your own YA book? 

There’s so much to love about YA. For me, I’m drawn to the immediacy of teen stories – it’s such a confusing, heart-wrenching, butterflies-in-the-stomach kind of time. It’s really special to be able to reconnect with some of those feelings and experiences. I think I love working with real-life teenagers for the same reasons.


Which YA authors do you look up to?

There are so many authors I admire! Right now, I am completely in awe of the We Need Diverse Books team, who are among the most passionate, committed, and talented people I’ve ever met. I had the opportunity to catch a glimpse behind the scenes of WNDB, and I’m constantly blown away by how hard these authors work to fight for desperately-needed changes in this industry. Their impact has been immeasurable, and it’s been thrilling and humbling to watch it happen.


Name three of your all-time favorite YA books.



-I’LL GIVE YOU THE SUN by Jandy Nelson


How did the idea for Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda come about?

It’s interesting: I feel like the story and Simon’s voice just sort of came to me – sometimes I didn’t know what was going to happen in the book until I wrote it. It’s only now that I can look back and attempt to trace its influences. I see shades of You’ve Got Mail, THE YEAR OF SECRET ASSIGNMENTS (one of my all-time favorites, mentioned above), and, oddly, a musical by Jason Robert Brown called 13. But SIMON is kind of its own thing. I have no idea where the idea came from, honestly!


How long did it take you to write Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda?

SIMON took me about four or five months to write, with another month spent editing and working with my critique partner. I believe I started the book in June of 2013, and queried in early November.


What would you like readers to learn from Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda?

Interesting question! I feel pretty strongly that readers are entitled to their own interpretations of the book, and that those interpretations are more important, in the end, than my intentions as an author. However, I’ll say that writing the book helped me organize some of my own thoughts about privilege and the tendency to view majority groups (straight, white, cisgender, etc.) as defaults.


Main character Simon Spier is gay. What was it like writing from the perspective of a teenage gay character? Did someone you know in real life inspire him?

It felt very natural for me writing from the perspective of a gay teenage boy! Part of that probably comes from working for so many years with LGBTQIA kids and teenagers as a psychologist, but I’m very careful not to base any characters on therapy clients. I would say Simon is pretty similar to me – he’s just much funnier and more charming.


Simon is a theater kid. What song from a Broadway musical best describes his personality?

This is one of my favorite questions I’ve ever been asked! I’m going to go with “My Junk” from Spring Awakening. I don’t know if it describes his personality, exactly, but there’s something so Simon about this song. I interpret it to be about that almost obsessive romantic fantasy life you have sometimes when you’re a teenager – the way you carry thoughts of your crush around with you everywhere. Simon’s feelings for Blue are like that.


You have a great love for Oreos (so does Simon!). If you were given an opportunity to customize an Oreo flavor inspired by your book, what would it be? What would you call it?

My custom Oreo flavor would be Classic Oreos with extra crème, and I would call them Double Stuf. 🙂 Simon and I are total traditionalists when it comes to Oreos. If I HAD to put my own spin on them, I might change their shape to the iconic SIMON text bubble – but I refuse to interfere with the perfection of their flavor.


You are one of the friendliest authors on Twitter! Book bloggers love interacting with you. What was your reaction when people started to express their excitement for Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda on the social media site?

What a nice thing to say! I’ve had an absolute blast getting to know members of this amazing community on Twitter. I’m always so surprised (and a little excited) when people approach me like I’m famous. I’m so not famous! I’m sitting here next to a stack of diapers and breast pump accessories. 🙂 But I’ve been so thrilled by the response so far to SIMON. I feel so lucky that his character has connected with so many people, and that others are looking forward to meeting him. When people get Simon, it makes me feel like they get me!


What are your best moments so far in your publishing journey? 

The whole thing has been a publishing fairy tale, honestly, and there have been so many wonderful moments. Some of the highlights: accepting my agent’s offer of representation, my first phone call with my editor, getting to know my publishing teams at Harper, Penguin, and my other publishers abroad (I’ve even become friends with my amazing French translator at Hachette Romans, Mathilde Bouhon!), reading my first reviews, getting blurbs from some of my favorite authors, getting to know other debut authors and seeing my friends’ books in bookstores…

If I had to pick one favorite, I’d say it was the amazing weekend I spent in Nashville with my best author friends: Adam Silvera, Jasmine Warga, and David Arnold.



And finally, what writing advice would you like to share to aspiring writers? 

I know the classic advice is to keep reading – and that’s so incredibly important. To add to that, I’d say it’s so helpful to become a close observer of your own life. Fall in love, hang out with kids, hang out with old people, tell stupid jokes, laugh, make out, be lazy, argue, eavesdrop, daydream – and then spend an extra moment processing it all. Everything I like about my own writing comes from this process of integrating my own experiences.

Connect with Becky on: Twitter | Tumblr | Instagram | Website



Next up on this special blog event is a guest post from the extraordinary SIMON SPIER. Take it away, Si!



Greetings from Simon! Cute drawing by Becky Albertalli. 🙂

Here’s the thing: Oreos are freaking delicious and music is freaking awesome, and they should always be consumed together. Because I love you so much (and especially because I don’t feel like studying for a history quiz), I’m going to give you some very important guidelines for your eating and listening pleasure. So, with no further ado, I present:



  1. Between the Bars by Elliott Smith/Oreo fudge bars (
  2. Heard Them Stirring by the Fleet Foxes/ Oreos stirred with milk
  3. Black Sand by Jenny Lewis/Finely ground Oreos
  4. Tower Song by Martha Wainwright/tall stack of Oreos
  5. Time to Pretend by MGMT/ Golden Oreos
  6. Frozen by Tegan and Sara/Oreo ice cream
  7. Dark Matter by Andrew Bird/Oreo butter (
  8. Things That Scare Me by Neko Case/Watermelon Oreos


Wow! Who would have thought that eating Oreos could have a soundtrack? ONLY SIMON! 🙂 Thanks for sharing such a brilliant playlist, buddy!



In celebration of Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda‘s book birthday today, I’m giving away a FINISHED HARDCOVER COPY of the book! The giveaway is open to Philippine residents only. I’m so sorry international followers! 😦

Please click on the link below to be directed to the Rafflecopter form:

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*Huge thanks to the ever amazing and generous HarperCollins Publishers for the giveaway copy!