November 28, 2013

Introducing Thankful Thursday

Hi darlins.

When I was in high school, I kept a gratitude journal. It involved writing down five things every day that I was grateful for. It was a really nice reminder of the things that made me happy (and a great break from the ridiculously bad emo poetry and high drama diary entries I was writing back then).

2013 was an extremely emotional year. I mean, it started in January with the book deal.

(That was a stupid sentence. Of course the year started in January.)

So anyway. The book deal was, obviously, a MAJOR MAJOR high. We're talking about a lifetime dream coming true. And then your reaction to the book deal when it went live on Publishers Marketplace and I released my dance video into the twitterverse? Absolutely one of the greatest nights of my life. All the love and excitement you guys expressed for me and my book made me cry, and I still smile when I think about it.

It is SO. MUCH. WORK. to get to the book deal phase, right? First, you write the book (then let your CPs shred it, then revise, more shredding, more revising, rinse, repeat). Then you write the query letter. (Or let your CPs write it for you. Love you, Cait and Marieke.) Then you query. Which is not the most fun thing ever. You enter contests. You participate in conferences. You query some more. You revise your query. You get requests for partials and fulls and send your book out. You wait. A lot. It's STRESSFUL.

Plus, ideally, you're working on another book throughout the querying process.

So in my head, it was like- all I thought about was the book deal. There was no "what happens next?" because in my mind, the idea of the book deal itself was a bit of a fantasy. And when it happened, you guys, it was completely surreal. It still is.

When I finally came down off my high, there was work to do. A lot of it. Major, major revisions. I wrote around the clock. I wrote myself into corners and had to find my way out of them. I cried. A LOT. I was convinced I couldn't do it. I cut an entire book's worth of words from my manuscript and wrote more. I thought maybe I was better at dreaming about being a writer than ACTUALLY being a writer. I had some really low moments, and the lack of sleep/social life didn't help much. There was soooo much self-doubt and fear, and that's not something I'm used to dealing with.

When it was all said and done, and the book was in copy edits and my editor was sending me raving text messages fangirling over my book, everything changed. I finally found my way out of the ridiculous hole I'd been in all year.

This is a really, really long way of telling you that I expect 2014 to be crazy--writing book 2, starting book 3, and releasing and promoting book 1. I'm going to do a better job of focusing on the positive and staying out of my own head when I get super stressed.

That's where Thankful Thursday comes in.

Every Thursday, I'm going to post the things I'm thankful for that week. I'd love for you guys to join in! I'll host a party here every Thursday, and there'll be a place for you to link to your own Thankful Thursday post for easy blog-hopping. My first Thankful Thursday post will be Thursday, January 2.

What do you think? Wanna join in?

November 20, 2013

My Pitch Wars Wish List (aka PICK ME PICK ME PICK ME)

Hi guys!!

I'm so excited to let you know I'm going to be a Pitch Wars Mentor this year! Now it's time for me to explain what I'm looking for and why you want me to be your mentor!

My Wish List

I'm looking for YA only in the following genres: fantasy, contemporary, romance, thriller, and horror.

Some tips:

  • I prefer light fantasy over high fantasy, but that doesn't necessarily mean I won't like your high fantasy, especially if you have a strong voice and your main character has a sense of humor.
  • I NEED kissing scenes. If you don't have romance in your book, it's not for me.
  • I prefer first person. I'll read third, but it has to be extremely engaging. I don't want to feel any distance from the character.
  • If you have a twist in your book that I don't see coming, I'll be your fangirl for life.
  • I don't generally enjoy super dark, sad themes--but again, so much depends on your MC's voice. I Hunt Killers was dark and had some depressing stuff going on, but I loved that main character--he was honest, smart, and funny.

Why You Want ME ME ME

My YA fantasy, Between, will be published in July 2014 by Spencer Hill Press, and I'm currently working on book two of the trilogy. I've just finished the most brutal year of revising that has ever occurred in the history of ever. I ripped my story to shreds and rewrote it. And then I rewrote it again and again. Once the plot was solid, I had to flesh out all the scenes, adding inner monologue and external cues all over the place. That book is a million times better than it was a year ago. My editorial team at Spencer Hill Press is UH-MAZING, and I've learned so much from them. I'm going to pass all of this awesomeness on to you and your manuscript, too!

I'm gentle with my critiques. If I spot an issue, we'll discuss it and brainstorm to come up with solutions together. I have no interest in taking your story from you. It's your book, and I'm just here to help you turn it into the best manuscript it can possibly be.

I'm super active on twitter, and I blog with YA Misfits and The Write Notes. (And Jimmy Fallon follows The Write Notes twitter account. I'M JUST SAYING. PICK ME AND BASICALLY JIMMY FALLON MIGHT SEE YOUR NAME OR SOMETHING I DON'T KNOW.) I also post weekly vlogs on my personal channel, as well as monthly vlogs on the Parenthetically channel. In other words, I will pimp your manuscript all over the place. If I love your book, I'm one of the best cheerleaders you're ever going to find.

Plus, I'm basically super fun and I love this stuff. Feel free to check out my web site to get to know more about me, I know how difficult it can be to take critique and apply it to your story, but we'll have a good time and get through it together, I promise.


For submission guidelines and the list of agents participating, go to

To check out the other mentors (but why would you want to do that when you clearly want ME), check out the Linky below!

(Sorry Charlie, no clues here!!)

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