Social Icons

twitter twitter google plus rss feed email

Featured Posts

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Pitch Wars 2015!

It's here!! I so look forward each year to my time as a mentor in Pitch Wars, an online writing contest where unagented writers audition for a free full manuscript critique from agented/published authors and professional editors. Winners will have their work showcased for top-notch literary agents in November. Over 40 of last years' 70 entrants are now agented and/or have book deals. If you have a finished manuscript, I highly recommend entering! Click here for more info.


Okay, I know you've been on other mentor blogs, so let me just open with this:

If that's not enough to convince you, how about THESE qualifications:

  • Impeccable taste in dark chocolate.
  • Love of mountains, the ocean, funny people, sarcastic people, random thoughts and fireplaces.
  • East Coast survivor (lived in MA and NY). I now ride a horse to work in CO.*
  • Video game savant.
  • Swoon-worthy husband who is a marathon runner, expert hunter, and Forensic DNA Analyst. He has a flashy agent badge, a conceal-to-carry permit, and has literally caught us dinner before. If zombie apocalypse survival is a priority to you, well. I think you know which mentor to choose.
  • Part hacker I mean... in my other life I used to program stuff.

Or these actually relevant qualifications:

  • This is my third time doing Pitch Wars. In January 2014, my mentee and I tied for second place overall with nine full requests, and my alternate Julie Dao signed with an agent in February. Last August, my mentee and I raked in eight requests, landing us again amongst the most-requested entries in the contest.
  • That means I am two for two with mentees in the most-requested entries out of 70+ finalists per contest.
  • I'm represented by the incomparable Brianne Johnson of Writers House, who found me in an online writing contest much like this one.
  • Bri is also one of THE Pitch Wars Agents. Am I conspiring to find my next agency sibling? Yes. Yes I am.
  • My debut, DUPLICITY, a YA cyberthriller about a hacker whose mirror reflection goes rogue and trades places with him, released from Macmillan in March this year. It has been highlighted by both the Huffington Post and USA Today.
  • I write both boy and girl POV. DUPLICITY is boy POV, and I'm currently working on edits for a YA horror that's girl POV. I've written both contemporary and fantasy, and have helped many a critique partner with world-building.
  • My own work has been through many developmental edits by critique partners, my agent and my editor. I know what to look for, what to leave alone, and how to present editorial notes in a constructive, encouraging fashion.

Or maybe you'd rather hear about my boss editing style:

I have done several full manuscript critiques for my mentees and critique partners, all of whom I'm happy to say are now in one of 3 places: 1) working on R&Rs for agents 2) agented 3) have book deals. Should I be lucky enough to work with you, expect that I will be 100% honest about the strengths of your work as much as its weaknesses, though always in the interest of preserving your vision. You will have full creative freedom to address my concerns as you see fit. As long as you're willing to address them, we're going to get along just fine.

Please With A Cherry On Top, Send Me:
All genres of YA (except those in the "Not A Best Match" list below). I do mean all. Horror, fantasy, sci-fi, thrillers, historical fantasy, suspense, etc. I'm drawn to boy POV as much as girl. I love quirky, flawed characters and wacky, unique plots. I have a soft spot for anti-heroes, creepy things, magical realism, humor, Twinkies, and psychological anything. I love atmospheric books where the world is its own character, and rich, underrepresented cultures (or unusual fantasy cultures). And if your MC is facing his/her greatest fear or desire, I NEED IT.

Some of my favorite authors are Patrick Ness, Laini Taylor, Leigh Bardugo, and V.E. Schwab. For titles I love, click here. You can also find out more about me on my official bio page and on Twitter.

I'm Not Your Best Match For:
Novels in verse, high/epic fantasy (i.e. anything LoTR/Game of Thrones-ish), historical (without fantasy elements) or war/political themes. Also, I'm not allowed to consider Adult, NA, or MG manuscripts.

If you've subbed to me before: You are welcome to resub with a different manuscript.

In summary:
You have an amazing story to tell. I have a foot in the door.


*Part of this sentence is a slight exaggeration.

Don't forget to visit these other fabulous mentors!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Writing From The Other Other Side

(Not to be confused with the "Writing From 'The Other Side'" post that I already did, back when I thought there was only one "other side" to publishing...)

OMG. I can breathe again. Almost.

It's been a non-stop freight train of awesome (and a few not-so-awesome) things since Duplicity released on March 17. Here are the things I did and what I learned from them in these past two blurs you call months:

  • March 21: Duplicity launch party & reading. Not as terrifying as I thought it might be, maybe because I practiced what I was going to say 3784 times the week before. Confirmed my suspicion that cake wins all parties. Learned I need to think of clever conversation topics for strangers, because there were two awkward silences when teens who'd been browsing around brought books up and it went from "AUNT HAZEL! So glad you could make it!" to "Hi. Um. How do you spell your name...?" #dyinginside
    • I was also asked if I could write an encouraging message in one of the books for someone who was trying to get published. I wish I had thought to ask how long he'd been at it and if he was feeling discouraged or not. This is a book I wished I had back so I could personalize it a bit more.
  • Rest of March through early April: Panic-checking reviews, Amazon and Barnes & Noble sales ranks, and libraries for the barest hint of how the book might be doing and If It Will Be Okay. Awesome things: finding libraries in other states (and other countries) that already have all copies of my book checked out. Not-so-awesome: negative reviews. I KNOW - the first rule of negative reviews is that you do not talk about negative reviews, so I'll be brief. Some of them I totally understand and see their point. My book is not going to be everyone's type of book, and not a single book out there is unanimously loved. Some of them really hurt my feelings with the assumptions they make. But there are also some amazing positive reviews, so I binge on chocolate for a little while and move on.
  • April 11: This is one of my favorite days of last month, where I got to meet my amazing critique partner Lori Goldstein at a conference in Denver to teach a workshop on writing voice. Lori is the shiz, and you should definitely check out her debut Becoming Jinn if you have even the slightly curiosity about genies. I also had the pleasure of meeting multi-award winning author Andrew Smith, wherein I learned that I don't do words very well around people I admire, because when Andrew asked what imprint published me, I had to ask Lori. I also couldn't remember the name of one of the editors I'd met on my last trip to New York, or how to pronounce Feiwel and Friends (Lori's publisher, who apparently I COULD remember). Thank goodness I knew my agent's name when he asked. Good lord.
  • April 15: Presented a "How To Get Published" lecture to creative writing students at my old high school. I thought I was going to die of nerves going in. I was so glad I did it going out. The kids were wonderful, engaged, and even laughed at my ridiculous jokes. And they had the best questions, including one I'm still thinking about: "How do you make characters?" because at this point, it's such an automatic process in my head. But I'm ready for next time, y'all. Bring on your tough questions.
  • April 25: Science fiction panel at a Barnes & Noble in Nebraska. This time I signed books like a pro, and even had a conversation with a teen who brought a book up for me, and who was also curious about how to create main characters. OH YES. I HAVE AN ANSWER FOR THAT. Also, meeting other authors is officially one of my favorite parts of my job.
  • April 27: Had to put my sweet 7-year-old cat/writing buddy to sleep. She'd been diagnosed with lung cancer in January and I'd been hoping to have a couple more years with her, but the cancer spread very quickly, and it was time. 
  • April 28: My birthday. Yup.
  • April 17 - present: Began work on a sekrit project. Lots of words and a tight deadline, which is not so easy to do when driving two days there and back to Lincoln, or with said writing buddy now missing from my lap. But it's been a refreshing distraction and something I'm very excited about. Hoping to have more on this soon.

As I would answer Taylor Swift - nope, we're not out of the woods yet, but we're getting there.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Interview with The Reading Nook

I did a number of new posts around my release day, so am just now starting to breathe again (mostly) and organize. Here's one such post I wanted to highlight, where I talk about redemption, toddlers and iPhones, and dark cupcake-less places, hosted by the awesome Reading Nook:

They also did a lovely review of Duplicity, for which I owe them all kinds of cookies.

If you're wondering where I've been lately, I've been everywhere. April is determined to outdo all other months in terms of busy-ness, and so far I've been to a wedding, to Easter celebrations, to see a new baby; I've co-hosted a writing workshop at the Colorado Teen Literature Conference where I met Andrew Smith and Wendlin Van Draanen (who are both incredible, btw), I got blisters from walking around said conference, and tomorrow I'm doing a school visit at my old high school. That is just the first half of the month. I would tell you about the second half but my eye is starting to twitch so I think I'll just leave it at that. And at some point I think I have a birthday?

I do hope to post about what things have been like this last month, but until then, I leave you with one of my favorite GIFs:

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Spring 2015 YA Scavenger Hunt!

Welcome to the spring 2015 YA Scavenger Hunt! This bi-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors...and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize--one lucky winner will receive one book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: this contest will only run for 72 hours!

For the event, I've written an exclusive prologue for Duplicity that shows the falling out between Brandon and Emma before the book starts.

Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are EIGHT contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the TEAL TEAM--but there is also a red, gold, orange, green, purple, blue, and pink team for a chance to win a whole different set of books!

If you'd like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.


Directions: Below, you'll notice that I've listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the teal team, and then add them up (yes, you can use a calculator!). 

Entry Form: Once you've added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.

Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian's permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by April 5th at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.


Today, I'm hosting Angelica R. Jackson. In keeping with her scattered Gemini nature, Angelica R. Jackson has far too many interests to list here. She has an obsession with creating more writing nooks in the home she shares with her husband and two corpulent cats in California's Gold Country. Fortunately, the writing nooks serve for reading and cat cuddling too. Other pastimes include cooking for food allergies (not necessarily by choice, but she’s come to terms with it), photography, and volunteering at a local no-kill cat sanctuary.

Find out more: Angelica's Website |  Buy Her Books


Avery Flynn arrives for a visit at her Uncle Tam's, eager to rekindle her summertime romance with her crush-next-door, Daniel.

But Daniel’s not the sweet, neurotic guy she remembers—and she wonders if this is her Daniel at all. Or if someone—some thing—has taken his place.

Her quest to find the real Daniel—and get him back—plunges Avery into a world of Fae and changelings, where creatures swap bodies like humans change their socks, and magic lives much closer to home than she ever imagined.

For her exclusive content, Angelica is sharing a video teaser of the opening lines of Crow's Rest:

And don't forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of books by me, Angelica, and more! To enter, you need to know that my favorite number is 6. Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the teal team and you'll have all the secret code to enter for the grand prize!


The hunt is over! But if you're curious about the exclusive prologue I wrote for Duplicity that shows the falling out between Brandon and Emma, you can read it here.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

DUPLICITY available now!!!!!

Oh yes, this post DOES come with a subject line ending in five exclamation points. Today I have a book in the world. A BOOK. IN THE WORLD.

I'm not typically a fan of GIFs in blog posts because I think they're distracting, but I don't know how else to describe this feeling except:

EXCITEMENT. TERROR. These are the feelings that come with getting published. I'm so, so thrilled to have a real book on a shelf at a real bookstore. (I'm also terrified for it to be a Thing Other People Are Reading.) But some--many--things are out of my control at this point, and now it's time to let it go and let come what may.

I've met some incredible people on this journey. From my CPs to my agent to my editor to my publishing team to bloggers and readers, THANK YOU for helping me get here. For believing in and being excited about Duplicity. This day would not be possible without you, nor would it be nearly so much darn fun. I even bought you cake, with the slight stipulation that you have to come see me this weekend at The Tattered Cover in Denver to get it. #sorrynotsorry

That's technically "the end" of the journey, folks. My goal when I started this blog as a hopeful, clueless writer was to navigate the maze of literary giants and get a book published. I cannot even explain all the feels that came with taking the below picture at my local B&N. But as they say, with every end comes a new beginning. And I do hope this is just the start.

Duplicity in the wild!


Popular Posts