I hope you’ve all had many adventures since I last spoke to you.
It’s been a whirlwind of a summer, and quite a whirlwind of a final semester, too. As I write to you for the first time in infinity, I’m back at my fave writing bakery, where I haven’t been since AUGUST. Yeah, it’s been that mad.
Basically there was Pitch Wars (and man that was all the emotions), then my last semester started, and I was lucky enough to land an editorial internship at St. Martin’s Press. A normal person would have left their job at the library, BUT I AM NOT A NORMAL PERSON. So I’m working two jobs. And life is wonderful. And I never sleep but it’s all good.
(I submitted my application to graduate the other night. IT’S OFFICIAL. I think. I mean, they can’t reject me, right?)
Comic Con is this week, so I’m super excited to score some books and search for Yuri on Ice!!! swag and buy more sweaters from The Colorful Geek. I am also thrilled I’ll get to see my friend Brittany since she’s going too, and I don’t think I’ve seen her since before the semester started, so that’s how nuts my life is right now. Comic Con is also my way to socialize.
So what do I usually talk about on here? AH, yes, books!
I just read THE LANGUAGE OF THORNS by Leigh Bardugo. Uggghhhhh. So amazing. The stories were so ingenious and satisfying and gut-wrenching and romantic and ALL THE THINGS. It might be my favorite short story collection ever, and I’ve now decided I want kids so I can raise them on these fairytales. And the illustrations! They are something else. The creativity in the construction of them blew me away. 100000/10 everyone must read it.
And I must say a VERY happy book birthday to THE LAST NAMSARA by my friend Kristen Ciccarelli! Seriously, this book is magical and heartbreaking and gorgeous–and it has dragons. So, like, yes. I’m so happy for you, Kristen!! She is the sweetest soul and deserves all the success that is coming her way. ❤ (I also get to squeeze her at NYCC, so yay NYCC for letting me see all my friends before I crawl back into my hole.)
So if you need me, I’ll be frantically running around, revising, and forever crying over Outlander, always. I just got my mom hooked too, so that’s been fun. 😀
I was a Pitch Wars mentee in 2015, so I’ve been where you are right now. I’m so excited to be mentoring this year, and I can’t wait to find a story I love. I work in a library, and this fall I’ll be graduating with an English major and History minor.
Besides Pitch Wars, I’ve been an agent intern since 2014, so I’ve read a lot
of queries, sample pages, and manuscripts. I’m repped by Heather Flaherty of The Bent Agency.
I was born, raised, and live in Brooklyn, NY! My parents are both immigrants. My mom came from the Philippines after graduating college, while my dad came here from Italy when he was seventeen. I’m a first generation American, and have been to both their home countries since it was really important to them that I know where they come from and where I come from. (I’ve also been to France, Spain, England, Canada–I loooove traveling!!)
Music wise, I listen to lots of Broadway, but you can always count on Florence and the Machine, The Killers, Twenty-One Pilots, and Arctic Monkeys to be nearby. Also movie/tv scores and Disney songs.
I used to be a writer for the Vampire Academy fan site ShadowKissed.net. (Any VA fans here? :D)
I have the same birthday as Emma Watson (April 15 babies!)
I started writing because I read a High School Musical fanfic where Gabriella went to West High and Troy went to East High and there was a super intense, dangerous rivalry between the schools. I read it, loved it, thought “I can do this too!” so I did, and man I was bad. But I kept trying (with Draco/Hermione fanfic, obviously)
I saw Hamilton with the Original Broadway Cast 😀
I made it out of an Escape Room, so I’m clearly a time traveler from a Victorian mystery.
My latest writing fuel is an Earl Grey Latte.
Wish List (General)
All right, now for the fun stuff!! I’m only accepting YA manuscripts. I eat, sleep, and breathe YA. I read it primarily and completely adore it.
big yes to: contemporary, fantasy, historical fantasy, historicals
big no to: horror, gritty contemporary, thrillers, sci-fi, magical realism (i love a lot of these, i just don’t think i’ll be a good mentor for it–sorry!!)
Some blanket statements before I get to specifics: I’m a supporter of Own Voices projects! I want diverse characters, intersecting identities, and new perspectives.
If you’re writing outside your lane you must be open to feedback and have sensitivity readers. Be critical of yourself and your work. Think about why you’re writing this story and if you’re the best person to do it. **However, I do not want identity stories the creator does not ID as (think a story based around coming out written by a straight person, etc).
Here’s how I organized this monster. First there’s a list of tropes/premises/settings I love. Then there’s a list of tropes/~things~ I do not want. After that, I broke it down by genre (fantasy, historical fantasy, and contemporary). Each section shows you my favorite authors, books, and some more specific wants within the genre. All right, time to get to it!
Wish List (Specifics)
Here are some things, in any genre, I’d go to war for:
Write your resistance.
Girls helping girls! Girls being friends with other girls! Girls loving girls! Girls charging forward in the face of adversity! Girls smashing the patriarchy! Girls kicking ass! Smart girls! Weird girls! STEM girls! Nerdy girls! Lost girls! Bad girls! Quiet girls! Strong girls! Periods, sex, masturbation! Girls who may not want to have sex and are totally fine with that! Girls who do whatever the hell they want.
Basically, girls as the stars of your projects. That’s all I need.
An Anastasia retelling
Any feminist re-imagining of a fairy tale or myth
Watery books! Mermaids, pirates, sirens, sea monsters, privateers, islands, sailing, ships, cruises, swimming, marine biologists, a Jaws retelling with a female lead, scuba diving, coral reefs, did I mention mermaids…
I love summer camp settings!
Also love famous person meets normal person. Sweep me off my feet! (royalty x normal counts, too)
Morally questionable decisions
Secret pen pal relationships, bonus points when they hate each other in real life (think the modern classic A Cinderella Story and You’ve Got Mail; loved Alex, Approximately) (this totally works in a fantasy, too–imagine if Draco and Hermione/Harry were writing to each other in secret throughout their years at Hogwarts and had no clue?? gah!)
Honest, nuanced portrayals of trauma (pleasepleasePLEASE)
A brutal, bitter slow burn romance that has me dying and fanning myself every line (think The Dark Days Club, Captive Prince, Captain Swan from Once Upon a Time, Stydia from Teen Wolf, Feysand and Nessian from ACoMaF). Burn me with that slow burn.
An Amazing Race premise (think Alison’s Cherry For Real) (seriously, my dream is to host The Amazing Race, please call me Phil)
Stories set during lesser known historical periods/events
Girl anthropologist/paleontologist; Gender bent Indiana Jones or Rick from The Mummy
Boarding school books. Whether light or slightly more serious. This also works for fantasy, I mean, HOGWARTS.
A Shakespeare retelling that includes characters from multiple plays instead of a retelling of just R+J or Midsummer, for example
I eat comps for lunch! If you can comp anything to… Six of Crows (!!!), Jane the Virgin, Once Upon a Time, Jurassic Park, Hamilton, 10 Things I Hate About You, Inception, Gilmore Girls, Legally Blonde, The Mummy (Rick/Evie OTP for life), Avatar The Last Airbender, Pirates of the Caribbean, Sense 8, Roman Holiday, Wonder Woman (!!!), Star Wars, Moulin Rouge, Bend it Like Beckham… send it to me!
Some things I do not like (ie do not send me):
The memory loss trope, or amnesia. I really don’t like it, especially when it’s a plot device to keep the ship apart (looking at you The Winner’s Kiss…)
An identity driven book you do not identify as
MCs that don’t sound their age. I really don’t like when a character is supposed to be 17 but sounds 14.
Sexual assault as a trope for the love interest to save the woman from, or poor representations of the aftermath. Also, I’d love to not read any attempted sexual assaults to establish A Strong Female Character.
What I Love in Fantasy
favorite authors: Leigh Bardugo, Laini Taylor
favorite books: Six of Crows, Strange the Dreamer, Rebel of the Sands, A Crown of Wishes, A Court of Mist and Fury, The Forbidden Wish, Shades of Magic Trilogy, The Winner’s Trilogy, The Raven Cycle, Stardust, The Princess Bride, Harry Potter, The Glass Spare, Carry On, Song of the Current, Truthwitch
fresh, unique worlds and characters
meaty lady anti-heroines (think The Young Elites trilogy, my bae Maleficent, And I Darken, Nebula from Guardians of the Galaxy (she is the BEST), Azula and her mommy issues from ATLA (okay she’s not really an anti-heroine but she’s dark and messy and I love her)).
Calculating, manipulative, and intelligent characters (think my love Kez Brekker, Three Dark Crowns, Tommy Shelby Peaky Blinders season 1)–bonus points if they’re girls 😉
Political fantasies that blend beautiful writing, rich complex characters, and important themes with action, too (think The Winner’s Trilogy, This Savage Song, The Hunger Games, Wolf by Wolf, Traitor to the Throne)
dragons, mermaids, witches, powers, all the stuff!
I don’t need magic in my fantasy!! 😉
team dynamics, like the ultimate squad The Dregs, or lighter, shenanigans of the Tulio/Miguel or Heist Society kind.
Mistaken identity–whether intentional or serendipitous (again, think Tulio and Miguel stumbling into playing gods for light, and Laia going undercover as a spy in An Ember in the Ashes, Yael as Adele in Wolf by Wolf for darker)
Hate to love. I love ships that are on opposite sides (think rip Zutara), or not as dramatic and just “good” person falls for “bad” person (think Captain Swan, Rhy/Alucard, Cress/Thorne)
And as if you still didn’t get it: watery books! Mermaids, pirates, sirens, sea monsters, privateers, islands, did I mention mermaids…
What I Love in Historical Fantasy
favorite authors: Mackenzie Lee
favorite books: Wolf by Wolf, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, The Dark Days Club, My Lady Jane, The Girl with the Red Balloon
Extra points for diversity! “historical accuracy” is not a valid excuse. it is bogus and false and I have 0 tolerance for it.
Looking at my list of faves, I have a healthy mix of fun, sassy books and serious, deep books, so I really love both, it just all comes down to execution.
I actually super love this genre and feel like its super underrated, so please send me your stuff ❤ SUPER SUPER
an American Revolution fantasy (I can’t believe this hasn’t been done yet and if it has, someone please point me towards it)
SURPRISE ME. Seriously!
Agent Carter deserved everything! So literally, anything along those lines.
Claire Beauchamp-Randall-Fraser is one of my fave female characters, so if you love Claire too, we’ll probably be good friends
I’m a Doctor Who fan, though I quit watching during season 7 or 8 (I think). One of my favorites was the Van Gogh episode, so think bittersweet and heartfelt stuff. I like pain, okay? But I also like cute happy endings where everyone lives, so basically I am the worst and there is no pleasing me cause I love all the things.
What about straight up historicals, you ask? Give me complex women in textured settings. I don’t have any specific wants; I devour all things history. The first historical I read was The Rossetti Letter, which is adult, but I have a deep and abiding love for it. Recently, a YA historical I loved was Blackhearts and Under a Painted Sky.
What I Love in Contemporary
favorite author: Emery Lord
favorite books: Fangirl, The Summer of Chasing Mermaids, The Truth About Forever, All the Rage, Everything Leads to You, Heist Society, Girl Against the Universe, The Moon and More, The Sun is Also a Star, The Secret of a Heart Note, Nothing Left to Burn, Eliza and Her Monsters, The Unexpected Everything, The Upside of Unrequited, Alex, Approximately
swoony boys, sex positivity, body positivity, sister feels, settings (small towns, beach towns, cities, boarding schools, house boats, trips abroad, etc) that come alive and make me wanna go there, fandom, friendship feels, fun hobbies
take me on an emotional journey. smack me with your characters’ feelings, whether it be the excitement of love, grief, heartache, anxiety… I want to feel something when I read your book.
YA parents. There are so many good ones (think Starr’s in The Hate U Give, Sloane’s in This Adventure Ends (her dad writes Teen Wolf fanfic!), Simon’s in Simon VS), but there need to be more so give it to me!
As you know, I adore hate to love, but there’s something especially fun about it in contemporaries, especially when the characters are forced together, whether it be through a job, friends, or shenanigans.
Adorable little siblings and fun huge families (think My Life Next Door, Lady Midnight (I know, it’s fantasy, but the Blackthorns are precious), When We Collided, P.S. I Like You)
Voice is key for me. I want your characters to leap off the page. I want to know how they think and what they love and what they want.
Let me remind you again, watery books 🙂
This is by no means an exhaustive list–I actually found it really hard to narrow down what makes a contemporary for me and I’m sure I’m missing stuff–so please, if you feel like your story is similar to any of the books I’ve listed here, then please sub to me!
I’m good at queries. I love queries. Hate ’em? I’m here for you, mentee!
I’m good at big picture edits and spotting plot holes.
I read for character and detail, so I pay special attention to stuff like that.
I don’t dole out fake compliments. When I love something, I will fangirl over it and you’ll know I mean it. I’m also direct and honest when I think something isn’t working, but I’ll never force you to change something you don’t want. This is your story, and I’m only here to help. I ask questions and provide suggestions, and I’m always around to talk through something/let you ramble and brainstorm.
I care a lot about your characters having agency and being drivers of the story.
I think my strongest suit when it comes to writing is voice, so if you’re struggling with it, or lacking in places, I’ll help make your voice stand out and command attention.
It’s possible I will use some aspect of The Hunger Games to contextualize a point I’m trying to make.
Don’t forget to pick up your scavenger hunt word while you’re here: go. (note the punctuation)
What I Want in a Mentee Someone open-minded and ready to do the work. I’m not saying I’m gonna make you do an entire rewrite–I have no idea what kind of shape your ms will be in. But it’s always a possibility! Mainly though, someone fun and positive and looking to gain the community Pitch Wars has to offer. I want PW to be an experience you look back on and are happy about.
**noteynote: If I request from you, I’ll be asking for a 1 page synopsis. This is my favorite resource–just follow the template and you’ll be fine. From the synopsis I want to know you at least have the bare bones of your story in place. I might ask for partials, but I’ll definitely be asking for fulls, so have them ready 🙂
And don’t worry, I’ll read sample pages even if your query isn’t as strong. I’ll probably only skim the query to begin and get right to the pages.
–I will try to provide feedback to everyone who submits to me, but it depends on how many subs I get. I’ll update on that during the submission window. *thumbs up*
My plan is to do a big picture edit letter and then a second round of line edits.
I hope this wasn’t overwhelming! I know I threw a lot of things here, but that’s mainly because my taste is very varied and I don’t want to accidentally miss out on something I love. Feel free to drop any comments or questions below, or reach out to me on Twitter. If you’re unsure if I’d like something, just ask me.
I’ll try to sum up: YA contemporary, fantasy, historical fantasy–anything but horror, mainly. Feminist stories, with feminist characters (both male and female! :D), voice, and emotion. Smack me in the face with heart and adventure.
Go here to check out the full mentor blog hop! (but remember to sub to me <3)
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Hello, blog! I seem to write to you at odd times of night.
What I’m Reading
Most recently, I just finished THE GLASS SPARE. It was my first Bookcon read and it did NOT disappoint. It did the exact opposite of disappoint. I completely adored it from page one. The writing was beautiful, the characters were so fully drawn and interesting, the romance/banter was 100000/10, the world had just enough slight details to make it feel rich and realized. I loved it so, so much. I especially loved the uneven power dynamics between Wil (MC) and Loom (cursed prince a la the blurb) and how that whole thing played out. It was SO good. Exactly what I’ve been looking for: complex, with Wil strong and firm and unwavering. You all must read this book when it’s out in October!
Also, damn, what a cliffhanger!! WHAT SET UP FOR BOOK 2 I AM READY.
In other news, I’m rereading the HARRY POTTER books. It’s magical. The end.
What I’m Doing
I’m actually in class for the summer. For the month of June I’m taking Italian 3 so I can do exit level in the fall and GRADUATE! 😀 I’ll also be taking my final two English classes, and then that’s it. I will be a college graduate. It’s so weird! But for right now I’m in class for three days a week, doing nine hours of conjuntivo and condizitonale and why are there so many freaking verb tenses?
I’ve also been to the theater, recently. I saw Bandstand, with one of my ultimate faves Laura Osnes. It was a really great show–highly underrated in my opinion. Basically, it’s about a bunch of vets after WWII and a military widow forming a band to deal with their trauma. They have hopes of winning a national song competition that’s supposedly all about representing the troops–but is it really?
It’s a great show, full of honesty and emotion. There was an older gentleman sitting in the row in front of me, and I saw him sobbing throughout the second act. I think it does everything right.
I also saw CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY, which is basically the most fun I’ve had at the theater in forever. Also underrated, especially since critics basically bashed it. I have no idea what show they watched.
I also went to the movie theater and watched WONDER WOMAN.
What an amazing movie. I cried so much. Like, just seeing badass women kicking ass together and training hard and pushing each other made me so happy my eyes leaked. And how beautiful a character Diana was, how pure and dedicated and true. She was true to herself no matter what and that was so gratifying and important to see.
And, of course, “I wish we had more time” *slips her the watch* *CUE MORE TEARS*
Oh, so good. I’m hoping I can see it again this weekend with Jess. (side note: Jess is in culinary school now! She’s living the dream!! #BestieIsProud)
As mentioned above, I was also at Bookcon earlier this month. That was an adventure. Here’s a shameless picture of my haul.
I was up at 5:30 both days and on the train at like 6 so I could be at Javits super early and have a good spot in the queue line. It’s all about getting onto the floor in the morning. What a ride.
I also spotted Chelsea Clinton signing, and that was REALLY COOL.
I saw Krysten Ritter too and she’s actually so tall in person??? She just seems really cool.
How many times can I use cool? LET’S SEE.
A movie filmed in my neighborhood recently. Coincidentally, it was called:
No, actually, they filmed around my corner. So I need to know what exactly this is and when I can watch it because COOL BEANS. Sadly, no hot actors fell madly in love with more, nor did a producer spot me strutting down the street and demand I be an extra in the film.
My friends and I also did an escape room thingy. Guess what–we escaped!! It was HARD, man. I totally felt like the weakest link, but I did discover a secret object and found the secret compartment and was a good secretary taking notes, so I feel like I contributed a little, but those two were completely on top of it and if I hadn’t been with them, I’d still be stuck in that room. Also, look at my cute Victorian prop hat 🙂
What I’m Thinking About
Getting my Pitch Wars wish list done!!! I’m so excited for all the Pitch Wars stuff to start happening. Speaking of Pitch Wars, I did a query crit earlier, which you can find here. I also might have another one coming up so stay tuned 😉 I also definitely want to do crit giveaways leading up to the sub window, but those will all be done on Twitter.
AND ALSO THE KILLERS HAVE NEW MUSIC. THE KILLERS FINALLY HAVE NEW MUSIC I AM SO EXCITED.
What I’m Eating I present you with:
What I’m Netflixing
I started Girlboss the other day. I only watched episode 1 and some of episode 2, but I like it!! There’s something about Britt Robertson that’s magnetic in this role. I’ve known her work for a long time, since she made the movie Dan in Real Life (so good, do watch if you haven’t!), and good for her making it happen.
I also just constantly watch random Gilmore Girls episodes. Because it makes me happy and it’s light but also balances the feels right and I just want another female driven show like Gilmore Girls. SOMEONE PLEASE MAKE ONE.
Also not what I’m Netflixing, but plain ol’ watching: I got caught up on Jane the Virgin. I love this show. I guess it’s the closest I can get Gilmore Girls. For once it didn’t end on a brutal cliffhanger! I’m excited to see what happens in season 4. Also, Jane and Rafael?? I thought I had given up on that ship happening. Can they stop playing with my feels? Also, to see them work in current social issues and the resistance is so important and legitimizing. I’m so happy we have this show and for all its success.
(also omg Captain Swan got married and JMo is leaving OUAT and my heart is just full of feelings cause CS were my otp since 2×05 and that was FIVE YEARS AGO. I literally graduated hs and went to college with them and that is so goddamn special to me. This has been such an important time in my life and their story was there to make me happy and make me a better writer and make me feel things and distract me when I needed a distraction and boost me up with set spoilers of kisses and the fandom on tumblr have basically been so joyous and wonderful and I will miss you CS <3)
I also fell in love with the NBC show Timeless, which I watched On Demand. Lucy and Wyatt are my new slow burn ship and I need this to happen. It was quite dramatic when it got canceled and renewed two days later. But I’m so happy it’s sticking around, and seriously LYATT IS LIFE.
Lucy is a cute history nerd and Wyatt is an army vet with serious trauma, but on top of that he’s also a widow and he loves his dead wife so much, but then this amazing lil nerd comes into his life and she’s so bright and strong and he can feel himself wanting to move forward with his life, but he also can’t let go of this past and IT’S SO AMAZING. Also, the show doesn’t sugarcoat our history. It engages with discussions about racism and sexism and is surprisingly diverse. Timeless is just such a good show. It’s feel good, but also has moments that make you think. And the shipping. The shipping is A+.
What I’m Writing
Goddamn, this is a long blog post.
Long story short, I finished drafting and my first revision pass of a new YA contemporary called #ConcertBook (I blogged about it extensively last time). It’s with readers right now, and while I wait for their notes I GOT A YA FANTASY PLOT BUNNY I AM FULLY EXPLORING. I love it. It’s #monsterbook and I will not tell you anything about it except that it has the coolest pitch I can’t take it.
*yawns* Okay, I am sleepy now. It’s like 2am. I need to get into the blogging mood at better times of the day. Well, good night, and keep fighting the good fight, people! It’s more important now than ever.
Wow, hello, anyone that may be reading this! Long time no see! *tips hat*
I can’t believe so long has gone by since I last blogged. My last post was totally book centered, since it was an end of year wrap up post. I honestly forgot I had a blog. Woops! Bad blogger. But today I’m back with one of my traditional blogs broken up into sections.
What order did these things go in again?
What I’m Reading
So I just started THE HANDMAID’S TALE since it’s such an acclaimed and well-loved novel. I’ve wanted to read it for some time, so I’m finally doing it. Plus, I’ve heard from basically everyone with each day we’re getting closer and closer to living in that reality. And Hulu’s adaptation of it is coming out soon, but I don’t actually have a Hulu subscription. Maybe if I love the book I’ll have to get one. I read about 50 pages today, and the writing is beautiful, and I like the slow build up of the world building.
But some stuff I have read since I last saw you and loved include:
Firstly, STRANGE THE DREAMER by Laini Taylor. Ohmygosh!!!! This is my favorite book of all time. It’s so goddamn beautiful and painful and phenomenal. It’s everything a book should be. And it’s so good and I can’t talk about it because it’s too perfect. just, please everyone read this book! EVERYONE. I’ve since thrown it at three of my friends, and I’m trying to convince literally anyone I can. It’s such a gorgeous important book.
I feel bad cause any book I talk about now just won’t get the same level of swooning.
Two YA contemporaries that just came out I really loved were ALEX, APPROXIMATELY and UPSIDE OF UNREQUITED. They’re both so wonderful. ALEX, APPROXIMATELY is so much fun and suuuuper swoony, while UPSIDE OF UNREQUITED is like, love in book form? I don’t know, they’re just amazing and magical. Please, please definitely read them!
An ARC I’m super excited I read was THE SONG OF THE CURRENT. It’s basically a watery, piratey book I’ve been waiting for! I love Caroline, the MC, and the whole rich world building and mythology. Plus, there’s a great romance, which is always a plus. And there’s really cool parent/child dynamics, which made the novel even more interesting. You’ve gotta check it out when it comes out in June! It’s a great fantasy.
Damn, Goodreads is down so I can’t look at what else I’ve read over the last 4 months. Booooo 😦 I guess I just gotta rely on memory.
Okay, lightning round!
-The Summer Palace, the Captive Prince trilogy epilogue. Holy crap Damen and Laurent are so PURE. They make my heart happy.
-A Conjuring of Light. OH MY GOD. What a satisfying, amazing ending to the Shades of Magic trilogy. I had all the feels. Completely devoured it.
-The Hate U Give. Like the rest of the universe. Amazing voice, characters, world building! Must read for the entire universe.
-A Crown of Wishes. So beautiful! Read. Book. Good. Yes.
-What is Obscenity? The Story of a Good for Nothing Artist and Her Pussy. Graphic memoir about a Japanese artist arrested for feminist pussy art. Morbidly funny and 99999% feminist.
-Done Dirt Cheap. Boundary pushing YA!
What I Will Be Reading Soon! 😉
A COURT OF WINGS AND RUIN
holy crap my heart is ready and not ready and asdfghjkl
ALWAYS AND FOREVER, LARA JEAN
which ship makes it out alive?? what if no ship makes it out alive? But either way more Song sisters!!!
THE NAMES THEY GAVE US
look Emery Lord is ahhhhmazing, and I love summer camp books, and EACH of her books have made me cry. so I’m looking for a 4-peat.
What I’m Doing
Was that even a section? I can’t remember.
Besides the usual “omg CLASS and work” answer, I was recently at The Museum at FIT. I adore that place. They always have exciting exhibits, and they’re free, so there’s really no excuse for not popping over for a visit. I saw their exhibit Black Fashion Designers and Paris Refashioned, which was clothes from the 1950s and 1960s.
Black Fashion Designers [SWOOOOON]
Paris Refashioned 😀
I also saw the live action Beauty and the Beast last month. I loved it soooo much. I even saw it twice on opening day, one with bestie and second with my parents. I can’t wait until it comes out on dvd and I can watch it over and over again. I thought they fleshed out the story really well. It made everything feel bigger.
I also saw Anastasia on Broadway. Oh my heart.
Concerts! I saw Twenty-One Pilots in January, and Bastille in March. So good. I just love them. They have such good music. And they put on great shows.
I turned 22 recently! That was weird.
Book events wise, I saw Angie Thomas when she was here on tour for THUG. That was such a great event, one of the best I’ve been to. It was so insightful, but also equal parts fun and serious. Anyone that has a chance to go listen to see her speak and get their book signed most definitely should
Bookish swag wise, omg I’ve become obsessed with candles. My favorites so far have been from The Melting Library. The Night Court candle and Fireheart candle just smell soooooo good, and I love the artwork on the jars too. I was lucky enough to order the ACOMAF sampler today, so I’m so excited to finally get the smell the Inner Circle 😀
Oh, I was also selected as a Pitch Wars 2017 YA mentor!!! 🙂 I’m so excited to do all the pitch wars things. ❤
What I’m Thinking About
Ummm… I mean… current events are pretty scary.
Also thinking about ACOWAR. Like, basically all the time I’m like “omg ACOWAR.” We’re finally under the two week mark, okay. Things are happening!
What I’m Netflixing ha new category going rogue over here
I have been watching PARENTHOOD in my bid to find something similar to Gilmore Girls. I’m on season 3 and it’s not like Gilmore Girls lol. I just want another show about two women living their lives in a light hearted and entertaining way.
I do want to watch The Get Down. I just need to clear some time to start it.
Also, I still listen to the song It’s the Count from the first episode of A Series of Unfortunate Events constantly. Like, all the time. That song just makes me offensively happy.
What I’m Writing
I recently unstuck myself from the hole I’d written myself into. This project is codenamed #ConcertBook. I’d been feeling really unhappy with where the MS was, and carting around this negative feeling for weeks. I was tired whenever I opened the doc and just didn’t want to work on it. So the other day I was fed up and wanted to get to the bottom of the issue.
So the night my determination kicked in, I started thinking about what was giving me problems. It was my characters! So I started combing for writerly articles by authors I admire. I reread Maggie Stiefvater’s post about characters and then found Susan Dennard’s post about writing 3D characters.
The next morning I went to Starbucks, got some chai, and started thinking. I had a fresh notebook and started jotting down notes about my main character. And I was looking for a reason she wasn’t doing something. Then I hit on one. I thought about not doing it for a nanosecond, and then remembered Susan saying not to be afraid to go to those emotional places. It felt right. It felt right and it added the emotional kick the manuscript had been lacking. So I ran with it, and I haven’t looked back since. It’s been mental. I wrote 13k in 2 days, and I’m in love with my book again. I see its potential.
So don’t give up, guys! No matter where you are in the process, if you’re struggling with something, you can push through and fix the problem. Your story needs you. Don’t give up on it. Do the work. The ‘I fixed my book’ feeling is actually the best in the universe.
Well, like anyone that read A COURT OF MIST AND FURY, I kind of fell into a slump last month. I did eventually get over that reading slump, but that’s not the only reason I stayed off the blog. My summer’s been a mix of LotsOfThingsHappeningAtOnce and then NothingHappening.
I’m going to attempt to talk about some of them here.
What I’m Reading
-Right now, I’m reading THE ROSE SOCIETY by Marie Lu. I tore through THE YOUNG ELITES yesterday, and I’m so happy I didn’t have to wait a year between books. I don’t often get to binge a series anymore, or at least start one so close to the release of the final book. If you haven’t read these books yet, I recommend them.
-LONG MAY SHE REIGN. This is a 2017 release I was super looking forward to, and I nearly died when I got approved on Edelweiss. Ummm, who gave this book permission to be SO good? I can’t wait till you all can read it. It’s got everything: a great main character in Freya and her arc, her love of science, and she has a cat! Her relationship with her best friend is super important, and her romance with Fitzroy is subtle and lovely and doesn’t overwhelm the story. The way she deals with becoming queen after a mass murder is handled really well, especially a small detail like the throne being made for a king and not the large garments of the queen. This is definitely a book to be excited about, and I can’t wait to talk about it more as we get closer to its release. p.s. look at that cover!!
-I’ve also fallen in love with Kasie West’s YA contemporaries! I read THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US first, and holy crap that voice! It was so funny and addicting. Xander is swoony as hell + setting the book in a doll shop was so inventive. Next I read her latest release P.S. I LIKE YOU, and it was definitely adorable (a bunny! a cute big family! letter writing!), but I just didn’t love it as much. But never fear, THE FILL IN BOYFRIEND hit all the notes it needed to. I have ON THE FENCE from work/the library, and can’t wait to get to it. I’ve read all her books in a day because I just can’t put them down. I wish there were an infinite supply of Kasie West books, but luckily there are 2 more next year!
-THIS ADVENTURE ENDS. This book! I’ve been looking forward to it since the deal announcement. I love Elmify; I’ve watched her videos for years. Her first book FIRST & THEN was pretty good. I loved the voice even though it didn’t astound me. This book, though. This book is everything. There’s a cute romance, but the heart of the book is really friendship, sprinkled in with Sloane’s father’s new obsession with a fictional show reminiscent of Teen Wolf. And a kickass little sister.
-MEANT TO BE. This was a result of my newfound love for Kasie West. I put out a Twitter call for some more YA contemporaries in the vein of West and Perkins. I’m so glad I read this. It was adorable. There’s an adorable Waking Up Together scene that’s actually one-sided but perfect, a first kiss in the rain, and a plot twist I did not see coming!
-JUST LISTEN. An oldie, but a goodie. I haven’t read too many Sarah Dessen novels, but this was my fifth. It’s just an inch behind THE TRUTH ABOUT FOREVER as my favorite.
Okay, and I think we’ve hit on all the books I’ve loved more than I thought I could since the last time we spoke 🙂
What I’m Doing
So, I go back to class tomorrow, and I’m very sad about that. I also started back at work recently. The library finally reopened after being closed for like 18 months while it was being renovated. But let me tell you some of things I’ve done since we last spoke.
-I was at two midnight release parties for HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD.
-I also got to hang out with my CP and friend Michelle when she came to visit. It was so great to finally meet her and get to spend time together. I even had my first drink with her on a swanky rooftop bar that was too cool for me.
We also met up with another #pitchwars writer Kat and had a lovely afternoon/evening together chatting books and writing, while also seeing Beth Revis and Lindsay Ribar at their book event.
-Following this trend of meeting up with writer friends, Alwyn came to town!
We had a lovely breakfast, and talking to her really helped me get my butt in gear to write something new. More on that below. Also look at this mountain of French toast with caramelized bananas.
-As one last hurrah for the summer, Jess and I hit the beach last week.
What I’m Thinking About
I’m SO excited for the Crooked Kingdom launch! It’s sooooo soooooon!
What I’m Writing
Oh man. I feel like I’m all or nothing for this section. My last few posts have been like, “I have this idea!” and now I’m gonna drop a bomb. I have a first draft!! Yup, I wrote another YA contemporary that I’m so excited about.
Let me take you through a little bit of the process (aka my favorite tweets from a frenzied drafting period):
And now I’m done and I don’t know what to do and what even was this perfect perfect book of wonder and pain and awesomeness? 1. It was feminist af. 2. It was dark and hard and complicated. 3. It was heartbreaking and gut stopping and filled with love and life and friendship. 4. It was filled with swoon I can’t even process.
I’m gonna try to sum up my overwhelming feels with some gifs.
Okay so this GIF is basically Tamlin the entire book fight me on this:
And this was Rhys and his crew who are actual #SquadGoals:
That’s also coincidentally the image in my head when Lucien went “You’re my mate.”
Speaking of Lucien, this was my relationship to him the entire book:
This book in general:
Me anytime Rhys and Feyre were together:
Me anytime Cassian and Nesta were together:
Feyre when dealing with dumb dumbs:
Feyre to Tamlin (the biggest dumb dumb):
Everyone to Tamlin:
Tamlin to Tamlin:
RHYS AND FEYRE OTP FOR LIFE WHAT EVEN IS AIR IN OTHER NEWS FIRE IS HOT AND STARS AND PAINT AND HALP there you are. i’ve been looking for you what’s that oh it’s just me dying forever I want you to know that I am broken and healing, but every piece of my heart belongs to you seriously i’m fine why do you ask Because you were breaking. And I couldn’t find another way to save you nope no I’m not byeeee:
It’s so awesome, you will die.
What I’m Doing
Languishing in my book hangover. I’m not a functional human being. Also, I’m coveting this:
I saw Ghostbusters yesterday, and it was SO good. Really fun, really well written, and just a marvelously ‘feel-good’ film. Much recommend. I’d recommend it with the same vigor I’m recommending those Maas books above. Coincidentally, I watched the movie while in the middle of reading…
The ONLY reason I’m stopping A COURT OF MIST & FURY is to go watch Ghostbusters. I wish I could do both at once haha.
It was totally worth it. I was high on amazing storytelling already, so the film had a lot to compete with, but it was really good. It had 4 amazing female characters at its core, Chris Hemsworth being ridiculous and dancing, and captured the feel of New York.
I also did 2 Pitch Wars critique giveaways! One was 5 query critiques, but I ended up doing 7. Then I also did 5 query and first 5 pages critiques. I posted a few writing tips on Twitter after the fact, so those are there for any writers that may be following me. I’m doing one last PW giveaway with my friend Michelle Tran that’s running until Wednesday, so get involved while you can (info all on Twitter).
I really wanted to do these giveaways because Pitch Wars helped me so much last year. It’s a big part of why I’m agented now. + the community around Pitch Wars is so phenomenal and supportive. I was also feeling a little weird about a whole new class of mentees being chosen this year and the whole process starting over without me. Maybe part of me felt like I was being left behind while new writers filled our shoes. But doing these giveaways helped me get over that and connect with prospective mentees. I found my new place in the community. Good luck to everyone entering Pitch Wars–it really is a magical experience. 🙂
What I’m Thinking About
Look I’m just a pile of feels right now and I can’t process anything other than how perfect A Court of Mist and Fury was. It did so many things.
It didn’t romanticize abusive, controlling, overprotective behavior.
It showed that relationships are built on more than just sex. It showed that your first love isn’t always your true love. And that people can change and who you were once were, or what you once needed, isn’t what you’ll always need.
It didn’t vilify ambition. Too often we swoon over a man in a position of authority he doesn’t want, feels trapped in. But here we had Rhys who loved his power, had a vision for his land and people, and was working hard to create a better world.
Rhys was never just one thing. He was sad and broken and angry. He was loving and kind and fierce. He was gentle. He was brave and scared. He saved others, but was also in need of saving (mentally and physically). He brooded and lived and fought. He was shrewd and calculating, and apologetic and naive. On the same note, literally everyone was full of different sides, and grew and developed and stomped on my heart.
We had sisters. I can’t get over Feyre, Nesta, and Elain, and I never will.
It explored trauma with all its hard, dark places. I loved how Tamlin and Feyre dealt with their trauma differently. The same experiences are never the same for different people. Feyre’s nightmares and guilt, her flashbacks and slow and quiet withering away were artfully done. Tamlin was agitated, aggressive, closed off, and controlling.
The way Feyre gradually comes back to painting, to her creative outlet, was beautiful.
Rhys’ feminism was everything. He saw Feyre has his equal, treated her as his equal, put her first, wanted her to embrace her power and control her own fate. He treated the women around him with nothing but respect and saw their worth, giving them high ranks befitting them.
Feyre’s arc was never about Rhys. She didn’t grow because of him, or become stronger because of him. Their epic beautiful love story isn’t responsible for the epic beautiful lady Feyre became.
I can’t even with this book.
What I’m Writing Apparently love letters to this perfect book.
And I’m working on this fantasy idea, but slowly, letting the pieces come together in their own way. Brittany and I had a writing date at Breads last week where I brainstormed some stuff for it.
What I’m Watching
I showed my mom the 2006 mini series of Jane Eyre last week. I love that version so much. They capture the characters and essence of the book so well. But other than that I don’t think I’ve really been watching stuff… my mind has been preoccupied with books.
Oh, Jess did come over last week and we finally watching The Scorch Trials. I wasn’t really into it, but then THAT ENDING. Jess and I both had overwhelming feels. So, um, I guess I shall be watching The Death Cure (whenever that happens) (get well soon Dylan <3) (#SaveMinho2k16).
I want A Court of Pain and Feels movies.
That’s all from me for now. Be kind to each other,
It’s been a dream of mine to write one of these blog posts! I can’t believe I’m actually really getting to do this.
I entered the trenches in July 2014 with a YA fantasy that was so brilliant I was sure I’d have an agent in a week. Now, I look at that manuscript and my eyes burn. However, before I did that, I ended up on QueryShark! It took a looooooong time until I figured out how to write the best query I could, and now I consider myself pretty good at them, but it definitely was not easy.
Anyways, the fantasy garnered a tiny amount of requests until I eventually shelved the ms. In January 2015 I began querying a YA contemporary and immediately saw an improvement, but that still wasn’t the right manuscript.
In the summer I started work on a new story. I fell in love with this story and my characters. It started to feel like The One.
I wrote the first draft in a mad dash of three weeks, and at 4:29am on July 8, 2015, I had 65,751 words and a completed first draft.
I set it aside for a bit so I could approach revisions objectively, but then got to work because Pitch Wars was coming up! Pitch Wars was like this dreamy amazing contest of wonders to me, and I really wanted to be a part of it. I relished the chance to work with a mentor, learn more about writing and revising, and perhaps gain a whole new community of writers.
I stalked researched all the mentors thoroughly. I read their wish lists; if they had been mentors in 2014 I read their mentee’s entries; I followed and interacted with them on Twitter. I made lists and then made more lists. Picking 5 people to submit to was hard, but I eventually did and sent my entry off! Even if I didn’t get picked, I was hopeful I’d at least get some feedback on the opening pages I could use.
The revision period of Pitch Wars consisted of 3 rounds of edits, a lot of Friday Night Lights fangirling, and Austin Powers gifs. Kes and Jen were fantastic mentors. They didn’t look over my shoulder, but I knew I could reach out to them whenever I needed them. I had an 8 page edit letter that never felt overwhelming. And I just worked, cutting and adding to the manuscript, delving deeper into my main character and her anxiety, learning new parts of her.
The other important thing I gained from Pitch Wars was the mentee group!! I don’t know how I would have made it through the Agent Round and all its horror/anxiety/excitement if I didn’t have that safe corner of the internet. I still love that corner of the internet.
All I have to say about Pitch Wars is you should definitely take a chance and submit your manuscript, because you never know. It could change your life. 🙂
In between PW revising and revising on my own/with CPs, I also found some beta readers, who offered invaluable feedback on my manuscript. So definitely get beta readers!!
The Pitch Wars Agent Round happened and I almost had a breakdown, but then I got a bunch of requests and I was happy and excited and like “I’m gonna have an agent by Christmas!! BEST CHRISTMAS EVER.”
ha ha. No. It took longer than I thought, but then finally, one day in March I got The Email of My Life.
It just so happened I was leaving for Toronto the following day. I nudged the other agents, packed my bags, and fluctuated between BEST DAY EVER and OMG ANXIETY STRESS BALL (so just like that scene in TANGLED).
It was a crazy hectic time full of all the emotions. I went on my trip, hung out with my friend and CP Alwyn Hamilton (#PenguinTeenOnTour), and refreshed my inbox constantly.
I got another life changing email in the airport on my way home Monday evening, and the joy of it carried me through the 2 extra hours I spent on Toronto’s runway (scary winds back home delayed take off D:).
On Wednesday morning, I was on the subway heading to class when I got an email from DREAM AGENT. It was short and said she wanted to talk.
I immediately called my mom, as one does.
We went back and forth before we could arrange a time. Dream Agent had to push some stuff around to make my deadline, but when she got back to me she gave me plenty of availability to choose from on Friday. I chose 5pm figuring I might need some extra time between another appointment. But on Friday I ended up being free around 3 (much earlier than expected) so I sent Dream Agent an email telling her we could have our call at 4 if she was still free then.
The waiting was hard. I didn’t know how I’d pass an hour if I didn’t have anything to do.
I promptly got an email back with “I can call you now!” (cue: more flails)
So she called me. We talked for nearly an hour and it was lovely and I knew she was perfect for me. She was interested in my voice and my writing and just me. We had some laughs, talked books, and the future, and a part of me kept saying this is good, this is so good, this is everything. Now I know why it’s THE Call. This was the call.
I signed with Heather Flaherty (aka Dream Agent) at The Bent Agency, and I’m so excited to continue my writing journey with an amazing agent at my side.