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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Wow, wow! It’s nearly the end of June which means we’re halfway through the year–this is madness!
So last year I did a post like this, but I came up with my own questions and categories. Today, I watched Piera’s video, and thought it would be fun to do this tag instead of doing another post on my own. The Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag was created by ReadLikeWildfire and Earl Grey Books, and I’ve linked both their original videos here! And though it is hard, I’m gonna try REALLY hard to stick to one book per answer 🙂
Best Book Read in 2017 So Far
Hmm… probably STRANGE THE DREAMER by Laini Taylor. The writing was just so beautiful and magical. And the story was just as good. Romantic, heartbreaking, brutal. I adored the characters and was so sucked into this world and the story. It was amazing.
Best Sequel You Read in 2017
Looking through my Goodreads, I haven’t read a lot of sequels this year! I read a fair bunch of trilogy enders, but not book twos. But from the few I did read, one totally stands out to me: A CROWN OF WISHES by Roshani Chokshi. I’m in love with this book! The writing was gorgeous and Gauri and Vikram are my babies! The story was so good and addicting. I’d love a movie, just to see this lush world brought to life.
Book You Are Excited to Read in 2017 But Haven’t Yet
This one is on the library, not me. I’ve had I BELIEVE IN A THING CALLED LOVE, AND WE’RE OFF, and OUR DARK DUET on hold for ages, and the library still does not have its copies. Why must you do this to me D: I also want to really read Cindy Pon’s WANT, but that one isn’t even in the catalogue yet. There is one that is on me, though. I got ROAR in my most recent Fairyloot, and just haven’t had the time to read it yet. Woops.
Most Anticipated Books for the Second Half of 2017
WONDER WOMAN: WARBRINGER by Leigh Bardugo.
FOOLISH HEARTS by Emma Mills.
RENEGADES by Marissa Meyer.
Yeah, I broke my rule. Tough.
I respectfully decline to answer, but they made me sad.
Book You Were Surprised How Much You Liked It Most recently it was GIRLS MADE OF SNOW AND GLASS. I’m not a Snow White fan and I wasn’t sure what a queer feminist Snow White retelling would look like. But it was INCREDIBLE. Seriously. I was hooked from the first line. It was so good and amazing and complete perfection.
(but it’s all TRUE!! <3)
New Favorite Author
Hmmm… perhaps Melissa Bashardoust, who wrote GIRLS MADE OF SNOW AND GLASS, ha. But I did really want to have different answers to each question or else it’ll be boring. *thinks* Okay I’m gonna change my previous answer…
Book You Were Surprised How Much You Liked It
SONG OF THE CURRENT, DONE DIRT CHEAP, or THE GLASS SPARE. Woops, so much for only picking one. But I want to shout about all these books and I don’t think I’ll have the opportunity to based on the remaining questions. Each of these books surprised me, cause I hoped I would like them, but I really wasn’t expecting much from them (except Song of the Current, really).
The Glass Spare was unputdownable from the beginning, and the characters were so good and the conflicts and romance and GAH MY HEART. Then Done Dirt Cheap totally snuck up on and I had to keep reading until I reached the end. And Song of the Current is the watery book of my heart! The world building was so fresh and Caro is amazing, and it was so empowering and awesome. Also A+ romance 🙂
OKAY GOOD. I have righted the order of things by breaking all my rules.
New Fictional Crush
Thomas Cresswell. He’s not new since I met him last year in STALKING JACK THE RIPPER, but I appreciated him so much more in HUNTING PRINCE DRACULA. Like to the point where I was like, “If you won’t take him Audrey Rose, I WILL.”
But NEW, NEW, as in only discovered this year 😉 is Porter from ALEX, APPROXIMATELY. Porter is… Porter. *dreamy sigh*
Some New Favorite Characters
Everyone already mentioned above for sure, and also the gang from THE HATE U GIVE. They were phenomenal. The voice in that book is overflowing. They were each so beautifully drawn and compelling.
Book That Made You Cry
Oh, just a tiny book called A COURT OF WINGS AND RUIN. Full on sobbed.
Honorable mention: THE NAMES THEY GAVE US by Emery Lord.
Book That Made You Happy
I mean, also ACOWAR, but we’re being different (esp since I just broke the rules AGAIN) SOOOO… THE UPSIDE OF UNREQUITED. So precious. The most precious. Precious, precious, precious.
Book to Film Adaptation You Liked So Far
Uhhh… I haven’t seen any… I don’t think…
Fave Review You’ve Done
I don’t blog anymore, so I can’t answer this </3
Most Beautiful Book You Have
Okay, this probably has to be STRANGE THE DREAMER because the UK edition is a treasure. The blue stained pages, the cover! I don’t know if anything will top it.
Books You Need to Read By The End of 2017
So everything I listed above in the anticipating and haven’t read yet sections, plus DARE MIGHTY THINGS, UNEARTHED, THE BELLES (I’ve got an e-arc :D), AN ENCHANTMENT OF RAVENS, INVICTUS, probably some stuff I haven’t heard of yet… 😀
And there we are! The Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag! I can’t end this better cause I have to jet to work. BYE
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.
So a year ago, I wrote a very difficult blog post.
Today, I can say a year and three days ago, my father attempted suicide. After, he was in a psych ward for three weeks. I was in Chicago when it happened.
It rocked my world in ways I couldn’t imagine. I was afraid to leave my father home alone. I couldn’t touch the kitchen knife he used to cut his wrists. I didn’t know how to talk about it, or what the right way to talk about it was. I still don’t, since my dad never brings it up, and I don’t know if I should ever broach the subject with him.
Things are better. They’re not like they were last year, but they’re not perfectly healthy and okay, either.
To be honest, they were never perfectly healthy or okay.
I have a little story about how books helped.
I read WHEN WE COLLIDED by Emery Lord shortly after everything happened. It was a shock to find a book that somehow represented everything I was feeling at that exact point in time. There were scenes in a mental hospital–a normal mental hospital without evil doctors and gothic monsters around every corner. There was a boy struggling to be a caregiver to his depressed mother. There was a girl struggling with her medication and a mother trying to do the best she could. It made me feel seen. It made me feel like my mom and I weren’t alone. It was cathartic.
Yesterday, I read Emery Lord’s new book THE NAMES THEY GAVE US. In it, Lucy’s parents keep the fact that her mom’s breast cancer returned from her, partly because it’s her prom night and they want her to have a good time. My mom kept my dad’s attempted suicide from me for several days while I was out of town because she wanted me to have a good trip. I understand why she did it, just like Lucy understands why her parents kept it from her. But it still fucking hurts. And somehow, once again Emery Lord made me feel understood.
Books are some special kind of magic.
My dad grew up in a tiny mountain town in Italy, where mental illness wasn’t spoken of. It’s left his mark on him, how he copes, and how he communicates. He’s 68, so there’s not much we can do about it at this point. But the stigma matters because it has shaped people, entire generations. And the work we’re doing now, the work to undo the stigma is so, so important.
I process depictions of suicide or self-harm in books/movies/TV different now. It hits a different nerve. It came up in a lecture this past semester, in History of US Sexuality, where I thought I was safe. I don’t remember what was said, but I just remember freezing up, my brain replaying everything that had happened to my family. I felt sick and unsteady, and I just sat there for a few moments breathing deeply.
My dad’s been sober since, so that’s a good thing that’s happened.
This blog post doesn’t feel very cohesive, and some of that is because my thoughts are very scattered and disorganized on this topic. On this memory. On this event that happened in my life, in my dad’s life, in my mom’s life. I can’t really believe a year has gone by. When I think about it, it’s like it just happened yesterday. But it also feels like it was decades ago.
I guess a year later I can say, don’t give up. The road is scary and daunting. Everything feels insurmountable when it happens. Those first days he was home from the mental hospital were some of the most anxious, petrified out of my mind, exhausting days of my life. But it can be done.
If you or a loved one are struggling with suicidal thoughts, please get help: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1800-273-8255. The world needs you, your voice, your light. You are light, even if it feels like you aren’t.
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.
I read 199 books in 2016. I’m TRYING to get to 200 before time runs out, but I just dnf’d a book yesterday, so I’m trying to find something worthy being book #200. This is the most books I’ve ever read in a year, and I doubt I’ll be able to match it or better it in 2017, but we’ll see.
Without further ado, I made some categories for your enjoyment 🙂
It’s Shipping Time *heart eyes* *pushes faces together and whispers ‘just kiss’*
Epic Series Starters
PLEASE DON’T LEAVE ME
Books That Slapped Me In the Face aka Books I Didn’t Expect to Love
It’s Just CUTE
Books More People Should Read *throws book at you*
How Did I Not Read This Sooner????? What is wrong with me?
Alllll byyyyy Myyyyyselfffff (Standalone Love)
Brutal Book Hangovers
2017 books loved in 2016
Some Bookish Reflections:
*Rereads: I reread SHADOW & BONE and SEIGE & STORM to cope with my CROOKED KINGDOM hangover. I started RUIN & RISING, but didn’t get a chance to finish it.
I also reread PETER PAN since I wrote a research paper on it for my Narrating Childhood class.
*Poetry: I started reading poetry this year! After taking Feminism and American Poetry, I went to B&N and just looked through the poetry section for some books. I picked up collections by Andrea Gibson and some others. I hope to keep discovering poets in the new year 🙂
*New Authors Discovered: This year I read books by Emery Lord, Kasie West, Marie Lu, and Sarah J Maas for the first time. I’m late to the party, but I’m here now!
*Series I Binged: Captive Prince trilogy, Throne of Glass (minus Empire of Storms–I’m trying to save it), and The Young Elites trilogy.
*Multiple Editions: For the first time, I understand the need to have multiple editions of the same book. I have 4 copies of HEARTLESS. One is the hardcover, two is the Owlcrate special edition, then I ended up with two arcs (with the box from New York Comic Con and a normal arc I got from #booksfortrade). I have a mini Heartless army.
*Favorite Book Events: Man, I saw a lot of people this year. Some standouts were Leigh Bardugo at Strand for the CROOKED KINGDOM launch. I’ve watched the event again via the recording the bookstore put on Youtube just to relive the glory.
I also saw Marissa Meyer at B&N for HEARTLESS. Basically, if you’re ever lucky enough to see Bardugo and Meyer anywhere, GO. You will not regret it.
In April I got to see Emery Lord at Books of Wonder. I got all her books signed, and it was such a wonderful night.
During the summer I finally got to see Stephanie Perkins, also at Books of Wonder. I’ve been a fan of hers for years, YEARS, so to finally meet her was just amazing.
I flew to Canada in March or April to see my friend Alwyn
Hamilton on tour! That was quite a trip. Sabaa Tahir was also on that tour, and I was like 40% there to be a supportive buddy, and 60% to meet Sabaa 😉
I met Courtney Summers! Ah, she was at McNally Jackson in October, I want to say, and it was awesome. Her books wound me in every way and she’s like a feminist icon to me. And she’s so lowkey compared to some other authors who go on massive tours, so I really didn’t think this would ever happen.
Crap, I was going to say I met Noelle Stevenson, but I just realized that was probably in
I was at the THIS SAVAGE SONG launch at Books of Wonder! Victoria Schwab is another person you should definitely go see if you get the chance, because she will astound you with her wonderful brain. And she makes pretty words.
One event I DIDN’T get to go to was the MY LADY JANE one at Books of Wonder in June since I saw Florence and the Machine that night. I was so, so sad to miss it, but had a fantastic time at the concert. So I ordered myself a personalized copy from the store, and when I picked it up all the swag from the event was included. Hopefully the authors will be back in NY for their next Janie book in 2018.
That’s all from me for now! Have a happy new year, and let’s make 2017 a year of good books, and be the heroes we all need. ❤