pointe is here!

April 10, 2014 § 3 Comments

I have a book out in the world, as of today.

Surreal doesn’t seem like the right word, and yet. I started the first draft of POINTE in 2009, sold it in 2011, and it is now officially published, in 2014. Publishing a book takes a long time, and some take longer than others, but the wait was worth it.

From my agent to my editor to my critique partners, friends, and family, I have so many good, loyal people in my corner, and I’m very grateful for all of you. To anyone who has encouraged me and/or spread the word about my book in any way: thank you. Your support means the world to me. I’ve wanted to have my fiction published since I was seven years old, and I’m not exaggerating when I say this process has been an absolute dream.

If you’d like to pick up a copy of POINTE, you can find it here, here, and here. Libraries are great, too!

And to any writers stuck in the beginning, querying, and submission stages—do not give up. Don’t. Your publishing journey might take longer than you think, and it might not go exactly as you thought it would, but someday, someone will publish your little book about abduction and ballet and sexual abuse and relationships. And you will be very glad that you worked so hard.

ARCs are here! And a giveaway!

July 31, 2013 § Leave a comment

Blogging twice in one month? I know.

Just had to let you know that I’m hosting a giveaway to celebrate the arrival of my ARCs (!!) and to share the lovely blurbs two authors gave to POINTE.

Go! Enter! Huzzah!

absence makes the heart grow fonder

July 24, 2013 § 6 Comments

Hello!

I’m alive! And still not blogging regularly! So, pretty much everything is in order.

Some good things have happened since I last posted, which generally occurs when you take five-month breaks between blogging.

First, I finished all my edits for POINTE and now it’s being turned into an almost-book! The interior was designed and now it’s at the printer, being made into an advance reader copy. I’m not sure when ARCs will make their way to me, but I’m thinking within the next couple of months, so stay tuned!

Second, I revealed my cover, synopsis, and release date on the fantastic YA Highway, but if you don’t feel like clicking over, I’m just going to post the pretty cover here too, because why not?

Image

Gorgeous, yes? It’s hard to express how much I love my cover and how pleased I am with the amazing people at Penguin who worked to get it just right. Also? My book is available for preorder here!

And third, I’ve been rambling about writing and books and whatnot in a few places around the Internet, so I’m linking to those below in case you wanted proof that I’m blogging for other people and not myself:

Author Spotlight on YA Highway

Interview on the Writing Pad blog

So You Want to Read YA? on Stacked

Finally, I received truly amazing blurbs from two authors who inspire me to no end, and as soon as I get my ARCs, I’ll be revealing those blurbs and hosting a giveaway (one of my ARCs and each of their debut novels) on the Thirteeners blog. So stay tuned AGAIN! Maybe not here, though. Maybe best to keep up with me on Twitter or Tumblr, since I seem to update those more than four times a year.

I also want to say a huge thank-you to everyone who’s expressed excitement about POINTE, whether it was on Twitter or Waiting on Wednesdays or by adding my book to your Goodreads shelves. It’s been a long process and I still have about eight months to go, but knowing that people are looking forward to reading my book (people who aren’t my parents or BFF!) makes the wait absolutely worth it.

same book, new title, happy me

February 20, 2013 § 16 Comments

Boring confession: I am horrible at titling things.

I came up with the title of my book just before we sold it, and while I never hated A POINT SO DELICATE, I was always sort of meh about it. Though I’ve gotten used to saying and writing it for a while now, it continued to feel like a placeholder. I do think it captures the nature of the book — a girl dealing with a number of obstacles that could (might?) push her over the edge — but while it’s a pretty title, it always seemed a bit overly precious to me.

So when I learned we had to come up with a new one, I was mostly excited but also daunted. I begged for help from a few very patient friends who are much better at this process than me. I spent a very long day with a word cloud. I submitted a whole slew of titles and bounced them around with my editor and agent and they just didn’t work.

Then I got an email from my editor with a title that she thought might be The One. And then another email with a title that was absolutely The One. Which left me thinking: 1) She’s brilliant. 2. (Obviously.) And 3) How did I not think of this from the start? Because my new title is …

[are you ready for this?]

[now I'm just being a jerk]

 

POINTE

 

Not so super far from the original and yet quite different. I like that it’s succinct, that you look at it and instantly know the story has roots in the ballet world. And it also plays nicely on “pointing the finger” as guilt and blame comprise a large theme of the novel.

I can’t wait to share more about the book (!!) but in the meantime, you can add POINTE here on Goodreads. If you are so inclined.

my favorite books of 2012

December 31, 2012 § 4 Comments

I did it!

I reached my goal of reading 55 books this year, a whole 20 books more than last year. Definitely a challenge for this slow reader who sometimes gets distracted by things like the copyright page (not even kidding, I am going to nerd out over that so hardcore when I see it in my book) and the page that describes the history of the book’s typeface. [Is there a name for this page? Please advise.]

Like last year, I have a disclaimer that these aren’t necessarily books published in 2012, but my favorite of the novels I picked up for the first time this year. I’ll also add that I was lucky enough to read several really, really great books being published in 2013, but I won’t be including them on this list. Which is as follows:

THIS IS NOT A TEST by Courtney Summers

tinat

I’m not into zombies. That’s what I first thought when I read the premise of Courtney Summers’ newest book. I mean, I knew I’d read it. I’m clearly a huge and vocal fangirl of her books. But would I love it as much as her last three novels? In a word? YES. It’s not a zombie novel. I mean, it is. There are zombies and blood and some deliciously gory scenes. But it’s mostly a really wonderful character study that skeeved me out in all the best ways and made me stop saying I’m not into zombies. It’s nearly impossible for me to choose my favorite Courtney Summers novel, but this one is definitely in the running.

LEVERAGE by Joshua C. Cohen

leverage

I like books about really tough situations. The more depressing the topic, typically the more interested I am in the book. LEVERAGE is the most honest book I’ve ever read about bullying. It goes where you think it might go and then further than that. Rock bottom. It’s also a sports book and I’m not into sports, but there are some beautifully crafted descriptions of football plays and gymnastics moves that even I appreciated. I really admire books that remind me to be an honest writer, no matter how difficult the subject, and LEVERAGE is at the top of that list for me.

LOVE & LEFTOVERS by Sarah Tregay

love and leftovers

I’m a sucker for a good verse novel, and this is one of my favorites. I love Tregay’s writing and though the book was shorter due to its format, I felt as if I’d read a prose novel when I’d finished. So much depth conveyed in so few words, and the story felt very authentic. It’s one of those books I can’t really explain in detail why I like so much and generally tell people, “Just read it!” I found it really inspiring and it will likely go in my very small pile of books that I reread once a year or so.

HOW TO SAVE A LIFE by Sara Zarr

how to save a life

I mean, it’s Sara Zarr. That should say enough. But really, I didn’t expect the connection that I had to this book. It was the same feeling I had with her book SWEETHEARTS. Her characters are always incredibly real but these are achingly so. I really felt for them. So many emotions for my stone-cold heart. [Also: I know I said I wouldn't put 2013 books on this list, but I got an early read of THE LUCY VARIATIONS, Sara Zarr's next book, due out in May 2013, and it is fantastic.]

BLANKETS by Craig Thompson

Okay, this book was published almost a decade ago, but let’s just pretend you all recently discovered it like I did. I read quite a few graphic novels this year and this was the most surprising. I was heartbroken by the sixth page (and this is a memoir, which made some of the scenes even more upsetting), but the story was also funny at times and beautifully told through all 592 pages.

————–

What are your favorite books of the year? Or feel free to link to a post you’ve made in the comments section!

what i’ve been up to

December 20, 2012 § 2 Comments

Oh, guys. GUYS.

It’s obviously been a while, although if you’re on Twitter, you’ve probably seen me hanging out there talking about TV I love and books I love and Cosby-inspired sweaters (which I also love) and I don’t even know.

1. Not a lot of book news to report right now, but what you need to know is that a) As I finish up another round of revisions, I must say the brilliance of my editor, Ari Lewin, cannot be overstated, and b) We will see lots of amazing things like jacket copy and a cover and a release date in the new year and I will be ecstatic to show them to you.

2. I’ve done some fun guest posts over the past few months, including this Q&A from yesterday and a roundtable post with a few of my debut writer pals. It always feels a little strange talking about my writing in a public forum. Two things I’ve learned in the last year is that I’m a pretty private person and that I don’t enjoy talking about my writing process (mostly because there is no real process), but I find interviews really fun. Perhaps because I’ve generally been on the other side of them my whole life, what with the whole journalism thing? Ponder. Discuss.

3a. Back in October, I visited New York for the first time in four years, where I caught up with a few old friends and some new ones, too; got lost a lot (typical); ate delicious food (also typical, but very appreciated); and probably walked more than I have in the past year and a half (blame Los Angeles). I also met my agent, Tina Wexler, for the first time in person and she was, of course, delightful in every way just as she is over email and the telephone. We had lunch with my editor, whom I’d met back in August over a lovely dinner, and stormed the Penguin offices afterward. I wore a cat dress. And you know, even a year and a couple of months after my book deal, this whole author thing is very surreal (the Penguin offices, up close and personal?!).

3b. My trip to New York was two-fold; after three days in the city, I rode up to Woodstock where I embarked on a writing retreat with six other fantastic ladies. I am, admittedly, not much of the nature-y, outdoors-y type (somewhere in Missouri, my mother is cringing) but it was really nice being in such a remote location for five days. I got to see the gorgeous colors of autumn leaves that had turned for the season, breathe smog-free air for the first time in a long time, and see actual stars at night. There were lots of delicious homemade dinners, cheese, wine, book talk, career talk, games, AND some writing. Definitely one of the best trips I’ve ever taken and here is a picture to prove I was IN NATURE:

Photo by Alison Cherry.

From L to R: Alison Cherry, Caroline Carlson, Lindsay Ribar, me, Kristen Kittscher, Corey Haydu, and Liz Whelan.
Photo by Alison Cherry.

4. TV. You thought I was going to end a post without talking about television? SURELY YOU JEST. But, yeah. I’m a hardcore TV junkie to the end, but it turns out that watching whole seasons of TV shows while I’m revising is actually vital to my existence. In the past couple of months, I’ve devoured the entire series (thus far) of Awkward and Downton Abbey, and am steadily working my way through Breaking Bad and Scandal, both of which are absolutely phenomenal. And now I will stop because I can and will talk about television for days (but please know that the second seasons of Shameless and Homeland are on tap during the holidays).

That’s about it. I think. Either way, I’ll be back soon(ish) with a post about my favorite books I’ve read in 2012. So far I’ve read 51 books (only four shy of my goal for the year — can this slow reader do it in the next 11 days?) and there have been some really, really great ones in my stack.

Until then, my friends.

lil’ update

July 10, 2012 § 8 Comments

As it turns out, I’m pretty good at not blogging, but in case you were wondering what else I’ve been up to? You’re in the right place at the right time, my friend.

1. Revisions. Always. Forever. Okay, not really. But I am in the midst of second-round revisions for my book and I continue to be amazed and humbled by my editor’s insight. And how much work goes into a book. And how many times I can look at this manuscript without wanting to throw my laptop across the room. But overall, I could not ask for a better job. Which, it’s strange to finally refer to my writing as a “job” since publishing a novel is my ultimate dream, what I’ve wanted and hoped and wished for since I was seven years old. But it is work. Hard work. Fun work at times, but work all the same. And some day, that work will be a book that I can hold in my hands — a fact that I still can’t believe, most days.

2. Friday Night Lights. Has taken over my life. I finished season 1 months ago and the start of the second season was a bit slow for me, so I took a break. It is well worth it to keep pushing on. Imperative, actually. I’ll not tell you how quickly I’ve flown through all of season 3 (my favorite, thus far) and almost all of season 4, for fear that you will judge me. Because I often joke about being a TV junkie, but it’s not really a laughing matter. I love television only slightly less than I love books (IF FORCED TO CHOOSE) and if you give me a good drama . . . well, frankly it’s embarrassing how many episodes of a good show I can take down in one sitting. But? I think writers can learn a lot from well-written television and films and FNL is exceptional. I don’t know if I’ve ever used up so many TV tears on one show. Nor have I felt this way about a cast of characters since Felicity and Six Feet Under and those are two of my top five favorite shows of all time. Though I’ll refrain from naming my favorite characters (*cough* TIM RIGGINS *cough*) because that’s just about everyone. (Also, I’m well aware that I’m late to the party on this one but let’s just pretend otherwise, okay?)

3. Friday the Thirteeners. I’m the newest member! Oh, what is it? We’re a small group of YA authors whose books are debuting in 2013, and our blog posts are structured around truths and dares submitted by our fellow writers and readers. The Thirteeners are a ton of fun and if you are so inclined, you can submit a truth or dare for me (or any of us!) here. My first post went up a week ago, and naturally it was just me proclaiming my love for YA and MG novels that I can’t stop thinking about, years later.

4. I leave you with this, friends:

Because that happened. First time seeing Rocky IV on the big screen since I was 6 years old and suffice to say I was in boxing film/80s nostalgia bliss. Have I not talked about Rocky here yet? Oh, I have lots of love for the Rocky saga. This love began when my dad took my older brother and me to see Rocky IV in the theater, and this love is not at all ironic. But we’ll save that for another time.

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