December 30, 2013

2014 Goals and a Brief 2013 Review

Holy cats, I can't believe a year has passed already. So much has happened this year.

My resolution for 2013 was to write two books. I did not succeed. *sigh* Last year's excuse was the long weeks of pregnancy-induced nausea that made me want to do this:

This year's excuse is closely related: new baby! I couldn't have predicted how exhausted I would be. (No, really, even though everyone says it's exhausting, I honestly thought I'd be fine because the last one wasn't so bad. Note: having a baby at 20 and another one at 30 are vastly different experiences.) But anyway, I somehow managed to find a way to write exclusively during the hours of 10pm and 2am, and cranked out a first draft.

And then I got my edits back for Gates of Thread and Stone, and I sort of went *shrug* at that other book I was supposed to write because OMG EDITS!!! Oops.

I'm not going to learn from my past mistakes because I'm making 2 books, yet again, my 2014 resolution. Maybe this time, it'll work?

Here are some 2013 highlights:

♥ Wrote a book. Too bad it wasn't the sequel I'm contracted for >_> *gets on that*

♥ Had a baby! I think he's a keeper :)

♥ Completed edits on Gates of Thread and Stone. It's been sent off to copyedits. Woo!

♥ Edited two books for the digital-first publisher I'm working with. I'm insanely proud of both of them.

♥ A bunch of my favorite people had their debut year! Mindee Arnett's The Nightmare Affair, Amy Tintera's Reboot, Amy Christine Parker's Gated, and A.G. Howard's Splintered. All such fabulous books.

♥ I got to announce my book deal after over 6 months of waiting! Whew lol.

So, overall, not as productive as I would have liked writing-wise, but I think it was okay given my time constraints :)

Happy new year, and here's to 2014 when I can finally say, "My book comes out this year!" Aaaah...

December 18, 2013

What's Up Wednesday 12

What I'm Reading
Still trying to push through this book. It alternates between some fairly gorgeous descriptions to awkward and unrealistic dialogue, which leaves me completely baffled.

What I'm Writing
Plot, plot, plot!

What Else I've Been Up To
When GATES OF THREAD AND STONE releases August 8 next year, it will be available in all formats--hardcover, paperback, ebook, and audiobook.

So however you like to read (or listen to) your books, it should be available :) Woot!

Also, a couple weeks ago, I suggested posting the first lines of our mss on twitter with the hash tag #firstlines, and enough people jumped in that we trended! That was so much fun.

Scroll through the hash tag for some awesome first lines! (Including mine :P)

What Inspires Me Right Now
*points up* :D

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme that helps readers and writers touch base with blog friends. If you'd like to join in, you can find the link widget on Jaime's and Erin's blogs.

December 4, 2013

What's Up Wednesday 11

What I'm Reading
I finished Champion a while go. Then I read Angelfall and World After in quick succession. Quite enjoyed both! I began a new book a couple days ago, but I haven't been able to pick it back up. I can't stand any of the characters. The MC is obnoxious, and the writing, particularly the dialogue, reads almost like fanfiction. Disappointing so far, but I will persevere because the book came very highly recommended. I'm hoping the plot will win me over or that the MC becomes more bearable.

What I'm Writing
Edits have been completed and sent to Editor Awesome. Now, I'm looking over a friend's ms while picking at the plot to Gates 2 again. Sequel writing is fun times. /sarcasm

What Else I've Been Up To
My online friend of many years is visiting me this weekend, which means we get to geek out IN PERSON for the first time. It'll be awesome.

Also, I went to see Thor 2: The Dark World as well as Catching Fire. I loved The Dark World (Oh LOKI, why do you hurt me so?), but Catching Fire was awesome beyond belief. MUST REWATCH ASAP.

What Inspires Me Right Now
I just love reading to refuel. I've already gotten a couple new things to weave into the plot of Gates 2. Woot!

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme that helps readers and writers touch base with blog friends. If you'd like to join in, you can find the link widget on Jaime's and Erin's blogs.

November 6, 2013

What's Up Wednesday 10

What I'm Reading
Finishing up PRODIGY by Marie Lu so I can jump into CHAMPION, which released yesterday. Woo!

Also, I got this fabulous ARC in the mail yesterday, and I can't wait to read it! That's TWO Sarah Fine books on my queue now. *squee*

What I'm Writing

What Else I've Been Up To
I also got these ARCs! But in all honesty, I doubt I'll get around to reading them any time soon, and I hate wasted ARCs.

So if any of YOU want them, LET ME KNOW! Otherwise, I'll throw them up for a giveaway later this week.

-THE WELL'S END by Seth Fishman

What Inspires Me Right Now
All you amazing pple NaNo-ing. GO YOU! ♥

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme that helps readers and writers touch base with blog friends. If you'd like to join in, you can find the link widget on Jaime's and Erin's blogs.

November 1, 2013

November Films

HAPPY FIRST OF NOVEMBER! Hope you guys had an awesome and spooky Halloween!

November is going to be AMAZING in terms of film releases. And obvsly because a bajillion people worldwide are writing or typing with the force of a great typhoon to meet that 50k mark. *waves pompoms*

October 30, 2013

What's Up Wednesday 09

What I'm Reading
I had a fairly productive reading week. After I finished Allegiant, I was in desperate need of something lighter. I picked up Ink, hoping it'd be less intense. It was a quick, light read! Now I'm halfway through Everbound, the sequel to Everneath, which I really enjoyed.

Next: Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine. Eek! Can't wait! (Is that a gorgeous cover or what??)

What I'm Writing
Still editing! :)

What Else I've Been Up To
The Biggest Loser challenge is over. I won. MWUAHAHAHA.

Total weight lost between me and my sisters over the last two months: 39.2 lbs

Pretty darn impressive, right? Woot!

What Inspires Me Right Now
Feeling energized from all the reading. I love that about picking up a book. Not only does it carry me away into its pages, but it inspires me to be as good as these amazing writers. I never turn off my inner editor. It doesn't distract me from the words; it makes me work harder to understand how they've created such fantastic tension or emotion. Which can only be a good thing.

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme that helps readers and writers touch base with blog friends. If you'd like to join in, you can find the link widget on Jaime's and Erin's blogs.

October 23, 2013

What's Up Wedesday 08

What I'm Reading
ALLEGIANT by Veronica Roth.

But come on, who ISN'T reading ALLEGIANT, right?! HOW ARE YOU GUYS LIKING IT? ♥

What I'm Writing
Still editing! But it's going really well, and not just because these edits aren't as heavy as the first round was. It was amazing getting physical pages with my editor's handwritten first round edits, and I hugged them and smothered them and I maaaay have taken them on a waltz around the living room. But it also took longer to go through and sometimes I had to figure out what exactly my editor had written in the margins. Digital notes are considerably faster :P

What Else I've Been Up To
I've been doing a Biggest Loser challenge with my sisters for the last two months, and I've lost a ton of weight. I'm super proud of myself and my sisters :) I'm 5 lbs away from my pre-2nd baby weight, and 10 lbs from my pre-1st baby weight!

There's 1 week left in our challenge, but even after I win (and I will win, even if right now, I'm 0.2% behind 1st place), I plan to continue with the diet+exercise until I reach my weight goal. Woo!

What Inspires Me Right Now
This stunning outfit:

Via Pinterest

I am already thinking about a world in which this person might exist. I can't wait to finally be able to write that dark fantasy still brewing in my head, but I've got so many projects lined up that need to be written first. *SIGH*

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme that helps readers and writers touch base with blog friends. If you'd like to join in, you can find the link widget on Jaime's and Erin's blogs.

October 16, 2013

What's Up Wednesday 07

What I'm Reading
Unfortunately, nothing right now. Aside from my editor's notes on my manuscript, that is.

What I'm Writing
Editing Gates of Thread and Stone. I love editing. I hate it while DOING it. But when I finish, I'm like I LOVED DOING THAT. Anyone else like that? haha.

What Else I've Been Up To
In case you missed my Monday announcement, I finally announced the release date for my book. Gates will be released August 5, 2014. Woo!

What Inspires Me Right Now
Cheesy answer is cheesy, but reading all the tweets from other writers about reaching their daily word count goals and finishing their drafts. It pushes me to work harder :)

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme that helps readers and writers touch base with blog friends. If you'd like to join in, you can find the link widget on Jaime's and Erin's blogs.

October 14, 2013

Release Date!

I'm pleased as peach cobbler (or maybe peach schnapps...) that I can finally announce my release date for my book.

Gates of Thread and Stone will be unleashed into the world August 5, 2014.

Maybe it'll be an end of summer read for some of you :) *keeps dreaming*

Yay! ♥

October 9, 2013

What's Up Wednesday 06

What I'm Reading
Just posted a rec for FRACTURED by Sarah Fine. It's book 2 in the Guards of the Shadowlands series, and if you haven't read this series yet--WHY NOT? I can't rec this series enough, I love it so much.

The Kindle edition of the first book SANCTUM is only $3.99. Can't beat that! And the hardcover is barely $11!

What I'm Writing
Still plodding along on that sequel plot. I'm hoping to have something coherent by the time November gets here so I can do NaNoWriMo.

What Else I've Been Up To
I ruined my diet this week. Cheesecake and pumpkin creme pie and pasta and oooh so delicious beef stew. BUT I am starting anew because I'm going to win this Biggest Loser challenge I'm doing with my sisters. There's money on the line, which I will need for my book promo fund next year :P

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme that helps readers and writers touch base with blog friends. If you'd like to join in, you can find the link widget on Jaime's and Erin's blogs.

October 2, 2013

What's Up Wednesday 05

What I'm Reading
My own book, Gates of Thread and Stone, for reasons that involve plotting the sequel. And hey, look, here it is on Goodreads if you want to add it. *winkwink*

/end shameless plug

What I'm Writing
See above. As I was driving to pick up my sister from the airport last week, I spent a lot of time thinking about the plot of the sequel, and--pun not intended--the gate finally seemed to open because ideas and snippets of dialogue and scenes came rushing out. It was fantastic :)

Of course, because my Disney twin would be Dory, I always have to write things down or I forget them. Since I was driving, I used my phone to record myself babbling about everything. It was awkward.

What Else I've Been Up To
My sister had her Hmong wedding this past weekend. It was exhausting. I spent a lot of time scraping a freshly butchered cow's stomach lining aka that so-called delicacy tripe.

Also, I've learned my lesson with trying to sneak a piece of meat before it's served. I thought the sliced beef looked a bit... chewy. So I nibbled on a fleshy edge, which was quite well seasoned, before my uncle who was cutting the beef looked at me and said, "Are you sure you want to eat that?"

Still nibbling, I said, "Why? What is it?"

My brother, helpful guy that he is, said, "It's just meat. Eat it."

I picked up another piece that looked different from the one I was nibbling. It was softer, more membrane-like. I said, "Is it liver?"

My brother, still ever so helpful, said, "No." He didn't elaborate.

My uncle said, "It's a private part."

Finally, my brother said, "It's testicle. And that's the penis."

That, as in the piece I'd been nibbling.

I looked at them. I looked at the meat in my hand. Then I turned and marched away to present my slice of penis to my nephew, who happily ate it. Everyone else laughed.

What Inspires Me Right Now
This annotated copy of Red by Alison Cherry, which I've promised myself I'll devour once I finish plotting this wretched book (said with love).


What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme that helps readers and writers touch base with blog friends. If you'd like to join in, you can find the link widget on Jaime's and Erin's blogs.

September 16, 2013

What Happens Next?

It started with cake. Cheesecake topped with raspberries, to be exact. They'd been passing the coffee shop, trailing far enough behind the girls to feign disassociation. Nick had glanced through the glass, framed from the inside with airy cream curtains, and his feet had faltered for a second. Long enough for the waitress setting out cheesecake for display to notice, for her eyes to catch Nick's gaze.

What happens next? If you're game, write a little snippet in the comments and let's see where the story goes. Don't worry about sticking to a genre. Anything goes.

Happy Monday, all ♥

September 11, 2013

What's Up Wednesday 04

What I'm Reading
HEXED by Michelle Krys. I loved the book and the characters. Indie is such a fun MC. You guys are going to love this book :)

What Else I've Been Up To
I'll be on a panel at the 2014 Spring Fling Writers Conference in Chicago in April. Hope to see you there! DEEP DISH PIZZA, HERE I COME. (More details once I have them to follow in a separate post.)

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme that helps readers and writers touch base with blog friends. If you'd like to join in, you can find the link widget on Jaime's and Erin's blog.

September 4, 2013

What's Up Wednesday 03

What I'm Reading

A draft of the third book in the Guards of the Shadowlands series by Sarah Fine, and ZOMG MY BLOOD PRESSURE. If you haven't yet read book one, Sanctum, why not?! It's amazing and one of my favorite books of 2012. Book two, Fractured, comes out next month!

My review of it will be up soon, but the TL;DR version of it is basically this:

What I'm Writing

Still working on the sequel to Gates. Or rather... squinting at my notes and hoping the plot will start to make sense if I just stare at it long enough.

What Else I've Been Up To

Gates of Thread and Stone has a release date! But... I can't tell you guys yet. BUT SOON!!! :D

Also, I finally watched The Mortal Instruments movie. It was fun and visually amazing and action-packed.

What Inspires Me Right Now

My daughter aka Miss K, who turned 11 yesterday, reads more voraciously than I do. Having to constantly look for new books for her helps to remind me what writing is all about.

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme that helps readers and writers touch base with blog friends. If you'd like to join in, you can find the link widget on Jaime's and Erin's blog.

September 3, 2013

The Next Big Thing meme... take two!

I was tagged by the inimitable Michelle Krys. I've done this meme before with a WIP because at the time, I couldn't talk about Gates. BUT NOW I CAN :D Uh. Sort of. BUT WHATEVER, LET'S DO THIS THING.


So yeah, can't talk about my next book because it's the sequel to Gates. So I'm just going to talk about Gates. Gates is not the title though. That's just what I call it because the actual title is long as hell. It's GATES OF THREAD AND STONE. And using the acronym GoTaS makes me think Game of Thrones, which while awesome, always tugs my limited attention span in other directions.

Random fact: the title used to be HARBINGER, until my agent and I saw that another YA had released with that title.


There is something grammatically wrong with this question.

*cough* Anyway. I tend to do this thing where I get two separate ideas and then I smush them together and go, "NOW KISS." And they produce something much more interesting than they would have been alone. In this case, the first idea was about a girl who could manipulate the threads of time and the second idea was about mind-controlled super soldiers. Mash them together and you get Gates. Ta-dah!


YA fantasy. It used to be a mix of both sci fi and fantasy, but after a major revision, it is now solidly a fantasy.


I don't really want to say who I'd choose, because I don't want to influence readers' perceptions of my characters before they're given the chance to read and judge and imagine them for themselves.

(Or in other words, I'm too lazy to Google actor pictures.)


Thanks to my agent and PW, I already have one. Hah!

"A teenage girl must keep her ability to manipulate the threads of time a secret, but when her brother goes missing, she risks getting caught up in a revolution in order to save him."


Skyscape, the young adult imprint of Amazon Children's Publishing.


One month. But that's because I took a month prior carefully outlining the entire manuscript. So... technically two months? Then I spent three months editing it.




Isn't this basically the same as question #2?


There are creatures in the book called gargoyles. They're large, mutated, lizard-like chimera. I want one for a pet.

Oh, right, and there are sexy boys too. Because duh.


Next, I'm tagging Amy Zhang, who I just met and who I already adore because she likes narwhals and cheese and she's a Wisconsinite and I'm like I MUST BEFRIEND. But at the same time, I'm also like DON'T BE CREEPY, DON'T BE CREEPY.

P.S. Her book, a YA contemporary, sounds intriguing. You should add it on Goodreads.


August 28, 2013

What's Up Wednesday 02

It's still Wednesday! lol

What I'm Reading
A horror manuscript (not mine) with a narrator who's revealed at the end to be schizophrenic. It's a cool premise with a twist that actually makes sense in the context of the story. It reminds me a bit of Ask Again Later by Chessie Zappia in terms of having a highly unreliable narrator. Now if only the writing in this ms was better... :/

What I'm Writing
Looking over my notes for Gates 2 and trying to compile them into a coherent plot. Easier said than done.

What Else I've Been Up To
I've started drinking green smoothies for breakfast in an attempt to have more energy and lose weight. Here's to hoping I can stick to it! Also, I'm obsessed with the SyFy show Face Off. It's so cool how these artists take their designs from concept to creation. Not unlike writing :)

What Inspires Me Right Now
All the amazing writers on twitter tweeting their word count goals. It makes me feel like a slacker, which then makes the urge to write that much stronger. Must accomplish ALL THE THINGS!!!

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme that helps readers and writers touch base with blog friends. If you'd like to join in, you can find the link widget on Jaime's and Erin's blog.

August 21, 2013

What's Up Wednesday 01

What I'm Reading
Prep School Confidential by Kara Taylor. LOVING it so far. Anne's voice is hilarious with just the right amount of snark. If you like mysteries and snappy protags, you'll love this book. Full review once I finish. :)

What I'm Writing
Just finished revisions on GoTaS. Revising on a deadline is insanity! But also exciting. But also insanity. Also, my husband doesn't seem to get that I can't come to bed because at night is the only time I can write/edit uninterrupted and has begun guilt-tripping me about it. *sigh*

What Else I've Been Up To
Since I just finished revisions, I'm taking a very short break in order to 1) appease the husband so he stops being melodramatic, and 2) to catch up on Supernatural. I've been watching seasons 1-7 on repeat for the last six months because TNT plays three episodes every morning. I figured this would be a good opportunity to finally watch season 8, because... when will I get another chance?!

What Inspires Me Right Now
Several amazing writers who I've teamed up with for various promo things as well as fantasy things and omg I can't wait to share it all with you guys :)

Aaaand now I should probably get working on that sequel.

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme that helps readers and writers touch base with blog friends. If you'd like to join in, you can find the link widget on Jaime's and Erin's blog.

June 12, 2013

WoW: INK by Amanda Sun

Ink by Amanda Sun

Book blurb (from goodreads):
I looked down at the paper, still touching the tip of my shoe. I reached for it, flipping the page over to look.

Scrawls of ink outlined a drawing of a girl lying on a bench.

A sick feeling started to twist in my stomach, like motion sickness.

And then the girl in the drawing turned her head, and her inky eyes glared straight into mine.

On the heels of a family tragedy, the last thing Katie Greene wants to do is move halfway across the world. Stuck with her aunt in Shizuoka, Japan, Katie feels lost. Alone. She doesn’t know the language, she can barely hold a pair of chopsticks, and she can’t seem to get the hang of taking her shoes off whenever she enters a building.

Then there’s gorgeous but aloof Tomohiro, star of the school’s kendo team. How did he really get the scar on his arm? Katie isn’t prepared for the answer. But when she sees the things he draws start moving, there’s no denying the truth: Tomo has a connection to the ancient gods of Japan, and being near Katie is causing his abilities to spiral out of control. If the wrong people notice, they'll both be targets.

Katie never wanted to move to Japan—now she may not make it out of the country alive.

Available June 25, 2013

No words for how gorgeous this cover is. And that blurb is fascinating. CAN'T. WAIT.

Happy Wednesday, guys ♥

June 11, 2013

[Giveaway] ONE by Leigh Ann Kopans

Today marks the release of ONE by Leigh Ann Kopans! YAY! To celebrate, I'm giving away the winner's choice of either an ebook or paperback copy.

Book blurb (from goodreads):
When having two powers makes you a Super and having none makes you a Normal, having only one makes you a sad half-superpowered freak.

It makes you a One.

Sixteen-year-old Merrin Grey would love to be able to fly – too bad all she can do is hover.

If she could just land an internship at the Biotech Hub, she might finally figure out how to fix herself. She busts her butt in AP Chem and salivates over the Hub’s research on the manifestation of superpowers, all in hopes of boosting her chances.

Then she meets Elias VanDyne, another One, and all her carefully crafted plans fly out the window. Literally. When the two of them touch, their Ones combine to make them fly, and when they’re not soaring over the Nebraska cornfields, they’re busy falling for each other.

Merrin's mad chemistry skills land her a spot on the Hub's internship short list, but as she gets closer to the life she always wanted, she discovers that the Hub’s purpose is more sinister than it has always seemed. Now it’s up to her to decide if it's more important to fly solo, or to save everything - and everyone - she loves.

Doesn't it sound awesome? And that cover? GORGEOUS.

To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form below.
*Open to US addresses only.
*I will only email ONCE to confirm your mailing address. If you don't respond within three days, a new winner will be selected.
*Deadline is Thursday, June 20.

ALSO! If you'd like the paperback signed, just let me know and I'll order it via her website :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck! ♥

June 10, 2013

Look what arrived! :D

Edits for my book are here! These arrived FAST. My editor notified me late last week that they were coming AND HERE THEY ARE! (All the way from New York! Squee!)

BWUAHAHAH. In the digital age, I love that so many traditional publishers still edit the old-fashioned way. There's something insanely cool about having your pages physically in front of you with your editor's handwritten comments :)

Only this first round will be done this way though. Further editing will, I believe, be done digitally. And HOPEFULLY, there won't be too many more rounds before the manuscript goes to copyediting.

That's 323 typed pages, in case you're wondering haha.

If you're also wondering how much editing a book goes through before it hits the shelves, here's a general list:

~ Content edits. Big picture stuff. Plot, characterization, world building, POV. The author generally receives an editorial letter (which can be upwards of 30 pages long! lol) outlining all the issues that need to be addressed. This can go on for however long it takes until both editor and author are happy with the changes.

~ Line edits. Line by line edits that address things like inconsistencies or contradictions, word choices, paragraph changes, places that could use a little expanding or trimming, etc.

(In my case, I received both my editorial letter and line edits at the same time because my content edits weren't substantial. Win!)

~ Copyedits. This is pretty much entirely technical. Grammar and punctuation, usually adhering to the Chicago Manual of Style. Fact-checking happens here as well.

~ First pass pages. This is a copy of the text exactly how it will look in book form. All titles, text, and chapter headings will be formatted to the way it will look in the actual book. Unless you are also getting ARCs, this is basically the last chance the author gets to make changes to the book.

~ Advanced reader copies (ARCs). The purpose of ARCs is for promotion and to spread early buzz about the book. But they also provide the author a last chance to make changes to the book before it goes to print.

And that's basically how the editing process works for traditionally published books :D EXCITING!!!

May 29, 2013


Today, I'm so pleased to be able to participate in a massive giveaway for Kara Taylor's Prep School Confidential. Her book sounds amazing, and I can't wait to read it! I hope you feel the same :D

Details on the giveaway below.

About the Book:

Anne Dowling practically runs her exclusive academy on New York’s Upper East Side—that is, until she accidentally burns part of it down and gets sent to a prestigious boarding school outside of Boston. Determined to make it back to New York, Anne could care less about making friends at the preppy Wheatley School. That is, until her roommate, Isabella’s body is found in the woods behind the school.

When everyone else is oddly silent, Anne becomes determined to uncover the truth no matter how many rules she has to break to do it. With the help of Isabella’s twin brother Anthony, and a cute classmate named Brent, Anne discovers that Isabella wasn’t quite the innocent nerdy girl she pretended to be. But someone will do anything to stop Anne’s snooping in this fast-paced, unputdownable read—even if it means framing her for Isabella’s murder.

About the Author:

Kara Taylor wrote PREP SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL in her first semester of graduate school, in between pulling all nighters and listening to her dad say writing isn't a real job. Now, she lives on Long Island and writes full time. She is represented by Suzie Townsend of New Leaf Literary and Media.

About the Giveaway:

• First Prize winner will receive a signed ARC of Prep School Confidential, a signed copy of The Nightmare Affair, a paperback copy of Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo, and a PSC Swag Pack
• 3-Runner’s up will receive 3 PSC swag packs
• Open US/Canada only
• Runs May 29 to June 11
• No purchase necessary to enter
• Be sure to read the terms and conditions on the giveaway

Participating Blogs:

Kara Taylor
Lori M. Lee
Cat York
Once Upon a Time In Writerland
I Eat Words
Chanelle Gray
Dawn Rae Miller
Jenn Walkup

a Rafflecopter giveaway

May 22, 2013

I'm on the OneFour KidLit blog today!

Like the title says, if you'd like to read my interview at OneFour KidLit, you can see it here:

Hope you guys are having a great week! :)

May 17, 2013

From Draft to Book Deal

First, the contest is over and all winners will be contacted. Thank you so much for entering and for all the kind words and congratulations ♥

Okay, so here's where I promised more info about the road to yes.

Warning: TL;DR (too long; didn't read) ahead!

While I'm so happy I can finally talk about how I'm going to be published (OMG!!!), keep in mind that even though I'm focusing on the successes, they came right alongside a lot of rejection.

Like... a lot. (I have a 'rejections' folder in my email where I keep them all... I'm afraid to look in it)

And of course, in typical Lori fashion, this story will be illustrated by my gif friends.

I started GATES OF THREAD AND STONE (then called Harbinger) July of 2011 while I was querying a different manuscript, which some of you might recall from a past cover design contest. It took four weeks to write the first draft of GATES and three months of editing before I felt it was querying-ready. This was not typical. My previous ms took me half a year to write the first draft and then another year for revisions and rewrites.

Anyway, midway into editing GATES, I received an email from Super Agent Suzie Townsend. She had requested SOUL a month prior. She finished the manuscript and really liked it!

But she ultimately had to pass, and she included two pages of editorial notes. Color me shocked! And HUGELY appreciative. I mean, querying writers are lucky if they get a sentence of explanation on rejections, but Suzie went above and beyond and gave me a whole editorial letter! I immediately stopped querying SOUL and set it aside for yet more revisions. This didn't bother me in the least because I was loving GATES and couldn't wait to finish it.

A month later, I won by random drawing a first chapter critique from an author I admired. She liked my chapter so much that she forwarded it to her agent (you guessed it, Super Agent Suzie Townsend), who loved it (and remembered SOUL!) and invited me to submit as soon as I finished editing. See why I'm convinced Suzie and I were meant to work together? :)

Fast forward another month, and I was done editing. I tested the waters first with a few agent-judged contests and live pitch opportunities, all of which either earned me a request or I won. I was pretty floored. I even got this snazzy certificate (I'm not actually from the SF area but the contest was open to everyone):
Anyway, I found myself with 10 agent requests (2 from referrals) and 1 editor request before I'd even started querying. I was excited, but also terrified because if I failed now? It would mean my writing just didn't cut it.

So I sent in all requested materials and began querying in earnest. I sent my query-with-referral to Suzie on a Friday night at 11:45 pm (b/c when I'm tired is when I'm feeling bravest).

Thirty minutes later, she responded with: "YES PLEASE SEND!!!! Right now! :) :)"

I was over the moon. Fast forward four weeks. By now, I had enough rejections and requests to send me on a constant roller coaster of up and down.

Then I got a sheepish and apologetic email from Suzie saying she'd responded within days to receiving my manuscript and wondered why I hadn't replied. She checked her email and found it never sent. But she still wanted to talk! YAY! *cue freak out*

We set up a phone call, during which I was too anxious and wired to remember to say ANY of the things I'd planned to. When she asked what else I was working on, even though I had it written down right in front of me, I blanked and went, "Um... this book about... a girl who has a monster in her... and this boy... who captures her."

And then because I could unfortunately HEAR myself, I added, "Wow, that sounds terrible."

Suzie was kind enough to laugh and take it in stride, and despite my bumbling, she STILL offered me rep. Whew!

Then I hung up and ran around the house at least twice.

And emailed/called my CPs. And contacted all the other agents with my manuscript, and even some agents who only had my query (many of whom promptly requested the manuscript). I ended up with more offers of rep, in addition to several agents who passed but asked me to get in touch immediately should I ever find myself NOT agented. Wow.

(happy tears)

So then I had a decision to make. But considering everything that happened during my querying journey, it just didn't feel right to go with anyone but Suzie. Her revisions for the book convinced me it would be the best book possible, that my writing would be the best possible, under her guidance. So I accepted her offer, and it was off to the revision races.

Being on submission was crazy. Over the course of nine months, I made one minor revision and then one major revision, received a lot of rejections and several editor-loves-it-but-couldn't-get-enough-support-to-make-an-offer close calls (the first of which made me ugly cry, but we won't talk about that). But then, suddenly we had an offer. YAY! And then another editor offered! YAYx2! I spoke with Robin Benjamin from Amazon Children's Publishing on the phone, and she was absolutely lovely and so enthusiastic. And 2 weeks later, I officially accepted. YAYx3!!!

ALL THE EMOTIONS while on submission:

There were times I honestly didn't think I'd make it here. But I'm so insanely grateful to my agent for believing in this book, and to my CPs, Mindee and Lauren and Anna, who kept telling me I could do it even when I wasn't so sure myself. And I'll stop here because I'll save the thanks for the Acknowledgments. (OMG I'M GOING TO HAVE AN ACKNOWLEDGMENTS!!!)

YAY! ♥

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