I'm so thrilled to be on a panel at the Montgomery County Book Festival, February 15, 2014! I've attended this book festival for a couple years now, and to be invited to participate as an author is such an honor! They're still announcing the author lineup, but I've seen it, and it's exciting!
If you're local to Houston, come check it out. I'll have some ARCs to give away for the teens, and some swag to sign!
For more information, and to read my interview, CLICKY HERE.
They look so cute next to each other, I can't stand it! And something else super fun: ITALIAN is teased in the ARC of FOOL ME TWICE, and Amy Finnegan's NOT IN THE SCRIPT (Fall '14) is teased in the back of ITALIAN's ARC. Love!
This week, the Class of 2k14 is sharing what we're thankful for. Click the logo above to see links to posts from the other members!
I'm not going to lie, this has been a difficult year. I'm anxious for 2014 to start, hopeful the new year won't be quite so heart smashing. But despite the trials, there's still plenty to be thankful for.
My husband. The best man in the world.
My parents. Supportive. Loving. Funny.
My husband's family. I couldn't have asked for better in-laws and nephews.
My friends. A wide variety of personalities and interests. I love them all.
My book deal with Bloomsbury. If it weren't for this amazing dream come true, I feel it's likely I'd be wallowing around in a black hole of sadness. This has been a bright spot that brings a smile to my face every day. And I'm so thankful for that.
My agent, Marietta Zacker. She's so great, y'all. I can't even believe I get to work with such a talented and kind person who also gets my stories.
My editor, Caroline Abbey. Smart, sweet, similar interests. Couldn't have hand picked a better editor for my debut experience.
The Class of 2k14. I'm learning so much, and it's brought me a new close friend.
My boxers, Duke and Mylie. The personalities on these two! We're laughing every day.
My tastebuds. I'll be especially thankful these work on Thursday when I'm eating pumpkin crunch cake.
Books, and that people are still buying/reading them.
Airplanes that allow me to visit far away lands.
Digital cameras, Photoshop, and that I sort of know how to use both of them.
There's plenty more, but I won't bore you. What are you thankful for this year?
Bloomsbury UK is going to publish WISH YOU WERE ITALIAN in July 2014!
I learned this news the same time I saw my cover for the first time, so it was a bit overshadowed, but once it really registered, I FLIPPED! My book will be on shelves ACROSS THE POND! I'm so beyond thrilled, I don't even know what to say. Eeeeeep!!
I'm also SO super pumped about the AMAZINGLY ADORABLE BLURB from Lindsey Leavitt, author of Going Vintage and Sean Griswold's Head!
“With Italy's brilliant landscapes, a main character you'll love from the first line and a new dreamy book boyfriend (he's mine!), IF ONLY YOU WERE ITALIAN is a charming and addictive read. Devour this delicious treat like a double scoop of gelato.”
Cutest blurb EVER!! I'm still freaking out that someone besides my agent and my editor has read my book, but to have her say such SWEET things about it too?! I'm so so so very delighted and thankful!
My brain doesn't fully understand that in seven months, this THING that I wrote will be OUT in the world! Even sooner once ARCs start floating around! I'm so hopeful that my little story will find its readers and give them all the warm squishy feels. Eeeep!
My Texas friends are so sweet to join me in the celebration today by sharing my cover on their blogs! Be sure to check out each one--they've all shared a little something different, complete with my own photos from Italy!
This may seem like old news since I've been allowed to talk about it since February, but my book deal was just announced in Publishers Weekly!!
This whole experience still seems unreal, like one day I'll wake up to find I'm actually still querying. What a nightmare that would be! But here I'm one step closer to being able to share my little book with y'all! This past year or so has been such an adventure, not only for me, but for so many of my writerly friends signing with agents, getting book deals, getting covers, having launch parties. I feel so honored to be a part of it all.
What's going on with you lately? Any exciting announcements I may have missed? Anyone just starting to query for the first time, or maybe the millionth time? I'm sending you hugs and chocolate and that overused but TRUE encouragement that the hard work can and does pay off.
In September, I made the drive up to Dallas to meet my agent, Marietta Zacker, IN PERSON! She was a speaker at DFW's SCBWI conference, so I met up with her the day before for lunch and, of course, ice cream! She's smart, she's kind, and she's hysterical! We had a GREAT time, just like old friends.
Aren't we cute?! I'm one blessed gal, that's for sure. *hugs agent*
And last weekend I went to the Austin Teen Book Festival! What an amazing event, headed up by the one and only Jen Bigheart. She asked me to be one of the event photographers this year, so I came out of retirement, dusted off my camera and lenses (I really did have them professionally cleaned), and road tripped it out there with Maria. While I had a great time, I'm officially thankful I'm not in the photography biz anymore.
One of the highlights of the weekend was meeting Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas! He's so genuinely nice too!
I was also blown away by Sarah Dessen. I've only read two of her books, but after meeting her and listening to her on her panel, I'm a fan for life. She's just an amazing person. Sadly, I don't have a picture of us. Sigh.
But I do have pictures with the girls! I finally got to meet Julie Murphy in person!
She's so sweet, y'all. And one of the funniest people I've ever met. Watch for her book, Side Effects May Vary, coming from Balzer+Bray in March!
L-R: Top-Katie from Mundie Moms, Stacy, Nancy also from GITS; Bottom-Stephanie, me.
(behind the camera is the super sweet and talented Magan Blasig of Rather Be Reading)
I had so much fun working behind the scenes and helping the Fierce Reads tour at their signing table. It felt like a stepping stone from attending spectator, to worker bee, to one day, however hard to believe right now, an author sitting on panels and signing books. So excited to start my debut year in just a couple months! Eeeek!
What have YOU been up to this summer? Go to any conferences or book festivals? Meet any blogging friends?
I've just added a sign up widget thingie over on the right --> under my picture and bio. If you so wish, you can get emails from me to keep you up to date on things like cover reveals, book release dates, and I dunno, THE LAUNCH PARTY next spring!
I promise not to spam you every day with junk. I plan to only send out news when there is actual news.
I'm the newest member of YA Outside the Lines, a blog of YA novelists that write from the heart! I'd like to send y'all over to my first post HERE. We're talking about teen memories of summer this month, which means ice skating!
There's even a picture of 13 year old me! GO SEE GO SEE!
1. I've been listening to audiobooks lately. I'm currently listening to The Giver by Lois Lowry read by Ron Rifkin (from Alias!). It's taken some work to train myself to pay attention because I'm more of a visual, but if the narrator is good, they really bring a story to life. I find myself enjoying stories I may not have taken the time to read, and if I listen while on a walk, sometimes it makes me want to walk farther!
2. Copyediting is DONE! What a weird feeling to see your book marked up in such a critical way. Missed punctuation, alternate spellings, words missing entirely. It was quite the experience, but I'm glad the book is once again out of my hands!
3. My WIP is now over 69,000 words! I'm so at that point where things need to be wrapped up and I'm increasingly intimidated by everything left to do. *collapses*
4. The Civil Wars has a new album coming out soon (which I've already pre-ordered) and it saddens me that I'll probably never get the chance to see them perform live as they are currently not on speaking terms. But man can they make some amazing music in the midst of all the not getting along.
5. A year or so ago, Catherine introduced me to artist Cori Dantini's work, and I've been obsessed ever since. I mean, LOOK HOW CUTE!
A lot of her pieces include birds, which I have a hard time resisting! I've purchased two prints so far, and I've marked so many more as favorites. So. Hard. To. Pick. Check out her Etsy store HERE.
It's hard to believe that this time next year, people will be able to buy a physical copy (or ebook) of my book, stick it in their beach bags, lay it on their towels, and, yannow, read it. I've had some time to get used to the idea. Over the past few months, I've done the revisions and I'm working on the copyedits right now. But most days I'm just like, IS THIS REALLY HAPPENING?
That's one of the reasons I haven't posted anything lately. I've been so confused about what to do with this space. I'm really paranoid about coming across as a braggy-bragster-bragpants about the whole publishing thing, and lately it's pretty much all my brain has room for.
But today, my brain is also pondering summer books!
Last year, I read Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard, which I really enjoyed and felt it an appropriate beach read for the travel-y aspect, as I was, in fact, also traveling. And soon I plan to read How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True by Sarah Strohmeyer. It sounds absolutely adorable, and it has one of the funniest openers I've seen. A summer internship at a Disney-like theme park? YES PLEASE.
What's on your reading list this summer? What are some past favorites?
The lovely Krista Van Dolzer at Mother. Write. (Repeat.) asked if Marietta and I would be interested in participating in her blog series, "Agent-Author Chat." I'm a long-time follower of Krista's blog, so I jumped right on that opportunity!
I'm excited to announce that today is the day and the interview is UP! Head on over HERE to read my answers to my agency's form submission, what about my story captured my agent's attention, as well as my agent's very wise querying advice.
And Krista recently announced her own book deal, so make sure to give her a big congrats!!
Just a quick HELLO to YOU! I hope everyone enjoyed the long weekend and took some time to remember those who have sacrificed so much for this country. We are forever thankful and our hearts go out to your families.
In exciting news, I'm part of the Class of 2k14!! We're a group of twenty authors debuting next year, and I couldn't be more excited about ALL OF IT! The website is coming together nicely and I'll announce the launch as soon as it's live!
In the meantime, FOLLOW US ON TWITTER!! I'll be running the Twitter account on Fridays so feel free to bug me! FUN TIMES!
1. Saw Iron Man 3 over the weekend. Loved it. Must see it again. It's a great character study too. I love how flawed Tony Stark is. And how hilariously awesome.
3. ALMOST caught up on all my photography edits, and I have one last straggler of a session this evening. Once I'm done with these edits, I will be...
4. A FULL-TIME WRITER?! It was sort of an accident. I didn't intend on leaving my part-time office job, but it became necessary for reasons that don't have much to do with me. So for the foreseeable future, I'm going to try out this idea of a...
5. Daily Schedule. Yep. I have a major time management problem, so I've printed out some daily worksheets broken down in time increments. I'm anxious to roll out this efficiency plan next week!
Dearest bloggy buddies. Can I just hug each of you and tell you that you are loved and appreciated and beautiful and talented?
Remember when I called upon your visual opinion as to which of my photography prints I should donate to an auction benefiting my friends for their medical expenses? It was believed their little girl was born with an underdeveloped brain and wouldn't quite be at the level of other kids her age--maybe a year or two behind. So many unknowns, time would tell more.
But it turned out to be more than that, a neurodegenerative disease of the mitochondria, and ten-month-old Jamie Faith passed away on April 10th, surrounded by family and friends that love her dearly.
It's so hard to know what to do, what to say, to friends going through the loss of their child. My husband and I were there for this baby's birth (well, in the waiting room at the hospital) and at their home when she left us. I was honored to take her newborn pictures, as well as pictures of her last moments--the hardest thing I've ever done in my life.
At the memorial service, a family friend spoke and said that Jamie touched so many lives without ever saying a word. And it's true.
1. I - I love you like a love song, baby. And I keep hittin' repeatpeatpeatpeatpeat. Oh, Selena Gomez. The first time I heard this song, I didn't get it. At all.
2. But it kept coming up on Just Dance 4 for the Wii (we won the Wii in a raffle at a benefit!), and suddenly I was addicted. I am determined to get a perfect score on this song, as well as Call Me Maybe, and Maneater. But I am a terrible dancer. It's still fun though!
3. My revisions are done and turned in to my editor! The changes weren't TOO major, but they took some time, and I'm pretty happy with the result. So now I wait. I'm getting good at the waiting.
4. Anyone watching The Voice this season? We skipped the last couple seasons, but with the judge switches, we decided to give it a shot and we're hooked! Blake is hilarious as always and there is some serious talent out there! I already bought Savannah Berry's version of Safe & Sound (she's from Houston, y'all!) and I have my eye on a few others.
5. Some of you may remember my 2013 good eating/fitness goal I set in January, and I did really really good! .... until my book deal. And I admittedly have done a little too much celebrating. And once you taste that sugar, it's hard to knock it again. BUT I've joined a DietBet for April and I'm getting back on track! How are your goals going this year?
I was a fan of Pushing Daisies from the very first episode. It's quirky, the characters are adorable, the premise is clever, the pies look delicious. Even the narrator's voice is perfect (I believe he's the same guy that did the Harry Potter audiobooks).
Recently, Chiller started playing the series IN ORDER, FROM THE BEGINNING. I mean, how cool is that? (It's on Tuesdays, by the way) I've fallen in love all over again, and I'm once again saddened that a brilliant show was canceled too soon. What was it that kept viewers from "getting it" when it aired the first time around? Was it just before its time? Were the characters not CUTE ENOUGH? (Not possible... )
Too often, good shows are forced to hurry and tie up all the loose ends in a whirlwind of sloppy writing (Life on Mars), or they just get canceled and we have no closure at all (Joan of Arcadia) until the movie finally gets made (Veronica Mars--YES, THEY'RE MAKING A MOVIE!!).
Maybe I shouldn't complain too much, though. Sometimes a good show lasts longer than expected, and the storyline suffers (I'm looking at you, Downton Abbey). I'd almost rather not know what's in a character's future than be disappointed by seeing it take a wrong turn.
There seems to be a food chain of jealousy in publishing. Someone just starting a WIP might be irritated when their critique partner announces they just finished a first draft; so-and-so is freaking out about a full request and you only got a partial; if one more person announces they signed with an agent you're going to throw something; the agented writer cringes when another book deal is announced and they're still on sub; the person with a one-book deal wonders why this other person got a two-book deal, with a bigger publishing house; everyone is jealous of the seven figure deal that's buzzing all over Twitter; this author over here really wishes their cover could have been as amazing as so-and-so's cover; the author that has to keep their day job may envy the full-time writer who cranks out more than one book a year and is constantly on tour like a rock star; we see yet another movie or TV series being made out of a fantasy or paranormal and think WHY CAN'T I WRITE A BOOK LIKE THAT?; those authors with movie deals might be jealous over another movie's casting, as they have zero control over this, or glare at the (few) people with theme parks/thrill rides based on their books/comics etc ... that's really as far as my brain can see this going. If you land a theme park set in the world of your imagination, YOU HAVE ARRIVED! ;)
*UPDATE - of course, as KM mentioned in the comments, we are also VERY happy for everyone's good news. It should be more encouraging than discouraging that dreams DO come true!
I think it's probably common to wish you were in a different place, no matter WHERE you are yourself. Unless you're J.K. Rowling, there's always someone ahead of you (and I'll bet even she admires someone else--you never know). For some reason, we get it into our heads that we need to rush rush rush. "But I want to be a NYT Bestseller NOW!" "I want that seven-figure deal NOW!"
But we can't let that jealousy rob us of our individual experience. Sure, we can look to the future and have hopes and goals, but we can't be so blinded by it we miss what's right in front of us. Everyone ahead of you was right where you are at one point, they just happened to go through it first. I'm learning to look at them as proof that these goals can actually be accomplished, and work my rear off to get there. Channel that desire to be where they are into making it happen, and don't give up and start whining about it all. It's WORK. Hard work. You have to love it.
As I'm waiting and waiting for my first book to make it onto a shelf next year, I've found myself wishing time would just HURRY UP ALREADY so I can realize that dream. But... why would I wish my life to speed up? I have plenty to enjoy at this stage, as well as a lot of work before I'm READY to be any farther along.
I'm so so so so excited to be working with Caroline Abbey at Bloomsbury, I can't even tell you! She's worked with Lindsey Leavitt and Melissa Walker! And you know who else is at Bloomsbury? SHANNON HALE! Remember when I met her last year and fangirled all over the place? And she asked me to tell a little about myself so I blabbered about being a writer and then she asked what house I was with and I had to say I just started querying, but now I can say BLOOMSBURY LIKE YOU! *breathes* I just... can't even.
I am so grateful to so many people. My amazing agent, my family, my critique girls, my beta readers, my writing buddies, my blogging support system, and now to my editor for giving me this amazing opportunity for an experience of a lifetime! I mean, NEXT YEAR... MY BOOK will be ON SHELVES in BOOKSTORES, in LIBRARIES, and WHO KNOWS WHERE ELSE?! People I don't know are going to read it, and sure some will hate it and some will be just meh about it... but some might actually love it! I am okay with ALL OF THIS!
Lover of books, music, movies, crafty things, and chocolate. My contemporary YA novels WISH YOU WERE ITALIAN, and WHAT YOU ALWAYS WANTED are out now from Bloomsbury. Represented by Marietta Zacker of the Gallt & Zacker Literary Agency.