Monday, December 31, 2012

Our Debut Year Eve Contest!

Do you what tonight is?

The eve of our debut year!

We've been waiting for 2013 and now it's finally here!  We'd love to celebrate with you by having a contest!  We're giving away a mega swag pack of Lucky 13s stuff!

You'll get a whole bunch of goodies from the following Lucky 13s:

Rachele Alpine (CANARY, August 1, 2013)

Kit Grindstaff (THE FLAME IN THE MIST, April 9th, 2013)

Lenore Appelhans (LEVEL 2, Jan. 15, 2013)

Mindy McGinnis (NOT A DROP TO DRINK, September 9, 2013)

Kristen Kittscher (THE WIG IN THE WINDOW, June 18, 2013)

Sarah Skilton (BRUISED, March 5, 2013)

April Genevieve Tucholke (BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA, August 15, 2013)

Kristin Halbrook (NOBODY BUT US, January 29, 2013)

Tamera Will Wissinger (GONE FISHING A Novel In Verse, March 5, 2013)

Cat Winters (IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS, April 2, 2013)

Polly Holyoke (THE NEPTUNE PROJECT, May, 2013)

Christina Farley (GILDED, November 2013)

Laura Golden (EVERY DAY AFTER, June 11, 2013)

Lydia Kang (CONTROL, December 19, 2013)

Mindee Arnett (THE NIGHTMARE AFFAIR, March 5, 2013)

K.A. Barson (45 POUNDS (MORE OR LESS), July 11, 2013)

Justina Ireland (VENGEANCE BOUND, April 2, 2013)

Elisabeth Dahl (GENIE WISHES, April 1, 2013)

Kate Karyus Quinn (ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE, June 11, 2013)

Elsie Chapman (DUALED, February 26th, 2013)

What are you waiting for???  Enter below!  We will close the contest on January 5 and announce a winner!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Teenage Slang: A (Short) Glossary

One of the biggest, most obvious benefits of working with teenagers is that I get insight into their lives in a way that many writers wouldn’t necessarily be privy to. I’m amazed at how, year after year, the slang seems to change and how phrases I was sure were cool are actually SO five minutes ago (epic fail, anyone?) As a tool for my fellow writers, and perhaps for some entertainment, I decided to put together a small glossary of “teen terms” that I hear every day.

Jaunt: To be used as “junk” would be, to replace a noun. Example: “I’ll hit up that jaunt after school” or “Dude, that jaunt is impossible to figure out.”

Ratchet: To be used like “tore up from the floor up”; Extremely ugly. Example: “That girl may look pretty now, but in middle school she was ratchet as hell.”

Hip: To be used like “aware” or “in the know.” Example: “Yo, you hip to Lil Wayne’s new mix tape?”

Cise: To be used like “carry” or “give someone a hard time.” Example: “Mrs. Fiore, stop cising and give me the answer to number six!”

You tryin’ to?: To be used like “Can you?” or “Will you?” Example: “You tryin’ to lend me a dollar for lunch?”

Twatching (Twitter-watching): To be used like “Stalking.” Example: “My mom be twatching my page all night, man!”

Bad: To be used like “Hot.” Example: “Hey, Diana looks bad today, don’t you think?”

“I got you.”: To be used like “I understand” or “I can help.” Example: “You need a pen? I got you.”

There are so many more – some of them appropriate and some of them not so much. One I’ve been attempting squash lately is “No Homo,” a phrase my male students like to throw around after everything they say that, in their opinion, could be construed as homosexual.

Some of this slang is useful – some, not so much. In the end, it reminds me that a little slang in my writing goes a long way. When you overdo it, it just feels false, no matter how authentic the words are when teens use them.

Do you have additions to my list? Add them in the comments! It would be great to compile a longer list -- and I know as soon as I post this, I'll think of a dozen more! :)


Kelly Fiore's debut, Taste Test, is due out August 20, 2013. You can find her at or on Twitter at @kellyannfiore.

Friday, December 28, 2012

This Year All I Want Is...

It's that time of year. You know, the time when (if you're like me) you make a list of things you'd like to do, see, accomplish in the new year. I figured that for fun, I'd share mine with you today and then maybe, if you've got yours together, you could share yours with me in the comments. So without a lot of hemming and hawing, here goes:

 This year all I want is...

1. To finally pull those size eight jeans out of my closet and fit into them. These would be the ones that I've kept for the past six years since before baby number two that are white with dust along the hanger crease because they've been untouched for so long. (I suppose I should put the Christmas cheesecake down now, huh?) Here's hoping that they're still in style.

2. To run in a race again...maybe a 5k. Okay, maybe I should clarify here. What I really mean is fast walk/jog in a 5k race...probably one with zombies in it like RUN FOR YOUR LIVES because I think I'll need mock zombies in full gore makeup breathing down my neck to properly motivate me to move my very wide writer's behind. Rule #1: Cardio (You know I had to reference ZOMBIELAND here).

3. To complete not one, but two books this year. Confession: I'm a very slow writer. I mean SLOW. I write full time every single day and yet I still manage only one book a year to date. Here's hoping I can find a way to make these fingers of mine fly over the keyboard and my brain do something other than Duhhhhhhhhhh. Caffeine good. Words hard for the first half of every day.

4. To keep on top of current events that don't include Lindsay Lohan. I stay in the writer cave most of every day. When I come out somehow E News goes on. *hides* Not very literary of me is it?

5. To make it to NYC before my book comes out. Yep. I want to do that whole writerly tour of the Random House building with Jay Z's New York song blaring in the least in my own head. If I played it for real and started strutt-dancing George Jefferson-style when I met with my editor and everybody that would be weird, right?

 Now it's your turn....

Amy Christine Parker's book, GATED (formerly THE SILO), realeases with Random House Children's Fall of 2013 and follows a teenage girl named Lyla who has been living in a religious cult after the disappearance of her sister. While her parents are hopelessly under the sway of the group’s leader, Pioneer, Lyla is drawn into a dangerous situation when she begins to question Pioneer’s prophecy about the impending apocalypse. You can find her on her website, on her blog, and/or follow her on Twitter. She would absolutely love it if you added GATED on your to read list on Goodreads here.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Write A Little Note To Yourself

I did some laptop clean up last night. This mainly consisted of deleting the eighteen copies I somehow have of the same picture of my cat, attempting to organize the 200 files I decided would be a good idea to save on my desktop, and opening/re-naming/deleting/e-filing/reading very old Word documents.

Good times.

It can be inspiring though, going through all those old Word docs, finding old gems that just need to be dusted off with some new perspective. Well okay. . .not really. Most of the time I just end up finding something awful, like a poem called “The Dude on the Plaid Couch.” I soon turn into a confused, yet nostalgic, detective. I start document searching through my past, wondering not only what possessed me to I write a terrible poem about a dude and a plaid couch, but why on earth I decided to even save it?

Last night however, I did find a great old gem. Just the thing I needed. It was saved as 'DO IT GOD JUST DO IT' in January. This was during one my hardest revisions. My revision process was a long one. I went through, roughly, four pretty major re-writes of my book and January was one of the toughest. I was second guessing every single thing I wrote; every plot turn, every character's thought. So I wrote myself a motivational note, which I had completely forgotten about until now.

DO IT GOD JUST DO IT. Stop over-thinking everything! Don't re-write every 50 pages you do! Just KEEP GOING! It's good! It's not horrible! Remember your first draft? Look how far you've come! YOU CAN DO THIS! But you won't do it, it will NEVER happen, if you keep psyching yourself out! DO IT GOD JUST DO IT. WRITE WRITE WRITE! You know what to do. It's all in your head already, so just make some executive decisions, let it flow, try to enjoy yourself a little more, and finishing this baby up! You can do it! YEAH! Get excited! Do it! Write it! Finish it! NOW! NOW! NOW! 

Am I the only one who talks to themselves via Microsoft Word? I hope not, because almost a year ago it helped me through a tough revision. In fact, reading that again is motivating me right now. So go ahead and write yourself a little note. I highly recommend it.


Mindy Raf is a writer, comedy performer, and musician based in Brooklyn, NY. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan, and grew up in a Detroit suburb right around here (visualize someone pointing to the inner part of their thumb). She has written for VH1,, was a contributor to the “My Parents Were Awesome” anthology. 
Her debut YA novel The Symptoms of My Insanity comes out
April 2013 with DIAL (Penguin)

Monday, December 24, 2012

meanwhile . . . middle grade!

2012 was a great year for middle grade literature! 

Before the Apocalypsies say goodbye to their debut year, we wanted to take one last chance to celebrate their wonderful books. 

First, a shout-out to the caboose on this year's middle grade train:

FISHTALE  by Hans Bauer and Catherine Masciola

KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES  by Shannon Messenger

FREAKLING  by Lana Krumwiede

THE MARBLE QUEEN  by Stephanie J Blake

I asked a few of these debut authors what the best part of this year has been, and this is what they had to say:

"The best part of this year for me was when a young reader convinced her parents to drive her an hour out of their way to one of my book events so I could sign her copy of Seeing Cinderella. That moment right there: That's why I write middle grade."

Jenny Lundquist

"Without a doubt, the coolest thing about my debut year has been visiting schools and connecting with readers. It's easy to get caught up in the ins and outs of publishing and forget the simple joy that comes from reading an excerpt of your book to hundreds of middle schoolers and high schoolers -- and then watching as they all, as one, gasp and shiver and grin. That -- the sheer joy of sharing stories -- is what has helped me get through the lows of my debut year -- although there have, of course, been many highs! I encourage all future debut authors to remember that joy that comes from sharing stories, even when -- especially when -- the going gets rough (and the inbox skyrockets). It's the reason we do this, after all."

Claire Legrand

"A girl came to one of my first events who had picked up Storybound off the bookstore's display and read it earlier that week.  That was the first time I had met a reader in person who wasn't a relative or friend - haha! - and I think that's the moment it felt official: my book was finally in the hands of readers."

Marissa Burt

"One of my favorite moments: I was at my future brother-in-law's wedding and one of his friend's kids, a 9-year-old girl, had read my book. When she found out I was the author, she was so excited to speak to me. She told me that she couldn't believe she was meeting a real live author and also about her own plans to become an author and an illustrator when she grew up.

I can safely say all my interactions with actual kids who have read my book, be it in person, via kid reviews, or even the occasional fan email, have been my absolute favorite part of this whole year. It really made me remember the point of it all (and it often came at times when I may have forgotten)."

Sarvenaz Tash

Congrats to the 2012 debuts! Before we know it, 2013 will be here -- and we've got another great line-up of middle grade books that we can't wait for you all to read!

Melanie Crowder graduated in 2011 with an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is the author of PARCHED (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, June 2013).
A West Coast girl at heart, Melanie now lives and writes in the beautiful (if dry) state of Colorado. She can be found on facebooktwittergoodreads and at

Friday, December 21, 2012

Debut author nuggets, anyone?

Last year I seriously thought about starting a blog called What I Know Now. I thought it would be neat to create a space where those who had “been there, done that” in life could leave words of wisdom for those who hadn’t. Then I realized there are plenty of places like that online already, just not with that cool title (if I may say so myself).

As a not-yet-agented and then as a not-yet-sold writer, I spent a lot of time tracking down nuggets of wisdom from traditionally published writers, but this was often a bit of a dicey pursuit; reading about others’ successes in areas I could only dream about could, at times, easily lead to envy and discouragement, neither of which provides good nourishment for the muse. Still, it was an important thing to do, and I know without a doubt that many of the tips I found have led to this moment, when a new year and the release of my contemporary YA novel, BRIANNA ON THE BRINK, are suddenly right around the corner. And while I’m sure I’ll have tons of debut year tidbits to share in twelve months, the list of what I know now is pretty simple. It looks like this:

1) Joining a debut author group was a great thing to do. Not only do the Luckies support each other, but we are able to bounce ideas off one another and offer perspective when one of us hits a roadblock. Writing entails enough solitude as it is, and there’s no need to go the distance alone.

2) It’s so important to keep writing, to keep working on the next book, during the rollercoaster ride that is the lead-up to one’s debut year. Doing so can keep a soon-to-be-published author from getting too obsessed about Book #1, speaking of which…

3) Knowing when to let go of a book is key to preserving a new author’s sometimes delicate sanity. With a release date right around the corner, it’s crucial to remember that the book will soon belong to readers, for better or for worse.

4) Finally, finding a way to give back is so important when it comes to maintaining balance and remembering why one got into this writing gig in the first place. Whether it’s teaching aspiring, young writers or mentoring an upcoming debut author just starting out on the journey, the opportunities are abundant.

Happy holidays, everyone, and may 2013 be a year of growth and peace for all of us!

Nicole McInnes is the author of the contemporary novel BRIANNA ON THE BRINK in which sixteen-year-old Brianna Taylor finds herself lost, alone and with a major surprise in store after a one-night-stand. Just when she’s got nowhere left to turn, help arrives from the one person who is closest to her big mistake, but accepting that help will leave Brianna forced to choose between clinging to the ledge of fear and abandonment – or jumping into the unknown where a second chance at hope might just be waiting. Find Nicole at her website, on Twitter and on Facebook.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

What Older Me Has to Say to Younger Me

by Mindy McGinnis

I started writing when I was in college after having literally thrown a book across a room. You might hear people say fairly often that a book was so bad, or it made them so angry that they threw it across a room. But yes, I actually threw it. This was a book that everyone loved, including my professor. It was supposed to have deep insights into human complexity. It was supposed to make life make sense.

And it was drivel. Unadulterated crap on a stick.

So I threw it, and decided if that could get published and win accolades, then surely it was about time I move all the stories from my head onto paper and get a few of those for myself.

I then proceeded to sit down and produce my own drivel, a Mindy-Version of unadulterated crap on a stick.

I'm not saying the book I threw has become any better with time and distance (it hasn't), but I am saying that I've learned a lot about subjectivity, marketing, and the repulsive quality of an oversized ego. I've heard more than one agent say that an author who believes they are the best thing that ever happened typically can't write worth a crap. Authors who know they have weaknesses and are open to improving and learning are the ones that will rise above.

I didn't want to know that when I was younger. I wanted to be a shining star rising out of the slag heap, a source of light for everyone to crowd around and heat their fingers, numb from hours of holding senseless crap-on-a-stick books. Um, yeah, I really thought I was that great.

And I wasn't. And I'm still not. And I'm old enough to get that now.

Any author who is honest with themselves will tell you that when we open our editorial letter we question ourselves for even attempting to climb this crazy mountain that is the publishing world. We re-read everything we wrote the day before when we open the WIP and suspect we may have lost whatever little magic we were operating with before that point. We read books written by authors better than ourselves and set them down thinking, "Wow. I will never, ever be that good."

And as long as I'm open to the possibility that I just might suck, I know that I'm going to keep getting better.


Mindy McGinnis is a YA author and librarian. Her debut, NOT A DROP TO DRINK, is a post-apocalyptic survival tale set in a world where freshwater is almost non-existent, available from Katherine Tegen / Harper Collins September 9, 2013. She blogs at Writer, Writer Pants on Fire and contributes to the group blogs Book Pregnant, Friday the Thirteeners, From the Write Angle, The Class of 2k13 and The Lucky 13s. You can also find her on Twitter, Tumblr & Facebook.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

With Age, Comes Wisdom?

This cross-stitchable tidbit might not be true with publishing.

I wish that I could say that I knew more about publishing than I did, say, two years ago but I'm not sure that's true.  The landscape constantly changes.  Abandon it for a few months to hammer out your next book and the next new shiny gizmo or news might pass you by.

Sure, at some point you master the art of querying, finding an agent, and finding the right editor.  Oh, and there's the pesky detail of writing the damn book.  But, once your book is sold, I've found that the real work begins.

Like promoting your book.

Book promotion doesn't mean blabbing about your upcoming release 24/7 on Twitter and Facebook and driving people basically crazy with constant advertisement drivel.  In fact, I've learned that book promotion isn't really about your book at all.  It's about you. 

Building your "brand" and finding your audience is very critical.  The good news is that for any writer, regardless of how you decide to publish, branding work can begin long before you publish your book.  The more genuine and authentic you can be, the more rewards you may be able to reap when you need them most.

For example, don't look at the people you meet in various social media outlets as "followers." Gawd, please don't.  Don't be obsessed with amassing followers like you're the leader of some kind of weird cult.  Remember that the people you meet and interact with on Facebook, Twitter, at conferences, in book stores, at book clubs have names and faces--they are all readers, mothers, sisters, teens, librarians, writers, bloggers, neighbors, fathers.  In short, these people may become your professional contacts, confidants and, yes, some may even become your friends.  Building your brand and audience can be as slow as simmering chili in a slow cooker but, depending on your outlook, it can be rewarding and sometimes, dare I say it, fun.

I know.  Easier said then done.  Hey, I might cross-stitch that one!

And don't forget to keep writing your next book.

Liz Fichera's debut YA HOOKED releases in January of 2013 from HarlequinTEEN.  When she's not trying to figure out the mysteries of publishing and writing her next novel, Liz loves to hike in the desert surrounding her home in Phoenix, Arizona, where it's not unusual to get chased by coyotes, rattlesnakes, and the occasional javalina.  To learn more, please visit

Monday, December 17, 2012

Our Books' Opening Lines!

We have an extra-special treat for you today: the opening lines of 68 children's and young adult books debuting in 2013!* Here is your exclusive chance to sample what's in store for the literary world in the year that's just around the bend.

Our books cover a wide variety of genres, styles, settings, and age groups, so sit back, relax, and enjoy a taste of....

Winning: Cara Sweeny had made it her business, and business was good.
Melissa Landers, ALIENATED

I believed that my ancestors lived among the stars.
Liz Fichera, HOOKED

The plan was this: I'd get up on that stage, blow them away with the best damn audition they'd ever seen, and walk out knowing the part I wanted was mine.

You've never met anyone like me.
Karen Harrington, SURE SIGNS OF CRAZY

I'll sleep when I'm dead.
Lenore Appelhans, LEVEL 2

Today is the last day I will see my brother.
Erin Bowman, TAKEN

I stepped inside the railroad car, and three dozen pairs of eyes peered my way.

The basement hallways in King's College of Medical Research were dark, even in the daytime.

"Your dad will leave you when you are twelve."
Rachele Alpine, CANARY

The first time I notice the new inmate is when we're all lined up outside our cells for morning head count.
Emma Pass, ACID

Raim sat in the crook of an old, cracked tree, one leg dangling in the breeze, 
his head leaning back against the trunk.

I am soaring free.

I thought I'd mastered the art of escape.
Kristen Kittscher, THE WIG IN THE WINDOW

"What do you want your name to be this time?"

“You stop fearing the Devil when you’re holding his hand.”

Annie shakes my arm frantically, startling me awake from a nightmare of blood and nameless terror.
Justina Ireland, VENGEANCE BOUND

You would think I’d never jumped off a cliff before, based on how long I stood there.

As Elissa and her mother entered the waiting room, the sky above Central Canyon City was a chill, pre-dawn gray, the spaceport a colorless blaze on the horizon.
Imogen Howson, LINKED

"Shoot to kill this time, okay?"
Amy Christine Parker, GATED (formerly THE SILO)

The shrinkadinks think I have a screw loose.
Scott Blagden, DEAR LIFE, YOU SUCK

Maybe if I move a little slower, I can prevent the inevitable.
Lydia Kang, CONTROL

"Help mehelp!"

Melanie Crowder, PARCHED

The water was everywhere.
Jacqueline Green, TRUTH OR DARE

The banner fluttering in the breeze outside City Hall read, "Scarletville, Iowa: National Redhead Sanctuary."
Alison Cherry, RED

Dark night.
Tamera Will Wissinger, GONE FISHING: A Novel In Verse

My darling daughter,
Know that I never would have left the Earth if it hadn’t already been doomed.
Phoebe North, STARGLASS

Mule-brained Tommy Farrow would ruin everything.
Jennifer McGowan, MAID OF SECRETS

Lynn was nine the first time she killed to defend the pond.

The sickness hits even before I reach the outskirts of London.
Ryan Graudin, ALL THAT GLOWS

Jun approached the teacher’s desk with short, hesitant steps.
Joe Lawlor, BULLY.COM

The first sound Shad heard was the squawk of a chicken.

Breaking and entering wasn't as easy as it looked in the movies.

The field didn’t end so much as trail off, beaten back by the rusted out trailer and circle of junked vehicles surrounding it.

She was dancing with somebody else.
Helen Douglas, AFTER EDEN

I was sound asleep when my head itched.

On the fourth day of junior year, sometime between the second bell marking the start of chemistry class and the time I got home from school, my mother tried to kill herself.

"You can't tell that the coffin holds the body of a boy."

I learned a lot from my daddy, but the number one most important thing is this: never, ever, under any circumstances, let something get the best of you.

I long for the roof to cave in at Keehn’s Department Store.
K.A. Barson, 45 POUNDS (More or Less)

Stillness fills the empty stage as I press the horn bow to my body and notch an arrow.
Christina Farley, GILDED

I stretch out my legs, enjoying the hot sand against my calves.
Lindsey Scheibe, RIPTIDE

I'm standing inside a large fitting room at Lola's Lingerie.

One bright fall day, Sophie chose a squash at the farmers’ market.
Pat Zietlow Miller, SOPHIE'S SQUASH

I only go out at night.
Demitria Lunetta, IN THE AFTER

My mother named me after a cow's rear end.

Here's a list of what not to do when you're sixteen (and a half) and the guy you just went all the way with keels over from a heart attack on the floor of your sister's house:

By the time my brother arrives he can't get to me.
Sarah Skilton, BRUISED

The snake is lying on the front porch like a present or a warning, blood pooled at its throat, glistening against the blackness of its leathery skin.

The drama club homeroom was buzzing with post-summer chatter, but I didn't look up from my copy of Romeo and Juliet.
Jessica Verdi, MY LIFE AFTER NOW

He comes down the road in his Camaro, sliding left to right on the freshly oiled gravel and skidding to a stop in front of my house.
Kristin Halbrook, NOBODY BUT US

“Don't move, Nisha.”

I don't feel the presence of God here.
Stephanie Kuehn, CHARM & STRANGE

A girl, alone.

Danny grew half a foot this summer.

My mom's name is Didi Unger, and that's a fine name.
Barbara Brauner (co-author), OH MY GODMOTHER: THE GLITTER TRAP

My dad's name is Jonathan Ware, and that's a fine name, too.
James Iver Mattson (co-author), OH MY GODMOTHER: THE GLITTER TRAP

I made it halfway across the courtyard before I realized I was still wearing my school slippers.
Amanda Sun, INK

"Fear is coming."

"Holly, don't you think you should at least wear a new pair of jeans for the first day of school?"
Maurene Goo, SINCE YOU ASKED...

The last thing I remember is now.

Of all the directions to be looking, I stare up.

I'd rather not start with any backstory.

I wasn't always the kind of girl who wakes up on the first day of summer vacation to find herself on the receiving end of a temporary restraining order.
Jennifer Salvato Doktorski, HOW MY SUMMER WENT UP IN FLAMES

You had forgotten how early the sun rises on summer campouts—and how loud the birds sing in the morning.
Liz Coley, PRETTY GIRL-13

I am sitting under the acacia tree on the ridge when I first see them: three men, in nice clothes, coming toward our house.
Tara Sullivan, GOLDEN BOY

I yawp most mornings to irritate my father, the Brute.

It’d been over four years since I’d really slept, and I suspected it was killing me.
J.R. Johansson, INSOMNIA

*Note: The opening lines of novels that are still undergoing the editing process are subject to change.

List compiled by Cat Winters, author of In the Shadow of Blackbirds, a World War I-era YA ghost tale coming April 2, 2013, from Amulet Books/ABRAMS. Visit her online at, Twitter, and Facebook.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Every Little Step

Where I talk about how each step of publishing has it's challenges:

Christina Farley's debut YA, GILDED, releases fall 2013 by Amazon Children's Publishing (formally known as Marshall Cavendish). She is represented by Jeff Ourvan of the Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency, LLC. She blogs and vlogs about writing and traveling, and is often found procrastinating on Twitter.

Friday, December 14, 2012

From "I can't wait!" to "No. I can't wait."

By Jacob Fraden [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
I'm just going to say it. Two years is a loooooooong time.

Yet that's the typical wait from book deal to pub date for most big publishers. Two years? No wonder patience is one of the hardest parts of this industry!

In my first ever call with my editor, she said that if I chose to go with them, I could choose my release date. The I-can't-wait-until-my-book-comes-out date, and the better-for-my-book date. They were about nine months apart. It wasn't a hard choice at all (or one I had to spend more than half a second thinking about). Of course I chose the better-for-my-book date! I'm a very patient person. (No, really. I am.)

Do you know who isn't?

EVERYBODY ELSE. I don't think anyone outside this industry really gets why this process of printing a book takes so unbelievably long. (As evidenced by the sheer number of "What? I thought your book came out THIS September. It's still another year?!"s I got this past September....) I love that people I love are excited. I hate that after 393 days, I have to say that my release date is still more than 10 months away.

And that makes the wait so much harder.

Not that there's not plenty to do during the wait! It's definitely not a twiddle-your-thumbs kind of wait. Which brings us to the other side of "I can't wait." The deadline-induced I can't wait.

"Want to go to a movie?"
Sigh. "No. I can't wait any longer to tackle this chapter that's trying to kill me."

"Should we tackle this big closet organization project that's been driving you nuts?"
"No. I can't wait any longer to tackle getting a new website."

"You look like crap. Maybe you should take a sick day."
"No. I can't wait any longer to finish these revisions."

The thing is, deadlines can't wait for you to be ready or to be inspired or to have time. Sometimes they require you to be patient with a messy house or piles of laundry or the lack of down time. And sometimes that kind of patience is even harder than the waiting-for-my-book-to-release variety.


Peggy Eddleman is the author of the MG post-apocalyptic adventure SKY JUMPERS book 1: THROUGH THE BOMB'S BREATH (Random House, September 2013).

Blog | Twitter | Goodreads


Thursday, December 13, 2012

The 13th Day: Super-Awesome-Bomb-Diggity News

Some people may think that the number 13 is unlucky, but not those of us at The Lucky 13s!

In fact, we're celebrating the 13th day of each month by featuring all the fabulous stuff that's been happening to The Lucky 13s.

Please raise a glass to our super-awesome-bomb-diggity news.... 

Rachele Alpine's book CANARY is avaliable for pre-order from Amazon.

Chelsea Pitcher got her first pass passages for THE S-WORD and blogged about it!

Kara Taylor has sold two more books in her PREP SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL series!

Emily Murdoch's book IF YOU FIND ME has sold in Taiwan!

Chelsey Flood received two blurbs for INFINITE SKY. 
The first from Simmone Howell, author of Everything Beautiful and Notes from the Teenage Underground:
"Infinite Sky is beautiful. It made me cry on the train! I love how the place and the 'natural world' is like a character and how it reads contemporary and classic at the same time. I love the romance - how it's more than a romance, really, and not at all sentimental or typical."

The second from Keith Gray, award-winning author of Creepers and Ostrich Boys:
"I think a lot of people are going to be surprised that it's a debut novel from someone in their 20s - most of us writers probably need twice as many years and at least half a dozen books to get that good… So I hope it does brilliantly. I'll definitely be including it in my YA roundup for the Scotsman in the new year. Thanks again for sending it through and introducing me to a fantastic new author."

Liz Fichera's book HOOKED is now available for pre-order wherever books are sold. And there is currently a Goodreads giveaway for 20 copies that runs until December 26, 2012.

April Tuchokle received a blurb for BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA from Melissa Marr:
"Lavishly rendered, darkly romantic, and beautifully unsettling—Tucholke's debut isn't a book you'll soon forget."

Sarah Skilton sold her 2nd novel, a YA mystery called HIGH AND DRY, to Abrams/Amulet books. 

Emma Pass and Chelsey Flood had their books featured in a post on Fluttering Butterflies called 'Most Anticipated UKYA Books in 2013'… they're on a list with Meg Rosoff and a whole load of other amazing UK YA authors!!

Caroline Carlson announced that foreign rights to MAGIC MARKS THE SPOT and its sequels have sold to Kerle Verlag in Germany and Bayard in France.

Imogen Howson's book LINKED is up for pre-order on Amazon!

Tamara Will Wissinger announced that the Junior Library Guild selected her book GONE FISHING A Novel In Verse for their Spring 2013 catalog.

Eve Silver announced that RUSH has sold to Germany and Israel, as well as complex Chinese rights.

Amy Christine Parker's book THE SILO is now GATED and a release date: August 27, 2013 and am up for pre-order on Amazon.

Maurene Goo's book SINCE YOU ASKED is avaliable for pre-order on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Erica Lorraine announced that USES FOR BOYS has received its third starred trade review, after Kirkus and Booklist, from Publishers Weekly.

Cat Winters's IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS sold to Scolar Kiado in Hungary.

Mindy Raf's new webpage is completed and she's having an ARC giveaway contest!

Amy Tintera announced that Fox 2000 hired screenwriter Lindsay Devlin to adapt Amy Tintera's YA sci-fi novel, REBOOT (HarperTeen, May 2013), into a screenplay.

Emily Murdoch's book IF YOU FIND ME received a starred review from Booklist.

K.A. Baron's cover was revealed for 45 POUNDS (MORE OR LESS):

Stephanie Kuehn's cover was revealed for CHARM & STRANGE:

Lenore Jennewein cover was revealed for her picture book:

Woo-hoo, Lucky 13s!
Rachele Alpine is represented by Dystel and Goderich and her young adult comtemporary novel CANARY will be published in August of 2013 by Medallion Press.

She blogs, or you can find her on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


This week, the Lucky 13s are talking about the most difficult part of the whole debut novel process. Well, right now, the hardest part for me is writing my next book.

The thing is, I'm not just writing one book right now. I'm writing two.

One of them is a little like this:

and the other is sort of like this:

I'm not writing two stories at once because I'm in the middle of an epic trilogy, or because I want these revisions to take forever, and definitely not because I want to make this as difficult as absolutely possible.

It's because like any good relationship, my stories and I need some time away from each other. Time to breathe, to settle, to start again with new energy. So I work on one until I get stuck, then I switch to the other.

Which one will be ready first? Which one is the right one to follow my debut? No idea. But it's definitely worth all the hard work. And I can't wait to see how they turn out.


Melanie Crowder is the author of PARCHED, coming June 4th from Harcourt Children's Books, and available for preorder now!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Crazy Author Debut Brain

This week on the blog we’re talking about the most difficult phase of publishing we’ve encountered so far. I think it’s safe to say that anyone who pays even a little bit of attention to the publishing world knows debut authors go through a rollercoaster of excitement and nerves and elation and disappointment. Sometimes all in the same week!

I consider myself pretty lucky. I’ve had a lot more excitement than disappointment in the ten months since my books sold. But I can tell you, without hesitation, what the hardest part has been:


Yes, me. I call it “Crazy Author Debut Brain,” and it’s the part of me that freaks out about things I should not be freaking out over. The part of me that clicks on that article or blog post that I can tell will make me panic.

Now, there are definitely people out there helping out my Crazy Author Debut Brain. They are the ones writing the articles, or posting angry tweets, or taking to their blogs to freak out. They’re the Publishing Doomsdayers.

Now, if you’re a normal person, you kind of look at Publishing Doomsdayers with a puzzled expression and take a giant step back. BUT, if you have Crazy Author Debut Brain, you immediately take all this negativity and translate it into something EVEN WORSE.

Let’s look at some examples.

1. Doomsdayer: “It’s harder to stay published than to get published. Most debut authors won’t publish another book.”

Crazy Author Debut Brain: “Wow, congratulations on those years of hard work that got you published! It’s a fluke. You’ll never do it again. No matter how bad you want it.”

2. Doomsdayer: "Unless you were given a very large advance, you will probably get zero marketing."

Crazy Author Debut Brain: “Haha! You thought your publisher liked your book but actually they hate it and no one will even know it came out! Haha!”

3. Doomsdayer: "If you got a large advance, expectations for your book are really high and you probably won’t be able to earn out."

Crazy Author Debut Brain: “Unless you have huge buzz, fantastic reviews, and debut on the NY Times Bestseller list, you’re a failure and you’ll never publish another book again.”

4. Doomsdayer: "Publishers merging could be very, very bad for authors."

Crazy Author Debut Brain: “It will be impossible to get published in the future. In fact, best to give up. Publishing is basically over.”

But let’s be honest here. None of that negativity I have going on in my brain is true. Sure, all of the above Doomsdayer statements might have some truth to them, but every author's experience is different. Making broad statements about "what always happens" just doesn't work.

So sometimes I try and put away my Crazy Author Debut Brain and be logical:

1. Sure, some people only publish one book. But if you really really want to stay published, then keep writing. Even if you get rejected (like many of us were before our debuts were picked up), just keep writing. Maybe it’s not harder. Maybe it’s just a different type of hard

2. It’s true that bigger advances get more marketing, but your publisher WANTS your book to do well. You may have to do a lot of marketing yourself, but that’s true of pretty much all authors these days. 

3. Yes, a higher advance means higher sale expectations. But very few authors debut on the NY Times Bestseller list with their first book. Very few get HUGE buzz. And “earning out” isn’t the only thing publishers take into consideration when looking at your next book. 

4. We can’t predict the future and what the mergers mean for authors. But I do know this: People are still reading. Maybe how they read will change, and maybe the number of publishers will change, but as long as people want books there will be writers.

So, my advice to myself (and to all those Publishing Doomsdayers) is this: Calm down. Enjoy where you are and try not to stress about the future.

Amy Tintera is a full-time writer living in Los Angeles, CA. HarperTeen will publish her debut novel, REBOOT, May 7, 2013. Visit her website and blog: or follow her on Twitter: @amytintera

Friday, December 7, 2012

Friday Q&A!

It's Friday Q&A time again, and this month, I'm asking the Luckies, Which do you prefer – first drafting or revising?

Ryan Graudin says, 'A year ago, I would have said first drafting. Hands down. But that was before I really, truly pushed myself into the limits of revising and discovered the results. I used to love how everything was possible in rough drafting and the freedom in that. And while I do still love it to some extent, I've found myself growing frustrated at the incompleteness I feel when I'm rough drafting. I love the stage of revising when things finally start pulling together and making sense and the work becomes the sum of its parts! Revising--I never thought I would say this--but you have won me over!'

Lydia Kang adores the first draft process. Everything is so shiny and new! You get to see your imagination realized in words for the first time. It's pretty magical.

And Helen Douglas? Revising. First drafts are often so weak and disappointing. She likes the process of reflecting and finding ways to make it work better.

'Revising, no question!' says Peggy Eddleman. 'I love how everything becomes more complete and layered and interesting and well-paced and REAL. I love the process of polishing something that's so rough and weak, and seeing how strong and shiny it becomes.'

Cat Winters agrees: 'Revising! I love fixing, beautifying, and perfecting everything.'

But Kelly Barson dares to be different. For her, it's the first draft. She loves discovering her story and meeting new characters. It's always surprising, because once the story takes shape, it has a life of its own--beyond what she imagined.

Caroline Carlson likes both for different reasons. 'Writing a first draft is usually either blissful or agonizing--sometimes both in the same day. Revising, for me, is a more analytical process, and while it's often less exciting than drafting, it can also be a nice way to recover from the emotional rollercoaster of the first draft.'

Amie Kaufman also flies the first draft flag: 'While I do love that wonderful feeling of knowing that your revisions just made your story deeper and better, there's something about the drafting process... just me and my keyboard, words flying in every direction. Everything's possible at that moment.'

Kit Grindstaff is a revising fan. She LOVES the magical first draft excitement of seeing ideas materialize on the page, but HATES when she's stuck (like now). That gives her pre-work dread, whereas revising brings far more pre-work Yesss! moments. Plus, it also brings its own magic of new ideas, new layers, which can border on revelation. So that's her winner.

'Oh my goodness, revising,' says C. J. Flood. 'The first draft is so hard. Though it is lovely to come back to plain old writing when you've been revising and editing and copyediting and proofreading a book for months, and it's all finished. It seems unbelievably delightful then, I can't believe my luck. I think, What I can just write anything? I can totally make this up? Amazing.'

Tamera Will Wissinger's response is in homage to Destiny's Child:

'I’m a reviser / I’m not gonna give up / I’m not gonna stop / I’m gonna write harder.
I’m a reviser / I’m gonna make it / I will revise / Keep on revising!

C’mon, sing it with me – you know you want to!'

Nicole McInnes adores the sense of pure possibility that infuses a first draft. Stuck on an idea? Try a new one! Sentence structure messy? Oh, well. That's what revision is for! It's messy, creative bliss.

Christina Farley agrees. ' I love the thrill of the first draft. Can I really write this book? How will it all come together? It's the mystery, the unknown and the anticipation of what will happen.'

But Amy Christine  Parker loves revising, when she know what the plot, world, and characters are and the story becomes like a drawstring purse and all she has to do is pull the strings and close it up tight.  

Imogen Howson often says 'I'm a bad writer but a good editor. For me, it's only when I come back to the first draft that I think, "Oh, I'm actually okay at this." While I'm actually writing the book, I mostly think that it's bad and I'm bad and that I've forgotten how to write.'

And me? Revising, every time. I'm such a perfectionist that writing a first draft, knowing how thin and crappy it's going to be, is really hard!

How about you? Which do you prefer, and why? Tell us in the comments below!

Emma Pass grew up at an environmental studies centre near London, went to art school in Cornwall and now lives in the North-East Midlands, UK, with her artist husband. For 3 wonderful years she was lucky enough to share her life with The Hound, too (that's him in the picture). She is represented by Carolyn Whitaker at London Independent Books and her YA dystopian thriller ACID is out from Corgi/Random House on 2nd May 2013. You can find her blog here, view her website here and catch her procrastinating on Twitter here.