Tunnel Tour and Author Panel – Friday, July 17!

Tunnel TourOne of my favorite parts of being an debut author was getting to know other authors who have had books published in the last few years or have books coming out soon. So I’m way psyched to get together with a bunch of other debut authors as part of Susan Adrian’s Tunnel Tour. Get ready for a great conversation about books and publishing and writing and inspiration and more! The details:

Tunnel Tour, YA Author Panel and Signing
Friday, July 17 at 7pm
Porter Square Books
25 White Street, Cambridge, MA 02140

I can say with great confidence that every panel member is an awesome person and wildly talented author, so make sure to come out and say hi!

Friday Fifteen

I sat down today to get some major work done, and ended up completely distracted by the SCOTUS ruling in favor of marriage equality. I’m so happy for friends, family members, and other couples and families whose lives are directly affected by this change. Your relationships have always been valid, and I’m glad they’re now supported legally.

So instead of the regular Friday Fifteen, I’m harkening back to the micro-review days of yore. Here are a few of my favorite LGBTQ (mostly) YA novels, reviewed in fifteen words or under:

Far From You by Tess Sharpe
The sleuth-smarts of Veronica Mars meets the self-destructiveness of House, centered around a heartbreaking relationship.

Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley
Dual perspectives about two girls on opposite sides of desegregation left me shaking with emotion.

Ask the Passengers by A.S. King
King blends philosophy and magical realism and sexuality and family life together beautifully.

Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You by Peter Cameron
A coming out story that’s sharp, funny, sad, and surprising in turns.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth
A hard one to read in many ways, but Cameron’s story is poignant and hopeful.

Baby Be-Bop by Francesca Lia Block
Touching story of coming out, from one of Block’s classic characters.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Surprisingly gentle story of friendship, identity, and coming out, and I loved the parental presence.

Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
Heartbreaking look at family life and gay relationships in the 1980s, via bereft teen June.

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
Lola’s family life, particular her dads, were my favorite part of the story; so genuine.

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
Told in dual perspectives, Noah’s narration is so sweet and sad.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Friday Fifteen

Happy Friday, guys! Today’s the start of the Tenth Annual 48 Hour Book Challenge, and although I’m so sad I can’t take part this year, I’m cheering for all of you diving into a weekend of (slightly competitive) intense reading. In the meantime, here’s a look at what I’ve been reading and writing in fifteen words or under.

Reading: If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Even knowing what happened, loved the family dynamic. Forman’s writing is so elegant.

Writing: “Gotta work on the side of the angels every so often,” Harrison said.
This WIP has references to Sherlock, Harry Potter, Doctor Who, and Welcome to Night Vale. Nerd explosion!

Links Galore

Lots of good links to share:


Friday Fifteen

Happy Friday, everyone! In case you missed it, make sure to check out Natalie C. Parker’s guest post and enter the Madcap Retreat giveaway. Now let’s kick off the first weekend in June with a look at what I’ve been reading and writing, in fifteen words or under.

ReadingWritten in the Stars by Aisha Saeed
Powerful and sensitive story of a girl forced into marriage by a favorite ’15 author.

Writing: “I have to save all my energy for victory dances. It’s a physics thing.”
Mass equals force of dance skills squared.

Madcap Writing Retreats: Retreat to Advance – Guest Post by the Amazing Natalie Parker

MCR_bannerIf you ask me about writing retreats, one name comes to mind: Natalie Parker. I’ve been to two Natalieorganized retreats so far, and absolutely loved both of them. They’re the perfect way to seriously write in a beautiful setting, bond with amazing fellow writers, and get inspired about your craft.

And now Natalie is taking her retreat organization skills to the world at large! Check out the post below from Natalie for more on her new program, Madcap Retreats, and find out how to get the Natalie retreat experience:

Madcap Writing Retreats: Retreat to Advance by Natalie C. Parker

Nothing has changed my career so much as writing retreats.

In the winter of 2011, I was invited to attend a large retreat in Branson, MO at which there would be 25 established YA authors. I was unagented at the time and though I found the idea of joining such a gathering an intimidating one, I also found it was impossible to pass up.

The experience was a game-changer. Not only did I meet a group of authors who were as encouraging as they were successful, but I sat in a room in which those same authors opened laptops and worked quietly together. There were headphones and tea and snack breaks and chat breaks and there were word documents that looked much like my own, growing one word at a time.

I left the Branson Retreat with a new network of contacts who would guide my career in different ways, determined to repeat the experience as quickly as possible. Only this time I wanted to be the one issuing invites. One year later, that’s exactly what I did: I made my first retreat of 11 authors on the side of a mountain, in a house that also had a turret.

Since that time, I’ve hosted 1 or 2 retreats every year, always with the goal of bringing authors together to create the kind of community we just can’t get in 140 character bites. I’ve hosted authors in turreted mansions in the Blue Ridge Mountains, in French Quarter apartments, in the Texas Hill Country, in historic Savannah townhomes, and in the sleepy Smoky Mountains. And here are the top three lessons I’ve learned from organizing retreats for writers:

  1. There must be Internet. It does not matter if you write to your group ahead of time and say the words “there is no Internet in this mountain chateau IS THAT OKAY?” It does not matter if they uniform answer is, “Yes, Natalie, we are not so addicted to the Modern Age that going without Wi-Fi for 3 days will kill us.” I promise you, none of that matters because when you get to the house someone will build an antenna out of aluminum foil and desperate tears and stand on the roof searching for a signal.
  2. Never underestimate the importance of every bedroom having its own bathroom. End of explanation.
  3. You may begin the adventure with plans of leaving the house, but trust me, this will not happen. To appease any group of authors, I advise picture windows and something that suggests power and mystery. Mountains are an obvious choice, but lakes work very well as do abandoned sugar plantations, rolling hills, and oceans. This way, even if you get snowed in after throwing out all the perishable food so that all that remains are Oreos and a handle of gin, no one will every complain about the view!

I love retreats. They’re fun and exciting and sometimes lead to creating things like Sh*t Writers Say. But I started this by saying that retreats have altered the course of my career in significant ways and that is absolutely true.

After Branson in 2011, I had half a dozen authors willing to weigh in on my query and help me cull my agent list.

After the Wi-Fi-less chateau in 2012, there were authors ready to blurb my first book.

After the Hill Country in 2013, I received crucial advice on how to develop a retreat business.

But more than that, I’ve seen anthologies born over the course of a retreat, I’ve seen mentor and critique relationships gain footing, and I’ve seen the direction of manuscripts shift dramatically and to great effect. And I know there’s even more I haven’t seen.

Like so many writers, my writing time is bound and hedged in on all sides. My writing time is also my “down” time, my “free” time, my “in between this and that” time.” It’s a challenge to find hours that flow from one into another with nothing binding them except the promise of words. Madcap is one way I can offer time and opportunity to myself and to others, and I’m truly excited to be able to do that.

Madcap is for writers at any stage in their career – aspiring, agented, and published. My goal is to continue what was done for me at that first Branson retreat and create the kinds of opportunities it’s nearly impossible to create for yourself. Welcome to Madcap Retreats, join us for an adventure.

MADCAP RETREATS: Web | Twitter | Tumblr

And now we come to the giveaway portion of this post!

I’ve asked a few amazing bloggers to help me spread the word of Madcap far and wide via a Blog Hop. Each participating blog will be giving away 2 e-copies of my debut novel Beware the Wild. And each of those winners will be entered to win one of two grand prizes! They are:

  • A $300 discount on the upcoming workshop – The Anatomy of Publishing: Story & Marketing, August 27 – 30. The workshop will be lead by Courtney C. Stevens and will feature a few fancy guest authors who will workshop pages and queries one-on-one! (More info can be found here).
  • A short stack of ARCs including: JUBILEE MANOR by Bethany Hagen, DUMPLIN’ by Julie Murphy, and THE ANATOMY OF CURIOSITY by Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, & Brenna Yovanoff.

The contest is open to US/Canada ONLY. You may enter via each blogger if that pleases you. Contest closes at midnight on Sunday, June 7th. Winners will be announced by noon on Monday, June 8th.

Additionally! If you’d like to stay up to date on all retreat and workshop offerings by Madcap, you can subscribe to the mailing list by visiting this page. The first 50 subscribers will be offered a free download of either:

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment below about what your dream retreat experience.

Full list of participating blogs:

Actual view from the TN retreat.

Actual view from the TN retreat.

Thanks to Natalie for sharing her retreat skills with the world! Make sure to check out Madcap Retreats and comment below to win in the Madcap giveaway.

In the meantime, I’ll be daydreaming about my next retreat with Natalie and Madcap.

Links Galore

All the links I’ve been saving: