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So, the last couple of weeks have been psychotically overwhelming, and also sort of awesome, and crazy, and busy, and I’m still working on wrapping my head around life, but because I have a feeling it’s going to be a little while before I can stick my head out to write a real, decent blog post again, here’s a little summary of what’s up, what’s keeping me so busy, and other random things:

First of all, though, a huge congratulations to the magnificent Chessie Zappia on the sale of her absolutely fantastic contemp YA, ASK AGAIN LATER, or, as I will forever call it, I SEE RED PEOPLE. I’m really excited for it to come to bookstores so I can Sharpie that over the title of every copy I see. (And also to buy a zillion copies, obviously.)

And now, my own personal news, which pretty much everyone already knows, but I’m now officially a Copy Editor at Spencer Hill Contemporary, which I am incredibly psyched about. I love contemp, I love YA, and I love the Spencer Hill family, so obviously this is pretty ideal! (And yes, I’ll still be copy editing for Ellora’s Cave as well as a few select self-publishing authors!)

I also finished drafting my first dual-POV contemp YA, JUST VISITING, which was crazy and awesome and the biggest relief ever. It still needs tons of work, but I’ve finally started the revision process and look forward to sending it out to CPs next week!

I’ve also started drafting my next ms (it’s still just a baby at 2K!) but presumably it’s gonna be a little while until it’s done! This time around I’ve decided to be a little more hush hush for various reasons, but I’m really excited about it and I hope it turns out to be as good as it is in my head! Plus, it was my very first time beat sheeting!

(You should also check out my most recent Monday Pep Rally post if you haven’t already, because the comments are pretty awesome and I’d love to read yours!)

In addition to my own writing, I also got to read some other people’s! This past week, I was a Pitch Madness Slush Zombie for my very first time, and I saw some awesome entries, from NA Fantasy to MG Mystery and obviously YA contemp! Can’t wait for agents to see them too!

As for what didn’t make it, three quick notes on that:

  1. Do your research on Word Count. Nothing is a more automatic “No” than being outside the realm of acceptability. An Adult manuscript under 70,000 words is seldom classifiable as a novel; ditto any manuscript over 120,000. (The most leeway goes to Epic Fantasy, or any other manuscripts that require a lot of worldbuilding. The less worldbuilding, the lower your count should be, which is why Contemp YA can be 60K and Fantasy generally shouldn’t be.)
  2. Make an effort to learn basic rules of grammar. I don’t expect perfection; I’m not looking to be out of two jobs, after all. But in a 35-word pitch, multiple comma errors are not OK. I’ve got some quick tips that would’ve made a huge difference if followed in a lot of entries.
  3. Check Goodreads and Amazon to see if a title has already been used, especially for a book in your genre. Titles can be changed, yes, but failing to do this is one of the surest ways to convince me you don’t know the genre you’re writing in. How many other ways might that manifest itself in your manuscript?

BFrl4t1CIAAO_Qq.jpg largeAnd now, for stuff going on around me! Last night I was privileged to attend the opening-night event of NYC Teen Author Festival, featuring readings by YA authors (L->R) Jennifer E. Smith, Melissa C. Walker, Bennett Madison, Gayle Forman, and Kristen-Paige Madonia. I was going to write a whole blog post about it, but Ghenet wrapped it up so nicely that I’m just gonna suggest you read her post instead! Basically, it was nice to hear that plenty of great writers are pantsers, live to write the endings, and rewrite their books 137 times. Also, that YA authors swear like sailors. (And, obviously, great to see Emily Keyes, Kathryn Holmes, and Alison Cherry!)

This Sunday I’m hoping to attend the massive book signing at Books of Wonder and meet even more awesome authors for approximately 2.5 seconds while I mumble how to spell my name and bask in their general awesomeness!

Oh, and, March Madness is a little bit of an obsession of mine. As is trash talking. And winning money. So, yeah, I’m expecting it to continue to be an exciting month!

However, this Monday night begins the holiday of Passover, which means for the week or so after that, I’ll be relatively non-existent. (Though my next YA Misfits post will be up on Friday, March 29!) Normal life will resume on April 3, which is excellent timing because that’s the next Teen Author Reading Night! And then, after that, I’ve got some pretty exciting family stuff coming up, but I’ll keep that off my blog 🙂

So, that’s what I am and have been up to – I know it was probably plaguing you!

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