Not so yearly, but definitely Dahlia! (Oh God, I’m the worst.)
Anyway, it’s the end of the year, and I’m feeling reflect-y, and also I’m really bored at work, so, here are some things that happened this year!
January: My birthday! Whee! JK getting older is dumb, but I guess better than not getting older, and wow that got morbid fast. WTF was I even doing in January? Umm, I was definitely on sub, which is awful, and writing JUST VISITING, which is a thing I wrote this past year that I love, and…that’s it? I think? Did other stuff happen? I don’t even know. OH, WAIT, it was Pitch Wars, and that completely consumed my life and was insane. But also I had the world’s greatest mentees in Ghenet Myrthil, Nikki Urang (who went from being my alternate to being my pub-sister, both with the same freaking awesome book, THE HIT LIST), and Elodie.
The best part, though, was my amazing CPs, Marieke Nijkamp and Maggie Hall, coming to stay with me. They came in for SCBWI-NY (more on that in February) but I got them first, and it was afreakingmazing. SO MUCH SHOPPING AND READING AND BOOK TALK, OH MY. Plus we went to a great event at Barnes & Noble to hear Janet Reid and Don Maass, and got to meet Awesome Agents Amy Boggs, Katie Shea, and the fabulous woman who would go on to become Marieke’s agent, Jen Udden.
What I blogged: “Editing After Critique” for Pen and Muse; “On Likeable MCs” for YA Misfits; “Understanding Writers“; “This is My Brain on Pitch Wars“; “Things on the Internet That are Awesome“; “A Quick Querying Q&A“; and a mini-series on the three kinds of Writing Relationships
February: SCBWI-NY, baby! Which, whatever about the conference itself, but so much fun meeting so many other writers and having my absurdly amazing CPs, Marieke Nijkamp and Maggie Hall, stay with me. Actually hanging out with both of them and another of my amazing CPs, Gina Ciocca, in person, was nothing short of surreal. Plus, we rocked my argyle collection pretty damn hard:
Also got to meet tons of other awesome author friends, including Kim Liggett, Liz Briggs, and Alex Brown, and party like rock stars in a hotel room that would fit maybe three rock stars total. (I am not so good at putting in pictures, obviously, but here are some fun tweets with pictures from that night: Group shot; Me, Alex, and Marieke; CP mania)
What I read: BITTERSWEET by Sarah Ockler, NOBODY BUT US by Kristin Halbrook, SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL by Trish Doller, WOLF HALL by Hilary Mantel, IT’S KIND OF A FUNNY STORY by Ned Vizzini, and GRAFFITI MOON by Cath Crowley.
What I blogged: I reposted something I wrote for another blog a few years ago, which is my version of the story behind the holiday of Purim: “How Esther Got Her Jews Back.” In a similar vein, I also posted the playlist for my manuscript THE BOOK OF ESTHER, which is a retelling of that same story, on YA Misfits. And I posted a review of PLAYING NICE by Rebekah Crane on YA Misfits as well. I also interviewed my then-agent sister, Alison Bliss, whose debut releases from Entangled next summer; wrote posts “The Immortality of Acknowledgment“, “Using Teen TV to Make You a Better YA Writer“, and “Some Truths About Life After Agent“; and put up the most successful thing on my blog to date, “Perpetual WIPs: Literary Agents.”
March: Oh man, March was fun. I’d never even heard of Teen Author Festival before a few months earlier, but I went to such amazing events and met such cool authors, and I can’t wait to do this again in 2014. I can’t even talk about anything else here, so, just check these things out and be jealous, basically:
The books I got autographed (I had a cute picture with Rainbow Rowell at some point, but I have no idea where that went.)
And I met awesome agents Sarah LaPolla and Bridget Smith and Quirk Editorial Assistant and general awesome chick Blair Thornburgh ❤
What I Read: CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein, SAME DIFFERENCE by Siobhan Vivian, LA CANDY by Lauren Conrad, REAL LIVE BOYFRIENDS by E. Lockhart, DITCHED by Robin Mellom, MY NAME IS NOT EASY by Debby Dahl Edwardson, NOW YOU SEE HER by Jacquelyn Mitchard, THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST by Emily M. Danforth, ZETA OR OMEGA by Kate Harmon, ELEANOR & PARK by Rainbow Rowell, 17 & GONE by Nova Ren Suma, PAST PERFECT by Leila Sales
What I Blogged: “Monday Pep Rally: Writing Home” for YA Misfits; “How to Know if a Contest is Right For You” for Cupid’s Literary Connection; “How to Get Your Own Shiny New Ideas“; “Why I Won’t Beta Your MS (and Why I Will)“; “How to Get Started Blogging“; “Interview with YA Author Courtney Summers“; “Beware the Crazy/Awesome of March” (which chronicles a bit of Teen Author Festival); “The Thing About Rejection”
April: April is always basically a non-existent month for me because Passover is so all-consuming, but in this case, it’s the month I sold my book to Patricia Riley at Spencer Hill Contemporary, so that was pretty cool and who cares about anything else? Oh, and my niece was born. I care about that a lot. BUT THAT’S IT.
What I Read: SWEETHEARTS by Sara Zarr, THE REECE MALCOLM LIST by Amy Spalding, TRAPPED by Michael Northrop, THE LONELY HEARTS CLUB by Elizabeth Eulberg, THE DISENCHANTMENTS by Nina LaCour, Hancock Park by Isabel Kaplan
What I Blogged: “Picking Perspectives” for YA Misfits; “Some Pub-Related FAQs“; “Choosing Your Pub Path(s)“; “An Abridged Glossary of Pub Speak“; “Interview with YA/NA Author Diana Peterfreund“; “To Spend or Not to Spend“; “How to Do Writerly Good“; “A Guide to the Daily Dahlia”
May: BEA. BEA. BEA.Don’t even ask me to remember anything else about this month. Like, I legit could not possibly. And I only even spent one afternoon at the actual expo. For me, living in NYC, this was allll about just being here while some of the most awesome bookish people in the world flooded my city.
What I Read: THE ART OF WISHING by Lindsay Ribar, THE HEIRESSES by Alison Rushby, STOLEN by Lucy Christopher, BROADWAY LIGHTS by Jen Calonita, REVENGE OF THE GIRL WITH THE GREAT PERSONALITY by Elizabeth Eulberg, THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME by Jen Calonita, Confessions of a First Daughter by Cassidy Calloway, GAME. SET. MATCH. by Jennifer Iacopelli
June: Well, June was fun, because agent splits always are, and so are little I AM SO DONE WITH WRITING YA breakdowns. On the bright side, it pushed me to get going on the NAs I’d been really excited to write, and that’s been going strangely well ever since!
What I Read: THOUSAND WORDS by Jennifer Brown, JUST ONE DAY by Gayle Forman, REUNITED by Hilary Weisman Graham, PREP SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL by Kara Taylor, I’M NOT HER by Janet Gurtler, LOSING IT by Cora Carmack
July: Basically, a querying whirlwind that ended in my getting a wonderful new agent whom I adore. Forgot what a full-time job that was, though my Contemp NA standalone kept kinda writing itself at the time, which was lovely! Also went to Atlanta for a weekend, which was excellent and also allowed me to once again see my wonderful (and then-preggers) CP Gina!
What I Read: STRIPPED by Brooklyn Skye, MY LIFE AFTER NOW by Jessica Verdi, SMALL TOWN SINNERS by Melissa C. Walker, MY LIFE NEXT DOOR by Huntley Fitzpatrick, OPENLY STRAIGHT by Bill Konigsburg, THE UNBECOMING OF MARA DYER by Michelle Hodkin, ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD by Kendare Blake, TASTE TEST by Kelly Fiore, ME, HIM, THEM, AND IT by Caela Carter, TEN THINGS I HATE ABOUT ME by Randa Abdel-Fattah, THIS LOVE by Nazarea Andrews, LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR by Stephanie Perkins
August: Revisions of JUST VISITING! Continuing to draft the NA! August was full of fun, writerly goodness. August also brought WriteOnCon, and it was my first time participating as more than a cheerleader; I posted my first five pages of the abovementioned NA, LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT, and on the whole, people seemed to dig it, which was fun! I don’t usually do the sharing thing with stuff in progress, but turns out, it’s not as scary as I was afraid it might be.
And in more scary things, I chopped off my hair. Donation #4 FTW!
And, Pitch Madness happened, so, that was fun! I got to be Slush Queen; I knew this tiara was good for something.
What I Read (THE VOW’s link goes to a guest post on this blog about the book by the author): SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY by Julie Murphy, IN HONOR by Jessi Kirby, OCD LOVE STORY by Corey Ann Haydu, FRIGID by Jennifer Armentrout, DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth, AMELIA ANNE IS DEAD AND GONE by Kat Rosenfield, BROKEN AT LOVE by Lyla Payne, FACADE by Nyrae Dawn, CAMP BOYFRIEND by J.K. Rock, THE VOW by Jessica Martinez, UNTEACHABLE by Leah Raeder
What I Blogged: The fabulous Lydia Sharp guest posted on my blog about the technical ins and outs of Nudging/Multiple Offers, and I wrote a part II to that; “The Headgames We Play“; “On Querying and Submitting Simultaneously” for Brenda Drake
September: Lulz, Jewish holidays. Oh, and first round of BtS edits. Fabulous timing all around. If you tried to talk to me that month, sorry if I bit your face off.
What I Read: ALL OF YOU by Christina Lee, UNBREAK MY HEART by Melissa C. Walker, SMALL DAMAGES by Beth Kephart, FAKING IT by Cora Carmack, THE CUTTING ROOM FLOOR by Dawn Klehr, TASTE THE HEAT by Rachel Harris, ORDINARY BEAUTY by Laura Wiess, VERY BAD THINGS by Ilsa Madden-Mills, WAIT FOR YOU by J. Lynn, WANDERLOVE by Kirsten Hubbard, BEAUTIFUL BROKEN by Nazarea Andrews, BE MY DOWNFALL by Lyla Payne, THE BEST NIGHT OF YOUR (PATHETIC) LIFE by Tara Altebrando, THE QUEEN OF KENTUCKY by Alecia Whitaker, NANTUCKET BLUE by Leila Howland, CATCHING LIAM by Gennifer Albin, RUSH ME by Allison Parr
What I Blogged: “Maximizing Your Writing Time”
October: Pretty sure all I wrote this month was LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT. For a book that seemed to be writing itself, it also sort of seemed to be inching along scene by scene. Probably because a lot of other stuff was happening? I don’t know. The last few months are sort of a blur. I do a lot of things. I did have an awesome time at an Epic YA Trivia Night event at McNally-Jackson (see below blog post “Intermission”) with my team, The Artist Formally Known as Printz, aka Emily Keyes, Amy Stern, Meredith Rich, and our new friend Kelly, but that’s about all I can remember.
What I Read: PRECIOUS THINGS by Stephanie Parent, DANGEROUS GIRLS by Abigail Haas, ASK THE PASSENGERS by AS King, 3 SIDES TO A CIRCLE by Jolene Perry, WHERE THE STARS STILL SHINE by Trish Doller, IN TOO DEEP by Samantha Young, PRICE OF A KISS by Linda Kage, SPIRAL by Mila Ferrera, SEKRET by Lindsay Smith, ALL FOUR STARS by Tara Dairman, WHERE I END AND YOU BEGIN by Andra Brynn, THE BET by Rachel Van Dyken, FAR FROM YOU by Tess Sharpe, NEARLY GONE by Elle Cosimano, THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US by Kasie West, WHAT HAPPENS NEXT by Colleen Clayton, TSARINA by J. Nelle Patrick, THE COINCIDENCE OF CALLIE AND KAYDEN by Jessica Sorensen, ONLY BETWEEN US by Mila Ferrera, INSURGENT and ALLEGIANT by Veronica Roth, BEAUTIFUL BASTARD by Christina Lauren, BEING SLOANE JACOBS by Lauren Morrill, STIR ME UP by Sabrina Elkins, A LITTLE TOO FAR by Lisa Desrochers
November: I NaNo’d! And won! Please just ignore the fact that the book itself is terrible and I’m going to spend January and Feburary rewriting it. Thanks.
What I Read: JUST ONE YEAR by Gayle Forman, TEN by Gretchen McNeil, FANGIRL by Ken Baker, OPEN ROAD SUMMER by Emery Lord, SOCIAL SKILLS by Sara Alva, POOR LITTLE DEAD GIRLS by Lizzie Friend, WE WERE LIARS by E. Lockhart, LOVE LESSONS by Heidi Cullinan, THE BEST LAID PLANS by Tamara Mataya, EVERYTHING BETWEEN US by Mila Ferrera, THE PROMISE OF AMAZING by Robin Constantine, HEART BREATHS by KK Hendin, FINDING IT by Cora Carmack, BRUISED by Sarah Skilton, CROSSING THE LINE by Karla Doyle, THE GRAVITY BETWEEN US by Kristen Zimmer, FAULT LINE by Christa Desir, FANGIRL by Rainbow Rowell, ROOMIES by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando, HOW TO LOVE by Katie Cotugno
What I Blogged: “Echoes, Silence, Patience, & Grace” (and a bunch of Top Ten lists)
December: Here we are! So what am I doing? Well, BEHIND THE SCENES is now officially in copy edits, I’m revising THE BOOK OF ESTHER for my agent, I’m still slowly drafting LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT (i.e. dawdling while I figure out the ending), and I’m making plans for exactly how to rip apart and put back together my NaNo book. I also started blogging for Barnes & Noble this month, which was cool, and I got to reveal the cover for BEHIND THE SCENES on YA Books Central, which was awesome!
Mostly, though, I’m just looking forward to 2014 – to debuting, to all the books I can’t wait to get my hands on…and to completely ignoring that kinda big birthday that’s now less than a month away….
What I’ve Read so Far: AMY & ROGER’S EPIC DETOUR by Morgan Matson, INK IS THICKER THAN WATER by Amy Spalding, THE INTERESTINGS by Meg Wolitzer, SNEAKING CANDY by Lisa Burstein, ARISTOTLE AND DANTE DISCOVER THE SECRETS OF THE UNIVERSE by Benjamin Alire Sáenz, LUNA by Julie Anne Peters, THE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING by Robyn Schneider, UNTIL WE END by Frankie Brown, THE ART OF FALLING by Jenny Kaczorowski, THE SOUND OF US by Ashley Poston
What I Hope to Finish Reading By Year’s End: DAIRY QUEEN by Catherine Gilbert Murdoch
What I Blogged: “The Rise of the Unreliable Narrator in YA Lit” and “Ten Great Books for the Teen in Your Life” for Barnes & Noble; an interview with Sara Megibow that’s really more of a discussion of LGBTQ YA, for YA Misfits; a miniseries on my Top 10 Books of 2013; My 2013 YA Superlatives; An intro to the debut authors of Bloomsbury Spark (“Meet the Sparkies!”); and finally, “Ten Blunt Messages on the Eve of 2014.”
So, that was my year – tell me about yours!