Happy Pub Day to NO SAINTS IN KANSAS by Amy Brashear!

Guys, the book that made me want to work in publishing was Truman Capote’s IN COLD BLOOD. Years into my career I had the pleasure of reading a submission that reimagined the real-life Holcomb murders from the point-of-view of a young girl who was close to the victims.

Today, I’m so excited Amy Brashear’s beautiful and chilling NO SAINTS IN KANSAS is out from SoHo Teen!

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Here’s what others are saying…
“A gruesome murder, the clues, the investigation, the culprits, the trial—all of these are part of this riveting, fast-paced novel. But intertwined with those are, for newly arrived Carly Fleming, even harder questions. She is indefatigable in her search for the truth, but the truth she searches for is also about her place in this new town, where she is defined as an outsider, and within her own family, which is splitting apart. The unity and urgency of those two searches is searing.”
—Gary D. Schmidt, author of Newbery and Printz honor book Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy

“A very cool mix of history and fiction, of brutal true crime, and slightly less horrific high school life.”
—Steve Sheinkin, Award-winning and bestselling author of BombThe Port Chicago 50, and Most Dangerous

True-crime and thriller-lovers can order NO SAINTS IN KANSAS on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Indiebound, and check it out on Goodreads.
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Congrats to Hafsah Faizal on Her Debut Deal!

A huge congrats to Hafsah Faizal, on her amazing debut young adult, WE HUNT THE FLAME!

Hafsah’s #ownvoices fantasy just sold to Farrar, Straus, Giroux in a four-imprint auction, in a two-book deal, for six figures a book. Check out the announcement in Publisher’s Weekly:

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Hafsah was already well known to the Kid Lit community as the designer behind Icey Designs. Her evocative work has graced the sites of authors across the YA/MG community, such as New York Times bestseller V.E. Schwab, Angie Thomas, and Traci Chee. It has also been featured in BuzzFeed, HuffPost, Brit+Co, and BookRiot

You can add WE HUNT THE FLAME on Goodreads, follow Hafsah on Insta and Twitter, and read about her #DVPit success story in her own words!

I am so excited and honored to be working with this incredibly talented woman, and I can’t wait for you all to read WE HUNT THE FLAME! Some folks got an early look, and this is what they’re saying:

“With fierce characters, deathly challenges, and world-building both lyrical and spellbinding, WE HUNT THE FLAME is unputdownable.” – Marieke Nijkamp, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author

“Hafsah Faizal’s voice is not one that simply speaks, but sings across the page. WE HUNT THE FLAME is a spellbinding tale filled with deception, political intrigue, and atmosphere that lives and breathes—I am obsessed with this story.” – Kerri Maniscalco, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author

“Fresh, bold storytelling populated with vibrant characters marks Hafsah Faizal as an explosive new voice in fantasy. Charged with adrenaline and romance, WE HUNT THE FLAME held me enthralled and desperate for more!” – Jessica Khoury, Author of the Corpus Trilogy and THE FORBIDDEN WISH.

“I adore Hafsah’s writing; she has such a beautiful way with words.” – Beth Revis, New York Times Bestselling Author of A WORLD WITHOUT YOU

“This promises to be a very successful debut and an authentic #ownvoices book we really need in the world. Hafsah Faizal has a strong, clear, original voice. Authentic use of Arabic phrases and the pitch perfect prose style matches the terse, action-packed narrative. This is an assured debut that will stand alongside the best YA fantasy adventure novels.” – Ashok Banker, international bestselling fantasy author.

Congrats Hafsah!

 

 

Congrats to Joan He on her Debut Deal!

A huge congrats to Joan He, whose debut young adult deal was announced on her twenty-first birthday!

From Publishers Weekly:

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CRANE is such a gorgeous, detailed, intricately-plotted fantasy mystery, and I can’t wait for you guys to read it! Way to go Joan!

RELATIVE STRANGERS Cover Reveal!

Paula Garner’s second YA RELATIVE STRANGERS is coming from Candlewick Press this April– check out the gorgeous cover!

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Why is there a gap in Jules’s baby album? A wry and poignant coming-of-age novel about finding the truth in lies, salvaging hope in heartbreak, and making peace with missing pieces.

Eighteen-year-old Jules has always wished for a close-knit family. She never knew her father, and her ex-addict mother has always seemed more interested in artistic endeavors than in bonding with her only daughter. Jules’s life and future look as flat and unchanging as her small Illinois town. Then a simple quest to find a baby picture for the senior yearbook leads to an earth-shattering discovery: for most of the first two years of her life, Jules lived in foster care. Reeling from feelings of betrayal and with only the flimsiest of clues, Jules sets out to learn the truth about her past. What she finds is a wonderful family who loved her as their own and hoped to adopt her — including a now-adult foster brother who is overjoyed to see his sister again. But as her feelings for him spiral into a devastating, catastrophic crush — and the divide between Jules and her mother widens — Jules finds herself on the brink of losing everything.

You can check out RELATIVE STRANGERS on Goodreads, and order Paula’s debut PHANTOM LIMBS on Amazon, B&N, and Indie Bound!

Exclusive PUDDIN’ Cover Reveal

It’s here it’s here it’s here! The gorgeous cover of Julie Murphy’s DUMPLIN’ companion novel, PUDDIN’! Click through to see the full cover on BNTeen:

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In case you’ve missed the news, DUMPLIN’ is going to be a major motion picture. Julie was just on set last week to meet the cast, which includes Jennifer Anniston, Danielle Macdonald, and Dove Cameron.

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ALSO also, you can read all about how DOLLY PARTON (yes, for real) is writing original music for the soundtrack right herers_1024x759-170928120823-1024-jennifer-aniston-dolly-parton.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pre-order PUDDIN’ on Barnes & Noble & Amazon, or read DUMPLIN‘ before you see the film!

 

 

 

 

 

On the Passing of Kit Reed

reedOne of my earliest writing mentors, Kit Reed, passed away recently. If you don’t know her work, I highly recommend you check it out.

I first knew Kit as RedWriter in our online writing class. Later, when she offered to tutor me one-on-one, we would sit in her warm kitchen and eat wafer cookies or pizza bagels, and she would offer her critiques on my work, and advice on the writing life. When my other classes or personal life became overwhelming (which they did, often), Kit would shake her head and say, “Triage.” She meant: set aside everything that’s less important than your writing. Do what you have to in order to prioritize your art. Even at a sprightly 75 years of age, she got up every morning to work. To craft whatever strange and heartbreaking new novel was currently thudding in her veins.

Kit was a fan of a process I termed the “Brick Shithouse” method of writing (at least I think I termed it– it may have been one of her own foul-mouthed inventions). She would write one page at a time, finishing that 500 words or so, then start over and rewrite it. Again and again she’d rewrite a single page until it was right, only then moving on to the next page, building her novel brick by solid brick. “You learn what you’re trying to say as you say it,” she’d tell me. She was the first person to introduce me to this deliberate, sometimes plodding, language-first style of storytelling. And for a sloppy speed-demon like myself, it was the best advice.

One afternoon I turned in a draft that was riddled with typos. The story was there, I figured. I could fix the tiny mistakes later. When we sat down at the kitchen table, Kit handed the half-read manuscript to me and said, “Don’t ever waste my time like this again.” There would be no class that day. I was to go home and fix my shit. If I expected respectful critiques, I better damn well respect my reader enough to deliver a clean draft. Today, I still call myself the King of Typos, but I reread everything I send or post again and again; errors do slip by, but never from laziness. Today, I return sample pages that aren’t numbered, or don’t include the author’s name. My feedback is a bit softer in tone, but the message is the same. Respect your reader. Don’t waste my time with this shit.

Kit never minced words. As such, our sessions weren’t always comfortable. But I learned more from her than anyone. I learned to treasure the gift of being a writer. The tools it gave me for navigating the world. When I was in pain (which was often, those years), she told me, “It’s all copy.” And she was right. Nothing in life is wasted. It all comes out in the work.

Kit Reed was brilliant and fearless. She told me to always put “…and is currently working on a novel” at the end of every ‘about me’ or bio. “Even if you aren’t,” she’d say. “Someday some publisher might read that byline and ask to read your book.” After all, that’s how she got her first book deal. “Don’t get a day job that involves writing,” she also told me. “Or it will burn you out for your own stuff.” Yet more invaluable advice.

I came to Kit’s kitchen at a time when my life was changing. I was giving up on a lot of things— a relationship, some friendships, some old ways of thinking, and old notions of who I was and what I wanted. It was a difficult period for me, with much uncertainty, but the rules were never clearer than sitting at Kit’s kitchen table. Don’t get it right, get it written. Respect your reader. Triage. It’s all copy.

My relationship to writing has changed a lot since then, but few things were more formative to who I am than my time with Kit Reed. She gave a shit, she gave me her time and attention and wisdom. She was never soft, always giving. She was brilliant, and her work remains so.

I have other stories about Kit, like the time I had to break into her house via a second-story porch, because I’d agreed to watch her dogs and locked the keys in the house (I never told her, not even when she wondered aloud how her trellis got chipped). Or the last time I saw her, meeting at her club in New York, and being so late she just shook her head and said, “Well there’s no time for a coke now. Your loss.” She rarely saw me at my best, but she was always so giving of herself anyway. I’ll be forever grateful.

So long, RedWriter. Thank you. You were a teacher and friend to so many, and we will miss you.

Congrats to Jordan Reeves on Her Book Deal!

I am so excited to be working with the phenomenal Jordan Reeves. At eleven, she’s more poised and mature than I’ll ever be– not to mention a brilliant designer and total firecracker. She built her own glitter-shooting prosthetic attachment called Project Unicorn, she, advocates for science, education, awareness, and gives back to her community. ALSO, she’s appeared on Shark Tank, the Rachel Ray Show, done her own TED talks, and been written about everywhere from CNN to The Nerdist.

Today she adds another entry to her list of accomplishments– published author! I’m so pleased to share the news of her book deal with Aladdin / Jeter Publishing. BORN JUST RIGHT is going to be such an important read, and I can’t wait to share it with you all.

From Publishers Weekly:

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Congrats to Jordan and her amazing mom, Jen!

#DVPitLive Video: On Pitches, Rep, and #OwnVoices

Last night I got to participate in this live stream for #DVPit along with Stacy Whitman, Publisher of Tu Books, and fellow-agent Quressa Robinson, hosted by the brilliant author Claribel Ortega. We answer questions about pitches, representation, #ownvoices, and all sorts of cool publishing stuff.

As you watch, appreciate the fact that my cat is just off-screen trying to climb in my lap, and my awesome wife is ten feet away making a dinner that smells so good you can practically see me drooling. Thanks to Beth Phelan and the #DVPit crew for having me!

Congrats to David Spencer on His Debut Picture Book Deal!

I’m so excited that the phenomenally talented David Spencer will be illustrating the new picture book by Drew Daywalt (who also wrote the The Day the Crayon’s Quit).

From Publishers Weekly:

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This a rockstar pair-up, and I can’t wait to see this one on bookshelves. Congrats Drew and David!

Check out more of David Spencer’s art here: http://mischief-factory.com

 

 

Happy Book Birthday to JENNY AND THE ALIENS!

A huge and happy Book Birthday to Ryan Gebhart and OF JENNY AND THE ALIENS!

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When boy meets girl meets alien, the angst of first love gets an extraterrestrial intervention in a tale both outrageously funny and full of heart.

Ten years after Earth sent messages out into deep space, there has been an answer. Music from a distant planet has reached our radios. Are aliens about to invade? No one knows, and almost-eighteen-year-old Derek doesn’t really care, because at a wild end-of-the-world party, Jennifer Novak invites him to play beer pong. And things . . . progress from there. Derek is in love. Deeply, hopelessly in love. He wants it all—marriage, kids, growing old on a beach in Costa Rica. Jenny is The One.

But Jenny has other plans, and they may or may not include Derek. He’ll try anything to win her—even soliciting advice from the alien who shows up in his hometown. This alien might just be the answer to Derek’s problem. But is Derek willing to risk starting an interstellar war just to get the girl? And just how far will he travel to discover the mysteries of the universe—and love?

This perfectly off-kilter love story is ideal for jaded, philosophically minded teens as well as those who would appreciate the madcap genius of stealing shopping carts to turn them into gaming chairs.
—Booklist (starred review)

Original and witty.
—Kirkus Reviews

Find JENNY on Amazon, B&N, Indiebound, and Goodreads.

You can also check out Ryan’s incredibly funny middle-grade THERE WILL BE BEARS, and find Ryan on twitter.

Congrats Ryan!