Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Write What You DON'T Love

I’ve been thinking a lot about the general writing advice of “write what you know.”
I hear the advice given a lot on twitter and Facebook groups in response to inquiries from new writers. Most often it’s in reply to questions about writing to trends. “Write what you love. Write what you know.”

There’s something about it that bothers me though. I get it. I totally get that you can’t possibly write to trends because once you’ve written it, the trend is likely over. I also understand what is meant by suggesting that you embrace what you love and toss the rest.

There’s a lot of appeal to that.

However, if we are professional writers, we should be able to do better than simply writing about what we know. As writers, we should be able to write about things we don’t know or about things we don’t love. It takes effort. It takes research. It takes revision. But if you’re a writer, and you want to earn a living (or even get a pay check once in a while), you’re almost always going to be required to go out on a limb at some point and try something you’re not 100% in love with.

About six years ago, I decided to try my hand at nonfiction. I was awarded my first freelance work-for-hire project and it terrified me. It required me to put aside most of what I knew about creative writing, do a boat-load of research, and craft an accurate history book for the 4th grade reading level.

It was hard. That first one took so much time to pull together. But it rocked. And twelve contracts later, I wouldn’t be where I am in my writing career if I hadn’t accepted that very first assignment. It's given me confidence, it's given me a chance to work with a number of different editors, and it's given me credentials that I didn't have previously.

So, yes, write what you love. But leave room in your career to take a risk and write something that you don’t love and see where it takes you.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

September Giveaway!

Wow! Fall is officially here, and the Fall Fourteeners are in full fall swing!

We had no fewer than FIVE debuts this month, as follows:

Kate Boorman, Winterkill (September 9)

Joy Hensley, Rites of Passage (September 9)

Joshua David Bellin, Survival Colony 9 (September 23)

Kendall Kulper, Salt & Storm (September 23)

Kristen Lippert-Martin, Tabula Rasa (September 23)

Since we want to share the love, we're offering five lucky winners a chance to win a copy of these five awesome books! (In other words, one winner per book. We're not big on math over here.)

To make this incredibly easy on everyone, here's how it works:
  • Leave a comment, telling us which of these books you'd like to win. No fair listing more than one--you've got to choose!
  • Be sure to leave your comment before the end of September (so no later than midnight PST on the 30th).
  • We'll randomly select one winner for each book, and send a signed copy to our winners!
(Please note: contest open to US, UK, and Canada only.)

We look forward to your entries. And remember, we've got more debuts coming up in October, so don't go away!

UPDATE: Thanks to everyone who entered! Our winners are:

Rites of Passage: Jessica Perez
Salt & Storm: Jamie Cristobal
Survival Colony 9: Jacquelyn
Tabula Rasa: Andrew
Winterkill: Michelle Lee

If you haven't heard from your author yet, please drop them a line! And congratulations!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


 I am so excited! WINTERKILL is now out in North America and UK/Commonwealth!

I owe thanks to many, many people, including the wonderful Fall Fourteeners for unending support and cheerleading! The journey was wonderful. It was intense. It was, at times, a bit unhinged. I have subjected my critique partner to hours of phone-mulling, I have cluttered up my agent's inbox with my neuroses, and I have bombarded my editing team with more of my THOUGHTS than were probably necessary. Many red pens, many squares of Cadburys chocolate, and many cups of mint tea were sacrificed in the attainment of this goal.

So here we are: creepy trees and unrequited love and family secrets and a big, bad winter sweeping in!

I truly hope you like it.

Stay tuned for a giveaway of WINTERKILL and other September releases, later this month!

And here are a few ways to get WINTERKILL in the meantime:


Rites of Passage is out today! We're giving it away!

You guys! Today is the day! Rites of Passage is out in the world! (And apparently, I've been given free license from the punctuation gods to use as many exclamation points as I want!) Today will be spent freaking out, traveling to local book stores to sign, more freaking out, a massage, and lots of squeeing on Twitter. I apologize in advance.

I wanted to give a quick OMG! Thank you so much! to those of you who have helped throughout the writing/publishing process. There are too many to name here and if I tried, I'd forget someone. You're all in the acknowledgements, and if you're not, please forgive me and know you mean the world to me even if I didn't put your name in the book.

To all the writing friends I've met along this long and sometimes gray-hair-causing journey,  especially to the @onefourkidlit crew and the @fallfourteeners--I couldn't have done this without you.

To all of the bloggers/reviewers/readers who are as excited (if not MORE excited) than me, I don't even know what to say. You are why I wrote this book. I hope you love the DMA and Mac as much as I do.

And now, cupcakes and hugs and free for everyone(okay, not that last part)!!!!

{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{EVERYONE IN THE ENTIRE WORLD, NO EXCEPTIONS!}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}

In honor of the release, I'm giving away two copies of Rites of Passage and some SWAG! You've got a week to win--sign up!

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