#1 NYT Bestseller…omg

when my agent called this afternoon, i totally thought she was kidding. i think i said “no way” ninety times in two minutes. seriously. she laughed and promised to send proof in the form of a PDF…

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and there it is.

in black and white.

it’s really real.

STALKING JACK THE RIPPER debuted at #1 on the New York Times Bestsellers list, and #3 on the eBooks Bestsellers list. holy wow. i am feeling so overwhelmed with love and gratitude and cannot begin to thank everyone enough for making this possible.

thank you to Barbara Poelle for always believing in my writing, to Jenny Bak for shining my story up and being a dream editor, to James Patterson for making SJTR part of his imprint, and to the entire team at JIMMY books for all of their hard work. Sabrina, Sasha, Peggy, Erinn, Tracy, Gabby, Aubrey, Cat…and to EVERYONE who’s put so much love into this novel, thank you. critique partners, beta readers, my family and all my loved ones in New York and Memphis, i am infinitely blessed.

and thank YOU, dear readers. your excitement and enthusiasm and willingness to shout from the interwebs rooftops made this dream a reality. thank YOU.

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STALKING JACK THE RIPPER made the 2016 BEA Buzz Panel!

We got the news a few weeks ago that STALKING JACK THE RIPPER had made this year’s BEA YA Buzz Panel, and it has been SUPER hard keeping this kind of secret from everyone. I’ve gotten a few questions from people outside of the industry about what it all means, and am posting some answers taken directly from the press release.

What is BEA, exactly? BookExpo America (BEA) is North America’s largest gathering of book trade professionals attracting an international audience. The event is widely known as an ideal place for content creators, media, booksellers, rights professionals, and movie and television executives to meet new authors, discover new books, learn about trends shaping the book industry, and network with those who have a passion for books and reading. BEA is foremost a gathering place for creative writers and thinkers and the commerce they create. It is recognized for the media attention it brings to upcoming books as well as for the notable authors it attracts to the convention itself. BEA is organized with the support of association partners including the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and the American Booksellers Association (ABA).

What’s the Buzz Panel? The Buzz Panels are divided into three categories – BEA Adult Editor’s Buzz, BEA Young Adult Editors’ Buzz, and BEA Middle Grade Editors’ Buzz – and cover a wide range of topics this year exploring race, love, family, and more

BEA Buzz has a powerful track record of predicting the year’s hottest books, selecting nine titles over the past two years that made it onto the The New York Times Best Sellers list.

“BEA has had a good track record in selecting upcoming bestsellers and I think that once again this crop of authors is likely to become household names in the coming months,” said Steve Rosato, event director. “We’re happy with these selections and look forward to exploring these works further at BEA.”

How are the books chosen? The selection process was made by three separate committees of booksellers, librarians and other industry professionals. BEA officials note that the intensive selection process, which takes place over a two and a half month period, always involves passionate debate over the finalists. The selection committees are purposely designed to achieve the widest possible consensus.

I think I might be living in a dream world and hope to never, ever wake up if that’s the case. A few titles from previous Buzz Panels include:

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Duff by Kody Keplinger

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Room by Emma Donoghue

Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon

and many, many more.

So yeah. Totally. Blown. Away. I cannot believe that my book made the panel, and will probably be pinching myself for the rest of my life. Thank you so much to Barbara Poelle, Jenny Bak, and JIMMY patterson books for taking a chance on a gothic story about a determined girl who takes on Jack the Ripper.

See you all in Chicago this May!

Links to the 2016 BEA Buzz Panel Announcement:

Publisher’s Weekly – BEA Unveils Books for 2016 Buzz Panels

Shelf-Awareness – BEA Editors’Buzz Panels: The Titles

BEA – BookExpo America (BEA) Announces BEA Editors’ Buzz Program Spotlighting Industry’s Next Breakout Stars

 

 

5 words, 14 letters…I HAVE A BOOK DEAL!

“I can’t believe this is real life” has become my new mantra. If someone were to tell me three weeks ago that I’d be sharing this news with you, I’d think they were crazy. And clearly compulsive liars, and why the heck was I friends with such crazy compulsive liars?! I’d need to look into finding some decent friends…

I’m still shamefully ineloquent right now, so please forgive this rambling mess of emotions. This is a post I’ve been dreaming of, patiently waiting for five years (including query trench time) and (more than) a handful of books later to write. It will be told with a series of accompanying gifs because that’s kinda how I roll.

Guys? I have a book deal.

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Holy state of denial, Batman. Maybe I should say that to myself again, a little louder this time to be sure: I HAVE A BOOK DEAL.

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Like the time I had “THE CALL” with my agent (and was totally convinced Barbara wanted to talk on the phone because she found fancy new ways of lighting my manuscript on fire…using her eyes), I sent my pal A.G. Howard an email, panicking that MAYBE THEY WILL SAY “HAHA JUST KIDDING, NO DEAL HERE, MANIAC. WE FOUND WAYS TO LIGHT YOUR BOOK ON FIRE WITH OUR EYES.”

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Ever the reasonable one, Anita assured me that still wasn’t a thing. So now I’m back to quietly repeating my mantra. I cannot believe it’s happening. Like seriously…what dream world did I teleport to and how long can I stay?!

My editor and publisher (SQUEALS!) were even nice enough to have it announced, so I can now stare at it, all wide-eyed with tears streaming down my face, and keep whispering, “I can’t believe this is real life.”

Here’s the publishers marketplace deal announcement:

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And here’s a screenshot of the Publisher’s Weekly announcement:

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This is what it says: Jenny Bak at Jimmy Patterson Books has bought a YA novel called Of Blood and Shadow by Kerri Maniscalco. The debut gothic thriller, inspired by the Ripper murders, is about a Victorian-era lord’s daughter who defies society expectations by secretly apprenticing as a forensics examiner, and soon finds herself embroiled in the investigation of a serial killer who is stalking London’s East End. The book is scheduled for fall 2016; Barbara Poelle at Irene Goodman Literary Agency negotiated the deal for world English rights.

*jumps up and down* *faints*

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So yeah. It’s really real. I’m not sure I’ll ever wrap my brain around that, and honestly? I hope I never do. This is such an incredible blessing.

Thank you to my family, Chris (and his family!), loved ones, friends, and all of my writing pals (#goatposse) and critique partners and beta readers and agent siblings. And to my superhero/agent goddess, Barbara Poelle, for making this insane dream come true.

And a BIG THANK YOU to my editor. *waves* Hi Jenny! I am ridiculously excited for what comes next!

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Also, I am so grateful and beyond words thrilled to be on this journey with James Patterson and the entire team at JIMMY Patterson Books and Little, Brown. You guys are total dream makers. Thank you forever.

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OF BLOOD AND SHADOW is in the best possible hands and I cannot wait to share these characters and this world with all of you next Fall, dear readers and friends.

And now? WE DRINK CHAMPAGNE AND DANCE.

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OR DANCE IN OUR CHAMPAGNE.

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EITHER WAY WE’RE DANCING AND CHAMPAGNE IS INVOLVED!

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Click here to add OF BLOOD AND SHADOW on goodreads!

Attn Writers: My agent is doing a webinar!

Hey writer friends I’ve got something for YOUUUU! My agent is doing another Writers Digest Webinar (From Cozy to Carnage: An Agent Explains the Ins and Outs of Thriller/Mystery Writing–For Both the Adult and YA Markets) on Thursday April 12th.

Are you squinting at your screen wondering why you should be interested in this? If you’re nodding your head, here’s my answer: I attended the last one in November and ended up signing with Barbara on my next project. WOO HOO! I’m walking proof that these things work – it opened up the doors for our communication. Not to mention, the query letter and first page critique that came with the webinar were AWESOME.

Some of what Barbara pointed out helped me while crafting my next novel. She’s got SERIOUS superpowers with identifying areas that you can improve in your manuscripts and queries. ALSO you might be one of three people asked to submit sample chapters OR a full manuscript based on your first page. Not too shabby.

Are you thinking I really WANT to BUT I’m working when the webinar is going on… FEAR NOT! You don’t have to attend the live event! You just have to register, then watch it at your leisure. After work, over the weekend, three o’clock in the morning – it’s all good.

If you’re looking to take your writing to the next level and make an agent connection, then this is the perfect thing for you. Who knows? Maybe we’ll be agent mates…that would be pretty freaking cool. 🙂

For those interested here are the details taken directly from WD:

ABOUT THE QUERY AND FIRST PAGE CRITIQUE

All registrants are invited to submit their query (one page) and the first full page (double-spaced) of their work. All entrants will receive a critique from instructor Barbara Poelle. If you choose to submit your work prior to the live webinar, you could be one of three entrants who are asked to submit three chapters or a full manuscript based on the first page during the webinar itself in order to show what captured Barbara’s attention and why.

This webinar is an exploration and discussion of the earmarks of each subgenre within the thriller/mystery world, including cozy, suspense, crime, and thriller, as well as the type of query and introduction that can capture the eye in this crowded field. The webinar will discuss tips on not only how to write a compelling story, but also how to pitch one to agents and editors.

Instructor Barbara Poelle has numerous national and international bestselling authors on her client list throughout all of the thriller/mystery subgenres (full list below) and loves to break down what truly makes something “thrilling” to read. She will explore titles and examples of each subgenre within the thriller world and walk writers through the process of captivating both a publisher and an audience.

INSTRUCTOR

Literary agent Barbara Poelle began her publishing career as a freelance copywriter and editor before joining the Irene Goodman Agency in 2007, but feels as if she truly prepared for the industry during her brief stint as a stand-up comic in Los Angeles. She has found success placing thrillers, literary suspense, historical romances, humorous/platform driven nonfiction, and upmarket fiction and young adult and is actively seeking her next great client in those genres, but is passionate about anything with a unique voice. Barbara has a very hands-on approach with the craft and editorial details of the books she represents, and loves working with her clients to take their writing to the next level.

Books within these genres Barbara sold within the last year include: BLIND FAITH by New York Times best-selling author CJ Lyons; THE EDEN PROPHECY by international bestseller Graham Brown; the Bad Day crime novel series (such as A BAD DAY FOR SORRY), by Sophie Littlefield, which have become national bestsellers short-listed for the Edgar, the Anthony, the Barry, and many other awards; THE NINTH DAY, by international bestseller Jamie Freveletti; and STARTERS, by Lissa Price, a major deal for a new YA series to be published by Random House in 2012.

*Please note this webinar is for both Adult and YA manuscripts. My book is a YA genre mashup (science fiction/thriller), so if yours isn’t a straight thriller or mystery but has those elements, don’t hesitate to sign up.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CLICKY CLICK HERE

Four words, twelve letters: I HAVE AN AGENT!!!

You guys… I can’t believe I’m actually typing this post out. I mean, sure I’ve dreamt about writing something like this for the last two years, but I seriously can’t believe it’s real. I mean, it’s REALLY real.

HOLY MOTHER. I HAVE AN AGENT.

A real, live, agent is my partner in publishing crime. And it’s not just ANY literary agent, it happens to be my DREAM* agent. How lucky am I?!

It took me two years, and countless tears and laughter and SO MANY FEELINGS before I made the right agent connection. And even THEN she didn’t sign me with the first project I sent her…

The beginning:

I queried Barbara Poelle in July of 2011 with a YA futuristic thriller after reading (and loving) WITHER and seeing she represented the work. I checked and rechecked and did a million neurotic things before I fired off my query letter. Then I ate a bunch of dairy-free chocolate and questioned my life. Not really. But sort of. 

Fast-forward a few weeks. 

Write-On-Con (an online writing conference) was going on and Barbara (and fellow agent Holly Root) participated in a live Q&A session. If I wasn’t sold on how awesome Barbara was before, I was then. I thought she was funny/knowledgeable and would be the PERFECT advocate for a writer. I hoped, hoped, hoped for the impossible; she’d want to throw a chair and by chair I mean bar stool out a window to represent my work.

Fast forward another week or so.

My email taunts me with the dreaded: Gmail – Inbox (1) –

I see that it’s a message from Barbara. My brain runs through a million + 1 different scenarios in my head. Then I remember: The Irene Goodman Literary Agency only responds if interested. GASP. Could it mean… a FULL REQUEST. SQUEEEEEEEE!!!

So I acted like a professional successfully keeping my inner Tom Cruise from jumping on my inner Oprah’s couch and sent off the requested material. And I waited. But while I was waiting I did that thing you’re not supposed to do… I kept revising. I got some feedback from another agent, then revised some more. Taking a chance, I sent the revised copy to Barbara. She gladly accepted it.

Fast forward again.

While perusing Writer’s Digest for info, I came across a webinar Barbara was teaching. It was either going to help me stand out, or flag me as a complete nut, but the class sounded AWESOME and I quickly signed up. After another revision** Barbara jokingly accepted my latest version. A few weeks later she emailed me to let me know it was coming up in her reading queue. Of course I panicked.

Then a week later I see this guy again: Gmail – Inbox (1) –

It was from Barbara… And it was… a rejection. But you guys, it was SO GOOD. Like if rejections could cuddle hug you, this one SO would. I trusted what she said and agreed with her comments 1,000%. Knowing that she’s the kind of person I want in my corner, I rolled my writing sleeves up and got to work on another book.

Two Weeks ago:

I sent Barbara my full manuscript. (She told me to directly submit my next work, which was AWESOME of her.) Then I proceeded to bite my fingernails and by bite my fingernails I mean drink vodka and sent a handful of query letters out. Requests started coming in, as did a few rejections. I sent the requested material and tried to not check my email psychotically throughout the day.

Seven days later I saw a message from Barbara. I immediately assumed she was writing to tell me she discovered a way to set fire to her email using only her eyes. My heart sank. Then I pulled on my big girl panties and read the first line: She wanted to talk…

ON THE PHONE.

I proceeded to spaz/get nauseous/almost fall down the stairs. Because… OMG MAYBE SHE REALLY DID DISCOVER HOW TO LIGHT HER EMAIL ON FIRE AND SHE LEARNED BY BURNING MY MANUSCRIPT BECAUSE IT’S THE WORST THING SHE’S EVER READ.

Paranoia is a real thing guys.

I harassed told my mother about my “email and fire” theory. She wasn’t convinced. I tried the same thing with my friends and sister and they didn’t buy it either.

Then I sent a few thousand emails to my writing pal Anita Grace Howard, where I was openly panicking. Because OMG the phone call was TWO DAYS AWAY. That’s like a thousand years in a writers imagination. Thankfully, Anita talked me off my ledge and I calmed down.

Day of “THE CALL”

Barbara was every bit as awesome as I imagined she’d be. Within two seconds my nerves subsided and it was like talking to someone I’ve known my whole life. Her enthusiasm for my project was INCREDIBLE, and HOLY GUACAMOLE it’s like she has brain scanning superpowers. She totally got my book and characters, and my mind was officially blown.

 Apparently, she hearts me and my book as much as I heart her and her agenting superpowers.

So it’s official, I am now represented by Barbara Poelle of the Irene Goodman Literary Agency!!!!!!!!! I could not be happier, I KNOW that Barbara is the perfect agent for me. I’m BEYOND thrilled to be on this publishing journey with someone like her on my side.

*HAPPY DANCES LIKE A MANIAC*

Here’s the moral of the story: If you have a dream, never give up. EVER. Keep learning, keep pushing, keep striving to reach it. But don’t forget to celebrate the little achievements along the way.

None of this would’ve happened if I stopped after that first book didn’t work out, or after that hundredth rejection I received, or any other bump in the road that emerged along the way.

I promise you, having that person call and be equally passionate about your work TOTALLY erases EVERYTHINGEVERYTHINGEVERYTHING crappy that has ever come before it.

THE END THE BEGINNING!!!!

WOO HOO!!!!!

*By “dream agent” I really mean they should be the RIGHT agent for you and your work.

**Please note: I also ended up taking a Writers Digest Webinar by Barbara in November 2011 and it was one of the best experiences. That’s the ONLY reason why I sent her a second revision. It really opened up our communication lines, be sure to attend the next one on April 12th, 2012! Barbara knows her stuff!!

Here’s the info: From Cozy to Carnage: An Agent Explains the Ins and Outs of Thriller/Mystery Writing–For Both the Adult and YA Markets