The secret is out! KINGDOM OF THE WICKED, the first book in my new series, is hitting shelves next fall!

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I’ve been keeping this secret all year, and now that the publisher’s marketplace announcement has finally arrived, I’m SO NERVOUS. But also (almost) beyond comprehension-level excited and hope you are, too!

KINGDOM OF THE WICKED, the first book in my new series, is a YA historical fantasy  that’s really a murder mystery at heart.

I can’t say much more for now, but it features some of my very favorite things as a reader; enemies to lovers, antiheroes, mystery, dark magic, and murder. I’m especially excited about the setting—19thcentury Sicily—which is enchanting even without casting any spells! (My family is Sicilian, so it’s extra special and personal.)

I honestly can’t wait for you to meet Emilia and Wrath next fall!

H U G E thank you to my agent Barbara Poelle, my editor Jenny Bak, James Patterson, and the whole team at JIMMY Patterson books. I’ve dreamed of writing this story for so many years and am grateful I get to share it with you.

More details will be coming in the following months, but that’s all I can share now. I hope, hope, hope you’re as excited as I am!

Scroll down for a sneak preview of my secret Pinterest board! It’s up on GoodReads, so please add it to your lists if you’d like! (I’d definitely appreciate it!)

xoxoxo

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Publishing trends may come and go, but honesty always prevails.

Publishing trends may come and go, but honesty always prevails. Here’s why. (In my opinion.)

Every writer published, or unpublished fears the dreaded T word. TREND. Just mentioning t-who-should-not-be-named makes my stomach twist in a knot. Advice is dispensed by everyone and their mother on the subject, but what happens when the story that’s itching to be told happens to be in a hot genre du-jour?

Write it anyway. (Waits for tomatoes to be thrown at screen.)

Write it, and make it the best freaking [insert genre here] novel it can be. Will it be harder to get an agent, or a publishing contract? Probably. But isn’t that already super difficult? Put your original spin on it and don’t hold back. Maybe it won’t sell now, but fear not–publishing is a cyclical industry. Your time will eventually come. In the meantime, keep writing! (And revising;))

Personally, I write YA light science fiction, speculative fiction, and dark fantasy. I’m not writing to a trend. Actually — if I’m being honest — I’ve been trying to write a contemporary young adult novel, but it never works out. Something always goes all fantastical in my brain. I. Can’t. Help. It.

Believe me, if I could write about lofty romances set in Europe, I so would. I think those stories are amaze balls, and I adore reading them. Deep down I’m a closet romantic. I’m also totally jealous of writers who can capture true-to-life contemporary novels. Holy crap, I WISH I could do that.

But I’ve never been that girl, fictional or not.

Don’t get me wrong, I seriously respect people who can write epic love stories historical, contemporary, or what-have-you. My early attempts at writing things like that were often met with furrowed brows. And comments like, “This is your happy story? But you’re talking about things that are…writhing around on top of burning embers…”

Sigh.

The hardest part about being an author, is finding your authentic voice and honoring it. No matter what.

That being said, I have to believe that what I’m writing passionately about will find its way into others hearts, as well (eventually). Trend, or not.

If I am a science fiction/fantasy writer by nature, wouldn’t I be doing everyone a disservice by trying to genre jump — just because the next [not-yet-hot-genre] might be an easier sale?

I’m not sure what the right answer is. But I am sure of one thing: the best things I’ve ever written have come from that unabashedly honest writing place within me. Blood, guts, and all. It’s where my voice truly comes alive.

With my latest project, agents are noticing that honesty. I credit not holding back (for fear of how it may, or may not be received) for my current request rate. (Just thinking about it is sending my heart into crazy palpitations. Inhale. Exhale.)

I think the best writing and publishing advice is this: be one-hundred percent honest with your writing. Write from your heart, people will notice. I think no matter the trend, if you stay true to yourself, eventually your time will come.

Never be afraid to keep improving your craft, though. Know that you’re an amazing writer, but there’s ALWAYS room to grow. (Myself, very much included!! :)) When all else fails, start your next project. Every new book is a stepping stone. Trust me all those stones will lead to good things. Each new project will teach you precious writing techniques. Also, don’t forget to READ!! Devour everything you can, you’ll be amazed by how much you’ll gain from reading in your genre (and beyond).

No matter what subject you choose to write about, be brave. Be bold. And revise the hell out of your manuscripts. Have a fantastic day loves. XO

What are your thoughts on writing trends? Are you finding that (even writing in your authentic genre) it’s harder to break into the publishing industry, now more than ever? 

Or… has the only thing that’s really changed is our ability to openly commiserate communicate (via social networking) about the whole publishing process?

Today’s Top Ten: Neil Gaiman Love

Holy mole, I missed you guys! Sorry for the blog and twitter silence, but there’s been A LOT going on behind the scenes in my neck of the woods. All good things, I assure you. So an impromptu internet break was needed to recharge a bit, and do this weird thing called relax? It’s a term I’m not well acquainted with, but it was sort of fun. Especially since it’s summer…

Anywho, today I wanted to share my top ten Neil Gaiman quotes, because I think he’s pretty freaking awesome. And you’re all awesome, so it’s like a cosmic collision of super-awesome. Or something.

1.) “May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.” Neil Gaiman

2.) “Being a writer is a very peculiar sort of a job: it’s always you versus a blank sheet of paper (or a blank screen) and quite often the blank piece of paper wins.” Neil Gaiman

3.) “I hope you will have a wonderful year, that you’ll dream dangerously and outrageously, that you’ll make something that didn’t exist before you made it, that you will be loved and that you will be liked, and that you will have people to love and to like in return. And, most importantly (because I think there should be more kindness and more wisdom in the world right now), that you will, when you need to be, be wise, and that you will always be kind.” Neil Gaiman

4.) “This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until its done. It’s that easy, and that hard.” Neil Gaiman

5.) “That which is dreamed can never be lost, can never be undreamed.” Neil Gaiman

6.) “Each person who ever was or is or will be has a song. It isn’t a song that anybody else wrote. It has its own melody, it has its own words. Very few people get to sing their song. Most of us fear that we cannot do it justice with our voices, or that our words are too foolish or too honest, or too odd. So people live their song instead.” Neil Gaiman

7.) “What I say is, a town isn’t a town without a bookstore. It may call itself a town, but unless it’s got a bookstore it knows it’s not fooling a soul.” Neil Gaiman

8.) “Tomorrow may be hell, but today was a good writing day, and on the good writing days nothing else matters.” Neil Gaiman

9.) “Things need not have happened to be true. Tales and adventures are the shadow truths that will endure when mere facts are dust and ashes and forgotten.” Neil Gaiman

10.) “Everybody has a secret world inside of them. All of the people of the world, I mean everybody. No matter how dull and boring they are on the outside, inside them they’ve all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds. Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands maybe.” Neil Gaiman

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Little Secrets

My alphabet starts with this letter called yuzz. It’s the letter I use to spell yuzz-a-ma-tuzz. You’ll be sort of surprised what there is to be found once you go beyond ‘Z’ and start poking around! — Dr. Seuss

Dear Dr. Seuss, aka Teddy baby:

I’ll have one of whatever it is you’re smoking, drinking, popping, having.

Smooches,

Me

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