Wednesday, May 29, 2013

the United Kingdom!

That's right, I'll be published in the land of King Arthur, Winston Churchill, and Love Actually!

This is particularly dear to my heart as my mother was born and raised in the UK and we visit often. When I was little, I actually read things incorrectly because my grandmother sent me so many Scottish books and comics to read. I got used to Scottish spelling which, in children's books, is phonetic, and different vocabulary. Oor Wullie and The Broons (Our Willie and The Browns) messed me up for a while

(I may or may not know all the words to Flower of Scotland because it is MY NATIONAL ANTHEM). I'm also in the process of filing for dual citizenship so I can visit my grandparents, Edinburgh, and eat as much fish and chips as I want.

I first went to the Edinburgh Book Festival when I was 13 (I bought a lot of Lord of the Rings encyclopedias, don't ask) and now one day I might attend as an author. I use the word crazy a lot, but only because it is. This all is. :)

All my love to the fabulous Kathleen Ortiz for making this real!

Friday, May 24, 2013

I've always been lucky...

...and by that I mean I won an American Girl doll at a raffle once and I usually win ten bucks on scratch tickets. But I never thought I was particularly lucky. The events of the past month (yes, it's been exactly a month since Suzie called me with HarperTeen's offer) have convinced me otherwise.

I'm sure there's hard work and a teensy bit of talent in the mix, but when I look back on my journey, I have to think luck played a huge, huge part in where I am now. Six months ago, I wasn't even done with the second act of my first draft. Now I have a publishing deal, multiple foreign rights deals, a movie option, and my family's respect (!!!!). LUCK LUCK LUCK.

A year ago, I had just graduated USC with a BFA in Screenwriting. I wanted (and still want) to be David Koepp. I wanted to write blockbuster, popcorn, gotta-see-it-at-midnight movies. And for some reason, a television pilot I wrote landed me a general meeting at Benderspink. (LUCK). After I pitched another TV pilot and a dumb movie idea, I heard luck whispering in my ear. Screw it. Pitch what you've been thinking about. So I told them I wanted to write the next big YA novel. I knew it was cocky to say, but that's what I wanted and I was mid-meeting, so I was firing on all cylinders. Turns out, Benderspink had just sold the rights to Dan Krokos' The Planet Thieves, so books were on the brain. I pitched writing a YA novel to them at exactly the right time.

When I finally finished, they passed the book to their publishing contact, who happened to be Pouya Shahbazian, the film/tv agent at New Leaf Literary. He thought my manuscript was in Suzie's wheelhouse, passed it on to her, and against all odds, she didn't look at the page count (my first draft was a whale). If she had, I'm sure she would've ran for the hills. Luck strikes again.

But Suzie didn't look at the page count until she finished. And after we revised and edited and hacked away at the manuscript like old-timey jungle explorers with machetes, and it was still a whale, somehow Kari Sutherland at HarperTeen didn't check the page count either (403 pages, for those of you wondering). I got lucky while on submission, a place no author has the right to be lucky.

Then Suzie called me with the offer. I was driving a vehicle at the time and, again, luck intervened to make sure I didn't have a breakdown and hit a tree. Luck struck again exactly two weeks later when the movie option sold to Universal, after Pouya and the gladiators from Benderspink did battle with Hollywood. Of course I was happy just to have the option picked up, but the fact that it was Universal almost had me in tears (and I don't get emotional very often). The Universal globe logo is one of my first memories, because I was a child raised by the screen, and E.T. and Jurassic Park were some of my very strange parents.

If luck strikes again (which I know I have no right to hope for), and The Red Queen does make it to a movie theater near you, don't mind the girl openly sobbing in the back. It's just me.

p.s. Luck keeps rolling in somehow. As of today, RQ will officially be published in Brazil, Italy, Norway, and France, along with the United States. I swear to God, the New Leaf team is like the Avengers of lit agencies.

France and Norway!!

At this rate, I feel like I should be sending fruit baskets all over Europe. My amazing subrights agent Kathleen just closed deals to publish The Red Queen in France and Norway! She's a true warrior/superhero/Avenger and I'm so lucky to have her on my team.

From Publishers Marketplace:

I'm still trying to wrap my brain around my book actually getting publishing in the States, so this is just another unbelievable thing. One day I'll get it and I'll have to curl up in a closet somewhere and weep. I will not post any videos of this, I promise.

Monday, May 13, 2013

attempting to understand

I'm still reeling from today's news, so there won't be a proper post until I recover. Long story short, Universal optioned my book. Details can be found here: .

I studied screenwriting in college and next to writing, movies are my great love. Some of my earliest memories are of the Universal logo spinning around before I watched E.T. and the (forbidden) Jurassic Park. Forbidden because I was three. When my parents found me laughing and clapping at the T-Rex attacking Lex and Tim, they knew I was going to be a weird kid.

So this is a pretty big, emotional deal for me.


We're going to Italy! This is super amazing (I think my Italian-born grandmother is more excited about this than the American deal) and hopefully results in a second trip to the mother land.

Thursday, May 9, 2013


That's right, I'm going to be published in Brazil! I can't believe I'm going to be translated into Portuguese!! Now I have an excuse to visit Rio and the Amazon - like I needed one. :)

From Publishers Marketplace:

Friday, May 3, 2013


My book deal is officially up on Publishers Marketplace. I never thought I'd see the day, but here it is:

That's right, I'm officially writing a trilogy. The first book, THE RED QUEEN, is slated for a Winter 2015 release and I'm basically dying. I can't believe this is real, and I can't believe I landed with an amazing agent and an amazing editor. I'm so excited to be a REAL AUTHOR!!;

Thursday, May 2, 2013

it's official

Finally, I can say it. I SOLD MY BOOK. More details will come tomorrow (more waiting, ugh I know), but the basics are this: my novel THE RED QUEEN is going to be real. My warrior agent Suzie Townsend kicked major butt and I landed with equally awesome editor Kari Sutherland at HarperTeen/HarperCollins.

*screams away into the night*