Wednesday, July 9, 2014

RED QUEEN cover!

So as most of you know, the cover for RED QUEEN was revealed last week. For the .01% of you who missed my avalanche of tweets on the subject, here it is again:

Sorry, I started to drool. I'm so in love with this cover. It's everything I wanted, and then some. The folks at HarperCollins were really open to my original idea of a cover, and then ran away with it and made something better than I ever imagined. So who wants to see my original thoughts (because I procrastinate by designing covers)?

Back in the day when I was first penning the RED QUEEN manuscript, I would dip into Photoshop whenever I hit a roadblock. I designed symbols and covers or just manipulated photos until the ideas started flowing again. Here's the first real RED QUEEN centric image I made (and stupidly included on the first page of the manuscript):
Pretty basic, but definitely gets across a clear message. Girl, crown, chess piece. Bam. And then I started to simplify even more, and tried my hand at a minimalist (hard to understand) cover:

The symbols are nonsensical until you read the book, and even then, they're kind of hard to figure out. Also, I very clearly made this with rudimentary paint tools in Photoshop. Well done, me.

This is the final sketch I made when I knew a cover would be a real thing, and I wanted to jot something down so I had a better chance of explaining it to Kari Sutherland, the editor of RED QUEEN:

Not too bad, but definitely nowhere near the level of beauty we ended up with. And to illustrate exactly how easy the cover process was for RED QUEEN, this was what I told Kari when she asked about cover ideas:

"Uh, simple? I figure a crown upside down to show the world is not quite right. I'm big into simple, symbol covers." And then I sent her a bunch of covers I liked, including:

Kari had the idea to add dripping blood and the Harper art wizards translated that into our first comp cover. It was a rough draft, but I still loved it, and leagues ahead of where I thought the cover would start:

first cover                           second and final cover

So close to the final right? It only took Harper a single comp to nail down the cover of my dreams. A true miracle, if all the cover horror stories I've heard are true. A giant thanks to Kari, Suzie Townsend, Kristen Pettit, Jennifer Klonsky, jacket artist Michael Frost, jacket designer Sarah Nichole Kaufman, and the whole team at Harper who made this a real thing. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

More About Eternal

So in addition to writing YA novels, I also write feature screenplays. The one in question, ETERNAL, was written last fall under the guidance of my reps, and sold this past January. News of the sale has finally broken, so I can finally say it happened!

Like everything that's happened with THE RED QUEEN, this is definitely a dream come true, albeit it a different one. I majored in screenwriting, and I have five features and two television pilots wasting away on my computer. So finally selling one has been kind of surreal to me, let alone the one I wrote fastest and without the crutch of a classroom. I won't lie, getting ETERNAL completed properly was hard. Going from novels to screenplays is a real pain, and kind of like relearning a language. But it's also amazing to have two projects going at once, in case you need a break from one.

Things are still developing, but very much moving forward with my awesome producers and Sony Pictures. I can't say much about the script yet, but I will say it concerns Greek gods in modern times, and finally allowed me to put my mythology knowledge to good use. The 8 year-old girl with her nose buried in Edith Hamilton is finally vindicated!

Friday, February 7, 2014


Somehow the languages keep coming in. And even though this is the extent of my Spanish:

I'm still over the freaking moon. The Red Queen will be published in Spanish, and my roommates who are way better at the language keep saying La Reina Roja. Me gusta!

Muchas gracias to Kathleen Ortiz and the rest of New Leaf!!

From PM:

Monday, February 3, 2014

Swedish rights!

I've got some more awesome news coming down the pipeline later, but here's awesome stuff I can announce now. The wonderful Kathleen Ortiz and Co. has sold Swedish rights to The Red Queen! I wish I had a confetti gun to shoot around, but I also don't want to clean up confetti, so it's probably better that I don't.

From Publishers Marketplace:

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2013, aka Year of the Life Changes

Inspired by dear Emma's year in review post on her blog. I figured I should do one because a) I haven't blogged in a while because I'm lazy and b) I owe it to this year to ramble a bit. Lots of weird and amazing stuff happened, due in very large part to the support of my family, friends, and the kickassery of New Leaf and Benderspink.

According to my email, on this day last year I finished Chapter 21 of The Red Queen. I sent it to Morgan, who had been bugging me for it, and my mom. In addition to the book, I was also in the early stages of a life crisis. The book was getting close to finished. And that meant what exactly? I briefly debated getting a job as an office administrator at the community college down the road, then very glamorously decided to be a middle school chauffeur instead. My mom's school doesn't utilize buses, so a lot of parents employed young, jobless college grads to ferry their kids home. I ended up driving three pretty awesome kids, made some pocket money, and actually left the house daily, which was a big deal for me. When I started driving the kids, I didn't have much of anything. By the time I picked them up for the last time in June, I was doing it with a book deal and a movie option. Safe to say, those kids were my good luck charm.

This past summer was pretty great, to say the least. Not stress free, because I am a ball of anxiety and cannot chill for my life, but as close to it as I get. And I was being an adult, which is weird for me. I had important phone calls and meetings with people who very graciously ignored my wide-eyed ineptitude. Now it's winter time, I'm sitting in the chair I wrote the majority of TRQ in, and it's snowing again, like it did for many dark writing days. I feel the same, but nothing is the same. And though I innately fear change, I'm pretty happy with what's changed in my life so far.

In 2013, I:
  • Finished my first novel
  • Did not break or sprain anything (big for me)
  • Saw two movies in the theater a total of FOUR times (Frozen and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug)
  • Bought my own car
  • Drove across the country
  • Followed a grizzly bear into the woods because my dad, brother, and I are not smart humans
  • Moved back to Los Angeles and participated in many games of beer pong with weird but wonderful idiots
  • Had to park in the goddamn Galaxy lot on the Fox studio lot (I hate that thing with the heat of 10,000 pots of wildfyre)
  • Talked about Game of Thrones more than a human should
  • Attended my first film premiere (The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug) and saw Benedict Cumberbatch in the flesh (he is quite thin and well-dressed)
  • Vined Morgan too much, for which I will pay a terrible price one day
  • Finished a screenplay that was just plain fun
  • Bought too many books
  • Seriously, the Barnes & Noble people keep asking if I want a membership and audibly sigh when I say no
  • Found out I have the same taste as Morgan's mom (same bedspread and same car and same outlook on life in general)
  • Met and befriended so many awesome people through the lit world and twitter especially (Emma, I expect you to house me when I visit the beauty that is Canada and let me steal your cat)
  • Was not allowed to get a cat
  • Decided that Jennifer Lawrence wins everything and we should all just quit now
  • Got really good at airport security lines
  • Rushed a football field (USC vs. Stanford) and received a spectacular bruise from climbing down stadium seats
  • Debated getting back into Pokemon but decided I couldn't balance that and real life
  • Experienced the phenomenon of pure hate turning into pure love (Goddamn you REIGN)
  • Visited four national parks, Instagrammed all of them like the stereotype I am
  • Was actually snowed in, like could not get out of the driveway, if you need to go somewhere, you're doing it on skis snowed in
  • Got my first pedicure because I lead a glamorous life
  • Assembled a bookshelf NOT FROM IKEA
  • Still have never been to an Ikea
  • Ate real sushi or sashimi or whatever, it was a raw slab of fish and I liked it
  • Got thrown not one but TWO surprise parties (never had one before)
  • Got a nice haircut
  • Experienced all four seasons for the first time in four years
  • Assembled my dream desk space, complete with framed photos of Grand Teton and Kate Middleton
  • Still didn't get new glasses, the one thing I want in the world
  • Got fingerprinted (for a contract, calm down)
  • Started writing the sequel to my first novel
  • Frequented Target because its white fluorescence and DVD deals calm me
  • Warmed up to Los Angeles
  • Had very few bad days and many good days!
Thanks to everyone who made this year possible with their belief (and disbelief) in me. Everything that's happened was a product of many, many people. Except the bookshelf assembling. That was all me because Morgan wouldn't help.