Sunday, October 13, 2019

Once More With DRAGONS: My YA Book Deal Announcement Is Out!

There you have it, folks. BLAZEWRATH, also known as The Book Of My Dreams, will be published in Fall 2020.

I can’t believe I wrote that sentence.

This book has been haunting me since 2014. It took me two years to figure out the story it really was, and to find the courage to write it. No other book had intimidated me quite like this one. I figured I was too terrible of a writer to actually try drafting it. When I finally started it in December 2016, it was a slow and painful process made even more so after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in September 2017. That first draft took a backseat while I dealt with the lack of power, water, and the will to do anything productive. Hands down, it was the worst period of my life.

I hope to write more about how BLAZEWRATH came to be a completed manuscript, and how it’s going to be a real book next year. For now, I just wanted to share my excitement over a project that’s challenged me and fulfilled me the most out of anything I’ve written. This wild ride started three years ago.

I can’t wait to see where it takes me next.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Book Launch Interview: Mia Garcia & THE RESOLUTIONS!

Hi, there! Today I'm super excited to share an interview with one of my favorite authors, Mia Garcia!

M. García was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She moved to New York where she studied creative writing at The New School, worked in publishing, and lived under a pile of to-be-read books. She is the author of Even If the Sky Falls and the upcoming The Resolutions from Katherine Tegen books (an imprint of Harper Collins) coming November 13, 2018.

That's right. The Resolutions is out TODAY. Here's a bit more about this amazing book:

A heart-expanding novel about four Latinx teens who make New Year’s resolutions for one another—and the whirlwind of a year that follows. Fans of Erika L. Sánchez and Emery Lord will fall for this story of friendship, identity, and the struggle of finding yourself when all you want is to start over.

From hiking trips to four-person birthday parties to never-ending group texts, Jess, Lee, Ryan, and Nora have always been inseparable. But now with senior year on the horizon, they’ve been growing apart. And so, as always, Jess makes a plan.

Reinstating their usual tradition of making resolutions together on New Year’s Eve, Jess adds a new twist: instead of making their own resolutions, the four friends assign them to one another—dares like kiss someone you know is wrong for you, find your calling outside your mom’s Puerto Rican restaurant, finally learn Spanish, and say yes to everything.

But as the year unfolds, Jess, Lee, Ryan, and Nora each test the bonds that hold them together. And amid first loves, heartbreaks, and life-changing decisions, beginning again is never as simple as it seems.

In honor of Mia's book birthday, I sent her some questions and did my best not to exclusively discuss food (it was very hard not to!). Here's what Mia had to say:

1) Let's talk writing. How would you describe your drafting process for The Resolutions? How did it differ from your (AMAZING) debut, Even If The Sky Falls?    

This is an excellent question because Even If the Sky Falls felt like such a plot driven story – not that emotions didn’t play a large role in it – but because of the 24-hour time constraint I had to keep the action going and make sure you were always aware of the storm that was approaching moments away.

With The Resolutions we follow four characters over a whole year, which meant I had more time to work with feelings and linger on small moments.  It also meant that with four characters that time was limited.

I forgot where I was going with this…Ah yes. Both novels were started under-contract so I had a strict deadline for both. Both were written in under 4 months and each editorial round took around 6 weeks to complete. But (going back to my earlier statement) because Even If the Sky Falls was a much more plot driven story, there was a clear skeletal structure that I could grasp onto while I was editing. It took me several revisions to find that structure in The Resolutions because each character had their own beat and each beat had to come together with the other to form a symphony or at least a runaway pop hit. 

2) The Resolutions centers around a group of friends who pick New Year's resolutions for each other (confession: I wouldn't trust my friends with that, lol). What came first during your brainstorming process for this particular story, the characters or the premise? 

I hear you – I’m not sure if I’d trust my friends with that either, though I have a feeling I know exactly what they’d pick.

The Resolutions was a collaboration between my editor Alex Arnold and myself. We both have a love of book friendships. In fact, I think the way she described this book when it was announced was “friendship = life’s blood” which is totally true. We brainstormed each character’s resolutions, which gave us the skeleton for the story. But it wasn’t until I figured out their relationship and voices (and particularly their repartee) that things really came together. My favorite scenes to write were the text exchanges and the moments where they were being silly and supporting each other.

3) One of the reasons why I love The Resolutions so much is the FOOD. You have no idea how stoked I am to see Puerto Rican cuisine so often in this story. If you could eat only one Puerto Rican dish for the rest of your life, which one would it be?

Amparo! How could you do this to me? ONE dish!?! Can I have a savory and sweet dish? I’m going to pretend you said yes.

I’m a sucker for a good bistec and habichuelas – particularly because I can never find recao over here so it never tastes right when I make it. For dessert I am very judgmental of flan/tres leches because I’m partial to my mami’s. OMG I almost forgot mallorcas – like – how could I?

Clearly I can’t answer this question…

4) If you were a character in The Resolutions, what's a resolution you'd like for your friends to pick for you? It can be one that's not featured in the book!

Ohh, that’s interesting, because I put a little of myself in each of my four main characters so in a way it feels like I’m in the novel already, but…Amparo this is hard!! OK, I think they would encourage me to have a little more patience with the dating process, but to be honest it feels like another job and I don’t need another job!

5) Which fictional character from any other story would you pick a resolution for and what would that resolution be? 

I would tell Minerva McGonagall to take a sabbatical – she needs it.

Thank you so much to Mia for letting me pick her brain! Make sure to get your copy of The Resolutions at the links below: 

Also, you can follow Mia here:

Friday, January 29, 2016

New Website!

So I have a website.

You can check it out here.

I'll still keep this blog around, but I'll be putting up more content on the new site more often. *pets new site* *blows kisses*

Happy Friday!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Pride & Prejudice: My 2016 Reading Goal

now KISS!!!

So. There's this book called Pride and Prejudice, right? I'm sure you've read it. Multiple times. Because it's fantastic.

I've never read it.

I've started it, gotten halfway through it, but life happened and I put it aside and I haven't forgiven myself since.

Which is why I have two reading goals for 2016.

Goal #1

Read 50 books (and have the majority of those books be YA novels).

Goal #2

Finish Pride and Prejudice

This is the year, folks. I'm finally reading the whole thing because holy smoke bombs it's about time. As soon as I finish the book, I'm watching the film adaptation with Keira Knightley, since a few of my friends are obsessed with it. 

*cracks knuckles* 

Let's do this, Austen!! 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Thank You, 2015. You Were F*cking Swell.

So. Tomorrow is New Year's Eve. The last day of 2015.

Confession: 2015 was the best year of my life. Hands down. Yes, I've had some amazing things happen to me in previous years, but as a whole, this one takes the crown. 

I presented at my first academic conference.

Mad Max: Fury Road became my new favorite movie ever.

I traveled alone for the first time. Destination: Washington, D.C. 

I went to my first Supernatural fan convention.

Me. In a hotel bathroom. Wearing my con badge. 


The rest of the cast was A+++, of course, BUT JENSEN ACKLES Y'ALL.

In case you've forgotten what he looks like.
Which, by the way, is punishable by exile to a world without pizza. 

I recorded episodes for two of my friends' podcasts. Friend 1: The Walking Dead episode. Friend 2: Archie comics episode. 

Mockingjay Pt. 2 closed the series in spectacular (and emotional) fashion.

I signed with my agent!!!!

The spark I was missing to fix my manuscript is back in full force. 

Lastly, I celebrated my 29th birthday by returning to Las Vegas. 

Where I met One Direction.

Okay, okay. I met Wax One Direction. 

That still counts.

With Wax Niall.

So here's the deal. 2016 is right around the corner. I'm not totally ready to say goodbye to the best year of my life, but I'm ready to welcome better things. I'm ready to fight for my happiness again. Because that's what 2015 taught me. If I want something bad enough, I have to work for it, and if I work for it, sometimes, maybe, I can get it. 

2016, you don't stand a chance against me, kid.

Happy New Year!! :) 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

How I Got My Agent, Part III: The Call

So. I've already discussed my querying timeline and writing a one-line pitch for my manuscript. 

Now let's talk about The Call. 

November 2015: Even though Linda emailed me on Thanksgiving Day, I didn't see her email until three days later. THREE DAYS. *face palm* I quickly wrote back saying that, indeed, I'd love to schedule a chat with her. We agreed on a date. I tried not to get too excited, seeing as my manuscript wasn't complete. Well, the old version was, but I'd started a brand new one. No chance I'd get offered representation with a manuscript in such a state.

December 2, 2015: Linda calls me to discuss revisions. We talked about my manuscript's new direction, our favorite books, diversity in YA fiction, my job as a college instructor, and life in Puerto Rico. I also pitched three other manuscript ideas I had. Linda sounded super enthusiastic about them (!!!). After an hour of awesome conversation, Linda told me she enjoyed speaking with me and hearing about my revision plan for the manuscript.

Then she said, "I would love to offer you representation."


I can't remember how long my silence lasted, but Linda was gracious enough to carry on as I fainted on the inside. I proceeded to ask her some standard questions for when agents offer rep, as well as some questions of my own. To be honest, I don't even know why I interviewed her. My mind had already been made. So after Linda answered my questions, I accepted her offer of rep (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!).

And now we've reached the end of this tale, my friends. I'm super pumped about what's next, which is a loooooot of revisions. A lot. Did I mention a lot? Because a lot.

Now if you'll excuse me, I must go finish a celebratory donut. It would be unwise to tell you how many I've eaten in the last month.

Happy holidays!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

How I Got My Agent, Part II: The Pitch

So. I've already shared a timeline and my query stats in Part I. Today I'm talking about The Pitch that saved my life. 

I ended my last post like this:

October 2015: Linda emails me out of the blue to ask how revisions are coming along.

I don't think there's an emoji that could accurately represent the sound that came from my lips. It was a happy noise of happiness. And panic. Panicked happiness. I was thrilled that she remembered my lil' old manuscript and that she wanted to see if I was still alive. I was also panicked because I hadn't done a thing to revise it. So I did some heavy brainstorming and light plotting.

The problem? The draft Linda read didn't speak to me anymore. I wanted to write a different story with the same characters and world. The new version hit me hard. It wouldn't let me go. So I sat down and worked on a one-line pitch.

Confession: I love writing one-line pitches. This one poured out of me, even though I was still unsure of sending it to Linda. She did contact me because of the previous version. I had no guarantee that pitching a different story was going to be a sound decision. I did it anyway. After polishing the one-line pitch, I wrote back to Linda.

She gave me the thumbs-up.

She told me to revise to my heart's content and keep her updated on how revisions were coming along. The plan was to send her the new manuscript once it was ready.

So I started revising. That one-line pitch served as my inspiration to go full force on this story. I wrote five chapters and had started a sixth.

November 2015: (Thanksgiving Day, to be precise) Linda emails me to schedule a chat.


On my next and final post, I'll talk about The Call and signing with my agent. *flails*

Happy weekend!