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!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

How I Got My Agent, Part I: A Timeline & Query Stats

So. Earlier this week, I threw an agent announcement party with y'all. Today I'm sharing the story of how I got my agent. Mind you, I didn't spend a ton of time querying, and I'll explain why below. But first, let's begin with some stats:

From first draft to query-ready draft: 3 years

First query sent: April 2015
Total queries sent: 12
Full requests: 4
Full rejections: 4
Full rejections w/feedback: 2
Stopped querying to revise: July 2015

Out of the two agents who sent me super helpful feedback, Linda was one of them. I (shyly) asked if she'd be interested in reading the revised manuscript once it was ready. To my surprise and excitement, she said yes.

The only problem? I didn't revise at all. I got sucked into a vortex of self-doubt and panic. I felt like my manuscript's premise wasn't innovative or original enough. Yes, the writing was good, but not great. There was too much backstory. I had characters with motivations left to clarify. There was just nothing that screamed SNATCH ME UP too loudly.

So I put off revisions and went on with my life. I did brainstorm from time to time, but never sat down to actually work on those new ideas.

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


So. On my next post, I'll write about what happened after that super awesome email. It will contain lots of exclamation points and Caps Lock. Because obviously.

Have a lovely day!!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Breaking News: I Have An Agent!!

So. I'm here today to make an announcement. 

What announcement, you ask? 

I HAVE AN AGENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I'm now represented by the super awesome Linda Camacho of Prospect Agency

*flails even harder*

I'll totally share my querying (and signing with Linda!!) story at a later time, but for now, REJOICE. You get to eat cyber pizza, ice cream, and cake with me! Not as good as the real thing, but no worries. I'll eat all of it on your behalf. :)   

Now if you'll excuse me, I must get back to flailing. I don't think I've done enough of that. 

*flails forever*

Friday, November 20, 2015



I saw you yesterday. The theater was packed, of course. Lots of early risers ready for some closure. You lasted a bit, but I didn't feel like you were taking your time in vain. Every second counted. Every second mattered. Just like your literary counterpart, you were hard to swallow at times. I know a lot of people hated reading those pages. They hated the whole thing, even. You were a disappointment on the page for them, and so, many think you will be a disappointment on the screen.

I'm not disappointed.

This is what I believe: there's nothing tragic about surviving. Yes, unspeakable horrors happen in war. Win or lose, we're all losers anyway. We lose people. We lose parts of our hearts, ourselves. 

Katniss Everdeen loses a lot. Still, the reason why I respect her, the reason why I love you, MOCKINGJAY PART 2, is because she loses and fights on anyway. It's so hard for Katniss. Impossible at times, even. But she keeps. Pushing. Forward. She has to acknowledge everything is not okay in order to have the slightest chance at ever believing it can be okay again. 

I strive to be as strong as her every single day. I wasn't born in District 12. I don't know how to hunt.  Braiding my hair on a daily basis? Nope. Not for me. I'm not Katniss Everdeen, but she's shown me how important it is to survive. To fight for what matters. Then, and only then, can I truly live. 

So thanks, MOCKINGJAY PART 2. You weren't perfect, but you were everything I wanted.


A Grateful Fan

Monday, October 12, 2015

On Redefining My Reader Comfort Zone

So. Books. I read them.

Or, I should say, try to read them. My Goodreads challenge has been politely reminding me that I still have a lot of catching up to do this year. "Fret not," I tell myself. "You'll get there!"

On the way there (there: 40 books), I've discovered something. My reading comfort zone is YA literature. It has been for a long time. However, this year has brought me a slew of books outside of YA that I've fallen head over heels for. Some of them are graphic novels. Others are nonfiction books. And a few are books written by actors I admire. 

This last category is a game changer for me. I've always been the kind of person who's learned a lot by watching other people's mistakes. Sure, I learn from my own, too. I still prefer it when others are teaching me how to fail. And, more importantly, how to get back up after failing. 

One recommendation? In case you haven't checked it out, Mindy Kaling's second book is titled Why Not Me?

I've also read Mindy's first book, which I loved to bits. Mindy's hilarious, yes, but she's this beacon of empowerment for me. Her advice to young girls and women is simple. Be yourself. Work hard for what you want. Embrace your numerous crushes on male celebrities (my personal favorite). 

This is me basically telling you that you need to fangirl over Mindy Kaling and her awesomeness. This is also me basically telling you to not limit yourself, even if you already know the kind of stories you enjoy. I never thought I'd devour a book written by a celebrity. Now I've devoured more than one and have learned from all of them. 

I'll go back to reading my beloved YA soon, but I'm not longer so judgmental about other options.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

So I Met Jensen Ackles...

And I'm officially dead.


Monday, April 20, 2015

Things That Feed My Soul: FIRST DRAFT Podcast With Sarah Enni

So. Podcasts. 

I don't usually listen to them, which is something I'm slowly changing about myself. A friend of mine started one recently (a super geeky, pop culture heavy one), and it was the push I needed to start diving into the podcast waters for real. 

A few months ago, I'd heard about one that seemed perfect for me:

Folks, Sarah Enni is brilliant. If you haven't read her posts on YA Highway, you're missing out. That's how I learned of her awesomeness. Then I read that she was starting FIRST DRAFT, a podcast featuring authors of both YA and MG books. My mind pretty much exploded, but since I wasn't too committed to podcasts back then, I didn't check them out immediately. 

Present Me is all sorts of upset with Past Me. Sarah's interviews are both enlightening and inspiring. She sits down with the most remarkable artists anyone could ever encounter, then proceeds to let them school her audience in the art of resilience. Last week, I was so, so sick. It was the cold from Hades, I tell you. But once I pressed Play on an episode of FIRST DRAFT, boom. Instant remedy. I felt like stopping everything and writing until the wee hours of the morning. I felt like strapping on my boots and climbing as many mountains as I could. I felt like dancing and belting out party songs with my ridiculously terrible singing voice.

I felt like not giving up on my dreams.

Go ahead. If you haven't done it already, press Play. Now. Right now. 

Happy listening!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Book Giveaway: THE WALLS AROUND US By Nova Ren Suma!

So. I'm a certified Nova Ren Suma fangirl. This is fact. 

This week, I finished reading her latest gem, THE WALLS AROUND US. In case you haven't heard of this brilliance of a book, here's the summary:
“Ori’s dead because of what happened out behind the theater, in the tunnel made out of trees. She’s dead because she got sent to that place upstate, locked up with those monsters. And she got sent there because of me.”

On the outside, there’s Violet, an eighteen-year-old dancer days away from the life of her dreams when something threatens to expose the shocking truth of her achievement.

On the inside, within the walls of the Aurora Hills juvenile detention center, there’s Amber, locked up for so long she can’t imagine freedom.

Tying their two worlds together is Orianna, who holds the key to unlocking all the girls’ darkest mysteries . . .

What really happened on the night Orianna stepped between Violet and her tormentors? What really happened on two strange nights at Aurora Hills? Will Amber and Violet and Orianna ever get the justice they deserve—in this life or in another one?

In prose that sings from line to line, Nova Ren Suma tells a supernatural tale of guilt and of innocence, and of what happens when one is mistaken for the other.

Folks, this book is my new everything. IT IS MADE OF YES. I only wish I could've read it when I was thirteen years old, angry and aimless, wondering what to do with what I felt about myself and the world. This is the kind of story that would've pushed me to stay strong, to believe. 

I think it can bring a little magic into other people's lives, which is why I'm hosting this book giveaway. It's open internationally (wherever Book Depository ships to), and all you have to do is: 1) follow this blog, and 2) comment on this post. That's it.  

The giveaway will end next Saturday, April 18th, when I'll announce the (randomly chosen) winner!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Synopsis Post. Or, A Collection Of Posts On Writing A Synopsis That Are My New BFFs.

So. The synopsis. 

*cracks knuckles* 

I've written synopses before, but they still intimidate me. Not as much as they used to, I'll admit. They just take me a while to get right. Aaaaaaa whiiiiileeeeeeee. I'd rather write a gazillion query letters than one synopsis. #fact

The very first time I had to write a synopsis, I scoured the interwebz for advice/moral support/pizza. I found plenty of great resources. There's even more of them now. Seeing as I'm not the only one freaking out over Death By Synopsis, I figured I'd collect my favorite posts on how to write a banging one. I hope they guide you into the mystical land of Ninja Synopsis Writerdom. Word on the street is they have chocolate cake. *packs everything*

Here's my list of faves:

Writing a Synopsis from the Ground Up by Dee-ann Latona Leblanc

In Short: Writing a Novel Synopsis That Rocks by H.L. Dyer on the QueryTracker blog

6 Steps For Writing A Book Synopsis by author Marissa Meyer

How To Write A 1-Page Synopsis by author Susan Dennard

Hope these help!! :)

Friday, February 13, 2015

Happy Galentine's Day!! Or, Leslie Knope Knows How To Party.

So. It is officially Galentine's Day.

What's that? You don't know what Galentine's Day is?

*tries not to judge you*

Here. Let Leslie Knope explain:


Now if you'll excuse me, I must go shower all my lady friends with cyber hugs and chocolate.

Happy Galentine's Day! :D

Sunday, February 8, 2015

My Celebratory THE-WALKING-DEAD-Returns-Tonight Post

So. THE WALKING DEAD returns tonight.

This pleases me.

This pleases me a lot.

Mostly because of him:

Sheriff Rick Grimes

And her:


And them:

I will go down with this ship. Oh, yes, I will.

And also her (always her):

My precious Carol.



Oh, and can't forget about them:

So yeah. I'm pretty stoked. :)