A book launch is a funny thing. It’s thrilling, because you get to shove your art into the world and stand behind it, letting it fend for itself. It’s unnerving, because you’re exposed, a lot. It’s exhausting, because you’re “on,” all the time. It’s guilt-inducing, because you feel like you should be holed up writing your next book somewhere.

And, it’s freaking awesome.

Here are some snapshots of After the Woods’s baby days. Sort of a baby-book, without the measurements and milestones.

There was more: school visits and book clubs, all with crazy-smart questions from awesome readers and writers. Coming up, among other fun stuff: the Chicago YA Book Festival (April), the Boston Teen Book Festival (Sept), and the Boston Book Festival (Oct). In the meantime, I’ll be trying my best to enjoy every minute of my first-born’s first year. And if history repeats itself, babies 2, 3, (4,5…) will be lucky if they have a picture taken.

Writing Life, YA Debuts in 2016

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kraken5Earlier this year, Editorial Hidra bought Spanish rights to After the Woods. It released on Feb. 29, days after the US release. Ever since, I’ve been getting the coolest book stylings from Spanish readers, which I LOVE seeing! Check ’em out.



















Given this is my view out my window today, my Google history might just include Cheap Flights to Boston→Madrid. Just sayin’.



Editorial Hidra, Foreign Rights Sales, News, YA Debuts in 2016

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tumblr_m02jpm4BPw1qzydh2o6_r1_250Sometimes when I’m reading a novel, there’s something familiar about the character, and I realize it’s because they could be one of my characters at a different stage of their life. Like, The Woman Upstairs might be Julia 25 years later. Or maybe, they could be siblings, or brothers from another mother. Something.

Maybe it’s time to spend time with real people. Nah!

Instead, and in that spirit, I offer quotes After the Woods Characters Might Steal From Other Novels.

Detective MacDougall on Donald Jessup:

“Murderers are not monsters, they’re men. And that’s the most frightening thing about them.” ― Alice Sebold, The Lovely Bones

Julia on Liv:

“Love is when you care more about something else than you do about yourself.” — Brenna Yovanoff, The Space Between

Kellan to Julia:

“When did we see each other face-to-face? Not until you saw into my cracks and I saw into yours.”  — John Greene, Paper Towns

Julia on Deborah:

“She never laughs or smiles or tells a joke. She reminds me of a robot caked in meat.” ― Matthew Quick, Sorta Like a Rock Star

Paula to Julia:

“Sometimes you just need to go through a door.” — Ransom Riggs, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Julia on life:

“Get smart and nothing can touch you.” ― S.E. Hinton, The Outsiders

YA Debuts in 2016



YA Debuts in 2016

imagesMy debut novel, After the Woods, releases Feb. 23rd, and the days leading up to its launch have been heady. Shouty caps on Twitter. Giveaways and talks. I’ve been stroking, feeding and loving this first book, my book baby to the neglect of all other things, especially my Muse.

And she’s giving me the stink eye.

So it’s time to write again. To do that, I’ve laid forth some commandments for myself and to share, wherever you may be on your publication path.

  1. Thou shalt restrict social media to the phone. That nerve pinging as you tap out 140 characters on a tiny screen? That’s called Carpal Tunnel, and that shall be your reward. The Muse is a punishing Muse.
  2. Thou shalt turn to apps that block wireless and transform the urge to Tweet into something useful. No one cares that you “worked with Mac Freedom for 480 minutes!” but you can pretend that, somewhere in New York, your editor is nodding approvingly.
  3. Thou shalt keep said phone a minimum of twenty feet from your sacred writing space.
  4. Thou shalt read touchstone texts, those books that inspire your writing, but not too many, because that is procrasti-reading, and you’re not fooling anyone.
  5. Thou shalt dream only of your plot, because the sleeping brain cannot be interrupted by requests for hot chocolate or to tug off a child’s Nike Elites, those hateful podiatric condoms designed by a man who never removed sweaty socks.
  6. Thou shalt draw and quarter thine internal editor. See Commandment One.
  7. Thou shalt not covet they neighbor’s Twitter love. The Muse is not impressed by confetti tosses, muppet-flapping, or the feels, no matter how reals.
  8. Remember the writing day, which is your date with the Muse, and she will not be stood up, or she becomes Crazy Ex-Muse, and you’ll have to file a restraining order.
  9. Make your only idol Annie Dillard, who wrote so hard she didn’t realize it was the Fourth of July until she heard the pop of fireworks. Then, make your own fireworks on the page.
  10. Honor thine Muse. She’s the one who brought you into this world, and she’s the one who’ll take you out of it.

Now go forth and write.

Literary Thrillers, Writing Life, YA Debuts in 2016, YA Thrillers