Thursday, October 22, 2015


Sitting here, writing this, I’m feeling so humbled. It’s been five years and five manuscripts since I decided to pursue writing as my career, and I am so thrilled to share that my YA debut, THE WOOD, will be published by Feiwel and Friends in Spring 2017!

THE WOOD is definitely the book of my heart. I wrote it during a very difficult time in my life, and thus there is darkness in its pages, but also a lot of hope.  And because I’m the kid who always fast forwarded through movies to get to the kissing scenes, there’s also a lot of romance, too.

One of the main reasons I became a writer (aside from the excuse to live in other worlds all day) is because books have a way of helping people. Whether you’ve had a long day, or you’re going through something really tough, or you just really love books, being able to escape into another world by way of paper and ink is its own special brand of magic. I hope all of you amazing readers out there will find such an escape in my book, and hopefully some lifelong friends, too.

I’m planning on writing a more in-depth “Road to Publication” post detailing my journey over the past five years, but for now, I just want to say thank you. Thank you to my incredible agent, Andrea Somberg, who is the greatest cheerleader-warrior-agent a girl could ask for. Thank you to my editor, Anna Roberto, for believing in my little book. I cannot wait to work with you and see just how amazing it can be! Thank you to my CPs, Lori Goldstein, N.K. Traver, Naomi Hughes, and May Robertson, for all of the encouraging emails and for always bringing out the best in my work. Thank you to my husband (my best friend, my soulmate) for never letting me give up. And thank you to the entire book community—authors, readers, publishers, agents, booksellers, bloggers, reviewers, teachers, librarians—for being the amazing people you are. It is because of all of you that the magic of books lives, and for that, I am eternally grateful.  

Friday, August 7, 2015

Top 5's!

Hey Pitch Wars Peeps! I hope by now you’ve had time to look over the bios and wish lists of all the amazing Pitch Wars mentors (here’s my bio if you need a refresher for the types of YA submissions Lori Goldstein and I are looking for!) and that you’ve started narrowing down your mentor picks! I know it can be really hard to narrow down your choices to a Top 5, so I thought I’d give you some Top 5’s of my own and hopefully help you figure out if we’d be a good match! Because even though all of us mentors are super competitive and want all of your talented manuscripts to be submitted to us and us alone (*grudgingly puts away greedy grabby hands*), we want to do everything we can to help YOU find your perfect mentor match!

My Top 5’s

1.      Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling (my hands-down favorite HP*)
2.      The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
3.      The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
4.      Vicious by V.E. Schwab
5.      The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

Honorable Mentions: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins; City of Bones by Cassandra Clare; Red by Alison Cherry; Cinder by Marissa Meyer; The Diviners by Libba Bray; and basically all the other books out there because it’s impossible to narrow down books to a Top 5. Top 100, maybe, but not Top 5.

TV Shows

1.      Buffy the Vampire Slayer
2.      Gilmore Girls
3.      Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman
4.      Sailor Moon
5.      Friends

Honorable Mentions: I Love Lucy; Game of Thrones; The Knick; Frasier; Scandal; Band of Brothers; The Sopranos; and two shows from my childhood that greatly inspired my imagination, So Weird and Are You Afraid of the Dark?

Movies (this was almost as hard as books, so let’s just pretend all of these movies are in my “Top 5,” k?)

1.      Love Actually
2.      Titanic
3.      The Patriot
4.      Pretty Woman
5.      The Mummy

Honorable Mentions: Star Wars; The Notebook; Jurassic Park; Father of the Bride; Tommy Boy; The Breakfast Club; Christmas Vacation; Pearl Harbor; Center Stage; Catch Me If You can; and…a million others, if I’m being honest. Ugh, this Top 5 thing is so hard!

Musicals (Because I’m kind of a musical nerd, too.)

1.      Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
2.      Grease
3.      Singin’ in the Rain
4.      White Christmas
5.      Brigadoon

Honorable Mentions: Chicago; Sound of Music; On the Town; Footloose; Hello, Dolly!

Top 5 Random Facts:

1.      I am an insanely nostalgic 90s kid, so if you ever want to talk about ANYTHING 90s related, I’M YOUR GIRL. ;-)
2.      I am absolutely crazy about college football, but I don’t know the first thing about the NFL. That’s what you get for growing up in a college town, I guess.
3.      I still play my Super Nintendo from time to time (see #1)
4.      Speaking of Super Nintendo, I’m pretty sure I’ve beaten the Aladdin game at least a dozen times, a fact I like to brag about since it’s the only game I’ve ever beaten aside from Tomb Raider: Legend.
5.      I’m also a big Tomb Raider fan.

So…maybe this Top 5 thing isn’t as easy as I thought, since I pretty much cheated on all of my categories by not really making up my mind about anything. Oops!

I'd love to get to know the mentees better, so what about you guys? What would you put in your Top 5's for the above categories?

*When I list any Harry Potter book as my #1 favorite book of all time, all of the other Harry Potter books can be included in that number one spot, because, really, my favorite “book” is the entire Harry Potter series. And for anyone wondering, if I had to rank the Harry Potter series in order from favorite to least favorite (with the full understanding that they all still occupy the #1 spot) it would be as follows:

1.      Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
2.      Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
3.      Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
4.      Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
5.      Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
6.      Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
7.      Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets  

I know this is a hotly contested issue, so please feel free to include your own Harry Potter rankings below :-)

Monday, August 3, 2015

Pitch Wars 2015!

Hi everyone! I’m so excited to be a part of Pitch Wars again, this time as a co-mentor with my insanely talented friend and CP, Lori Goldstein! My first time around, I was a mentee of YA author Sarah Nicolas during Pitch Wars 2012, where I received 7 agent requests, which ultimately led to me signing with the incredible Andrea Somberg of Harvey Klinger, Inc.

Pitch Wars is such an amazing opportunity for everyone who participates, both to get your work seen by multiple agents and to get more involved in the writing community. I made three lifelong friends and CPs thanks to Pitch Wars, including Lori Goldstein, whose keen editorial eye and knack for untangling even my most complicated plot threads have made all the difference in my writing. For more information on Lori and her editorial style, check out her Pitch Wars 2015 blog post!

As for my editorial style, I pay particular attention to pacing, tension, and conflict—drama is what makes the book go ’round! If an agent/editor/reader doesn’t care about your character or their (hopefully escalating) stakes, it doesn’t matter how exciting that opening car chase is or how meticulously you’ve outlined your plot, they’re going to put the book down and walk away. You need to make them care about your characters from page one, sentence one, in order to stand out.

For more information, you can check out the ‘About Me’ page on my website. You can also follow me on my blog and on twitter for Pitch Wars updates and writing tips. For more on the contest, including submission details and the agent list, visit host Brenda Drake’s Web site.
And now, without further ado, here is our joint wish list!

Our Pitch Wars Wish List

While we read and love all genres, we feel we can have the greatest impact on YA contemporary, contemporary fantasy/urban fantasy, and realistic or light science fiction. We welcome strong friendships and romance. We don't mind love triangles (see Lori's #TVD above). But above all, if your book makes us laugh, you will win our hearts. Characters rule for us. The stronger, the better. We love stories that blend genres and styles: a dash of humor, a pinch of suspense, an ounce of romance. Make your characters real and make us care about them, and you've got us. We're less drawn to straight-out action, crime, horror, and high fantasy. Stories involving religious themes, sports of all sorts (unless they are in the Friday Night Lights vein, where the sport serves as a backdrop to strong character arcs), and very dark or political aspects are probably not for us.

Our critique will be full of smiley faces but won’t shy away from pointing out the areas that need work. Lori has an ear for dialogue and Chelsea is particularly good at trimming the fat. We won’t ask you to do anything we won’t, and haven’t, done. Lori will use everything she's learned as a third-time Pitch Wars mentor and as a survivor of a Big 5 publisher's editing rounds for two books. Chelsea will use her experience as a Pitch Wars mentee in 2012 to ensure she knows what it's like to be in your shoes and she'll guide you every step of the way.

We both know firsthand how one or two pointed questions can make your book better. We've done this for each other, and now we can do the same for you. If you pick us as your mentor, you'll get two minds for the price of one. We’ll devote all we’ve learned to make your book the best it can be.