Category Archives: Support

The Friday Five – August 19th


Welcome to the first ever Friday Five post!

To give credit where credit is 100% due, I have stolen this idea (with permission) from the lovely Katie Cotugno’s Five Good Things posts. The world can be a crazy place, so I think it’s excellent to recognize and publicly acknowledge the good things in it when we can. I am going to try to make these posts every week (I set an alert on my phone and everything), and this is the first one. Here are five things I enjoyed or am grateful for about this week:

  1. I don’t know how I’ve gotten so lucky with editors so far in my career, but I am so super grateful for my Entangled editor Kate Brauning who has been uber patient and supportive, helping me contain and shape my current projects and encouraging my new ones. She has continuously not keelhauled me for being overdue on this draft. I gotta say that I greatly appreciate that in an editor.
  2. Cait Greer has been especially fantastic this week, listening to me flail and whine about book problems only I can actually solve. A+ awesome friendship. Plus, we’re counting down the days until I fly to Salt Lake City, help Cait load up a trailer, and then road trip with her back to South Florida! I am very excited about that trip. There will be a LOT of pictures.
  3. It’s wonderful to me every time I see my Don’t Erase the Aces essay shared anywhere. The response to this post makes it more than worth the anxiety of writing it. Thank you to anyone who has promoted it, and even more thanks to the people who have told me how much the story resonated with them.
  4. I am closing in on 100k in my current project. The end is kind of in sight? If I grab a old-school seafarers telescope? And look in exactly the right direction? And good things are happening in the background on book one in this trilogy! I am trying to use that to spur me into finishing book two…
  5. Tomorrow (later today?) I am continuing my efforts to be social periodically and am meeting up with several local SCBWI friends for lunch and a workshop session! My regional chapter is fantastic, and I adore all of my local people, so I’m really happy I get to see them.

We all need to stand behind Orlando

What happened last night in Orlando is horrific and so saddening. I want to curl up in a ball in my house and never leave, but that’s not possible. I have commitments and responsibilities for my job that are taking me out into the world. When I go, though, I’ll be wearing my support with pride.

If it’s safe for you to do so, please SHOW your support today. Let’s cover the country with rainbows to remind those who need it that there’s still color in the world, and reminding those who hurt us that we are NOT GOING AWAY.

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Solo, but never alone

Times like #RT16 are a perfect reminder that even though writing can be a very solitary activity, we’re never actually alone. I am so grateful for every one of these ladies! ?

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A Reviewer Appreciation Giveaway!

Have you posted a review of one of my books online anywhere? If so, I want to say thank you! Until 5.31.16, I’m hosting a reviewer appreciation giveaway! It’s open internationally and all you have to do to enter is submit links to your reviews. The grand prize is everything pictured here! So go enter! Http://

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Today I have a Starbucks writing date with @marnibates!…

Today I have a Starbucks writing date with @marnibates! ?

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My uber busy release weekend!

Even though it’s kind of expected, I didn’t do an official launch party for the release of my debut novel Sing Sweet Nightingale. Instead, I had a whole release weekend of events! It was busy and crazy and so many levels of amazing I don’t even know how to describe it.

Plans for this weekend o’ awesome began last year when my editress Danielle Ellison warned me to block out the weekend of March 8th. “You’re going to be in Virginia,” she said. Since I had no reason to protest, I didn’t! I started making plans to join my editress, her bookstore One More Page, and the Arlington Central Library at Washington Lee High School in Arlington, Virginia for the inaugural NoVaTEEN Book Festival.

Turns out that it was going to be more than just the festival! On Friday, I joined Diana Peterfreund at Yorktown High School in Arlington, Virgina to talk to two different groups. Since this was my first ever school visit, I was really nervous, but it went so well! The kids were respectful and interested and they asked good questions. Lelia from One More Page Bookstore in Arlington coordinated the event for us and she was so sweet! All in all, it was a great morning.

Saturday was the main event, NoVaTEEN Book Festival at Washington Lee High School! It started with a keynote speech by the incredible Phyllis Reynolds Naylor at 10 and ended with a group signing at 4. In between were larger panels in the school’s auditorium and smaller sessions in several of the nearby classrooms. I joined Jon Skovron and Lea Nolan for a “breakout session” at 11 where we spent a lot of time discussing the different constructs of hell and then I got to sit back and listen to other people talk for a couple of hours before my own main-stage panel! At 3, I joined fellow debut author Elle Cosimano and veteran Victoria Schwab along with moderators Elisa Nader and Aimee Agresti for a discussion on Bad Boys and why they’re so amazingly attractive. I got to talk about my early love for the rogue George Cooper from Tamora Pierce’s Alanna series and what makes the difference between a bad boy and a villain. Somehow, I didn’t make a fool of myself, so I call the whole day a win!

Sunday, I headed to Alexandria, Virginia for a solo signing and talk at the cutest bookstore: Hooray for Books! During the event, we revealed the title for The Dream War Saga, book 2: Deadly Sweet Lies. The staff was fantastic and I hope I get to go back there soon!

And then, Monday, my mom, my uncle, and I spent the afternoon at the International Spy Museum while I played #iSpy with Marni Bates on Twitter. It was a blast!

So now, pictorial proof:

But that’s not all!

I flew home Tuesday morning, grabbed lunch, rushed to work, made my students write essays because I didn’t have anything else prepared for them, rushed home, jumped online, and did an hour-long live chat with the girls from Reading With Me! We gave away prizes and I answered a lot of questions. But don’t worry! Even if you missed the live event, you can still watch the whole video on YouTube! Or by clicking play on the video below:

Phew! Now I’m home and a little sad because all of those awesome things are over! But now I get to start working on my thriller work in progress again and then jump into edits on DEADLY, so I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to keep busy! 😉

I just want to say one last thank you to everyone who made this weekend so special. There’s far too many people to list individually, so just know that if I saw or spoke to you this weekend, you’re part of the list. Thank you so much! <3

A heartfelt thank you to everyone.

When I woke up this morning, my phone was already desperately blinking at me, filled with messages and alerts from Twitter and Facebook. Friends and family and colleagues had started early in the morning spreading the word about my debut novel’s birthday. It was an amazing feeling and as the morning wore on, the posts kept coming, poring in so quickly it was (and still is) impossible to keep up!

There are so many people who deserve thanks for their part in this process, but there are several that I feel the need to call out here.

My sister Haley has always been my first and biggest fan. She’s the kind of fan who remembers my books better than I do and brings me presents because they remind her of an old story that, at this point, will NEVER see the light of day. She’s already read Sing Sweet Nightingale more times than anyone but me and my wonderful editors and even sat with me in my bedroom one weekend while I read the entire 105,000 word book to her. Her enthusiasm for what happens next in my stories is one of the things that keeps me writing quickly, wanting to get her the next chapter as soon as I can.

Although Haley may be the first true fan of my writing, my mom, Corey, was always the first real fan of me. No matter what I thought I wanted to do, she was there supporting me in it. Driving me to dance classes and dress rehearsals and competitions when I was little, helping me with homework, encouraging my hobbies–she did it all. Most importantly, though, my mom believed wholeheartedly that I was exactly the person I should be, no matter how weird that person was. I couldn’t have asked for a kinder, smarter, more supportive mom and a lot of how Dana Teagan relates to Mariella in Sing Sweet Nightingale comes from how amazing I know my own mother would be in that situation.

All of my friends have been fascinated by and supportive of my writing aspirations, but Lani Woodland has literally been there since the beginning. Like Haley, Lani has read almost everything I’ve ever written and been one of the first people I call when I get stuck or things go wrong. Or when things go right! Without Lani, Sing Sweet Nightingale would not have been born. It also wouldn’t have found such a loving home with Danielle Ellison and Patricia Riley at Spencer Hill. Thank you for everything, bestie!

And then there’s Spencer Hill. Danielle and Patricia jumped in to my corner from day one. They took my vision for The Dream War Saga, pulled out the bits that I didn’t know wouldn’t work, and helped me put the whole thing back together into a shape that was even better than what I’d started with. My wonderful editresses have been crazy perfectionists who demanded more than I thought I was capable of. They have been cheerleaders, publicists, and, best of all, friends. I cannot imagine this series in any other hands and I am so thankful that Lani introduced me to Danielle and the rest of my Spencer Hill family. They have put SO MUCH WORK into this series already and we’re only now publishing the first book. What I’ve learned over the past eighteen months or so, though, is that they’re brilliant and, most importantly, they’re almost always right. I adore my editresses and I honestly do not know how to thank them enough for everything they’ve done and everything we have yet to accomplish together. <3

My agent, Danielle Chiotti, has been invaluable for the past year. Helping me keep my head when edits overwhelmed me, guiding me through revisions, teaching me all the things I didn’t know, and generally going WAY beyond what is technically required of a literary agent. She’s proven herself ten times over and I am so lucky that she chose to take me on. Even more so, I’m SO looking forward to working with her over the coming years!

There are so many other people who have played small but extremely significant parts in my life over the past few years. The team at Spencer Hill who have been working behind the scenes for eighteen months to make sure this book was perfect–Kate Kaynak, Cindy Thomas, Britta Gigliotti, Rich Storrs, and so many others! My fellow SHP/SHC authors–A.R. Kahler, Sarah Guillory, Dahlia Adler, the Rock sisters Joanne and Karen, Megan Whitmer, Mary Gray, Rachel Harris, and Kelsey Macke–have been nothing but supportive and generally wonderful! And then there have been friends like Asja Parrish and Taylor Thompson who willingly gave up their free time to read a new draft of my book or bloggers like my fabulous Dream Team and everyone who volunteered their time for the blog tour hosted by Jamie and Rachel at Rockstar. It’s amazing how many people have already been a part of Sing Sweet Nightingale‘s life and it’s completely mind boggling how many more people are about to join the party now that the book has been released in to the wild.

Thank you to absolutely everyone! This day has been wonderful and all of you have played a part in that.