Category Archives: Upstart Crow Literary

News and New Books!

This has been an incredibly busy summer for bookish things, but only now am I able to talk about everything that’s happened! To put it simply, I have signed on as an author with both Entangled Teen and Riptide Publishing‘s YA imprint, Triton Books!

Riptide-NewAuthorAnnouncement Deserted deal report

First up will be my assassin girls in 2016! I’ll get a chance to introduce you to Kindra and there may also be guns and car chases and explosions. Maybe. Probably. πŸ˜€

Then, between March 2017 and March 2018, my fantasy trilogy will release! Desert islands, storm-filled skies, magic, conspiracies, secrets, and lots of fighting. All that and a lot more will be there!

I can’t tell you too much more about the books yet except that I absolutely adore both of these series and am so happy that they’ve found loving homes with fantastic editors! They’ll help me whip these books into shape and then I will get the chance to share them with you! And that really is awesome.

Additionally, now that I have all of these things to keep track of, I’ve added a Book List page to the site. This will be a quick, chronological reference list for all of my publications, both traditional and self-published, and I’ll keep it updated as release dates change or new titles get added to the list.

Aaaaand…that’s it for now! Seems like more than enough to be gettin’ on with, though, don’t you think?

Back from New York. With pictures!

Flying out of NYC

I’m back from NYC! This is actually a bad thing since I didn’t want to come home, but whatever. Wish I could say Florida has better air conditioning, but right now it doesn’t. The AC at my day job seems to be busted. FUN TIMES IN SUMMER, LET ME TELL YOU.

David Hyde PierceI should be used to being hot by now considering I’ve spent the last 28 years in Florida and the last week walking around Manhattan in the middle of a heat wave, but I’m not. At this point, I don’t think I ever will be.

So what was I doing in the city for a week? LOTS. And nothing. It was strange.

I did get to see an awesome play called Masha & Sonia & Vanya & Spike with David Hyde Pierce (and Sigourney Weaver usually, but she had the night off). It was hilarious and, to top it off, we got to meet David Hyde Pierce after the show, get our Playbills signed, and take a picture! He was super nice and really funny. My sisters and I told him that he reminded us of our uncle (because, really, they could be TWINS) and he laughed. And then asked the next people who requested a picture who he reminded them of. I definitely recommend going to see this play if you’re in NYC. Especially while David is still a part of the cast.

What else did I see, you ask? I AM SO GLAD YOU ASKED!

The cast of OnceI saw Once. That by itself would be amazing enough, but I got to see Once with ARTHUR DARVILL. He may be better known as Rory or The Last Centurion from Doctor Who. Whatever you know him as (or even if you don’t know him at all), this musical was incredible. Unique, touching, funny, beautifully performed, captivating… I could keep pouring descriptors into this paragraph and it wouldn’t be enough. Fantastic show with beautiful music and an extraordinarily talented cast! Like with M&S&V&S, my sisters and I waited to get the Playbill signed. And we did! Almost the entire cast signed our books except Arthur, who I think wasn’t feeling well and left through another entrance. We were sad to miss him but extremely happy that he performed that night!

Other highlights of my trip include visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art and stalking their armor and weapons exhibit, taking pictures for the fantasy book I’m working on. I loved those rooms. SWORDS AND ARMOR AND GUNS, OH MY! It was really cool. I also got a lot of design ideas for my own fantasy world. Fun, fun, fun!

Swords at The MetOn top of that, I had lunch with the wonderful Michael Stearns from Upstart Crow, the matchmaker who set me up with Danielle Chiotti, agent extraordinaire. It’s always fun to talk to him and I was really happy to get the chance to see him again. Luckily, my beautiful agent was ALSO visiting the city and I got to meet her for lunch on Friday! Our first meeting in person. It kind of felt like our hundred-first. πŸ˜€

I saw a comedy show, went to a wedding at a zoo (yes, seriously), walked all over the island of Manhattan, hung out with the incredible Asja and the beautiful Britta from Spencer Hill, ate way too much food, spent time with family, and reveled in being part of one of my favorite cities in the U.S. It was a fantastic week and now I have to go back to normal life.

Honestly, I’m glad I have behind the scenes projects to look forward to and Sing Sweet Nightingale edits to focus on because otherwise coming back to this day job would be too depressing to contemplate. But I’m here! Even if I’m procrastinating actually doing any work by writing this blog post. WHATEVER, OKAY?! I’ve neglected the blog for too long. This post was overdue. So is most of my day job work, but I’m ignoring that fact for the moment.

Here’s hoping one or all of the amazing things in the works happens soon! Here’s hoping my day job will soon consist only of blog posts and world building and emails with editors an agents.

Here’s hoping. <3


An interview and a little bit of news!

Microphone (c) Acuzio

A while back, I received an email from the wonderfully sweet Amy Trueblood over at Chasing the Crazies. Which is an awesome title for a site. Amy asked if I would be interested in participating in a series of interviews she has been doing called Writer Odyssey Wednesday (W.O.W. for short). Of course, my answer was, “YES, PLS. WHERE DO I SIGN?”

The idea that I’ve finally reached the point where I can legitimately be included in a series like this is still a little strange. My debut release is nine months away (250 days, but who’s counting?). It feels like forever. In fact, it’s so far away that it still doesn’t seem real. But that’s just in my head, apparently. To other people, I’m already there. I made the deal, signed the contract, and am officially an author with credits to my name. Wow is right.

So, I agreed! Amy sent me a list of great questions and now you can read both those questions and my answers! I talk about my strange relationship with querying, how I found my glorious editors at Spencer Hill and my wonderful agent Danielle Chiotti, as well as a little bit about Sing Sweet Nightingale and the process of writing it and finding it a home. Click here to see!

In other news, this morning I sent a new book to my wonderful agent Danielle! It’s the second in a contemp series I co-wrote with my bestie Lani Woodland and I cannot wait until these books find a home and I get to share more details about them. I adore these characters and this world and everything about writing them. It’s FUN. There’s a lot to be said about partnering on a book with someone, too. Especially someone I get along with and work with as well as Lani. co-writing is probably not for everyone, but if you find the right partner, it’s divine.

In other other news, I’m heading back to Manhattan next week!! For the first time ever, I’m going to spend the Fourth of July in the Big City. Of course, that’s not the purpose of the trip, but it’s still convenient timing. I’m actually going in celebration of my sister’s 25th birthday and my cousin’s wedding (she’s getting married at the BRONX ZOO! How freaking cool is that?!). The reason for the trip doesn’t matter, though. I still get to spend an awesome week in New York City with people I love. I even get to drop by the Upstart Crow offices and meet some more of the interns and agents in person. So many fantabulous things packed into one trip! If you’re not already following me on Twitter or Facebook, go fix that! I’ll be posting about my trip on those two places more often than on my blog. Easier to access on the go!

That’s all for now! I’ll check in again soon. πŸ™‚


I should be working on revisions right now. So, obviously, I’m writing the second part of my I HAVE AN AGENT story instead. You know, AS YOU DO. Also, a warning: this is long.

A journey (c) L. Emerson

Strange as it may seem, this story actually starts in 2008. I was querying my first book Fallen (which will never ever see the light of day again). On my shortlist of agents was a guy named Ted Malawer who worked at an agency called Firebrand. I submitted and then, lo and behold, he wanted to see more! He read more and enjoyed it enough to bring it to his company’s acquisitions meeting only to find out someone had just signed a similar project. He couldn’t represent the book.

Disappointed, but also hopeful, I went back out into the world. Until I finally realized that I had written myself into so many corners with the structure of the plot and the world and the characters that the only way to fix it was to scrap the whole project and start over. Which I tried to do. And it got even worse.

That book went away. I worked on other things, projects that may or may not ever see the light of day. I haven’t decided yet. Also, not the point of this story.

THEN, I wrote Sing Sweet Nightingale. This book spoke to me. It possessed me for an entire month and forced me to write it all down. I won an award. I met the editors from Spencer Hill. With this interest, I sent out a round of queries.

Ted Malawer had left Firebrand and now worked at an agency called Upstart Crow. He was also closed to submissions. However, someone else at his agency was accepting queries and she was interested in young adult! Yay! So, I put Danielle Chiotti on my list and queried her along with a few others.

They ALL rejected the book. In very polite, nice ways. But…

I STILL didn’t have an agent.

HOWEVER, Danielle Ellison and Patricia Riley at Spencer Hill loved Sing. They wanted it. I was more than thrilled to let them buy it.

Happy and slightly confused, I tried to figure out what to do from here. I had a book deal, but no agent. Did I need an agent anymore? Did I want one? At this point I knew I could survive without one for a while, but I did want representation in the long run. I want to be a full-time author. I want to be able to support myself and whatever size family I end up one day having from the sales of my novels. I want to write in a wide range of YA subgenres and I want someone to help me navigate the market to make the best decisions I can both for my books and my career. I want an agent.

I just didn’t know how to get one. How do you query someone with a book that’s already sold? I didn’t have any other projects completed and I highly doubted anyone would want to sign an author who didn’t have anything they could sell in the near future.

Bruce Coville, Me, and Michael Stearns

In the meantime, I revised a ton based on Danielle and Patricia’s suggestions. Entire subplots and even a character was removed from the story. It was a lot of work, but I came back with a better version of the book when I was done. Didn’t think it would be possible to get an agent with it, though. Because, you know, it’s still been sold.

Then, in January, I went to the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators conference in Miami. While waiting on my edit letter for Sing Sweet Nightingale, I’d started writing this fantasy novel. Totally different from anything I’d ever tried, I wasn’t sure if the story was working or not. So I signed up for a 10 page critique. Luck and fate paired me with Michael Stearns, co-founder of Upstart Crow Literary where–for those who’ve lost track–both Ted and Danielle work.

He loved the pages. He said only kind things, gave me a couple of notes for expansion/revision, but generally just kept telling me how much he enjoyed the pages and that he would have willingly read more. He asked me about where I was in my career and I explained my slightly odd predicament.

“Send me your book,” he said. “I’ll take a look at it and maybe I can pass it along to one of my agents.”

Literally grinning from ear to ear (seriously. Ask some of the people who saw me that night. Muppet flailing ensued!), I went to the end of the night party and sat down while the music was blaring to email Michael my book. I was giddy enough to ignore the little voice in my head telling me, “Shouldn’t you wait until the morning when the adrenaline wears off?”

I didn’t listen to that little voice. I emailed away and sent out several other queries the next day. And then I waited.

In the next couple of weeks, I gathered a couple of rejections (all very polite ones). I kept Michael up to date on some news I received while I was waiting and he promised to get back in touch soon.

And then I got an email from Danielle Chiotti. Michael had passed the book to her and she’d started reading it immediately. Fifty pages in, she emailed me to set up a call. Four days later, we had an hour and a half-long phone call during my lunch break and talked about everything book and career and agent related. She was awesome. She even laughed when I told her she’d actually rejected this very same book last year.

“Really?” she said. “I can only think it may have been one of the interns who read this one because I don’t remember seeing it.”

So an old draft of the book couldn’t get past her intern gauntlet, but my new version she loved. Which I was totally okay with! Possible moment of awkward passed by without a blink and in the middle of the conversation she assured me that this was an official offer of representation.

“I would love to work with you!” Danielle said. “I think you have a very strong career ahead of you.”

Considering that those words were almost verbatim what I’d always hoped my future agent would say to me, I was hooked.

It’s only been a few weeks, but in that short space of time Danielle has already proven herself invaluable. Not only for career things, but for sanity things. Talking me down from crisis moments and making sure I kept my eye on the important things. I’ve heard it said that agents are part therapist and I can only say YES. They are. And I couldn’t be happier with mine!

So, there you have it. We’ve caught up with today and now the world knows my very strange story of how I queried and cajoled my was through almost an entire agency. πŸ˜‰ What my experience with everyone at Upstart has taught me over the past couple of years, though, is that they’re all knowledgeable, passionate, funny, and kind. And I am lucky to be working with them all! It also goes to show you that you never know how things may work out and that just because you get rejected by an agent doesn’t mean the doors leading to that path is closed forever. You may just have to figure out how to jimmy open a window! πŸ˜€


Lovelies, I have been sitting on this news since February 11. That may not seem like such an extraordinarily long time, but OMG IT IS. Because all I wanted to do is tell the whole wide internet exactly what I can finally say right now:


I would like to introduce everyone to Danielle Chiotti of Upstart Crow Literary:Β 

Danielle has been working in publishing for nearly a decade. Formerly a Senior Editor at both Kensington Publishing and Adams Media, she has worked on a wide variety of books ranging from contemporary women’s fiction to narrative nonfiction, from romance to relationship stories, humorous tales and young adult fiction. Thanks to her extensive editorial background, she enjoys working closely with authors to develop projects.

Just this morning, I was finally granted permission to share the news. The conversation (via email) was literally as follows:

Me: Does that mean I can officially announce soon?! πŸ˜‰

Danielle: You can announce right this very second if you like!

Me: If I like?! IF I LIKE?! *runs to twitter*

And then I did exactly what I warned her I would do and ran to Twitter. SQUEEING ensued and it was awesome!

When I have a little more time and a little less piercing headache behind my left eye (seriously. OWW), I will come back and post part two of this awesome news which will include the actual story of how this partnership was born. Like my tale of a magical night in NY when I met my editors, this one is a little out of the usual. Which makes it perfect for me! πŸ˜€

So, until then, loves! Have a glass of your favorite beverage and raise it high in toast tonight. I know I’ll be doing the same with my pretty pink Starbucks Refresher while buried in my editing cave. πŸ˜‰