Friday, August 24, 2012

Books to Tangle With!

 I am fortunate to have gotten plenty of reading done this summer! I had a hard time choosing just a few books to feature, but these are the ones with life-changing writing, jaw-cracking plots, and characters I'm dying to visit again.

Diana Peterfreund - Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

So, imagine a Jane Austen novel. Persuasion, if you know it. Okay? Now set it in a science fiction, post-post-apocalyptic environment with Luddites and genetic manipulation. Now throw in an aching tale of love lost and gorgeous, lush prose. I soaked up every page of this beautiful book, and I can't wait to see what Diana writes next.

Lev Grossman - Viking Adult/Penguin

I enjoyed Grossman's first entry into this series, The Magicians, which is kind of a grown-up, self-deprecating version of Harry Potter and the Narnia books, but didn't really felt it needed a sequel. I WAS SO WRONG. This sequel is the sequel to end all sequels. This book is a master class in brilliantly continuing and expanding on a world, weaving in new characters, enriching your writing, and so much more. Julia, a self-taught witch--a very minor character in the first book--completely steals the show here, chronicling her descent into underground witchery and the rabbit hole that Internet forums can often become, while the magical world of Fillory grows more sinister by the second. I cannot wait for the third book.

Gina Rosati - Roaring Brook Press/Macmillan

 Okay, astral projection stories may not be your thing, but there is so much more to this book than your typical paranormal adventure. When Anna's body is taken over by her freshly-dead classmate, Anna has to rely on her wits and brains (and her helpful, hunktacular aikido master BFF) to get her body back. Auracle deftly and cleverly handles death and other dark subject matter with a light touch, and has loads of fun while doing so.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Books to Tangle With: Part 2!

There were SO many books I wanted to read this summer. SO MANY. I might not have gotten to all of the ones I wanted, but I did read a few amazing books that I wanted to share with all of you. I'm not going to do as many as Danielle though, just a couple because I really didn't read many books this summer. :( But I had a great and busy summer nonetheless! :)

First up is Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols. This book is about a girl that has a less than stellar life and one escape from it all: flying little airplanes at the airport next to her trailer park. But when the owner--also her flight instructor--dies, Leah is left dealing with his two sons and hoping they don't close the business and take away the one thing she loves and works hard for.

This is one of those contemporary books (like Anna & the French kiss) that makes me
strive to write better with my contemporary. THIS kind of book is what pulls me back to contemps again and again. I like contemporary books anyway, but there are very few that make me stop and say 'this is how I want to write a book.' It was the way I related to the characters, the way you see them struggle and work past those struggles. This is one of those books that I found to be beautiful and tragic and sweet. I hope that if you read it, you'll love it as much as I did.

The next book I loved was Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. It's a fantasy
novel which isn't *usually* my cup of tea. However, I kept hearing people talk about this book
on twitter and decided, what the heck! This was when I had that reading funk where no book was keeping my attention enough for me to finish it. Not this one! I LOVED this book.

Throne of Glass is about a girl that's been raised as an assassin. The book starts out with her in a work prison--mining salt--when the prince gives her a proposition: be his champi
on in exchange for her eventual freedom. Celeana (the MC) has to compete in a contest to win the role of the King's royal assassin. While dealing with court life, dueling against other champion's and growing closer to the Prince--despite the way Captain Westfall seems to understand her better--something dark and dangerous starts killing the champions one by one. But Celeana's investigation leads her into more and more danger.

The reason I really loved this book is because the world was so well written and Celeana, although prickly and a bit violent sometimes, was someone I'd want to know. Because even though she leaned toward violence as a general defense mechanism, she was still a character that pulled you in. It was her brokeness that made her beautiful to me.

All that along with the mystery of who or what is killing the champions left me turning the page and got me out of my reading funk. I didn't want to put this book down. In fact, I bought all the little novella's on my kindle as soon as I finished and when I finally get some free time again I plan to devour those as well!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Books to Tangle With

You go in to every summer thinking THIS SUMMER I WILL READ ALL THE BOOKS. And you don't, especially when you are an editor. You, in fact, read all the manuscripts over and over again. Not that's it's bad, but when you *actually* get to read a "real book" (This is editor talk for a published book that I did not have to edit!) you savor every second. Though I only got tangled with a few "real" books, they were incredible!!!

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry       

Debut author, Katie McGarry, hit the market with  Pushing the Limits--a book that I was beyond excited for at BEA. And man, oh man, did it hit every mark.  Not only is the writing incredible, the characters are the BEST example of character development and the story is emotional in all the best ways.

I've made all my authors read this book because Katie crafted it beautifully. If you follow me on twitter, I push this book a lot. I think every person (writers especially) should read it. It's phenomenal. I don't really know what else to say about it except: GO READ IT. Like, now...

I feel like I can't say anything about that will do it justice. I will say that the jacket copy doesn't serve it well, because the story is so much more powerful and amazing than it sounds. How about this: I leave you a link to Amazon where you can buy it for yourself. :) You can also read all the amazing reviews, because the book bloggers say it better than I can. Trust me. It's THAT good. I'm not usually speechless about a book.

This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

This is a book about a girl, Sloane, who planned to commit suicide the day the zombie apocalypse starts. Now, she has to decide if her life is worth fighting for. And man, it's a crazy ride. As always, Courtney Summers gave us this incredible, heart-wrenching backdrop of a contemporary world (one that I think she builds better than most) and then she throws in zombies. There's nothing not to love about this book.

You should read ALL of her books. The way she can make words dance is unparalleled.

*click here for amazon. You know you want to.*

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson      

A Peter Pan re-telling, but it's told from Tinkerbell's POV. It's a really unique re-telling, since the narrator isn't actively involved in the story. But, as a fan of fairy tales, I took a stab at it. The writing is beautiful, and Anderson breaks some of the basic rules of story telling, including show vs. tell. This has more telling,  since the narrator is not the MC, but I felt she handled it well. I loved the story, even though I'm still not 100% sold on the ending.

Also, that cover is gorgeous.

It's the reason we picked it up, and it was worth it.

*stares at cover on Amazon*

Freefall by Mindi Scott

I've had this in my TBR pile for a while now, and since I'm tackling that male voice,  I thought I'd pick it up.

Am I glad I did or what?!?

This story was captivating. The male POV carried the story in a real yet heartbreaking way. I never questioned anything, and it was fast-paced and believable. Once I started, I couldn't stop. I love when a book can do that to me!

I miss these characters. Seriously. I would read more about them, so you should meet them. (I just so happen to have a link!)

Everyday by David Levithan

"Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl."
(See! you're intrigued already aren't you? Yup. That tag line did me in too.)

Okay, something you should know: I read this book in three hours. I got home from BEA and looked at the three books I kept with me. This one kept calling to me, and it really set a high bar for the summer books.


First, A is neither a boy or a girl, which is awesome. A just sort of is. A has a new body every day, and when A falls in love with Rhiannon, A will do anything to see her again.

Every Day is a fantastic, fantastic book. The love story is so unique, that you need to read it. It's powerful and different and beautiful. I read it June and I can still remember all the details--and more, the way I felt about all those details. It ruined me, in all the best ways.

It comes out on August 28, and you can pre-order it. Just don't miss it. Don't.

What have you read this summer?? Anything I should pick up that I may have missed? 

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Great Surprising Beta Reader

Today, I'm following in the footsteps of my Tangled girls and writing my own type of  "summer" post. I promise I'll try to keep it from boring you to death. :-)

My summer started off amazing. I signed up both of my boys for a toddler summer camp that was run through the town. Doing this allotted me forty-eight hours of writing time that I never, ever would have had. For those of you who can't write during the day due to children or a job that isn't writing, you know that eight hours a week of time to focus solely on writing is like giving a chocolate addict a bag of Lindt truffles. GOLD. 

The plan was that I'd complete revisions on my old WIP, and then I'm tear through a huge chunk of my newest WIP after that. So when camp first started, I was working diligently on finishing up revisions for my agent. I had challenges. Like, cry and want to punch your laptop screen kind of challenges, but through the help of my all-kinds-of-awesome crit partners, I survived. Just before I was set to turn said revisions in, I decided to give the book one last read-through. After reading the first few pages again, I suddenly began to feel very proud of myself. I had written, revised, rewritten, revised, edited, rewritten, and revised again, and here it was: all finished. Woohoo!!!

Exciting stuff, right? Well, let me tell you what happened. My husband happened. Like a giddy child, I wanted to show him what I'd done. He'd read bits and pieces of the book before, but hadn't read any of this newer, better version. So, boldly and proudly, I hand him my Nook and tell him to start reading. I don't know what I expected, but him telling me that he thinks he can help me make it even better wasn't it.

I stared at him. I may have felt like crying. Okay, I did. Because I trust him, obviously. And he's super smart, but he doesn't write or even usually *read* fiction, so did he really think he could help? I doubted it, but agreed to let him read and crit the first chapter. I'd take a look at his notes and we'd decide if I wanted him to continue from there.

At the end of the day, his notes really were helpful. It kind of sucked to know that it would be a few more weeks before I turned the WIP in, but there was no doubt that the things he was asking me were making my book even better. And I'm thankful that my husband, a man who literally reads textbooks for fun, took the time to not only read my manuscript, but to help me make it more than I thought possible.

Essentially, my summer was filled with lots of writing, though not as much on the new WIP as I'd originally hoped. Asking my husband to read the manuscript was a major turning point for how I spent the summer, but I'm okay with how it turned out. When it's all said and done, I know I turned in a manuscript that I can *truly* be proud of, no matter what happens with it.

And now? Will I ask him to read my manuscripts from here on out? You bet. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Summer Lovin' -- Having a Blast!

This summer has been a whirlwind of activity! I don't think I realized how much happened until I sat down to write this post!

My summer started off with a trip to NYC for BEA with Danielle. I had the opportunity to spend time with some of my favorite people in the world AND meet a number of awesome writers, bloggers, and publishing professionals. It was also our first event as Editors for Spencer Hill Press and we had a blast promoting our books and getting to meet some of our wonderful authors in person!

The party didn't end in NYC because Danielle moved to DC right after! Having her around has made this summer one of the best ever! We've had a crazy schedule and continue to work together on a variety of projects, but we've been able to do it in close proximity, and that has made the whole process that much more fun!

I also had the opportunity this summer to attend SCBWI-LA and spend a few days with my crazy-spectacular girls, Jenn Rush and McCormick Templeman! The conference was a fantastic experience, I had the opportunity to hear lectures by a number of legendary authors and editors and I came home feeling inspired and itching to try out new editing techniques and ideas. I also had the opportunity to see some old friends and make some new ones, it was like summer camp for writers! If you are looking to find inspiration and community, I cannot recommend SCBWI enough. Everyone was incredibly welcoming and supportive! (And also wicked smart and insightful -- I had a major writing-life breakthrough at the conference, but that's a story for another day. :)

In between all the traveling excitement I took a lovely, much-needed vacation with my hubby and kids, hung out with my wonderful friends (though not nearly enough!), beta read some INCREDIBLE books, and helped my little sister move into her new apartment and get ready to start NURSING SCHOOL (SO PROUD!).

On the work front, I've been working like CRAZY editing 2013 titles for Spencer Hill Press and acquiring titles for 2014. Between manuscripts, cover designs, marketing promotions, and working with our amazing authors it's been a non-stop ride, but I love it! It's an incredibly exciting time to be at SHP as our staff of awesome individuals grow and we adjust to our new roles. As the new Submissions Goddess I'm on a never-ending quest for the empty inbox... the Holy Grail for editors!

While I can't believe the summer is already winding down, I'm thrilled about all of the exiting things that are coming up this fall and next year! And I'm so excited to share them with you!

How was your summer? Where did you go? What did you do? And most importantly: What was the best book you read this summer?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Ariane's Wet Hot International Summer

Hello Beautiful World!
My first post as a real Tangled girl!  So exciting!  Thank you everyone for the welcome.  It's an honor to be posting with you fantastic ladies.

Here are the dramatic highs and lows of my summer thus far...


  • I got in a car accident and totaled my car!  
  • I've had some issues connecting with several potential WIPs, but I think I've finally settled on an idea I love :).
  • I pulled muscles in both of my arms in the same week.  I need to do some serious strength training.


  • I finished my master's in comparative religion (with a focus on folklore/mythology)!  I got to wear a fancy hood and listen to a graduation address in Latin. 
  • I spent a lot of time rubbing the tummy of my yellow lab puppy.  
  • I watched the entirety of Twin Peaks.  You should also watch it, because it's amazing.
  • I read Danielle's WIP - I'm an enormous Danielle fan.
  • I started querying my novel and have some fulls out!  Mostly I am proud of myself for taking that step, whatever happens!
  • Wednesday, I'm going to ISRAEL!  And I just found out I'll be having my Bat Mitzvah (yes, 12 years late) at a synagogue at Masada.  That's about as hardcore Jew awesome as it gets.  I should note that most of my writing features Jewish characters, so it's great to get to experience this amazing journey to help inspire me :).
So if you don't hear from me in two weeks, it's because I'm in Jerusalem! Or riding a camel! Or eating falafel!  Or eating falafel on the back of a camel through Jerusalem!


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Pushing Through Summer

Hi, everyone! My name's Lindsay, and I'm so excited to be joining the team here at Tangled Up in Words. This summer, I met Danielle and Patricia through a local writers' . . . group? Drinking club? Coping mechanism? here in Washington, DC, and instantly clicked with them. What a fabulous bunch!

In fact, I've been really pushing out of my comfort zone this summer to meet other writers and readers, instead of holing up in my dog hair-filled urban cabin, banging away on a manifesto without eating or bathing (and possibly wearing plaid). While I love living in the city, and I ADORE talking about reading and writing, I'm very shy by nature. I've found such great friends--and so many awesome books--through this experience, though, that I'm kind of embarrassed not to have done it sooner.

And it's a good thing I'm getting over my social anxiety, because my life is about to turn into a psychotic blitz and self-promotion and marketing, because . . .

This summer, I sold my first book!! SEKRET, a YA historical thriller, sold to Roaring Brook Press/Macmillan Children's, and is due out in early 2014. Enough time that I'm not yet hyperventilating, but I'm sure it'll be here all too soon.

Appropriately enough, then, that my summer has been one of keeping calm and carrying on despite the good--but scary!--but good! things happening. Happy hours, sure, I can lock my anxiety in the vault long enough to make some amazing friendships. I'm getting published, big deal, I'll just keep putting one word in front of the other in my new manuscript(s) . . . (s). (Wasn't kidding about the unhygienic manifesto factory I sometimes become.)

How are you pushing yourself this summer, in writing and in general life?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

How I spent my summer (Christina's edition!)

Hey lovelies. Sorry this post is so late in the day. I had doctor appointments this morning. (No worries. All is well!) Anyway, here's my summer--highs and lows--in a nutshell.

(Excuse all the exclamation marks you will see in my "Highs" category!!)


1. I've gotten several full or partial requests for my manuscript! EEK! So exciting!
2. I've started helping at Spencer Hill Press. It's fun, hard work, and educational and I'm so glad to have this opportunity!
3. I've entered some writing contests and groups online and met some really awesome people and got some requests from the contests.
4. I taught summer school and survived. ;)
5. Today is my anniversary! Yay! The hubby and I have been married for 3 years now (and together 7 years total). We are going to get away from everything and just have fun out of town for the next couple days!


1. I am stuck in waiting limbo, hoping to hear positive responses to the requests I still have. (Not completely bad, but waiting is soooo hard.)
2. I've gotten tons of feedback from other people with the contests I've done. It's great to get feedback, but sometimes it's disheartening to hear some stuff. And other times I've gotten too many opposing responses that did more harm than good; they would leave me more confused on how to even try and fix my stuff then really helping.
3. I taught summer school. ;) Really it was great. My students were all good, but it cuts down on my summer writing time.
4. I've been in this weird no-book-is-holding-my-attention type of funk. I hate it. I've been picking up about 4-5 books and only finishing maybe 1 out of them. Not normal for me. I just really want to find an AMAZING book to just pull me back into them again.

So, how about you guys? Summer's not quite over yet, but what have you been doing?

Monday, August 6, 2012

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

It's elementary school all over again!  We're back and ready for action on Tangled. Since it's a new season (almost) and we've come back from a hiatus, I'm going to open my post with some exciting news. We have two new contributors to our blog!! 

Ariane Mandell started out with us as a guest poster, but she's now been recruited to full time! I met Ariane on some boards looking for CP requests two years ago and got to hang out with her when I lived in Boston. She's got a lot of passion and great vision. We're excited to have her with us regularly!

We're also pleased to welcome Lindsay Smith! Lindsay is a friend local to DC who swept Patricia and I away with her awesomeness. Her first novel, SEKRET, is coming out with Roaring Brook Press/Macmillan children's in Winter 2014. She's repped by Weronika Janczuk of Lynn C. Frankling Associates and she will bring some new perspective to Tangled!  

Welcome ladies! Glad to have you with us. :)

Now. We're all going to share our highs and lows for the summer. Please chime in over the next two weeks and let us know what yours were! 

  • My biggest accomplishment was definitely finishing Hotboyalicious. I really love that story and it was such a pain in the butt for a while. I'm in revisions now and I love getting to tweak it to perfection. I can't wait to start sending it out into the world. :) 
  • I'm hanging out with a new WIP. I mentioned it before, but it's dual POV and has all sorts of things that I know nothing about. But I love it. These characters are so much fun to write, so different, and so very exciting. And, it's contemporary. (I'm calling it Interception as a working title, but that definitely won't stay!)
  • Spencer Hill Press. I've been editing. Editing. Editing. I have four books coming out in 2013/2014 (right now!) and my summer has been A LOT of editing manuscripts and working with authors and cover designers. It's been an exhausting blast. I'm also the Intern Wrangler at SHP and knee-deep in diving through hundreds of applications to find the right fit for our needs.
  • DC!! I totally love the new area. It's stressful and hot,  but full of exciting possibilities, new friends and closer to my sister.
  • I don't have a job. Which is stressful, but one of those things that I don't really miss. (I miss the paychecks!) I've gotten a lot of work done, so that's a positive, but I need a job. 
  • My last MS didn't get anywhere in queries. I've decided to shelve it because it's not the right time. It's sad to do that when you love a book that was such a part of your life for two years. But onward to new things! 
  • I miss reading. I mean, books that are finished! I've read only a few this summer---and next year isn't looking so good. I need more time in the day. 
As summer ends and fall approaches, I'm looking forward to completing revisions on Hotboyalicious and writing Interception. I'm excited about new interns, new projects and cooler weather!!! 

What about yall? Any highs/lows from the summer or goals for the fall?