Shana Silver: YA writer

Author Archives: Shana Silver

Hi there, Pitch Wars hopefuls!

I was an Adult mentor back in Pitch Wars 2014 and had an amazing time with my mentee. This year I can’t wait to co-mentor with Sarah Glenn Marsh! Read through our wishlist here, then  click here  to go to back to Sarah’s website and access the linky hop to the next mentor!

Sarah and I are looking for  YA manuscripts only. Here’s our wish list!


Fantasy of all sorts, but especially epics. Also, historical fantasy in the vein of A Darker Shade of Magic.
Sci-fi of all sorts; give us Killjoys or Dark Matter or Farscape for YA!
Magical Realism a la Bone Gap or The Raven Boys
Mystery/Thriller with a supernatural element
Southern Gothics
Horror (ghosts/psychological horror only, no gore)
Historicals featuring time periods not often explored in YA. Give us a YA book about Vikings, or something like And I Darken.
*Note: we won’t be looking at much contemp, but in this genre, we’d love a YA version of The Big Bang Theory or Weeds!

Things we’d love to see in all of the above:

LGBTQ+ characters as MCs, whose stories aren’t about coming out
Diversity in all its forms
Romance subplots
Family Relationships
Multi-POV without head hopping
Strong female characters
Lyrical writing
Anything reminiscent of Joss Whedon’s work (Witty dialogue, misfits banding together to form a family of sorts)

Anything reminiscent of Avatar: The Last Airbender and Legend of Korra (The diveristy! The well-rounded characters! The sweeping plot!)

Even more things we love include:

Bad boys who turn good, castles, ghosts, hate-to-love relationships, girls in STEM, mythology that’s rich and ever-present in a narrative, strong relationships of any kind (love, friendship, sibling), f/f romance, gorgeous writing, settings that become its own character, epic kisses, rivalry, girls with swords.

Please do NOT send us:

Gory horror/anything else with excessive gore
Animal abuse, even if it’s a minor element
Religious themes in any genre

^ The above will be an auto-pass from us, so please don’t waste anyone’s time!


Wondering why should you choose us out of all the wonderful YA mentors? Let us tell you!

Sarah says:

This is my second year mentoring in Pitch Wars, and over the past couple years, I’ve mentored in many other writing contests like Query Kombat and Sun Vs. Snow. I’m also a mentor for Adventures in YA Publishing’s monthly First 5 Pages Workshop. And if your novel features bisexual characters, I can offer a sensitivity read as well.

My Pitch Wars mentee from 2015, M.K. England, is now represented by Barbara Poelle of the Irene Goodman Agency; M.K. and I had a great time working together, and have become good friends! Also, she’s a Pitch Wars mentor herself this year, so be sure to check out her bio!

Between picture books and YA (the two age groups I write for), I have 6 books announced/forthcoming: three picture books with Abrams Kids and Sterling Children’s, and three young adult novels, a historical fantasy with Sky Pony Press and a dark epic fantasy duology (with f/f romance, yay!) coming from Razorbill/Penguin. I understand how to write effectively for the YA market, and I’m willing to share all aspects of my own experiences–from the joys to the painful rejections–as I help you take your work to the next level.

My support won’t end when Pitch Wars does, and it’s my hope that our 2016 mentee will view me as a friend for life!

*Here are some quick/fun facts about me:

  1. I have two greyhounds, two Italian greyhounds, one Bourke’s parakeet, too many fish to count, and one husband-creature–in other words, I have my own small zoo! I also love to ride horses. In short, if you love animals, you are my people.
  2. I have a Master of Science in Education (preK-6)
  3. I’m very interested in genealogy and am descended from some fun people including Eleanor of Aquitaine and Isabella, She Wolf of France.
  4. I love video games. Right now, I’m playing a lot of Fallout 4!
  5. I also love tabletop games, general nerdery, and attending cons. See below for a few photos of my con adventures!
  6. Some of my favorite fandoms include Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Firefly, Game of Thrones, The Legend of Korra, and all things Marvel.
  7. The last sci-fi book I read and loved was Becky Chambers’s The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet.
  8. The last fantasy book I read and loved was Kiersten White’s And I Darken.

Shana says:
This is also my second year mentoring Pitch Wars. Though I was never a participant, I entered quite a few contests a few years ago, such as The Writer’s Voice. In one contest, I received 10 agent requests! So I know how to create an entry that hooks (AND a query letter). Each time I queried, I had about a 90% request rate. I’ve also finaled in several RWA writing contests. 
I have formal training in creative writing from Syracuse University where I studied under some renowned literary authors. My short stories have appeared in a number of literary magazines. And I used to work in publishing in NYC! So I can offer insight from both sides of the desk. I also have a traditionally published YA book from a mid-sized press under a pen name. 
My strengths lie in query pitch writing, synopsis writing, line edits, figuring out solutions to impossible plotting problems, and enhancing voice so it leaps off the page. 
Like Sarah, my support continues after Pitch Wars!
*Here are some quick/fun facts about me:
  1. Unlike Sarah, I’ve never owned a pet! I do have a four-year-old who sometimes pretends to be a cat. I also have one of the husband creatures Sarah mentions.
  2. I spent 8 years as a computer animator for TV and movies. I designed the graphics for the 2007 Superbowl!
  3. After working in graphics, I switched to working in publishing in NYC for a few years. Now I’m a Project Manager in the digital advertising industry.
  4. When I was 14, my favorite band dedicated a song to me at a concert because I found a way to smuggle them a scrapbook I made for them. The cute drummer also kissed me on the cheek.
  5. I love all things nerdery too and try to go to NY Comic Con each year with my husband!
  6. I also love basically everything on TV that isn’t a procedural medical/law/cop drama. I generally DVR 5 hours of TV per every prime time hour that airs.
  7. The last sci-fi book I read and loved was Megan Spooner and Amie Kaufman’s These Broken Stars series
  8. The last fantasy book I read and loved was Heidi Hellig’s The Girl From Everywhere
  9. The last Magical realism book I read and loved was Kate Karyus Quinn’s Down with the Shine

Lastly, here are a few quick notes on our process and how we’ll work as a co-mentor T_arteam:

(PS, the image above is the letter you’re looking for!)

*We will give a brief amount of feedback (where we stopped reading and why) to any entrant from whom we request material. However, we will not offer feedback to queries we’re passing on, due to our packed schedules.

*With our mentee, Sarah will be doing the big-picture editorial letter in September, which she’ll send to you fairly quickly after mentees are announced! Then, once you’ve finished revisions, you’ll send the manuscript to me (Shana) in early October, and I’ll do line edits and help you polish things up from there!

*We will, of course, both be available for questions and commiseration and cheering at every step of the way!

And now, head back to Sarah’s page to check out the other wonderful mentors and co-mentor teams vying for your manuscripts.

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Hey guys,

I thought I’d give a quick update since I haven’t posted as much in a while. I’m very active on twitter though so feel free to follow me there if you want more frequent updates. I love talking about anything TV related so if you ever want to discuss a show, chances are I’ve already watched it.

I’ve been writing away while I’ve been gone! I’ve completed a YA contemporary, I’m in the middle of drafting another, and I’ve got a magical realism swimming in my head to play with on the side. I’m going to stay vague on the concepts of those though. :-)

So that’s all the same but a big change in my life is that I no longer work in publishing. I’m now a Project Manager at an advertising consulting company and I love it! My clients are big name media companies so it’s been fun to get to see their offices. I work in NYC 2 days a week and do a lot of my writing on my hour-long train commute (plus nap times on weekends). And I work from home 3 days a week, which is awesome since I can sleep in those days. It’s a good balance.

My daughter is now 3.5-years-old going on 17 going on 35. Her favorite hobbies are asserting her independence, practicing her managerial skills by bossing people around, and negotiating deals (“I play with the red play-doh, you play with the blue play-doh, deal?” or “I’ll go to bed in five more minutes, deal?”).

Recent new shows I’ve loved: Hindsight (so sad it’s been canceled), Mr. Robot, UnReal, Quantico, and My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

And I’ll be at ALAMW in Boston in early Jan if anyone happens to read this and wants to meet up.

That’s pretty much all my updates! What’s new with you?

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Eileen is thrilled to announce that her book REMEMBER hits shelves February 24, 2015.

About the Book:

A thrilling tale about what a girl will do to get back a memory she lost…or remove what she wants to forget.

Harper is used to her family being hounded by protestors. Her father runs the company that trademarked the “Memtex” procedure to wipe away sad memories, and plenty of people think it shouldn’t be legal. Then a new demonstrator crosses her path, Neil, who’s as persistent as he is hot. Not that Harper’s noticing, since she already has a boyfriend.

When Harper suffers a loss, she’s shocked her father won’t allow her to get the treatment, so she finds a way to get it without his approval. Soon afterward, she’s plagued with strange symptoms, including hallucinations of a woman who is somehow both a stranger, yet incredibly familiar. Harper begins to wonder if she is delusional, or if these are somehow memories.

Together with Neil, who insists he has his own reasons for needing answers about the real dangers of Memtex, Harper begins her search for the truth. What she finds could uproot all she’s ever believed about her life…

“Compelling combination of twisty mystery and realistic romance.” (Cat Patrick, author of FORGOTTEN and JUST LIKE FATE)

Interview with Eileen
Where did the idea for Remember come from?

I’d read an article about some scientific experiments being done with memory. The scientists were looking for a way to reduce the difficulty war veterans have with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. It occurred to me if people could get rid of very traumatic memories, there would also be a market for people who wanted to get rid of all sorts of memories.

I began to wonder what types of things might go wrong once you begin messing around with someone’s memory. It can be relatively easy to confuse what is a real memory from what someone might tell you happened. What if something you were sure was true, suddenly seemed to be uncertain, possibly a lie?

Once all these questions were swirling around in my head I knew I had a book- all I had to do is write it!

If the Memtex procedure existed is there any memory you would like to forget?

I think everyone has some memories they would like to forget, but even the difficult ones have shaped who I am so I’d have to hang on to them.

Tell us a behind the scenes story about writing the book.

I decided that I wanted the main character to ride horses competitively- a subject I know nothing about. I was lucky enough to have two close friends who grew up riding and were able to share all sorts of details and were willing to read early drafts to make sure I had things correct. Now I know more about saddles than I ever expected.

What are you working on now?

It’s a thriller that involves Italy, a possible murder and two best friends who may be enemies. There’s nothing better than writing a book that includes a research trip to Rome, Venice and Tuscany. I ate my weight in pasta, took thousands of pictures and wrote pages and pages of notes.

Link to contest info:

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Hi everyone,


My good friend Melissa Landers has a new novella out and it’s free! I absolutely adored ALIENATED, the first book in the series. Check out the new book in Melissa’s own words:

UNTIL MIDNIGHT is here…and it’s FREE!

 small Until_Midnight_11-12

Happy Holidays, everyone! I’m Melissa Landers, author of the Alienated series, and I have a present for you—a brand new e-short from Disney Hyperion!

UNTIL MIDNIGHT takes place onboard an intergalactic transport, soon after ALIENATED ends and before the sequel INVADED begins. The story details Aelyx and Cara’s last day together before he returns to Earth to mend the alliance and she continues to his home planet. It’s sweet and romantic, and as a bonus, it includes a four-chapter preview of the sequel, which releases February 3rd.

Oh, and did I mention the best part? IT’S FREE!

You can download UNTIL MIDNIGHT from the following e-tailers:





Google Play:

*If you live outside the USA, no worries. I’ve uploaded the story to Scribd for you. (The only downside is it doesn’t include the bonus preview chapters, due to technical reasons from the publisher.) Link:

To celebrate this new release, I’m offering TWO lucky winners an autographed swag pack complete with a personalized bookplate, mini-poster, bookmarks, and stickers—open internationally! Just fill out the rafflecopter form below.
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Best of luck, and happy reading!



BIO: Melissa Landers writes romantic science fiction for teens and the young at heart. To learn more, or just to say hello, visit her at

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As writers, we know the basic process for writing a novel. Get idea –> Outline idea –> Dump a bunch of words into a document –> Revise those words until they shine –> Words now form a complete novel. But what you actually just did is complete the five processes of Project Management: Initiation , Planning, Executing, Monitoring & Controlling, Project Close.

Process of Writing a Novel

That’s right. Writing a novel is essentially a project. The deliverable at the end is the final draft. Over the next few weeks I’m going to talk about how applying traditional Project Management practices to the process of writing a novel can not only greatly increase your productivity, but also the quality of your output. I know a lot of writers are pantsers, but I am a HUGE planner, not just with outlining but with creating a schedule, identifying risks associated with the project (these can be anything from time constraints on writing to market risks, such as working on a concept in a dead genre), etc.

For today’s post I’ll just give a brief overview of each of the five processes and what you’ll expect to do in them over the course of the next few weeks. Consider this a training course in prep for writing a novel, just in time for NaNoWriMo!


The pre-planning phase. It’s where you define the basic characteristics of the project. For example, this might be where figure out the basic premise and decide it’s worth pursuing. Part of the initiation phase is creating a “Business Case” which might look more like a pitch blurb you send to your critique partners to see if they like the idea.


Planning is where you do all the upfront work for your project. You gather the requirements here (aka research), you define the stakeholders (your beta readers), you outline, you create a schedule breaking up the work into smaller “batches” (aka scenes). You define the milestones (aka you want to send your agent the first 3 chapters by x date, for example). Here you identify the risks associated with your project (this might include similar titles already published or a certain structure that may be difficult to write, etc). We’ll talk about this in more detail later.


Here is where you put your plan to work. Quite simply, here is where you get the stuff out of your head and put it to paper.


In Project Management, this is where you continue to oversee the project as a whole and make sure it’s running smoothly. Here is where you Manage Stakeholder Engagement (aka sending to your CPs) Control Quality Assurance (revising based on feedback). Scope Verification (making sure you don’t go over word count or have plot holes). Etc.


This is where you declare your draft is done and either send it to your agent, editor, or start querying! You would also create a Lessons Learned document so you can learn from your mistakes for the next novel.


So over the course of this blog series, I’ll go through each Phase of Project Management and show you how to apply it to your own novel writing process to increase your success!

*Side note, I am a Project Manager at my day job and I’ve been trained in the Prince2 in the UK as well as the PMI in the US. In other words, I know my stuff!

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Hi future mentees! Just a few months ago, back in April, I was in your position entering contests to try to help me get a new agent. I found those contests so valuable that when I signed with an agent a month later, I wanted to “pay it forward” and help other writers get where they need to be. Now only a few months later, I’ve signed with the amazing Jim McCarthy at DGLM for a YA sci-fi. It’s been a whirlwind and I intend to make the same whirlwind happen for you too!

For purposes of this contest, I’ll be mentoring Adult and NA only. Don’t worry, I’m an avid reader in both genres and I have both an NA and Adult manuscript in varying stages of revision.


Here’s all the reasons why you want to pick me:

I work in digital publishing in NYC at a well-known publisher, so I know the ins and outs of the publishing world and how to take a manuscript from shitty first draft to so-good-even-commas-don’t-need-editing.
Prior to working in publishing, I spent 8 years in the TV industry as a computer animator. It was often my job to come up with commercial concepts and write pitch treatments. I am excellent at writing pitch letters. My own queries had a nearly 95% request rate each time I queried. I’ve also critiqued tons of queries for writer friends and EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM went on to get an agent. This is totally because of me (okay, maybe it’s because their books were awesome as well)! Anyway, I know how to take a query from confusing/shitty to make it sparkle in a way that forces an agent to sit up and pay attention.

I am a very editorial when it comes to critiques. I’ll give you a big picture edit letter as well as line edits. I make a lot of comments. If something isn’t working for me, I explain why it isn’t working and offer suggestions on how to fix it when possible. I give compliments when appropriate as well but I don’t sugar coat. My goal is to help you make your book as good as it can be, and therefore lying to you to stroke your ego will not do you any favors.

I’ve had not one but TWO books dedicated to me by authors I’ve critiqued. That’s how valuable they found my edits!

I love to brainstorm and would be happy to discuss revisions with you. Sometimes talking it out and bouncing ideas off someone else is the best way to choose the right direction, not the wrong one.


In other words, here is my wish list!

  • I especially love when genre fiction is combined with literary writing. Lush descriptions, gorgeous sentences, but also witty banter to round it all out. I’m a sucker for a great one-liner.
  • I love bad boys who choose to turn good (Damon Salvatore, Spike, Logan Echolls, for example).
  • I want to root for the protagonist and love interest to get together, but the romance should not be the main plot. It can be as subtle as a thread weaved throughout or a fully fledged subplot.


Adult Sci-fi

Sci-fi is my first love and I am eager to find the next great one! I’m looking for stuff that’s more like ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND, INCEPTION, THE HOST, ORPHAN BLACK, IN TIME, etc and less STAR WARS, BLADE RUNNER, JURASSIC PARK, AVATAR. So basically, no interplanetary wars but yes to mind fucks! I prefer character-driven over plot-driven. Contemporary sci-fi or futuristic, both are a go. I’d love to find something with a really cool concept that hasn’t been done before. I love books about technology that can do cool new things. Would love something in the vein of EXTANT (or in a similar vein, CONTACT by Carl Sagan).

Give me great relationships on top of the sci-fi elements, like Rose and Ten on Doctor Who, or even Sarah and her clone sisters on Orphan Black.

Anything goes really for me in sci-fi though virtual reality and aliens invasions aren’t really my cup of tea (but I loved the unique spin on extraterrestrials that THESE BROKEN STARS had). I’d prefer to stay away from books involving mind-uploading since my YA sci-fi tackles that and I view it as a conflict of interest.

Retellings that fall under this category are welcome.

Adult Magical Realism

I am a big sucker for magical realism, something grounded in reality but with a slight magical twist. This can range from the contemporary fun type of magical realism (13 GOING ON 30, GROUNDHOG’S DAY) to the serious and beautiful (BENJAMIN BUTTON, ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE, LANDLINE by Rainbow Rowell, THE RETURNED by Jason Mott, LIFE AFTER LIFE by Kate Atkins, IMAGINARY GIRLS by Nova Ren Suma).

I’d love to find something that plays with novel structure or something really quirky. A voice that pops off the page will get you far with me. Wacky plots too. I’d prefer stories that are more grounded in contemporary than magic, with the magic just being the catalyst but not the plot driver (the above are all examples of this).

Retellings that fall under this category are welcome/

College-set Contemporary NA:

I’m interested in a romance set in college with a unique, high-concept hook. I want to be swept up in the story and root for the protagonist and love interest to get together. But I prefer some other plot or subplot that also drives the story besides the will-they-or-won’t-they.

Voicey is best, as is 1st person POV (but it can be dual). I love books involving the arts. I’m not that into sports plots. I am interested in stories involving college Greek life (fraternities and sororities). I want to drool over your sexy love interest, but sexy can come from charisma OR brains. Nerdy love interests are hot too! I recently loved FANGIRL by Rainbow Rowell, and for an oldie but goodie (before NA was even a thing), I love I AM CHARLOTTE SIMMONS by Tom Wolfe. Light contemp NA is great. NA doesn’t have to be all about sex.

Unfortunately, since the NA market thrives mostly on contemp, I will focus on that, but I love a good sci-fi, so if you wow me with one, I’m interested! Retellings are welcome as long as they are contemp but please no Pride and Prejudice.

Exceptions to the Above

If you have a mind fuck of a book that’s outside the above categories, GONE GIRL, for example, or S by JJ Abrams and Doug Dorst, I might be the girl for you! I’m a big fan of Chuck Palahniuk-type books as well. FIGHT CLUB is one of my all-time faves (as well as his earlier works, SURVIVOR and INVISIBLE MONSTERS). I want something that breaks all the rules of the genre in a smart and unexpected way. Something that’s never been done before. Something that will make be sit up and go WOW. Again, Adult or NA only.

I love a good mystery so keep me in mind for those!


  • High Fantasy or Urban Fantasy (I might be willing to look at Contemp Fantasy as long as it’s not too heavy on the fantasy-part).
  • Paranormal
  • Historical fiction other than a retelling
  • Dystopian
  • Gory violence
  • Horror
  • Religious themes
  • Memoir
  • Erotica or something that compares to “Fifty Shades of Gray”
  • Contemporary that focuses only on marital problems
  • Books involving mind-uploading (due to a conflict of interest in my YA sci-fi).


Please go to Brenda Drake’s blog for instructions on how to submit to me. Personalized queries aren’t allowed this year, but if you are interested in me, please shout out via twitter, the comments, or my email!

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Here are a few of Denise’s thoughts on Foreign Exchange and its cover…

I’m so incredibly excited to share my cover of Foreign Exchange with you! This book holds a very special place in my heart. I wrote it during a very difficult year of my life, and the characters and their stories were a real bright spot for me.

Because this book is so important to me, I’m giving away something VERY important to me to go along with this cover reveal. I was fortunate enough to receive an early copy of the highly-anticipated Isla and the Happily Ever After by one of my all-time favorite authors, Stephanie Perkins. ISLA and Foreign Exchange are both romances with swoon-worthy boys, and they’re both set partially in Europe. So I want one lucky person to receive my advanced copy of ISLA in to get you excited for Foreign Exchange!

Read on, check out my cover, and read the first chapter of Foreign Exchange below. It’ll all help you in earning extra entries to win my copy of Isla and the Happily Ever After!

And here is the beautiful cover…


Jamie Monroe has always played it safe. That is, until her live-for-the-moment best friend, Tristan, jets off to Italy on a student exchange program. Left alone with her part-time mother and her disabled brother, Jamie discovers that she is quite capable of taking her own risks, starting with her best friend’s hotter-than-hot older brother, Sawyer. Sawyer and Tristan have been neighbors for years, but as Jamie grows closer to the family she thought she knew, she discovers some pretty big secrets.


As she sinks deeper into their web of pretense, she suspects that her best friend may not be on a safe exchange program at all. Jamie sets off to Europe on a class trip with plans to meet up with Tristan, but when Tristan stops all communication, suddenly no one seems trustworthy, least of all the one person she was starting to trust—Sawyer. 


 “Foreign Exchange is a fresh contemporary YA that will keep readers compulsively turning pages until the very end. Combining international intrigue with a steamy forbidden romance makes for a can’t miss read.”

 - Eileen Cook  Author of Year of Mistaken Discoveries. 

“A pitch perfect voice and delicious chemistry kept me turning those pages!”

- Tara Kelly, author of Amplified and Encore

“Foreign Exchange is heart pounding and suspenseful…the teenage dream of escaping the boredom of suburbia by travelling Europe and spending quality time with a hot guy shifts into a dangerous nightmare.”

 - D.R. Graham, author of Rank and the upcoming Noir et Bleu MC series.


One of the entries in the Rafflecopter below will ask you a question from the above chapter!

This contest is open internationally!

Don’t forget…this copy of ISLA could be yours…


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* Note – If you cannot access the Rafflecopter Widget through this blog, access it HERE.

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The last few weeks have been pretty insanely awesome for me, both from a writing-standpoint and a day job standpoint. I’ve tweeted about most of this news, but I haven’t posted it here yet. So, here are some fun newsy updates from me.


1. I have a new agent!

A few weeks ago I signed with Jim McCarthy of Dystel and Goderich! I’m super excited to be working with him. I love his revision ideas for my YA sci-fi and I can’t wait to get started on revisions.

The query process ended up being a bit untraditional for me and happened relatively fast (basically about a month from first query to offer). I only sent 5 unsolicited queries (Jim was one of them) though I had roughly 15 full or partial requests from contests (I participated in #PITMAD, #RTSLAP, The Writer’s Voice, and Nest Pitch). I ended up with two offers of rep from two awesome agents (and all of this happened while at BEA!). Yay for a new agent!


2. I’m going to be a Pitch Wars mentor!

I’m ridiculously excited about this and I can’t wait to pay it forward since I had such a great time entering contests last month. More info about this in the next few weeks.


3.Day job funtimes!

I got a promotion at work! I’m now officially a Project Manager instead of an Associate Project Manager. Woohoo!


Woohoo! June has been very kind to me so far!

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This post was one of my most popular last year, and with BEA upon us again next week, I thought I’d repost it. But with some new additions! The additions will be written in blue.

For a first time attendee, BEA (Book Expo America) can be overwhelming. This will be my sixth year attending the conference and over the past few years, I’ve developed a list of tips for surviving and enjoying BEA. (Please note I’m attending via my day job, so I’ll be wearing my professional Digital Publisher hat as well as my Book Lover hat.)

1. Make a schedule.

Anyone who has gone with me to BEA in the past knows how much I love schedules. I include every possible thing I want to see–whether it’s an autographing session, a conference session, or a galley giveaway. I also include stuff I’m not interested in myself but I know my friends might be. I always carry extra copies because there’s always someone who never thought to bring a schedule. And yes, I schedule lunch too. (More on that in a bit.)

Print separate schedules for each day to limit what you need to carry. I usually leave the follow days’ schedules in my suitcase.


2. Don’t get to the Javits on time.

Get there either really early so you’re first in line (like 7:30/8) or get there late so you miss the line entirely. Arriving on time means you’ll be stuck on a ridiculously long line.

If you’re going with friends, designate someone each morning to be the “place holder.” They arrive early and hold spots for others. Please limit this to only 2-3 people though and make sure you let the people behind you on line know you have others joining you. People may see this as frowned upon, but I guarantee everyone on line is doing it.


3. Get coffee before you get to the Javits center.

Avoid the on site Starbucks! The line there is longer than any other autographing line in the entire conference!

I usually eat on my walk to the Javits (from Penn Station) or while waiting in line. Yay for multi-tasking!


4. Check a suitcase but carry a backpack plus tote bags.

Schedule in periodic drops to the suitcase to lighten your carrying load. I think checking a suitcase for the day is $3 and overnight is $10. I usually leave the suitcase overnight one night so I don’t have to lug it around to parties since I commute into the city from NJ.

Leave a bottle of water in your suitcase so you don’t have to carry it on the floor. Alternatively, bring an empty bottle of water and fill it up as necessary at the water fountains.


5. Eat lunch early or late.

The Javits is expensive (for non-NYC standards. If you’re from NYC, then the food there is reasonably priced!). And crowded. I suggest either eating lunch either at 11am or after 2pm. From 11:30-1:30, you won’t get a seat and you’ll spend an hour on line anyway. Alternatively, bring a power bar or a snack. There’s nothing around the Javits to eat at unless you walk several blocks away (or eat at the gross McDonald’s nearby).

 The shortest line always seems to be the BBQ place, so get in the mood now!


6. Be selective.

Don’t take every galley you see just because you can. Don’t be greedy. Take only the ones you know you will read, leave the rest for others. The conference is mainly for librarians and booksellers, not readers (except on BookCon maybe).

Don’t forget the panels and conference sessions either. They are often informative and entertaining and well worth skipping a line to see.


7. Get to autographing lines early.

And I mean EARLY. I often lined up an hour before certain authors I knew would have long wait times. I have never seen an autographing line without a long wait. If you want a book, plan in advance for it.

While I suggested saving spots on the opening line above, savings spots in autographing lines is a no no. Don’t do it. Everyone who wants the book needs to wait in line the entire time.

8. Dress to your standard of comfort but look professional.

I’ve seen other BEA tips lists suggest wearing sneakers. I’m not going to suggest that. I’ve never worn sneakers to the convention, even two years ago when I attended at 9-months pregnant. Yes, you will  be standing nearly all day. But that doesn’t mean you have to wear sneakers. Wear cute flats or sandals, something you can stand in all day. I always wear a dress. I never wear jeans.

I find Toms to be the best shoes to wear. They are cute but comfortable and look more professional than sneakers. 


9. Carry business cards

They don’t have to be super fancy or graphic designy, but you will want something to hand out to all the people you meet. Otherwise how will they find you? After all, you should be networking. Which brings me to…

 Write your twitter name on your badge so people know how to find you easily!


10. Network!

You’re among your kind at BEA: other book lovers! Start a conversation with the people next to you on line. You clearly have the same interests. I’ve made great friends at BEA that I’ve kept in touch with.

But don’t pitch agents or publishers. This is not the time or the place.


11. Avoid twitter.

Otherwise you’ll drain your phone battery. Plus, you want to be present at the conference, not with your nose to your phone all day. (We’d all prefer you with your nose to a book you picked up!)

You won’t find outlets at the Javits unless you have access to one of the lounges. I generally bring two phones, my personal one and my work blackberry, and I leave the blackberry turned off so when I need to call my husband to pick me up at the train later, I have a phone that actually works still. 


12. Get a Taxi on 10th ave or 9th ave, not in front of the Javits

You will be waiting forever if you try to snag a taxi in front of the Javits, but if you just walk a block or two, you’ll have your pick of taxis.

Except during Taxi turn over time, generally around 4-5pm. The day time taxis are done for the day and the night time taxis don’t start yet. It’s harder to find a taxi during this time. Utilize the free buses the Javits provides. Last year I took one to the Marriott Marquis and then walked only three blocks to Port Authority instead of the bazillion blocks it would have been.


13. Don’t be afraid of the subway

Seriously, it won’t bite. It’s not that complicated to navigate with since most trains run straight up and down. Trust me, I take the subway every day to work and I’m still in one piece!

 But the subway won’t help you if you need to go across town.


14. Enjoy the people as well as the books

My fave part of BEA is hanging out with my writing/book-loving friends who I don’t get to see the rest of the year. I always come back exhilarated about writing and reading thanks to our conversations and the general atmosphere of being in a place where everyone loves and appreciates books. Remember to have fun.

15. End the weekend with a pedicure.

Your feet will hurt. Treat yo’self!

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REVERSE is an 80k YA Sci-fi in the vein of BIG BANG THEORY meets BENJAMIN BUTTON.

Normal after school jobs are overrated, so seventeen-year-old Arden Varga steals her classmates’ memories and sells them to other students. Who wouldn’t pay top dollar for a night as the homecoming queen? Arden’s making serious bank until someone from her school for science geniuses hacks her mind-uploading app and erases her memories’ greatest hits. Vivid flashbacks rip her out of the present and dump her into past mistakes she never wanted to relive. Those forgotten experiences all feature a boy named Sebastian Cuomo, a rival classmate who breaks into school to do homework and makes even quantum physics sound sexy. Unfortunately he can’t remember her either, but the past reveals they’ve been harboring a secret time manipulation project together…and a secret relationship.

As they team up to investigate how to stop the disruptive flashbacks, who carved out their minds, and what they mean to each other, the hacker uses their secret app to make time itself go backward. With the clock counting in the wrong direction and time keeping Arden in the past longer and longer, she must find the culprit before she’s trapped forever living life in reverse.

My work has finaled in the RWA “Get Your Stiletto In The Door” contest and the RWA North Texas’s “Great Expectations” contest. My short stories have appeared in various literary magazines such as ShatterColors Literary Review and The Hiss Quarterly. I studied creative writing at Syracuse University under Junot Diaz and Mary Gaitskill, and I now work at a well-known educational publisher in NYC where I oversee the creation of tablet apps, eBooks, and other digital products.

First 250 Words:

The problem with stealing other people’s memories is you start to lose the difference between what’s theirs and what’s yours. Luckily, I know how to exploit that—as long as the teachers don’t find out, anyway. Normal after-school jobs are overrated when you have a secret during-school-business.

I flip through a list of cataloged memory files on my mind-uploading app as a line of students snakes away from me, each one wanting to buy a different experience. Charlotte Marion, my partner in crime, doles out numbers as if the students are waiting in line at the deli. Once they receive a number, they disperse across the courtyard and mill about like strangers trying to act normal before they break out in a Flash Mob.

“I need the answers to the Organic Chem homework.” The first customer out of thirty lifts a tablet, revealing a mess of stylus-created scribbles on top of complicated math problems.

Charlotte holds out her palm, indicating ten bucks. The girl shifts her weight from foot to foot, skirt swishing around bare legs. Dark clouds swirl in the washed out sky, turning the mirrored building in front of us into a sheet of gray. Cold and clinical, more like an office building than a high school for science geniuses.

Charlotte nudges my shoulder until my lips pop open. “Number two!” I yell, tapping my stiletto on the concrete path.

The customer hands me the cash, and I get to work selling the girl someone else’s stolen memory.


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