Deals: Speak the Ocean by Rebecca Enzor Acquired by REUTS Publishing

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My goodness, I loved pitching around the first book by Rebecca Enzor.

Whenever I described this quirky genre-blend-of-a-book to people, whether I was talking with friends or querying editors, I talked about it being a mashup of the documentary Blackfish and The Little Mermaid.

Everyone I talked to about it agreed… it sounded weird and wonderful. And that’s exactly what this surprisingly steamy, contemporary-fantasy novel is. A mashup of genre in a book that’s hard to classify, but with story that’s gripping and characters that are just so very lovable. It reminded me of reading Morte by Robert Repino, a book that challenges you to define it, and is unquestionably amazing.

And that’s the sort of book Rebecca has written.

In Speak the Ocean, we meet Finn, a trainer at the world’s first mermaid theme park. He’s got his assumptions about mermaids, or the Mer as they’re known to us humans, but when he meets Evie, all of that goes out the window.

Suddenly he has to risk his life and turn his back on the people he cares about, to let the world know that the park’s ill-treated mermaids are just as human as we are. Because Evie is no ordinary Mer. She’s an ocean princess… and she can talk.

I’m thrilled to say this wonderful book will be published with REUTS next year. I really love this indie press. They took on Laurel Amberdine’s Luminator, which is set to come out in the Spring. They’ve got a passionate team who I just adore, and I’m so glad to see Rebecca’s book in their hands.

Here are the details from Publishers Marketplace:

Rebecca Enzor’s SPEAK THE OCEAN, pitched as THE LITTLE MERMAID meets BLACKFISH, in which a trainer at the world’s first mermaid theme park has to risk his life and turn his back on the people he cares about, to let the world know that the park’s ill-treated mermaids are just as human as we are, to Kisa Whipkey at Reuts, for publication Fall 2018, by Eric Smith at P.S. Literary Agency (World English). Translation: Taryn Fagerness Agency

I often say at conferences and sometimes on Twitter, that if you’re not sure where your book belongs on a bookshelf, it belongs in my inbox. For me, Rebecca’s novel is the definition of that. It’s tough to pin down, and that’s what makes me love it.

And I can’t wait to see Rebecca’s book brought to life, so you can all meet Evie, Finn, and Niku, the most cantankerous dolphin you’ve come come across.

Book Expo & Book Con 2017: First Signings, Accessible Conferences, & POC in Publishing

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I’ve been going to BEA for the past eight years, and Book Con for every year it’s existed… but this year’s Book Expo America and Book Con was extra special. I feel like a little recap is required this time around.

So. Here we go.

The great thing about conferences like these, is you’re able to sit down and talk to industry people in-real-life. Publishing is a personal business. Books and reading taste, it’s all subjective. Being able to talk about what you’re reading, what you love… that in-person experience doing that is so valuable. And I’m so thankful for all the editors who wanted to hangout while I was in town.

But the most emotional part of the entire event, was watching one of my authors do a signing at the convention, and get a copy of her book for the first time.

First up, Wednesday. Read more

Deals: Sangu Mandanna’s Spark of White Fire Trilogy Acquired By Sky Pony Press

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When Sangu Mandanna first pitched me her novel, I shared the query with some of my colleagues at P.S. Literary. I even told a few book nerd friends. I was absolutely freaking out. I’d loved Sangu’s debut novel, The Lost Girl, which came out with Balzer + Bray a few years ago. I was such a fan. I’d even blogged about her before.

No, seriously, see this blog post from early 2015 over on Barnes & Noble’s YA blog.

The response from friends? “Calm down go read the book.” On the agency side of things? My coworker and pal Maria told me to “drop everything and read it.”

So I did.

I mean, of course I did. Not only did I adore Sangu as an author already, but her new book sounded incredible. A YA sci-fi / fantasy mashup space opera inspired by the Mahabharata?! WHAT?! And as I dove in, the prose was gorgeous. The story was heartbreaking. The characters and the world were diverse and lush. And it felt so very important.

Sangu pitched me on December 14th. I requested the full manuscript that day. I sent her a very professional Twitter DM six days later to tell her how much I loved the book. No, really. I did. I am a professional. Read more

The Girl and the Grove: New Title & Pub Date!

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Remember that little book I announced last month? The Dryad of Fairmount Park?

It has a publication date and a new title.

THE GIRL AND THE GROVE will be out with Flux on May 8th, 2018!

Me and the team at Flux all agreed that the original title didn’t quite sound Young Adult, and the story isn’t entirely about the magic. It’s more about the character’s journey as she wrestles with identity. So I really love this new title. Thank you to Flux’s Mari Kesselring and Megan Naidl and my agent Dawn for the brainstorming session. I’m so happy with the result.

It’s a solid year away, but for now, you can add it to your Goodreads here (thanks Shveta!).

Deals: When the Beat Drops by Anna Hecker Acquired by Sky Pony Press

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Anna Hecker queried me on my birthday last year, with one wonderful gift.

Her next novel.

It was wild to me, to discover that there weren’t any YA novels about EDM… Electronic Dance Music. Considering the current popularity of The Chainsmokers, the easy listening joy that is Owl City, and my absolute favorites, Daft Punk, how hasn’t this been explored?

Well. Enter Anna with When the Beat Drops.

In Anna’s latest novel, she introduces readers to Mira Alden, a teen girl who wants nothing more than to ace her audition to the prestigious Fulton Jazz Conservatory. See, she’s essentially a teen jazz prodigy, writing beautiful music with her best friends as a somewhat band-geek outcast. And then she falls into the EDM scene when her sister comes home… and discovers a surprise gift for DJing. 

The book is Pitch Perfect and Save the Last Dance meets This Song Will Save Your Life, with a heavy splash of Daft Punk, as a teen girl has to choose between what she thought was always her passion, and the exciting new world she’s getting swept up in. There’s drugs, toxic relationships, and oh my, so much music. 

I fell in love with this book hard, and loved pitching it around while listening to dance music. Some of my favorite YA contemporary reads are music-filled, like Ashley Poston’s The Sound of Us and We Own the Night, Charlotte Huang’s For the Record, Nina LaCour’s The Disenchantments, and Morgan Matson’s Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour. I can’t wait to see Anna’s book on shelves and lists with these.

And I’m so pleased to say it’ll be in bookstores everywhere in the Spring of 2018 with Sky Pony Press, having been acquired by Becky Herrick. Here are the details, found on Publishers Weekly Children’s Bookshelf:

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You’ve likely heard me ramble about Sky Pony before, here and on the ol’ social media. That’s because they are putting out the very first book I got to sell, Dave Connis’ The Temptation of Adam and thus, will always have a special place in my heart.

Please head to Twitter and wish Anna and Sky Pony all the congrats.

Preferably while listening to the Tron Legacy soundtrack.

And Anna, thank you for that wonderful birthday present.