Best Summer Books

bblogo_summer-reads-2015Last week I had a wonderful surprise when I learned Letters to Zell had been named one of the Summer’s Best Books by Publisher’s Weekly. You can see the feature and peruse the rest of their recommendations here. I’m thrilled and incredibly humbled to be included.

I’ve been working a lot on promotional materials for Zell and I’m so looking forward to talking in depth about the book and the characters and inspiration for the project. The coming months are sure to be very exciting. More soon!

xo

Novel Sale: You and I, Cassandra

I have some huge news, friends. My second novel with the working title You and I, Cassandra, has been sold to the fine folks at 47North. I’m so excited to continue working with them on this next project. They’ve done amazing work with Letters to Zell, and I can’t wait to see what’s next!

You and I, Cassandra is a re-imagining of the Trojan War set in a post pandemic (unnamed) country from the perspectives of Cressida and Cassandra, two under-served characters in the Greek and Shakespeare versions of the stories. If all goes according to plan, it will hit shelves in spring of 2016.

xo

Publishers Weekly Review

I’m thrilled and humbled to share the very first review for Letters to Zell from Publishers Weekly. Along with granting me a cherished red star, they said:

“The rich and realistic depictions of these young women, and their touching efforts to navigate old and new relationships in a changing world, display a deep understanding of human nature and the ways that well-meaning attempts to help one’s friends can go awry.”

I can’t wait to share these women’s stories with you in July. You can pre-order here.

Cover Reveal: Letters to Zell

A belated happy 2015, dearest readers. I’ve been quiet here for a variety of reasons — some good and some not so good, but I’m back with something that will hopefully make up for the long absence: The gorgeous cover for Letters to Zell, my first novel, forthcoming July 1st!

Griep-LettersToZell-19807-CV-FT-V7

I  couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful realization of an idea I’d had for the cover — looking out on the LA skyline from Grimmland. The wonderful folks at Cyanotype Book Architects, under the direction of 47North’s Editorial Lead (and my acquiring editor), Jason Kirk, realized this gorgeous collaboration over the last couple months. I’m honored and thrilled and could go on and on and on. But I won’t. Instead, I’ll let you know you can pre-order the book here, whenever your sweet heart desires.

Still curious as to what I’ve been up to? See what I’ve been helping with alongside Empire Lascaux over at Easy Street.

Anatomy of a Novel Edit

We spend a lot of time, as writers, looking at processes. Ours. Someone else’s. We eschew conformity. We crave it, too. Today I turned over the first of a few rounds of developmental edits with the wonderful editor 47North paired me with, Caitlin Alexander. I found myself laughing at the state of my usually neurotically-organized-into-stacks desk and thought I’d try my hand at a diagram. Ladies & gentleman, I give you the Anatomy of a Novel Edit (click image for larger size):

Editing Aftermath

xo

All the Best Feels

I’m not going to lie. Announcing the sale of my first book last week was tremendous in every way. I’ve also realized I’m glad I’m doing this at 37 — I don’t know if at 25 (or whatever arbitrary age) I’d have recognized how colossally fortunate I am to have met and befriended so many amazing people in one lifetime. And in a time where we can remain virtually connected and celebrate our successes (and lament our sorrows) together. It’s a lot for one heart to hold.

I know, I’m getting mushy. And it will get worse in a minute.

I received more great news last week. “The Perils of Rosella,” my CNF piece pubbed in May by Cartridge Lit, was among their Best of the Net nominees. This piece was about the death of my (grand)father and instead of overusing metaphor, I used metaphor exclusively, pairing the months spent back home trying to help him battle lung cancer with my favorite childhood video game, Kings Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella.

I’m, of course, humbled and honored to share the nomination with so many other talented authors. If you haven’t had a chance to read these pieces — again, all inspired by the presence of video games in our culture, I encourage you to take a few minutes and visit (Seriously. “After I Heard Another White Woman at the Bar Talking About Michael Vick and the Death Penalty” by Jason McCall is one of the best poems I’ve read all year.) Don’t be fooled by the gaming premise: this mag is churning out some of the heaviest hitting short form lit around. Creator/Editor/Litentrepreneur Justin Lawrence Daugherty and Managing Editor Joel Hans are developing this project from their hearts into a serious contender.

The painful twist here is that his belief in me was unconditional and ever present. In fact my very first terrible book I wrote at 9 was dedicated to him. If he were here, he’d be buying champagne. If he were here he’d tell me the bitter comes with the sweet. If he were here. If. If. If.

If he were here he’d tell me to remember Kipling: “If you can dream — and not make dreams your master.”

But here’s another if: would I be the same me without that specific loss? Zell and “Perils” and countless other works would not be the same. He continues to be here — shaping things via the person I’ve become over time. For this too, I am grateful.

xo

I Sold My Novel! — Or The Thing I’ve Dreamed of My Whole Life

Lucky for me, contract negotiations take a little while. That’s good because I’ve been puzzling over the best way to announce the novel that demanded to be written — my epistolary, fairy-tales-invade-Los Angeles novel, Letters to Zell, has been bought by 47North and I will soon embark upon the last leg of the publishing journey for this particular project.

The sanguine side of me says, tell them again how you’ve always wanted this with your entire soul and that your brain never shuts off and that you can’t believe the gamble you made with your job and everything else actually paid off it’s like a dream come true or your very own fairy tale you can’t believe you haven’t woken up yet.

The other side says, shut up, just announce it like a professional and be done with it. Let people think you’ve got this all under control.

So like a true Gemini, maybe I can give you both. I sold my book and if all goes to plan you, dear reader, will be able to read it in June of 2015. (OMG! OMG! OMG! *Epic Squee*)

Thanks to everyone for the support. It truly means the world to me. Special thanks, of course, to my agent Cameron McClure for all of her patient guidance through this process. And of course to everyone over at 47North, especially my acquiring editor, Jason Kirk. I’m so looking forward to what’s next.

xo

Reviews: UFO 3

91CNXNKlEzLLast week, Tangent Online published a triple review of Unidentified Funny Objects 3, edited by Alex Schvartsman. I read them with one eye closed, ready for the great shoe in the sky to come down on my head.

However, the reviewers had nothing but praise for “Into the Woods, With Zombunny,” noting that as utterly ridiculous as the story and concept were, my utter commitment to the zany saved the day.

You can read the reviews here and pre-order your own copy here.