Friday, December 16, 2011

Holiday Hiatus and a New Schedule

Happy holidays again! Can you tell I like Christmas? I wish everyone a “Merry Christmas” from December 1st until the day itself. And so I can enjoy the holidays with my family, which I start today with a long weekend, I’m going to be taking a bit of a break with the blog. I’ll be back in January!

…but on a slightly new schedule. Lately I’ve been a little overwhelmingly busy and the amount of time I’ve been able to spend on this blog has decreased. I loved writing Monday, Wednesday, and Friday…but I can’t keep it up! I’m tired and I’m not the only one suffering from blog fatigue. With those high expectations I was pressuring myself to always blog. I ended up writing about writing on the blog instead of writing my novel itself! That’s no good! And although I love this blog, there are better things to be doing than typing in front of a computer screen—I want to bake more. Cook more. Learn how to play the piano. My boyfriend and I want to take ballroom dancing classes. Get out. Enjoy the city. Learn things.

So I’ll still be here, and you can always reach me in the comments section or by email (, just a little less often!

Enjoy—and relax—this holiday season.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Giving the Gift of Reading

It’s that most wonderful time of the year. I’m fresh off a weekend of hosting a holiday party and attending a choir concert, so it’s definitely Christmas here!

Having trouble thinking of gifts to give? Of course, I recommend something literary! I love picking out titles to give to my two little cousins and it was fun acquainting myself with Harper’s adult titles as I picked out books for other family members. My younger sister, soon to be graduating with a degree in the early childhood education, is getting a slew of picture books to get her career started the right way. Don’t want to give a book? How about one of these wonderful literary-themed items?

Happy gifting and happy reading!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Reading Roundup

The Unbecoming of Mara DyerThe Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkins
The basic premise to this realistic/paranormal/fantasy/mixed genre is that Mara Dyer wakes up from an accident that killed at her friends with no recollection as to what happened. The family decides that moving will help Mara get a new start—but strange accidents seem to follow Mara wherever she goes. As I read more and more of this novel I couldn’t stop thinking about it as I was at work, in the shower, reading other manuscripts. The question of whether what Mara is experiencing is real or her imagination is so compelling—is she a psychopath or are impossible things occurring? The truth is reveled about two thirds of the way through the novel and I lost interest a little bit…but then the cliffhanger at the very end caught me again. I can’t wait to read the sequel. A highly recommended read.

Wings of the Wicked (Angelfire)Wings of the Wicked (ARC 2/14) by Courtney Allison Moulton
The second in the Angelfire trilogy, the stakes are even higher for Reaper killer Ellie and her guardian, Will. All Hell has broken lose and Ellie has to step up—while trying to balance family, prom, and her eternal love for Will. I’m just about to start working on the third and final book in the series and I can promise this—and the next book—have plenty of action and sultry romance!

BreadcrumbsBreadcrumbs by Anne Ursu
This middle-grade fantasy/fairytale retelling has made a lot of “Best of 2011” lists and as soon as I picked it up I could understand why. Hazel is such a compelling character, full of insecurities and flaws as she tries to understand and overcome the impossible when her best friend, Jack, is kidnapped by the White Witch (just like Narnia…). The fairytale rich world is beautifully incorporated and I loved the references to modern fantasy classics like His Dark Materials and Harry Potter. On top of all that, the writing is so lyrical and compelling. A highly recommended read.

Strawberry Girl 60th Anniversary Edition (Trophy Newbery)Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski
This classic early reader was my Harper-award-winning-backlist for the month. I really love Lois Lenski; not only was her novel Indian Captive: The Story of Mary Jemison a favorite growing up, but she also wrote from my tiny hometown! I had never read Strawberry Girl before but I can’t believe it because it definitely appeals to readers of Little House on the Prairie except set in Florida. From the foreword it’s clear that educating young readers about homesteading and different cultural practices throughout the United States was the goal of the series. I definitely learned a lot about early Florida settlers!

Full Manuscripts: 5 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Words of Wisdom

Today’s interesting tidbit comes from wise writers on a variety of subjects:

On inspiration by Sarah Zarr

Were you inspired? Did you learn something? Enjoying musing on these ideas and more over the weekend!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Today I’m celebrating my one-year anniversary working at HarperCollins. And I still love it! Nine months ago I tracked what I did for a week to give all of you an idea of what an ‘average’ week for an editorial assistant. So this is what I’m doing now-a-days:

Monday, 11/14
Settle in, emails, social media
Write Reader’s Report for second draft of BOOK A, which I read over the weekend. Review Boss #1’s editorial letter for first draft of BOOK A.

Emails, prepare for meeting with Boss #1
Meet with Boss #1, discuss BOOK A, how to help author with some publicity for BOOK B, rework text in BOOK C, new acquisition of BOOK D
Review final BOOK E
Eat lunch while sending emails, organizing emails, reading industry-related emails, update group documents
Leave office to run personal errand
Update Facebook page with our Winter 2012 titles
Meet with Boss #1 and Digital Person to discuss digital strategy for author of BOOK F
Misc including emails and circ’ing materials
Mail copies of BOOK E to author and illustrator; copying
Discuss ideas for SUBMISSION B with Coworker #1
Circulate materials, organize and prepare for tomorrow

Tuesday, 11/15
Settle in, emails, social media (late due to subway problems!)
Circulate materials
Misc, including emails and researching a conference I might attend in March
Finish updating Facebook page with our Winter 2012 titles
Group “Lunch” meeting with Kate Jackson (Sr VP/Associate Pub/Editor-In-Chief)
Run out to get lunch and do some personal errands
Eat lunch, emails
Finishing reading SUBMISSION A, write Reader’s Report
Misc, including emails, mailing book to author
Help author order additional copies of BOOK G
Research information online to help author with publicity for BOOK B
Research information online about publicity for BOOK H
Organize email
Read industry magazine, prepare for tomorrow

Wednesday, 11/16
Settle in, emails, social media, finish reading industry magazine
Draft catalog copy for BOOKS I, J, and K
Misc, including helping author with publicity for BOOK B, updating addresses
Read industry blogs
Maintain KT Facebook page
Read BOOK L (eat lunch around 1:30)
Review and circulate materials
Review meeting notes, prepare for tomorrow

Thursday, 11/17
Settle in, emails, social media
Read industry emails
KT Books team meeting
Discuss covers for BOOKS L & M, and others, with designers
Format and submit flap copy for BOOK N
Draft catalog copy for BOOKS O, P, Q, R, S
Attend HarperCollings Emerging Professionals (HCEP) meeting
Misc including go to mailroom to get UPS labels, circulate materials for signatures
Type up meeting notes from HCEP meeting
Marketing meeting
Finish typing up HCEP meeting notes
Prepare bookseller mailing for BOOK Q
Misc including emails, social media, circulating materials, helping author with two publicity opportunities for BOOK B
Read SUBMISSION C (planned on reading for an hour)

Friday, 11/18
Settle in, emails, make one personal phone call, revise P&L for SUB A 
Find reviews to support quotes for BOOK N’s flap copy
Finish drafts of catalog copy for BOOKS I, J, and K
Misc including finish putting together contract request materials for SUB D and circulate, email out HCEP Meeting notes
Draft catalog copy for BOOK T
Circulate materials, read industry emails, revise P&L for SUB A
Draft copy for BOOK L
Read industry emails/websites while eating lunch
Run out for personal errand
Misc including emails, read industry blogs, print label for mailing artwork of BOOK O, review circulating materials
“Digital Tutorial”
Review and organize reviews received
Prepare, package, and send artwork for BOOK O
Misc including circulate P&L for SUB D, review circulating materials
Read SUB C

Saturday, 11/19
Read SUB C (eat breakfast around 9:15)
Read SUB C
Read SUB C

Sunday, 11/20
Read SUB C
Read SUB C
Read SUB C

With twenty books and four submissions in one week—there are plenty of great projects I’m working on! An editorial assistant’s life is busy, but it’s so worth it! Year in and year out!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Book Club: Scorpio Races

The Scorpio RacesThis month’s pick for the Fall Book Club is Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. I read the book a while ago when I snatched up the ARC at BEA so this review is going to be briefer than most of my book club reviews. I look forward to hearing what others think about this new novel from the Wolves of Mercy Falls author.

Overall, I’m torn about this novel. It’s so different than the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy, which I adored. This novel is older, darker. And based on sales numbers, lots of readers are confused about this novel, too. During a brief conversation at Harper many editors didn’t know if this was teen or tween—you know you’re in trouble when publishing professionals don’t even know the basic details about a book!

The strength in this novel is the language. Stiefvater builds a beautifully cold and isolated world using a few words as possible. And the sparse dialog, especially between Puck and Sean, really proves that Maggie Stiefvater is a talented writer.

It’s Puck and Sean’s relationship, though, that caused me to pause the most while reading the novel. Their relationship isn’t the sigh-and-swoon type of Sam and Grace. I never actually felt connected to them. I cared more about Sean’s water horse than Sean himself. The characters seemed like a excuse to use the language rather than being the driving factor for the story.

The Scorpio RacesIn the end, I’m glad that this is a one-off and not the beginning of a series. Although the writing was compelling I doubt I’d pick up a sequel. And the cover art isn’t doing the book any favors, either. It’s dull—almost appropriate for non-fiction. Check out the UK art, it’s world’s better!

What do you think; are water horses going to be the next trend in paranormal?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Back to School

Today’s RTW Question from YA Highway: If you had the power to change school curriculums, which books would you be sure high school students were required to read?

I love this question because it’s one I’ve thought about a lot; I had a great English teacher for AP English both junior and senior years who introduced me to the classics and I loved (most of) them. But I was that type of student. But for so many teens it’s more important to get them reading a book they’ll find interesting—and find a way to include a bit of a lesson, too. As disappointing as I find it, Shakespeare and Austen just aren’t everyone’s cup of tea!

Here are my suggestions—and yes, I couldn’t help but include a few classics!

Wide Sargasso Sea (Norton Critical Editions)Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
This pairing is so important that both my high school teacher and a college professor taught it. And although I don’t love Wide Sargasso Sea reading the two books side-by-side is a great study in retellings, feminism, racism, and all sorts of possibilities.

YouYou by Charles Benoit
Ever since I read Charles’ debut teen novel I’ve wanted to send it to my high school with a big “USE THIS” note. This is the perfect book for students—especially boys—on in a non-AP English track; it’s compelling, gripping, and gritty. And it’s written entirely in second person, which is a great way for classes to discuss point of view.

Go Ask AliceGo Ask Alice
Or a more contemporary story about teen issues like drug use, suicide, pressures to be perfect. Perhaps Thirteen Reasons Why, or novels by Ellen Hopkins and Amy Reed. Great classroom discussions!

The Book ThiefThe Book Thief by Markus Zusak
We read a lot of Holocaust literature in my middle and high schools—The Diary of Anne Frank, Maus by Art Spiegelman, Night, Dawn, and Day by Elie Wiesel. By the end of each Holocaust unit I felt desensitized because the discussions were so repetitive. The Book Thief, though, adds a really interesting and new perspective to this literature.

And, in addition to Jane Eyre you’d have to keep some Shakespeare, at least one Dickens, one Austen, The Canterbury Tales, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Great Gatsby, a poetry unit, and I’m sure there are other classic curriculum choices I’m forgetting!