Book Recs, Animal Rescue, Flirting, Process with Freelance Books, and Hamilton

I asked Twitter what I should blog about today and everyone had different ideas. So instead one topic, I’m going to do mini responses to allllllll the ideas! Aren’t you lucky?

Nicole Brinkley, the captain of the ship YA Interrobang, asked me to recommend books. 

I recently finished SYMPTOMS OF BEING HUMAN by Jeff Garvin about a genderfluid teen struggling to find a place in high school. Highly recommend. Quick, beautiful read.

I also read THE ABYSS SURROUNDS US by Emily Skrutskie. Lesbians! Pirates! Sea monsters! Adventure! A morally gray world with extremely morally gray characters! Super super fun.

And I’m reading the Serial Box Publishing THE WITCH THAT CAME IN FROM THE COLD. If you like fantasy, history, and the Cold War, you absolutely MUST be reading this! And the format’s so cool!

Romance wise, I just finished STRONG SIGNAL by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell. One of my favorite contemporary romances, and one of the best depictions of anxiety/panic disorder I’ve seen in any book, ever.

Nicole also asked about my experience fostering and rescuing animals! 

I fostered and rescued for various organizations for five years. I don’t have the space or time to do it right now (and I have some easily stressed out kitties these days, and they come first) but it was a really important part of my life for a long time. Fostering is also a really great way to help save animals but without a long term commitment like adoption. Each rescue organization has a different way of handling fosters, so ask around and find an org that works for you!

Greg Andree asked me to talk about the art of writing flirting, the beginning of intimacy between characters. 

This is something I’m always working on, actually. I keep in mind that everything’s a gradual escalation and I use a lot of banter, quips, and teasing (just like I do in real life!). This post helped me a lot when I was writing the District Ballet Company books!

My amazing CP and friend and rock-in-the-wild-world-of-publishing Christina June asked me to talk about my process with freelance manuscripts. 

I usually try to read through the manuscript first on my e-reader and I take hand notes. Then I read through again in Microsoft Word, adding in my notes from my first read and adding anything additional that came up as I reread. I usually try to sketch out the book on a piece of paper, seeing if I can break it into acts and scenes so I can see where the pacing might lag or where we lose control of the plot. I then make a list of what I think the characters’ motivations, needs, and stakes are because if I can’t make a list of those after two reads, then that’s probably something that can be fleshed out a bit more. Most of the time, I divide my edit letters into topics. Plot/Structure, Character, Motivation, Setting, that type of thing. And if the client’s sent me specific questions or feedback they’ve gotten from an agent, I’ll try to address that in the edit letter as well. Usually I have quite a bit of back and forth with clients via email afterwards as they talk through the notes and we come up with solutions for various problems.

The brilliant and very talented you should go read her books Rose Lerner sent me Hamilton lyrics, so naturally…

I’m obsessed, like most of the internet at this point, and I really need everyone to go listen to the soundtrack five, ten, or a hundred times and then tell me all of your feelings. Thank you.

And then Nita Tyndall reminded me I owe her a real blog post for Queer Girl Cafe, launching on Monday, so I’m going to go do that! 

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