How I got my book deal

Last week, I told you all how I got my agent. Today I bring you part II of the Road to Publication Saga: how I got my book deal. (If you missed episode 1, click here!)

The day Rock Star Agent Holly offered me representation, she told me she’d already spent months secretly talking up my manuscript to an editor friend—we’ll call her Editor X—at a very large house. (I hope I sounded cool and professional on the phone when she told me this, because inside my head, I basically started setting off confetti cannons.) Since Editor X had been clamoring for the manuscript for months already, Holly suggested we give her an exclusive on it until Labor Day, which was three weeks away. Nothing really happens in publishing during the month of August anyway, so a wide submission that early seemed like a waste of our time. [Read more…]


BlissCatMy default level of bliss these days. Image courtesy of

Before we begin, a DISCLAIMER: I am about to get enormously sentimental. You have been warned.

Every year, my family kicks off Thanksgiving dinner by passing around a loaf of bread. Each of us breaks off a piece and says one thing we’re thankful for.

But I have a problem this year. There’s no way I can pick just one thing.  [Read more…]

How I got my agent

I’m not one of those people who always knew she wanted to write books. I loved writing stories as a kid, but I decided at age 16 that I was going to be a photographer, and that’s what I did. Every so often, I started tiny writing projects, but I never finished any of them, and that never bothered me.
[Read more…]

Photo Friday: Being “the subway creeper”

Last night, I was out with some people who were discussing creepy photographers who take picture of strangers on the subway or in other public places. I raised my hand and said, “Umm… I fully admit to being that person.” One of them looked at me, wide-eyed, and exclaimed, “YOU’RE THE SUBWAY CREEPER!”

There. It’s out there. I’m the subway creeper. [Read more…]

A letter to non-fictional boys

HotguywithbookImage courtesy of real, live, non-fictional boys,

I’m just going to put this out there: you have a lot to learn.

I’m nearly 30 now, and I started dating you guys when I was 15. If you do the math, you’ll find that I’ve now spent half my life in your company, trying to find that one boy who really impresses me, the one I want to stick with for good. During those same years, I’ve also spent a lot of time reading young adult literature. And I have to tell you, real-life boys: you just don’t measure up to the guys in these YA books. Not by a LONG shot. [Read more…]

The Strangest Show on Earth

Since 2008, I’ve had a day job as a photographer for the Metropolitan Opera. I’ve been working in theater in various capacities for eleven years, so I’m well acquainted with the many varieties of crazy that bloom wherever there’s a stage. But the Met seems to spawn its very own brand of insanity. [Read more…]

Why YA?

Aside from “Is that your real hair color?”, one of the questions I’m asked most often is, “Why do you write for teens instead of adults?”


The answer to the first question is, “Yes.” The answer to the second is slightly more complicated. [Read more…]

An Inspirational Song for NaNoWriters

Dear NaNoWriMo friends,

I’m so impressed by you. I wish I had sage advice to offer you in your time of need, but I’ve never done NaNoWriMo, so I don’t. But you know what I do have?


So if you’re feeling stressed/overwhelmed/discouraged/depressed/ready to tear out your brain and bang it against the wall until it works again, it’s time to cue up “California Girls” by Katy Perry, turn the sound waaaaaaaaay up, and sing the following lyrics. (It’s even more fun if you cue up a karaoke version of California Girls. Not that I’ve tried it or anything. Just saying.) [Read more…]

Alison’s Childhood Writing: Part 1

IceskatingcroppedMe at age fourRecently, my mom sent me a book of poetry I wrote when I was four years old. Apparently, I dictated the poems to her, and she typed them on her typewriter. The book is bound in orange construction paper and very originally titled Poems by Alison. (I still have trouble with titles.) Here is an excerpt for your reading pleasure. [Read more…]