News

Some big news…

I’m so excited to announce the bookish news I have been dying to share with everyone! My next two YA books (both contemporary psychological thrillers) have sold to Erin Stein at Imprint (Macmillan), with a tentative release date of winter 2019 for the first book, which is called Last Girl Lied To. I’m really looking forward to working with Erin, who has brilliant ideas and such great insight, and I’m honored to join the Imprint family!

That’s the short version. The long version? Well, we’d have to go back to February 2014, just after Pitch Wars wrapped (I was a mentee for Firsts). An idea for a creepy YA thriller was taking shape in my head, and I wrote a first draft in just under a month, giving it the working title Heavy. But… it just wasn’t the story I envisioned in my head. I planned to revise it right away, but a lot of stuff happened at once. My husband and I bought our first house and moved in, and I received offers of representation for Firsts, ultimately signing with agent extraordinaire Kathleen Rushall. So my little draft was shoved to the side of my desk… or more like, buried among other Word documents. But out of sight was not out of mind, because it was still on my mind.

When I came back to revise the draft, I got frustrated. It wasn’t going to be easy, like how it felt with Firsts, where I intuitively knew what needed to be changed and could make a plan to address each issue. Each time I opened that Word document, I felt like I was in way over my head. Instead of just tackling it in pieces like I should have, I ignored it and cheated on it with other WIPs. But I always had this nagging sensation in my head that the thriller was the book I should be focusing on.

So finally, I did. And I didn’t just revise– I rewrote the whole book. Twice. Then I revised some more.

Portrait of an author being driven crazy.

The toughest part for me was actually plotting the book, not just flying by the seat of my pants like I usually do. Last Girl Lied To taught me a lesson: that every book follows a different process, and what worked with writing one book might not work at all with the next one. And there’s nothing wrong with that. At one point, I remember sitting on the floor of my office with different colored Post-Its stuck to my closet door and walls in an attempt to place scenes where they were supposed to go. I might have even told myself that I’d never write such a twisty book ever again. (Alas, that was a big fat lie!)

But then, after all the hand-wringing frustration that revision brought, something wonderful happened. I had… a book. A book I believed in, that I had poured my heart and soul into. I sent it off to my brilliant critique partner, Emily Martin, hoping she would like it. And she did. Then I sent it to Kathleen, and was a big ball of stress waiting for her response. I wanted so badly for her to love it. And she did. A happy dance ensued.

More revision happened with Kathleen, but I moved through that quickly and with a purpose. Knowing she stood behind the book really fueled me. Then, we went on submission. And waited. (If you’re a writer who has ever known the particular hell of being on sub, you know exactly what I’m talking about!) We waited some more. We received some great feedback and very kind passes, but hadn’t yet found the editor who would champion the book. In that time, Kathleen’s faith in the book (and in me) never wavered, and her support was constant. It’s my wish that every writer has an agent like that in their corner. Then, the book went to acquisitions at Imprint, and I got the call from Kathleen– we had an offer from Erin for a two-book deal!

In total, the book was on submission for over six months. (Don’t even ask me how often I checked my email during that time, because it’s a disturbingly high statistic per day. Oh, who am I kidding– per minute.) It took longer to sell than Firsts. At times, my writer insecurities got the best of me, and I was convinced it wouldn’t sell. Writers, if you’re in the same boat, do not give up hope on your work. It WILL find the right home, even if it doesn’t happen overnight.

Maybe the biggest lesson I learned from the process was not shying away from the writing when it got hard. Once in awhile, we’re lucky, and have books that write themselves. I got lucky like that with Firsts. But Last Girl Lied To was a different story, and has ultimately been the most rewarding writing experience of my life. The book is so important to me, and the fact that it took a lot of my blood, sweat, and tears (okay, maybe not any blood, but lots of frustrated tears), makes me that much more excited to know that it will soon be a book-shaped thing, on a shelf in bookstores. I wrote what scared me, what didn’t come easy. I forced myself to plow onwards, even when it would have been easier to give up and write something that didn’t give me so much grief. But I did not give myself permission to quit. And as a result, this book means more to me than anything else I’ve ever written. Writers often talk about the book of their heart. Well, so far, this one is mine.

Now, I am looking forward to the next steps. Edits and line edits and copyedits and cover reveals and ARCs (!!!). I truly cannot wait for this book to find its readers. If you like your YA twisty and dark, I hope you’ll enjoy Last Girl Lied To! A little bit about it? It’s about seventeen-year-old Fiona, whose best friend goes missing, after which Fiona is faced with the reality that the girl she knew better than anyone might have been a carefully constructed lie– and her disappearance might not be an accident at all. It’s set in a coastal town in California and is full of secrets and betrayal and regret and friendship and first love and damaged boys and broken hearts.

Thank you so much for all of your ongoing support. My readers mean the world to me, and I am so fortunate to share this journey with you all. It’s official: my second and third book babies are on the way! This is the part where I would normally crack open a bottle of champagne, but… sparkling juice it is, for now!

My Weekend in Boston

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you probably saw the evidence of my recent weekend in Boston, which was a trip full of firsts for me as a newly published author. I got to meet my amazing critique partner, Emily Martin, who I have been corresponding with online for more than two years, which was beyond wonderful. You know when you meet someone and feel like you’ve known them forever? That’s how it felt spending the weekend with Emily!

On Friday night, Emily and I– along with fellow authors Marieke Nijkamp and Anne Cardi– did a panel at Brookline Booksmith moderated by the one and only Jen Malone. It was such a cool experience. Our subject was Real Teen Lives, and  got to discuss writing for teens, our paths to publication, writing challenges, and more. At one point, the audience picked a random page for us to read from our books. For me, that turned out to be page 15. (If you own a copy of Firsts, turn to that page and try to guess just how red my face was!)

It was surreal to be in the company of such amazing authors. Also surreal was a first Emily and I got to experience at the same time—seeing our books in the wild for the first time. It’s a moment I won’t forget!

 

We had such a fun, supportive audience—lots of fellow Sixteeners came out, along with authors Mackenzi Lee and Anna-Marie McLemore (who just so happens to be my very talented editor-sister)! I was nervous at first, but being in such great company put me at ease. Plus, my red-faced reading kind of broke the ice…

Afterward, we signed books and stock for the store. The staff at Brookline Booksmith is so kind and I’d love to go back the next time I’m in Boston!

Before we left, we signed our names on the wall in the bathroom, which is a rite of passage for authors. Here’s what I wrote! I thought it was appropriate.

On Saturday, we hung out on the exhibit floor at ALA. I can’t even begin to describe how cool it was seeing thousands of books everywhere I looked. I felt like a little kid in a candy store. Well, actually, I felt like adult me still acts in a candy store—excited and overwhelmed and way too giddy. I picked up lots of ARCs, despite remaining very aware that I carried my luggage on the plane and couldn’t take on too much extra weight. Let’s just say there were too many amazing books to resist!

 

 

The day continued to bring more awesome firsts. I got to meet my amazing editor, Kat Brzozowski, and so many fellow debut authors, along with wonderful book bloggers and librarians. Talking with so many passionate book people was truly incredible!

In the evening, the Sweet Sixteens participated in our Meet and Greet event with librarians, and it was so much fun. My only complaint is that the time passed so quickly! After our event, we went for dinner at a Mexican restaurant and chatted some more. I was able to sit beside Lygia Day Penaflor, who is just as sweet in real life as she is online. (Even sweeter!)

 

On Sunday, I had brunch with my editor and two of my wonderful editor-sisters, Anna-Marie McLemore and Ann Jacobus. It was great to talk writing, books, travels, families, day jobs, and everything else under the sun! Plus, I had Nutella French toast, which is every bit as delectable as it sounds. (I told Kat that I’d try to recreate it at home sometime, but I seriously doubt I’ll be able to!) Afterward, we went back to the exhibit floor, where I continued to pick up ARCs like a crazy book-starved fiend. Anna-Marie and Ann had a signing, so I was able to get beautiful hardcover copies of their books. Later in the afternoon, I watched Emily and fellow authors Dana Elmendorf, Elizabeth Briggs, and Roshani Chokshi at a panel for the Class of 2K16. I was a total fangirl in the audience and in awe of how smart, funny, and brilliant these women are.

When Monday rolled around, I couldn’t believe it was time to go home already. With two carry-ons full of books (grand tally: 23), one very sore shoulder, and a head fresh with great memories, I arrived back in Canada to snow (booo) and one very enthusiastic Chihuahua (yay!). I’m already excited for my next event, which will be in Toronto at the end of the month for the Ontario Library Association Super Conference. If you’re in the city, I’d love to see you there!

Now presenting… the FIRSTS book trailer!

Yesterday, I let you all know that there will be a FIRSTS book trailer. Now, I’m happy to share the finished product! Without further ado, here is the FIRSTS book trailer! I hope you enjoy this glimpse into what goes on in Mercedes’ bedroom– and what runs through her head before she decides to let another virgin into it.

 

 

I also promised that there would be something fun to coincide with the trailer, and what could be more fun than a giveaway? Up for grabs is a signed ARC of FIRSTS, a pair of “Converse” socks, FIRSTS lip gloss, and a “We’ve Got Great Chemistry” keychain that Mercedes would definitely use for her Jeep keys. Enter below– the giveaway lasts until Friday, October 23 and is open to all.

Good luck, and thanks for watching!



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A FIRSTS sneak peek…

Writers work with words. They’re our paintbrushes, our voices, our tools. We form mental pictures with them, create images, make up entire worlds and populate them all in our heads. And while we can see all those details as vividly as if they were right in front of us, it takes a lot of work to share our visions. One thing I especially love about words is how each reader can interpret them differently. The way I picture a certain character may be a lot different than how someone else sees him or her. This is one thing I’m most excited for– how people will visualize FIRSTS when it comes out.

But in the meantime? I wanted to channel my vision and share it through a different medium.

Through a book trailer.

I’m happy to announce that I have been working with a talented and creative team to bring FIRSTS to life in book trailer form. In the very near future, I’ll be sharing the end result with everyone. In the meantime, here is a photo from the shoot. I’m not sure if it’s true that a picture says a thousand words… I’ll let you decide for yourself!

Stay tuned… I’m planning something fun to coincide with the release of this trailer, and you won’t want to miss it! (Hint, hint: it may be a giveaway…)

xo Laurie

Publisher’s Weekly reviews FIRSTS!

Happy Monday, everyone! (And for all of you Canadians out there… Happy Thanksgiving!)

I’m proud to share the Publisher’s Weekly trade review that has come in for FIRSTS! I read Publisher’s Weekly on a regular basis, so I’m thrilled that they reviewed FIRSTS. My favorite excerpt from the review, which made me grin from ear to ear because it’s exactly what I wanted to accomplish with FIRSTS, is this one:

“Debut author Flynn raises worthwhile questions about teenage sexuality and perceived promiscuity.”

You can read the full review here:

Three months out

Happy Monday, everyone! (Yes, I realize that the concept of a happy Monday may be somewhat of an oxymoron… but in this case, I really mean it!)

Today isn’t just any Monday, although it did start with the same copious amounts of coffee. Today is October 5, which means FIRSTS comes out in exactly three months! To celebrate, I’m doing a giveaway over on my Twitter account. Follow me @laurellizabeth and retweet this tweet by end of day Thursday, October 8 for a chance to win all this stuff:

The swag pack includes a signed ARC of FIRSTS, “Converse” socks, a beaker necklace that would make Mercedes proud, and some bookmarks and postcards!

Good luck everyone! May the odds be ever in your favor!

FIRSTS has a cover! (And it’s stunning!)

Hello, everyone! You might have seen the cover for FIRSTS revealed at YA Highway yesterday, or over at Griffin Teen. But if you haven’t, here it is in all of its glory, along with my thoughts!

4_28_FirstsCover

My first (pun intended) reaction when I saw the cover? I was floored. The insanely talented cover designer, Danielle Christopher, captured the essence of FIRSTS perfectly. It’s bold without being too provocative, edgy without being too suggestive. The color palette took my breath away. I was lucky enough to have the wonderful Amanda Maciel, an author whose work I greatly admire (TEASE is one of my all-time favorite young adult books), provide a blurb that makes my heart beat faster whenever I read it, and having her words on the cover is such an honor.

The first time I saw the cover turned into the second time. And third time. I whipped out my phone to check it while I was at work, oh, probably a hundred times. (I think I walked into a wall one of those times….)

FIRSTS is a story about a lot of things. It’s about sex and rumors and secrets and slut-shaming. It’s about mistakes and friendship and lust and love. There’s laughter and tears and heartbreak and at the very core, a girl who is slowly learning that the only way to find the control she craves is to stop looking for it. And in one image, I think this cover conveys all those things.

Don’t forget to enter the ARC giveaway on YA Highway before the contest ends!

FIRSTS is available for preorder on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and for the Canadian crowd, Indigo!

Foreign rights news!

Hi everyone! I’m thrilled to share the news that Russian rights to FIRSTS have been sold to AST. Huge thanks to the incredible Taryn Fagerness and my amazing agent, Kathleen Rushall!

I think this needs to be celebrated with a vodka cocktail… За здоровье!

RussianRights

SWEET MADNESS Cover Reveal & Giveaway!

Today, I’m thrilled to be part of the cover reveal for the incredible, chilling, and unforgettable SWEET MADNESS by Trisha Leaver and Lindsay Currie! You can read more about this YA Victorian horror below…

SWEET MADNESS

Coming September 18, 2015 from Merit Press

 

Lizzie Borden took an axe,

And gave her mother forty whacks.

When she saw what she had done,

She gave her father forty one.

 

BLURB: 

Who was Lizzie Borden? A confused young woman, or a cold-hearted killer? For generations, people all over the world have wondered how Andrew Borden and his second wife, Abby, met their gruesome deaths. Lizzie, Andrew’s younger daughter, was charged, but a jury took only 90 minutes to find her not guilty. In this retelling, the family maid, Bridget Sullivan, shines a compassionate light on a young woman oppressed by her cheap father and her ambitious stepmother. Was Lizzie mad, or was she driven to madness?

And without further ado, here’s the haunting, beautiful cover!

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SweetMadness

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Mark it to read on Goodreads

Preorder Sweet Madness:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

TrishaLeaverTrisha Leaver lives on Cape Cod with her husband, three children, and one rather irreverent black lab. She is a chronic daydreamer who prefers the cozy confines of her own imagination to the mundane routine of everyday life.  She writes Young Adult Contemporary fiction, Psychological Horror and Science Fiction and is published with FSG/ Macmillan, Flux/Llewellyn and Merit Press. To can learn more about Trisha’s books, upcoming shenanigans, and her quest to reel in the perfect tuna, please visit her website: www.trishaleaver.com

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LindsayCurrieLindsay Currie lives in Chicago with her three awesome children, husband, and a one hundred and sixty pound lap dog named Sam. She has an unnatural fondness for coffee, chocolate and things that go bump in the night. She spends her days curled up in the comfortable confines of her writing nook, penning young adult psychological horror, contemporary fiction and science-fiction and is published with Flux/Llewellyn, Merit Press and Spencer Hill Contemporary. Learn more about her at www.lindsaycurrie.com

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To celebrate, we are giving away four AMAZING books from our publisher Merit Press.

Meritbooks

Check out a Rafflecopter giveaway and enter to win!

A bit of news…

In fabulous Friday news, I’m thrilled to share with everyone that Italian rights to FIRSTS have been sold! Huge thanks to my wonderful agent, Kathleen Rushall, and the amazing Taryn Fagerness for making this possible. Favoloso!

I’m definitely using this as an excuse to take a trip to Italy and buy a new purse. And shoes. Right?

ItalianRights

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