A Year In Conclusion

At the beginning of every year, there's often a song that sort of speaks to me, which I pick as my "anthem" for the year. My theme song. 2010, I believe it was Change by Taylor Swift. 2011 it was Seasons of Love from Rent.

I picked 2012's theme song early on. Long Live by Taylor Swift. It seemed natural to me. It was the song that described exactly what I wanted my year to be: "Long live all the mountains we moved, I had the time of my life fighting dragons with you..." Obviously I wanted to spend the year fighting dragons. Metaphorical dragons, at the very least.

By the time March hit, I'd been listening to this song a lot. A lot, a lot. I'd also been querying a lot, and I'd had some promising requests and other not-so-promising rejections. HEAPS of rejections, but the requests stuck out a bit more. I was starting to get a little hopeful, and a little crazy at the same time.

The day I received, out of nowhere, a phone call from an agent who offered revision suggestions on my manuscript was the day I made an insane pact with myself: I couldn't listen to my theme song anymore until I signed with an agent.

HA, I said.


After all, absolutely nothing pointed to the fact that I would actually sign with an agent anytime in the next week month decade. Sure, an agent had taken the time to dial my number. Sure, he'd had nice things to say about the opening of the novel, but that didn't mean anything was actually going to happen. That didn't mean he - or anyone - would like the revision.

But I'm a strange person sometimes, and I apparently like to make weird pacts with myself, so I made one that day. And after I'd made it, I couldn't bring myself to go back on it. I couldn't get three notes into Long Live without frantically switching to the next song.

Thanks to All That Is Good and Holy in the Universe, I didn't have to go without listening to the song for too long. Two months, to be exact.

I can't tell you how pleased I was the day I signed with Alison Fargis of Stonesong and allowed myself to blast Long Live in my car with the windows down. "The night you danced like you knew our lives would never be the same."

Well, the story doesn't exactly end there, because you should know by know that I'm a VERY odd person, dear readers. And I love making ridiculous pacts with myself. Sooo now we come to the next major stage of my year....

Submission Hell.

Except it wasn't hell. At least, not in the sense you're thinking of: fire and brimstone and all that jazz. Not even, really, in the metaphorical sense: a writer ripping his/her hair out for months on end.

Extraction went out to editors on October 9th, two days after my twentieth birthday. The week earlier, a brand-new story idea had struck my brain, and I was in the early days of jotting words down on paper. So, it was easy for me to let Extraction slide to the back of my mind for a bit. For a couple days, at least. See, I actually kept a sporadic journal during this time, so I can show you exactly how my thought process went:

October 10, 2012 12:17am
I don’t know how I’m going to get through this. (Okay, well, I was actually really nervous at first)

October 12, 2012 12:08am
I thought it had been longer than a day [October 13 update: oh wait, it was]…anyway. Didn’t worry too much about subs today. [name redacted] (translation: his girlfriend) was slightly more of an issue. The Result: Five minutes ago, I decided to name one of my characters [name redacted] I.E., [name redacted]’s girlfriend from the Desolate.

HA, okay. *forces self to stop laughing*

My posts thereafter went back and forth between comments like:

October 25, 2012 6:57am


November 19, 2012 10:47pm
Whatever happens, happens.

There were actually some other posts in there that were sort of depressing. Because of non-writing related things.

BUT ANYWAY, the good this year ended up outweighing the bad. My journal posts finally culminated in the glorious:

November 21, 2012 7:26pm
I am going to be a published author.

And I wept tears of joy.

But back to the whole Long Live thing. See, somewhere during these 43 days of submission, I once again made the crazy pact with myself: no more theme song until I signed with a publisher (actually, there was one other option, but I'll let y'all guess what that was. *snort*)

Once again, I was like WHY AM I DOING THIS and WHAT IS EVEN THE POINT and NOW I'M JUST GOING TO BE REALLY SAD BECAUSE I WON'T BE ABLE TO HEAR THE SONG EVER AGAIN, but I guess maybe it's a good thing I'm weird, because I went ahead with it, and that made it the coolest thing ever when I found out I had a publishing offer and let myself hear the song as a reward.

It was a beautiful moment. *sniffle*

All in all, I had a ridiculous year. I went through so many crazy emotions. Everything from terror (the spiders in my bedroom) to cautious hope (getting the email that said "can we set up a time to chat?") to heartbreak (crying in the shower) to pure and utter happiness (meeting my agent in NYC). There are so many more emotions and moments to come.

I've never been more grateful. I've never been more scared. I've never been more excited.

Dear readers, I want you to remember: every moment, every second of every day and every month and every year is ours. So don't waste it. Squeeze every drop of life out of this moment, and the next one, and the next after that, and make something beautiful out of it.

Remember this: We are infinite.

Long live all the magic we made, and bring on all the pretenders...

                                               One day, we will be remembered.


My Submission Story

Today I have a guest post up over at It's in the Details about the story of how I got my offer of publication. Go check it out! I hope it offers some insight into the process and encourages you all to keep trekking down the road of publication, if that's your dream.


A Song for You

Last night when I was having trouble fixing a scene in the novel, I decided it would totally help to pull out my guitar, whose name is Fred, and record a cover of a Taylor Swift song. If you like her music or want to watch me play guitar in pajamas, or simply need a procrastination device, here is my cover of "Treacherous."

Hope those of you who celebrate Christmas have a happy one! I should be getting a kindle. I'm pretty excited.


Post-Apocalyptic Gems of the Week

We survived the apocalypse, so everything can be consider "post-apocalyptic" now, right?

Anyway, I have a couple cool things for you today, dear readers. First of all,  LES MISERABLES comes out on Tuesday and I am so so so excited. The soundtrack was released yesterday. It is bloody beautiful. Here's a small taste:

Second, I wanted to share this absolutely lovely rendition of "Do You Hear What I Hear" from Glee. You probably just made a face right now, but please give it a chance. It was sung by two characters who are not part of the main Glee cast, and it wasn't actually included in any of the shows. Please. Just trust me. It is gorgeous.

And, last but not least:

Still need that last-minute Christmas present for a reader-friend? Have no idea which book to get them?

John Green can help!

Have a happy holidays, everyone!


YA Superlative Blogfest: Best in Show

It's the last day of the YA Superlative Blogfest! I hope you've all enjoyed my picks, or at least found some new books to add to your TBR list.

Here are my picks for "Best in Show."

Favorite Cover
It's a tie between:

Crewel by Gennifer Albin


A Million Suns by Beth Revis
(I'm a sucker for stars.)

Cutest Couple

Hazel + Augustus from The Fault in Our Stars

Most Likely to Succeed (Or, pick a Printz Winner.)

The Fault in our Stars by John Green

Most Likely to Make You Miss Your Bedtime (The book you just couldn’t put down!)

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Best Repeat Performance (Your favorite sequel or follow-up.)

A Million Suns by Beth Revis

Breakout Novel (Your favorite book by a debut author.)

Crewel by Gennifer Albin
This was tough to pick, as I had several favorite debuts this year, but this one came out on top.

Best Old-Timer (Your favorite read of the year, published BEFORE 2012.)
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Yes, I finally got around to reading this. Loved it so much, and the movie was a fantastic adaptation.

Most Likely to Make a Grown Man Cry

The Fault in our Stars by John Green

Sleeper Hit (Book you found so awesome you wish it had been hyped more.)

Ten by Gretchen McNeil

Which books made your list this year? Let me know in the comments!


YA Superlative Blogfest: Elements of Fiction

It's day three of the YA Superlative Blogfest!

Here are my picks for "Elements of Fiction."

Most Envy-Inducing Plot (Or, the plot you wish you’d thought of yourself.)
Most Formidable World (Or, the setting you definitely would NOT want to visit.)
Crewel by Gennifer Albin
When I first heard the concept of this book--a world that is woven--it made me salivate.
I love what Genn created in Crewel (not to mention how it ended). But after seeing all
that Adelice and everyone in this world goes through, I wouldn't actually want
to live there.

Wanderlust-Inducing (Or, the setting you’d happily travel to.)
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Ravka is simply stunning.

Loveliest Prose
Origin by Jessica Khoury
I went back and forth over this category, but I wanted to go with a book that didn't win any 
of the other awards. I adore Jess's style of writing. It's simple but lovely.

Best First Line
"I am a coward." -Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
I just love everything about this.

Most Dynamic Main Character
Verity - Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Verity is not a coward, as you learn quite fast when you read this book. She is SO intriguing.
Her secrets are woven into the pages. I love her.

Most Jaw-Dropping Ending
I really, really want to give this award to Progidy by Marie Lu. I know it's a 2013
release, but I read it this year, and OMG THE ENDING. Just you wait.


Vlog 2: Faeries, Tomato Juice, and Evil Owls

Dear readers, I present my second vlog. In which I discuss my reaction to The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and also read an excerpt from one of my early novels that incorporates faeries, tomato juice, and evil owls:

ALSO, I've decided I'm going to try to post a special vlog once per month, or at least every couple months until the publication of Extraction. Yes, Veronica Roth gave me this idea. But instead of filming myself doing something I'm afraid of, I'm going to film myself pulling embarrassing stunts in public. I'll call them Social Experiments.

My friends helped me compile a short list of possibilities last night:

  • sing in a public elevator
  • stand in the middle of a crowded hallway and stare at the ceiling (see if others start to stare with you)
  • chime into stranger's conversations
  • trick or treat on an obscure holiday
  • dress up as a superhero in public and search for damsels (or dames) in distress
  • wear elf ears
  • write a phone number and "call me" on my forehead
  • stick obscure stuff--such as erasers, leaves, or lollipops--in my hair and see how people react
What do you guys think? Should I do some of these in particular?

I need more ideas. Please share some in the comments section, if you can think of any!

YA Superlative Blogfest: Popularity Contest

It's day two of the YA Superlative Blogfest!

Here are my picks for "Popularity Contest." I know, I know, I skipped several categories...I couldn't come up with suitable answers for those, so I stuck with the ones I was sure of.

Most Likely to Become a Rock Star

Eric - Insurgent
Eric would make a BOMB rock star. You know he would. He has the whole "bad boy" thing
down pat.

Biggest Flirt
Sam Lloyd - The Diviners
This boy is the definition of a flirt. He's also a pickpocket with a curious secret.

 Fashion King and/or Queen
Evie O' Neill - The Diviners
With her pos-i-tute-ly vivacious flapper style, she wins the "fashion" award in my book.

Girl You’d Most Want For Your BFF
Tris Prior - Insurgent
I admire Tris for her bravery and her strength. If I knew her in real life, we'd totally be BFFs.

Boy You Wish You’d Dated in High School/ Most Likely to Become President
Tobias Eaton/Four - Insurgent
Four is the brave, fierce, and very attractive. He wins ALL the awards. But he can keep a cool head
when he needs to, which is why I think he'd make a good president.

Villain You Love to Hate
Warner - Destroy Me
I didn't care much for Warner in Shatter Me, as I found him despicable, but after reading Destroy Me...
GAH. I like him now. I almost love him.

Coolest Nerd

Augustus Waters - The Fault in Our Stars
This boy is ridiculously attractive, and he's also very intelligent and concerned with many things
that can be considered nerdy.


YA Superlative Blogfest: Head of the Class

It's day one of the YA Superlative Blogfest!

Here are my picks for "Head of the Class." These are the books you SHOULD have read this year. If you haven't read them yet, fix that. Now.

Favorite Dystopian
Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Divergent was my absolute favorite, and this sequel lived up to the original, despite what others might say.

Favorite Science Fiction
A Million Suns by Beth Revis
Spaceships, clues, mystery, stars...this book has it all.

Favorite Fantasy
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
A fresh fantasy in an exquisite, Russian-inspired setting.
(Read my full review.)

Favorite Contemporary
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Full of wit, love, and beautiful moments. I don't usually cry when I read books, but I did with this one.

Favorite Historical Fiction
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
This book is stunning and heart-wrenching. That is all.

Favorite Mystery
Ten by Gretchen McNeil
This book made me kind of scared to fall asleep. So, maybe don't read it at 2am.
(Read my full review.)

Favorite Romance
For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund
This book tore my heart in two. The romance is perfection.

Favorite Paranormal
The Diviners by Libba Bray
This book is pos-i-tute-ly fabulous! New York City, 1920s. It gave me the heebie-jeebies.

Favorite Genre Bender
Crewel by Gennifer Albin
Romance, dystopian, sci-fi, and such an intriguing world!
(Read my full review.)

Favorite Alternate
What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang

The concept of twin souls inside of one person drew me in. The writing kept me turning pages.

What books made your list? Share in the comments!


Book of the Week: Shadow and Bone

I read Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo over the summer, soon after it came out. I read it again this past week, and oh my, I love it. So, without further ado:

SHADOW AND BONE by Leigh Bardugo

What's it about?

Alina Starkov lives in Ravka, a nation torn in two by the Shadow Fold, an area of pure and utter darkness, home to winged monsters who feast on human flesh. Alina has never fit in anywhere or been anyone extraordinary.

But when she and an army regiment that includes her dearest friend, Mal, are attacked by monsters while trying to cross the Fold, a power awakens inside of her: a power that sets her apart from everyone else. A power that, if cultivated in the proper way, could be the key to destroying the Fold and saving Ravka.

Why is it amazing?

First of all, the setting. Leigh has created a stunningly beautiful world inspired by Russian culture. The food, the outfits, the magic...it's wonderful.

Second, Alina. She's the perfect heroine, a girl who knows her faults but not to the extent that she is ever annoying. She's stubborn and strong. She's not the kind of girl who expects to be saved.

Third, the Darkling. The Darkling is the head of the order of the Grisha, the magical kind of Ravka who take Alina in as their own. He is also the villain. But he has enough human qualities that it's difficult to hate him. He has his reasons for his desires, and some of them don't seem half-bad.

Really, please, just read this book. It's the magic of Harry Potter mixed with the stunning world of Russia. You will love it.

Buy it at your local bookstore, or purchase it online:

Barnes and Noble



Guys, one of my bestest twitter friends, Michelle Painchaud, had her book deal announcement up in PM today! Lookie!!!

Here's what it says:

Michelle Painchaud's debut PRETENDING TO BE ERICA, a thriller about the daughter of Las Vegas' best conman, who is posing as the abducted daughter of a wealthy family in order to steal the family's most valuable asset, to Sharyn November at Viking Children's, by Jessica Faust at BookEnds.


And we're both gonna be 2014 debuts! Which is pretty much the greatest thing ever.

Go congratulate her on her blog!!!


Waiting on Wednesday - SPLINTERED by A.G. Howard

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. This week, I'm all excited for:

by A.G. Howard

I have to be honest, I'm not usually a fan of covers with faces on the front. But this one. THIS one is absolutely stunning. Maybe it's because of the word "Wonderland" over her face. Maybe it's because I already know what the book is about.

Maybe it's simply stunning.

Here's the plot synopsis of this book, courtesy of Goodreads:

Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.

When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.


I am a MAJOR fan of Alice in Wonderland. By this I mean I watched the original Disney film last night, I have an Alice in Wonderland clock on my bedroom wall, and I drink out of an Alice in Wonderland juice glass most mornings. (Don't judge me.)

The thought of an Alice in Wonderland redux made me a tad worrisome when I first heard about Splintered. But I'm sold on the plot synopsis alone. A darker, more twisted Wonderland? The sexy but suspicious Morpheus? Everything about this book screams "amazing."

Pick it up January 1, 2013 at your local bookstore!

You can also order it at one of the following links:

Barnes and Nobles

What books are you waiting on? Let me know in the comments!


Hobbit Week - Host a Hobbit Party

It is officially Monday the 10th of December, which means it is officially the week of The Hobbit!

Looking for a way to celebrate? Planning to host a party?

Here are some Hobbit-themed ideas for you to consider:

1. Location: Hobbits often hold celebrations outdoors under giant canopy tents with banners and ribbons galore. For a more simple party, pick a garden setting with long tables for the meal and an area for dancing.

2. Costumes: Simple hobbit attire cardigans, long-sleeved shirts, vests, and cut-off pants for boys. Girls have the option of wearing skirts and blouses. All may wear capes. Guests may also dress as wizards, elves, or dwarves if they so desire!

3. Food: Hobbits simply adore mealtime. They traditionally eat six meals a day. For a hobbit-themed party, consider serving tea (I'd recommend a loose-leaf earl grey) or maybe something a little stronger (hobbits are fond of ales) before the main course, accompanied by snack foods such as scones or seed cakes with jam. Click here for a recipe for seed cakes!

For the main course, serve chicken or ham with skewered vegetables, or a mince pie if that suits you. For dessert, serve blackberry tart, a cobbler, or a giant cake with white frosting and strawberries! Click here for an array of Tolkien-inspired recipes to choose from.

4. Activities: Dancing is the perfect activity for a hobbit-themed party. Strike up some Celtic-inspired tunes! Set out a game of Lord of the Rings RISK for guests who are more battle-inclined. Provide small flowers for the crafty guests who'd like to make hair circlets. When darkness falls, pull out a spooky adventure story and read it aloud. Keep an eye out for Black Riders!

Have other ideas for a Hobbit-inspired party? Share them in the comments!


Giveaway Winner + An Epic TV Show

My book deal celebration giveaway is officially over. Thanks to everyone who entered! The winner is...

*drumroll please*


If you could please shoot me an email at stephanieheart7(at)gmail(dot)com with your address and your choice of book, that would be excellent. If you don't respond within 48 hours, I'll pick another winner.

In other news, I've recently gotten hooked on Joss Whedon's masterpiece Firefly. It was kind of inevitable, considering my obsession with Doctor Who and sci-fi in general. (The new Star Trek 2 trailer. anyone??) But really, if you're a fan of sci-fi and you haven't seen Firefly, check it out right now. It stars Nathan Fillion, for crying out loud.

Here's a trailer:


Website Launch and Giveaway

I have two exciting things for you today!

*drumroll please*

First of all, you may have noticed my blogger theme has changed. This is because I wanted it to match my brand-new author website, which is now live!

I've been thinking about making an official site for awhile and finally went ahead with it. I'm so excited for you all to check it out! And so are Harry and Ron!

What will you find on the site?

You'll find information about Extraction (including a playlist), videos of me embarrassing myself while singing, recommendations of books to read, and more! I'll be updating the site regularly with new features and announcements. You can access the site at the following url:

The second thing:

In honor of my I-still-can't-believe-it's-real book deal, I'm giving away your choice of one of my favorite books, shipped from The Book Depository!

Your choices are as follows (these are ALL amazing):                                                                                           

**Full-disclosure: The prize will be the paperback version of one of these books, as I'm a poor college student.**

The giveaway is open worldwide, to anyone who lives in a country The Book Depository ships to (which is almost everywhere - check out the list here.) Just enter below in the Rafflecopter form! The giveaway will end this Thursday, December 6 at midnight EST. The winner will be picked randomly and announced the next day.

What are you waiting for? Enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway