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2011 recap:
It’s been a strange and kind of surreal year for me. I ended my first series in February with the release of Darkest Mercy, released my first adult novel (Graveminder) in May, and co-edited my first anthology (Enthralled, Sept 2011) with Kelley Armstrong.

In between those, I co-authored (also with Kelley) my first children’s book, Loki’s Wolves: Blackwell Pages Book 1, and then sold it (Little, Brown; releasing in 2013).

To make life more chaotic, the universe saw fit to throw the film stuff into a little more of a spin—the director of the Wicked Lovely film switched to Mary Harron (of American Psycho fame) and we parted with ways with Universal Studio. I got the call with that news the day my plane arrived in Philly (returning from my annual Scottish escape) moments before an earthquake (??). Yes, I was standing in the street outside the airport on the phone with one of my producers answering the “Is this an okay time to talk?” trying to answer without laughter. Of course, the extra amusing part was receiving the renewal check the same week an article in Variety and everywhere else announced that the project was dead. . . The lesson here, my lovelies, is that Hollywood is a weird place OR “don’t believe everything you read.”

In the personal corners of my universe, my kids and spouse are doing great. We spent part of August in Scotland again, and we are spending quite a bit of time in the mountains. My son is obsessed with both snowboarding and tennis, so we’re up here a lot (including right now). I had a bit of extra travel because my daughter was college shopping and because of two releases so close . . . and a trip to Italy for tour & the Bologna Book Fair. I turned several of those into holidays by adding extra days in various places and having family join me--this meant a week in Florence with my spouse.  (I so LOVE Italy!) Still, I feel like I had far too many frequent flier miles this year, so I’m planning a stay-home-more year in 2012.

For those who didn’t see my gleeful tweets in December: my little girl nailed the SATs, and between that & her awesome achievements to date, she got into her top pick and their Honors College program and a great scholarship. I am so proud of her! (I’ll be weeping like crazy when she leaves, but for now, I’m concentrating on her successes.)

The other big news in the personal corner is that, after YEARS of discussion, Loch & I are finally going through the process of adopting. I’m told it could be up to 18 months of waiting for the baby—or as little as a month from now. I’ll share the good news when our new son or daughter arrives.

Some of my 2011 top reads:
I read daily (unless I’m writing), so it’s hard to keep track of everything I’ve loved. I’m sure I’m forgetting some (I do tweet them when I read them so follow me there for book recs throughout the year). At the end of the year, though, a few stand out:

How to Save A Life by Sara Zarr—I think this is my top pick of the year. I didn’t know the topic when I started to read it—only that Zarr=books I love. Reading about the adoption as I was on the verge of entering the journey was a bit more intense, but even without that extra jolt, I would’ve loved this. She never disappoints.

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray—I can’t recommend this enough. I laughed aloud. I nodded at the feminist notes that were so true. It is a fab read.

Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore—Sweet & snarky & fun. I’ve read ALL of her books, and I have yet to find one I didn’t put on my keeper shelf.

Molly Harper—I’d list a title, but I love them all. Like Rosemary’s books, these are sweet, snarky fun . . . but with Adult Content too.

Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton (and sequel out in 2012)—In a sea of paranormals, it’s hard to locate the original ones. These stand out.

The Taker by Alma Katsu—This is technically an adult book, but it’s definitely YA friendly. Gothic and engaging.

Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes—Nag Jen for me, please.  I want a sequel to this one. Monster fighting, strong protag. Good stuff here.

UPCOMING:
Unquiet by Jeannine Garsee-- I’ve read and really loved both of her contemporaries, and her newest (which is somewhere between contemporary and supernatural) is yet another wonderful read.

Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan—If you’ve read Sarah’s blog or seen her at events, you’ll already know that she’s frightfully funny. That voice comes through here beautifully. I’ve read and enjoyed her Demon’s Lexicon series (which I recommend), and this is another smart engaging read--but funnier.

Masque of Red Death by Bethany Griffin –Dark and delicious world building, literary writing, and a storyline that lingers well after finishing the last page.

Hallowed by Cynthia Hand—Enchanting and exciting, romantic and believable.

Beautiful Evil by Kelly Keaton (see above) If I could become a character in a fictional world, I would pick this one. Action and romance combine with good storytelling and an alluring world. More, please!

Icons by Margaret Stohl—No release date yet on this (2013, I think), but it’s so SO good that you need to just write it down now. I loved Beautiful Creatures (Southern Gothic, how could I NOT like it?), but this is even better. I’d tell you more about it, but I don’t know if I’m allowed to.

Reader Questions:
Is there or isn't there going to be a Wicked Lovely movie?
We are pretty far along, so it certainly looks a lot more likely than it has any other time since the initial option. That’s why the articles were so funny: they were announcing the death of the project even as I was getting good news in it. I’ve seen the concept art (it’s stunning). We have a script, director, producers, and a few other aspects I can’t share. My producers continue to say there IS a movie, & to verify that it’s not just words, they pay me. Books are optioned, but option doesn’t equate to being filmed. There are stages. In other words, I’m tentatively optimistic that there may be a film. We won’t actually know if it’s filming until the cameras turn on though.

Will there be more Wicked Lovely books?
My publishers have asked the same thing, and right now, my answer is “I doubt it.” It could happen, but I’m not planning to write any more right now.

Is there a Graveminder sequel?
Again, I’m not planning one. I have written about a third of one, but I’m not committed to it right now. I’ve actually written the starts of 2 other adult novels (different worlds) that I haven’t finished either. Maybe someday, but that’s not where my Muse wants to be right now. I am working on another adult novel, The Ananchronists, that’s due to my editor in 2012.

Will you have a book out in 2012?
Yes. I have a new YA novel (Carnival ), a short story collection, and the paperback re-release of Graveminder & Darkest Mercy.

What's Carnival about? What about arcs? Cover?
I'm not allowed to answer that one yet. They have a schedule. I just write the books. They're in charge of the rest--and honestly, that's just fine. I have THREE publishing teams now: HarperTeen, Harper/WilliamMorrow, and Little,Brown.  I can't imagine trying to handle all the tasks they do! Mostly, I write and say thank you to all the amazing people who handle the rest.

. . . also, I am getting superstition about the presence of a KATE in every endeavour. My adult editor is Kate Nintzel, children's is Kate Sullivan, & one of the heads of HC YA is Kate Jackson. With this many Kates in my corner, I'm feeling like there's some good luck associated with the name. That's my new writing advice: look for a Kate ;)

My 2012 schedule:
Jan 17—Graveminder trade paper releases.
Feb 21—Darkest Mercy paperback AND Faery Tales & Nightmares (my short story collection, about 75% Wicked Lovely stories)
April 11-15—RT Booklovers Convention in Chicago.
June—I’m at Book Expo America in NYC and (I think) ALA in Anaheim. There will be copies of Carnival there with or without me : )
September—Carnival (my new YA) releases. It is NOT a stand-alone. I meant for it to be, but as it turns out I couldn’t fit the whole story in one book.
Still September—“Justine and the Smart Chicks,” AKA Smart Chicks 3.0 tour (US & Canada) with Kelley Armstrong & other not-yet-announced authors in not-yet-announced cities. Tour organized in cooperation with Justine Magazine.
. . . and that’s it. I’m home with my family and writing.
NOTE: I will not be doing anything else event-wise in 2012.

Questions for me:
I make no promises of knowledge, but I do try to answer when possible (ie ask away).

Question from me:
How was your year? (I love reading replies even if I don't answer them all.)
What did you read & love?

Comments

( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
tracy_d74
Jan. 1st, 2012 07:53 pm (UTC)
Congratulations to your daughter. I remember all the work that goes into SAT's and applying and visiting. It's WODNERFUL when it all pays off in the desired way.

Adopting? How exciting. I can't wait to hear more about that.

My year was good. It started a bit rocky...it seemed the poltergeist haunting 2010 refused to let go for a few months. I finally exorcised it and managed to have a good year. As far as books go...the books that stand out immediately in my mind: The Daughter of Smoke and Bones. I mean, it blew me away. I thought it was going to be another over hyped book. It wasn't. Scorpio Races was beautiful and unique. Still Alice fed my nerdy neuropsychology/neuroscientist mind. The Near Witch was beautifully written and the perfect kind of ghost story/legend spooky.

Here's to 2012!
queenbeetf
Jan. 1st, 2012 07:58 pm (UTC)
What I read and loved
My list could go on forever, but just a few things loved this year:

The Daughter of Smoke & Bones
The Girl of Fire and Thornes
Wonderstruck
The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Forbidden
The Night Circus
Reason to Breathe
Karma

I was super excited for Darkest Mercy, but I'm kind of sad the Wicked Lovely story over now.

I don't read much "adult" fiction anymore (although, I did read all of the Song of Ice & Fire series this year and loved it!) but I enjoyed Graveminder very much. Also a big fan of the October Daye books. Fantasy for adults doesn't have to be huge sprawling epics.

Can't wait to see what comes out this year! So many books, so little time!
boothyisawesome
Jan. 1st, 2012 08:44 pm (UTC)
I thought Every Other Day was the beginning of a series, but you say it's not? I may have to nag Jennifer then... I LOVED that book! I'm also very excited for The Unquiet (loved Jeannine's Say the Word), Unspoken, and Masque of the Red Death- those all look so good.

I'll probably see you at BEA and maybe Smart Chicks if DC area is a stop, and if you have any DC signings otherwise. Very excited for both of your books and the WL movie! :)

As for fave books of 2011, I'll be doing a post on my blog later this month, but offhand, The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson (fantasy like Tamora Pierce), Don't Let Me Go by J.H. Trumble (GLBT contemporary), Amplified by Tara Kelly (contemporary), and Divergent by Veronica Roth (dystopian) were all wonderful books I read this year.

Happy New Year! :)
lilrongal
Jan. 1st, 2012 08:56 pm (UTC)
YAY I love reading about your life and your career! :) Remember five years ago when you'd quit your day job and you were kind like "what am I doing??" Look where you are now! Sounds like you are so blessed.

My year was pretty good! And the one book I really loved this year was Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers.
olmue
Jan. 1st, 2012 10:04 pm (UTC)
Congratulations to your daughter--I can't believe she's at that jumping-off point already! And good luck with the adoption process!

Sounds like an excellent year of book news, too. :)

Some of my favorite reads this year: RJ Anderson's ULTRAVIOLET, and Maggie Stiefvater's SCORPIO RACES. I have lots more that came out recently that are still in my TBR pile, though.
melissa_writing
Jan. 22nd, 2012 12:01 am (UTC)
I haven't read either of your picks. I'll add them to my "check them out" list.
(Anonymous)
Jan. 1st, 2012 10:58 pm (UTC)
Tell your daughter congrats. :) I just took the SATS and got accepted into a college myself. Now a world of opportunities opens up! And congrats on adopting!

I read a lot of really good books this year. Actually, I spent a lot of time rereading... I read Darkest Mercy and Stopping Time and Old Habits right after I finished rereading the Wicked Lovely Series. I thought the ending was perfect. The series really got me through a tough, tough year...a year I'm surprised I made it through alive. So thanks for that. :) Now I'm sure Wicked Lovely and it's sequels will always have a special place in my heart for that. Already got Faery Tales & Nightmares pre ordered! I hope one day I'll be able to write like you...

The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare was unexpectedly fantastic, and reminded me a little of Wicked Lovely in a way. It has fairies, werewolves, vampires...and a gothic edge to it all. A little predictable, but extremely entertaining.

I also read The Immortals Quartet by Tamora Pierce. (Everyone should check her out!) It was fantastic, but all of her books usually are...especially if you're looking for extremely strong female heros. It's action filled with fantasy, with a good side of romance, and the third book is definitely the best.

I'd also recommend Eon by Alison Goodman, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and Gone by Michael Grant. All of them are fantastic adventure/action/fantasy books.

And, for a more serious read, the Book Theif by Markus Zusak. It's one of those books that calls to the humanity we all have inside of us. You won't be able to read it without a few tears, but I think it's books like this that make someone a better person having read it. Innocence, destruction, laughter, death, and most of all, hope...

melissa_writing
Jan. 22nd, 2012 12:05 am (UTC)
I've been meaning to read the Book Thief for years. I bought it, but my daughter absconded with it. I hear absolutely fab things about the writing & the impact of it.

Good luck with college!
rebeccabrierty
Jan. 2nd, 2012 12:15 am (UTC)
What I read and loved.
Well first of all I loved the fact that I finally graduated from UHCL in Spring 2011, and began teaching Fall 2011... so I am super excited and proud of the life change. I love the fact that my 3 and 4 year old are finally able to hold conversations with my husband and I, oh the things that you hear... lol.

As for reading, I was only able to read 2 books in 2011 because of such a busy schedule this past year. I read Fallen by Lauren Kate and Awakened by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast. For 2012 I plan on catching up on a lot of reading lol.

Also I love to write poems, but sometimes I don't have pen and paper available when things pop into my head, and of course I can't remember what I wanted to write later lol. So my New Year's resolution is to keep a small notebook with me. It is authors like you that inspire people so much to follow not only what they are good at, but also what has been a part of their dreams for a while.
melissa_writing
Jan. 22nd, 2012 12:06 am (UTC)
Re: What I read and loved.
I've not read the Cast books, but I read & enjoyed FALLEN.

I think carrying a notebook does wonders for creative output. I highly recommend it.
rebeccabrierty
Jan. 22nd, 2012 12:31 am (UTC)
Re: What I read and loved.
I have definently began carrying a notebook, and highlighting dreams and thoughts that I have.
relby
Jan. 2nd, 2012 05:08 am (UTC)
Congratulations on everything you've accomplished this year, but most especially your decision to adopt! So, so exciting. Sending positive vibes for the entire process!
previouslydead
Jan. 2nd, 2012 10:22 pm (UTC)
I just typed out a massive comment and it didn't post >.< so i'll do the short hand version of it haha:

- Favorite Books This Year: Firelight by Sophie Jordan and Hollowland by Amanda Hocking, (also, favorite short story Old habits, by you.)

-Question: Irial and Niall are my two favorite characters from pretty much the entire literary world, I don't suppose you'll be doing anything more with them, will you? Even just a short story?

-My Year: Got into all Universities I applied to, and my exam results have been good so far so i'm hoping for a good 2012 :D
Kristina Ebert
Jan. 3rd, 2012 06:07 pm (UTC)
wow so many things that I can't wait for. I got my fingers crossed that you will be stopping in WA for the Smart Chicks Tour again, that was so awesome event, actually epic is more like it .

I have been wanting to get Every Other Day after you were raving about it in WA for the Smart event. I really need to get my hands on the book.

I read so many great books this last year. Touch by Jus Accardo was aweosme and so many others I could list. This year was wonderful, lots of new experiences with starting to blog and a good year with my own personal life. My husband and I are hoping to get pregnant this coming year, so I'm looking forward to 2012 being another great year as well.
Day Stephens
Jan. 9th, 2012 07:51 pm (UTC)
WOW! What an exciting time for your daughter and bitter sweet for you I am sure. I loved Darkness Becomes Her, and to be honest, I read it back in 2010 and forgot about it being released in 2011! I agree, that world is really cool...the old dilapidated homes in the Garden District, the swampy cemetery and interesting characters, yes definitely a fun book!

Divergent and Graveminder were two of my personal favorites and I can't wait to read Margaret Stohl, Sarah Rees Brennan and Bethany Griffin's books!

Do you know of any spots that will be on the Smart Chicks Tour 3.0 this year?
melissa_writing
Jan. 22nd, 2012 12:00 am (UTC)
We haven't announced the cities or authors yet, but I'm hoping to do so in the next couple of months.
Daisy Whitney
Jan. 10th, 2012 06:49 am (UTC)
Loved Daughter of Smoke & Bone, French Lessons, Where She Went, White Cat, The Disenchantments and more!
freak297
Jan. 16th, 2012 01:04 pm (UTC)
Faery Tales & Nightmares Question
I was wondering if your Wicked Lovely Dark Fae novellas Stopping Time and Old Habits will be in Faery Tales & Nightmares?
melissa_writing
Jan. 22nd, 2012 12:00 am (UTC)
Re: Faery Tales & Nightmares Question
Yes, they are included.
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )